Long before Derek Chauvin entered a courtroom to face a judge and jury, he didn’t have a chance at a fair trial—because of people like me.
3 days after George Floyd’s death, and 284 days before the start of Derek Chauvin’s trial, I wrote an article titled, The Injustice Against George Floyd.
In the article, I said Derek Chauvin might not be guilty of racism, but he’s definitely guilty of murder.
Like a fool, I repeated a case that seemed right—until it was examined at the trial. Like a person who isn’t slow to speak—or slow to write—I gave an answer before I heard all the facts of the case.
Minnesota’s prosecutors and Derek Chauvin’s defence lawyers investigated the incident for 11 months. And the jurors examined evidence for 7 weeks and deliberated for 10 hours before they reached a verdict. I, however, made up my mind about the incident within seconds after watching the infamous 8 minutes and 46 seconds video.
Much of what I said in my article about the incident have been proven wrong. I said Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd by pressing his knee to the back of his neck, but that’s at least debatable.
Autopsies from two different medical examiners suggest Floyd died from asphyxiation or cardiac arrest as a result of a combination of heart disease, drug intoxication (or overdose), and knee compression.
However, alternate angles of the incident prove his knee was actually on Floyd’s back and shoulder, not his neck.
According to Floyd’s autopsy and his medical distress during the arrest that prompted Chauvin and the police officers to call an ambulance for him, it’s possible—and I think likely—he died from a toxic combination of fentanyl and meth in his body. Especially since Floyd’s drug dealer—who was with him when Chauvin and the police officers arrived at the scene—refused to testify at the trial because he was afraid he would incriminate himself for manslaughter.
Because of these facts and others from the trial, I regret much of my initial words on the incident. Just as I don’t know if Derek Chauvin is guilty of racism, I don’t know if he’s guilty of murder either. I don’t think the evidence is strong enough to convict him of second-degree manslaughter or especially second and third-degree murder.
Given the seemingly debatable nature of George Floyd’s cause of death, I don’t think the prosecution proved without a reasonable doubt Derek Chauvin is intentionally or unintentionally responsible for Floyd’s death.
However, considering the insurmountably immediate conclusions by foolish people like me from across the whole world, and considering the billions of dollars in costs from the riots—and the threats of more depending on the outcome of the trial—Derek Chauvin’s case was already decided within seconds after we all watched the infamous video.
And days before the start of the trial, Minneapolis City Council approved of a 27 million dollars settlement to George Floyd’s family. How does that signal presumption of innocence before the trial?
Still, despite overwhelming attention, the judge presiding over the case refused to move the trial away from Minneapolis—a move that might have given Derek Chauvin a more fair and impartial jury. The jury were also not sequestered, leaving them vulnerable to influence by social and political pressure from the media, Democrats, and political activists.
Speaking of bias, whatever happened to the accusations of racial bias against Derek Chauvin? Why wasn’t he charged and convicted for a hate crime? Isn’t perceived racial bias the basis for the cultural revolution and riots that started last summer? Is racial bias not the real cause of Floyd’s death, according to the whole world? Is the role of systemic racism in George Floyd’s death not the reason why many sports leagues, organizations, and churches baptized themselves in critical race theory? Why then didn’t prosecutors mention racial bias throughout the trial?
In the end, the greatest injustice throughout this incident might be the injustice against Derek Chauvin, not the alleged injustice against George Floyd.
Nevertheless, just as critical race theorists and Black Lives Matter refuse to hope and believe all things about police officers like Derek Chauvin, we shouldn’t refuse to hope and believe all things about the jury either.
After all, the criminal justice system isn’t perfect. Police officers can fail people like George Floyd, and judges and jurors can fail people like Derek Chauvin. The people we trust to establish justice in this world aren’t sinless and righteous.
If Derek Chauvin really murdered George Floyd, his trial for murder isn’t over. There’s a bigger judge waiting for him—there’s a bigger punishment waiting for him. He’ll give an account to God one day—just as I will for my careless and presumptuous words about him.
Except, by the grace of God, Jesus Christ has already paid for my sins. I hope Derek Chauvin will say the same before the only judge who judges justly summons him for judgement.