The Biden Justice Department announced on Friday that it would pile on more charges against former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of murdering George Floyd, and three other former police officers. The civil rights charges were unsealed during the very time when the judge will announce Chauvin’s sentence and just weeks before the trial for the other cops involved in George Floyd’s death begins.
Four Former Minneapolis Police Officers Indicted on Federal Civil Rights Charges for Death of George Floyd; Derek Chauvin Also Charged in Separate Indictment for Violating Civil Rights of a Juvenile https://t.co/zUYdDjcUg4
— FBI (@FBI) May 7, 2021
You might be thinking right now, well, isn’t that the sort of prejudicial move prosecutors pulled during the jury selection in the Chauvin trial when they announced the $27 million settlement to the Floyd family?
You’re catching on.
You may think Derek Chauvin is guiltier than sin, but you can’t deny that the fix is in. If the hand-picked 14-to-one prosecutor-to-defense-attorney ratio in the first trial didn’t convince you, then maybe the reams of exhibits dumped on the sole defense attorney routinely throughout the trial at the rate of 500 per day will. Four-hundred-person witness lists? Better to bury you with, my dear. Need multiple experts to testify over and over that fentanyl and smoking aren’t really that bad for you? Or witness after witness being asked “how did it make your feel?” This was the trial for you. One juror, an apparent activist who lied to get on the jury, said the deliberations should have been over in 20 minutes, not the four or five hours spent trying to talk one juror out of asking probing questions about the evidence.
Twenty minutes for a three-week-trial.
The message was clear: “I’m Gonna Git You, Sucka!“*
And now come the feds with civil rights violations heaped on top of the charges the former cops already face. They even threw in an old complaint against Chauvin about a 2017 use-of-force complaint.
No matter. This is about politics, not justice.
Derek Chauvin wants a new trial.
That would be a hard NO.
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) May 6, 2021
He’s a congressman.
But justice isn’t the only thing being sacrificed on the pyre of what was once Derek Chauvin’s life. Those 14 prosecutors called for even more enhanced charges against the former cop, which could add as much as 20 years to his possible 40-year sentence. Now come the feds to play pig-pile on Chauvin, except this is no children’s game.
Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy, who watched every moment of the Chauvin trial from jury selection to the verdict, wrote in National Review that this piling-on is not only prejudicial but total “overkill.”
So why would the Justice Department announce its indictment now? There was no legal pressure to do so. The statute of limitations has years yet to run. Moreover, under the “dual sovereignty” doctrine — under which a state prosecution provides no double-jeopardy protection against a subsequent federal prosecution — there is no constitutional issue. Regardless of whether the state convicted or acquitted the four ex-cops on some or all of the charges, there would be no impediment to the Justice Department’s filing of charges at some future point.
Dual sovereignty is basically double jeopardy but doesn’t count when the feds use the process to ladle on civil rights charges for the same crime.
Defense attorney Robert Barnes is not a fan of dual sovereignty between state and federal governmental entities, saying that “our double jeopardy doctrine isn’t strong enough” to prevent these charges for the same crimes.
— Robert Barnes (@barnes_law) May 8, 2021
McCarthy writes that this was an “abusive” political decision.
At best, the Justice Department’s indictment of Derek Chauvin and the three other former Minneapolis cops involved in George Floyd’s killing nearly a year ago is overkill. At worst, it is an exercise in political zeal that could undermine the accountability being achieved by state prosecutions. In the meantime, it is abusive — ironically so given that the charges are brought under the guise of upholding civil rights, though it obviously has not dawned on the Civil Rights Division’s social-justice warriors that police have civil rights, too.
Even the Associated Press admits that going after the former Minneapolis cops “signals priorities” and sends a “strong message about its priorities these days” and is a political move.
That’s a nice way to say that color-blind justice isn’t anymore.
It is red or blue.
And they’ll bury you.
*That’s the name of a movie from 1988 about 1970s “blaxploitation” movies like “Shaft,” so I’ll apologize in advance for invoking the name of an absolutely hilarious movie directed by Keenan Ivory Wayans. My bad.