A day of reckoning for the men and women in blue came on Tuesday when a jury of six white, four Black, and two multi-racial jurors voted to convict Derrick Chauvin, the white, former Minneapolis police officer who faced three counts of murder for the death of a Black man, George Floyd, nearly one year ago.
The verdict was guilty on each count and the judge agreed to reject bail sending Chauvin behind bars until sentencing in the coming weeks.
Until this week, protestors demonstrated their frustrations buried deep into their souls over the unjustifiable deaths of Black people – men, women, and children – killed by the hands of cops for decades. But George Floyd’s death ripped the bandage off a deep wound that repulsed the nation and the world, including white people. And it was a knee, not a gun, that caused an impassioned outcry everywhere.
With doubt in one hand and hope in the other, the nation paused for the past three weeks to hear police officers, witnesses, family members and friends recount that day when Floyd laid on the ground, speaking his last words, “Mom, I love you!” as life drained from his body one breath at a time.
It was a suffocating feeling to watch his murder replayed over and over, and until Tuesday, like Floyd, people were unable to gasp for air, let alone exhale.
Now that the verdict hoped for has been delivered, many are still afraid to breathe. Their faith in a nation that treats Black people fairly and equitably is non-existent mainly because history has shown how angry white people find ways to respond to the gains of Black people with retribution.
As the Rev. Al Sharpton said during a press conference following the verdict, “We don’t celebrate a man going to jail.
“We would have rather George being alive. We celebrate the marchers – the young people — that wouldn’t let this die. This is an assurance to them that if we don’t give up, we can win some rounds. But the war, and the fight, is not over,” he said.
In other words, we cannot breathe or exhale. Not yet.