News & Politics

Medievalism in Middle America: Celebrating the Verdict in the George Floyd Trial

Court TV via AP, Pool

The atmosphere outside the Hennepin County Courthouse before the verdict was read convicting Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter was tense. But the protesters who had gathered either to celebrate victory or unleash the Kracken if they were disappointed in any way needn’t have worried. The “fix” was in.

Derek Chauvin was guilty before he entered the courtroom when the trial began. He received a “fair trial” — at least, as fair as possible given the protesters waiting outside. “Nice courthouse ya have there, white folk. Be a shame if it were to suddenly catch fire and burn to the ground.”

Anyone who thinks that didn’t play on the minds of the jurors needs to get their reality checked.

Washington Post:

That’s certainly what B.J. Wilder was ready for. The Minneapolis resident had been disappointed too many times, seen justice deferred or denied all too often, particularly for Black Americans. His city, he said, felt like “a powder keg.”

But when the decision came, he and the others who had gathered outside the Cup Foods store, where Floyd was killed, got something unexpected. As the guilty verdicts on all three counts of murder and manslaughter were announced to the crowd, there were tears of joy, hugs and cheers. Instead of anger and betrayal, Wilder experienced relief, and even some hope.

Generally, we shouldn’t begrudge people any opportunity to celebrate. But why did the scenes of wildly cheering people chanting “Convict! Convict! Send those killer cops to jail. The whole damn system is guilty as hell” remind me of a Medieval witch burning?

There was absolutely nothing to celebrate about this trial, the process, the outcome, or the demise of a white cop. There was nothing to celebrate about the death of George Floyd, who became just another totem of racial injustice that activists and politicians pointed to as evidence of white America’s guilt. His dead body and the grief of his family were shamelessly and outrageously displayed and exploited by those who knew exactly what they were doing. The political agenda was served and the narrative advanced.

They had ginned up outrage over Floyd’s death, whipped crowds into a frenzy of racial hate, and now that Chauvin has been found guilty, it’s time to party.

In predominantly Black West Philadelphia, a woman driving by lowered her window, raised a fist and shouted “Guilty!” moments after the verdict was read. On a sunny spring day, residents sitting on their porches — eyes trained to smartphones or listening intently to radio news — cheered. Cars honked, people whooped, neighbors hugged.

“I’m glad that Derek Chauvin is going to jail,” said Shanee Garner, a lifelong West Philadelphia resident who is a legislative director for a city council member. “But I hope that this moment is not taken as an indicator that our system is just and police brutality is solved.”

Tucker Carlson got it just about right on his Fox show last night.

The jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial came to a unanimous and unequivocal verdict this afternoon: “Please don’t hurt us.” Everyone understood perfectly well the consequences of an acquittal in this case. After nearly a year of burning and looting and murder by BLM, that was never in doubt.

Carlson has been the target of hysterical backlash this morning over those remarks. What’s amazing is that everyone with two brain cells working knows it’s true, but saying it out loud is bad form. To be reminded of your terror of the mob just isn’t done. This is not a day to caution against mob rule or mob justice. If you’re white, this is a day to wear sackcloth and ashes and say five Acts of Contrition, four Hail Mary’s, and ten Glory Be’s.

And wait for the next tragedy to unfold as political theater.