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Many Voices, One Freedom: United in the 1st Amendment

April 25, 2024

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Now that the Derek Chauvin trial has concluded and he has been found guilty of all charges, whether you believe it was a fair trial and just verdict or not; I think it’s important that we take a look at how everyone involved in this tragic situation is being portrayed by the news media, by Hollywood, and especially the partisan politicians.

First of all, let’s look at George Floyd, the “victim.” George Floyd was no angel. His criminal record is well known, so there’s no need to go into great detail here. Suffice it to say that George Floyd lived a life that had landed him a prison sentence at one point for committing a violent crime involving the use of a firearm. Along with his illegal drug activity, George Floyd lived much of his life on the wrong side of the law.

Did he deserve to die on that day in Minneapolis? Not for a fake twenty-dollar bill. But that crime is not what killed him. His resistance to arrest and failure to comply is what ultimately led to his death. Derek Chauvin’s knee would never have been on George Floyd’s neck had he simply complied with the officers who arrived at the food store and ultimately were charged with making his arrest.

After a career of nearly twenty years, former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin will now likely spend the rest of his life in prison, convicted of murder in the death of George Floyd. For most of that career, Chauvin probably served his community well. In fact, he had received commendations during his career.

Of course, none of that really matters to most Americans, who base their judgment of Chauvin on just over nine minutes of a nearly twenty-year career. A fair position to take based on the content of that nine-plus minutes. Whether his actions were purposeful, as the prosecution contended or not, Chauvin will forever go down in history as a police officer who murdered a black man, witnessed on video by perhaps a billion people worldwide. But George Floyd and Derek Chauvin are only a small part of the story of policing in America.

Another important part is what we have seen in recent years is career criminals being elevated to martyrdom status after committing crimes and who have been shot by the police trying to make an arrest. Killed during fast-paced, confusing, and often times very violent encounters.

Street-side memorials and murals are quickly erected as a backdrop to loud and often violent protests well before any of the facts are known. Yet, following any police use of force, whether deadly force or just a struggle caught on video, the police officer is immediately vilified by the news media, as well as the local and national activists, and the partisan politicians who will use the incident for political gain, with no real concerns about the facts or the truth.

What is always forgotten, or at the very least glossed over, is the reality of police work in America. The reality is those police officers do noble and even heroic acts every single day all across the country. Police Officers run towards the sound of gunfire without hesitation while taking care to protect any bystander as the officers move toward the danger. In 2016 a black man killed five Dallas Police Officers as the officers ran towards the sound of his gunfire. Many courageous acts are all done by police officers in service to their community and usually done for very little pay.

Currently, racial activists are accusing police officers of committing near genocide of unarmed black men on the streets of America. The reality is far different. The police killed less than twenty “unarmed” black men in 2019. And though many of those may have technically been “unarmed,” the use of deadly force by the police may still have been justified based on the circumstances. Less than twenty out of the millions of interactions between the police and citizens every year. That’s the reality.

On any given shift, Police Officers comfort the dying, help the elderly, and put their lives on the line to protect the innocent. These acts by Police Officers never garner any notice by the news media, the politicians, or the race hustlers like Al Sharpton. But these acts of kindness and heroism performed every day by an officer somewhere in the country is the reality of American policing.

Watching the reaction following the verdict against Derek Chauvin, I remembered the black community’s response years ago to the O.J. Simpson verdict. The former football star got away with brutally murdering two innocent people, and at that time, there also was a joyous celebration on the streets of Black America. I simply do not recall any celebrations on the streets or at a police station when a police officer has had to use deadly force against any black American. Killing someone isn’t something to celebrate, nor is getting away with murder.

Regardless of what politicians may say about systemic racism in America, the fact is that claim is an outright lie and does nothing to help heal our country. All it does is further widen the divide between us as a nation.

Derek Chauvin was already convicted of murder – may be justifiably so – the day he responded to help subdue George Floyd. There was no presumption of innocence pending a presentation of the evidence during a trial by a jury of his peers. Derek Chauvin walked into that courtroom already a condemned man. And that troubles me deeply.

Not because I believe Derek Chauvin was innocent. But because I’m concerned about what could happen to any of us if we find ourselves on the wrong side of a politically charged issue. Especially if you’re a Police Officer, I’m also troubled that far too many people were more worried about whether or not one group or another might get angry if a trial didn’t end the way they wanted to riot in the streets. Worried enough to root for a guilty verdict instead of simply wanting justice based on facts and evidence. Trial by public outrage is wrong, no matter who the defendant is.

The George Floyds’ of this world have done nothing to merit the honors and recognition bestowed upon them by the pandering politicians and news media. Police Officers are the true role models and heroes we should have our children look up to and emulate.

And that’s the reality.

Image: AP

MANY VOICES, ONE FREEDOM: UNITED IN THE 1ST AMENDMENT

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