The Derek Chauvin Verdict: Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges he faced for the murder of George Floyd. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: The Derek Chauvin Verdict
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin “was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges he faced for the murder of George Floyd, capping a trial that captivated the nation nearly a year after Floyd’s death set off a reckoning over racial injustice and police brutality,” Marty Johnson and Brett Samuels reported for The Hill. Here’s what both sides are saying about the verdict and what comes next:
On The Left
Left-leaning outlets and commentators see vindication in the Chauvin conviction. At the same time, they believe it is merely a small step in a comprehensive fight that will require sustained advocacy moving forward.
Dahlia Lithwick’s key takeaway in Slate is about the “power of bystanders.” She applauds those who “stood by and filmed the police as the travesty was unfolding” as well as “the bystanders who implored the police to stop.” Lithwick also credits the “police officers who stepped in to testify against their own cops who could have faded back and held their tongues who decided instead to speak truth not merely to power, but to their own best interests.” Lithwick sees a verdict that “lights a way to real change.” She concludes by saying: “Bystanders brave enough to see the difference and demand big systemic change won’t bring back George Floyd. But they will be the ones to lead us forward.”
Meanwhile, Stephen Collinson criticizes Republicans in CNN for fixating “on a censure motion in the US House of Representatives accusing California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of inciting violence over the trial” instead of the “sea change needed in American society to root out the brutality and prejudice faced daily by people of color in their dealings with police.” He observes a “wide gulf between Democrats and Republicans on reforming qualified immunity, which protects officers in civil court,” something one solitary verdict simply cannot fix. Collinson sees a “long journey ahead that will hinge on the willingness of Americans to keep up the pressure as they seek an end to senseless deaths at the hands of law enforcement.”
Finally, in The Guardian, Kellie Carter Jackson says the Floyd case shows that “Despite all we have gone through – despite all the protests, activism and calls for justice – we still see black people as criminals.” In short, she believes “The stakes of white supremacy do not start or end with this verdict,” quoting W.E.B. Du Bois, who once wrote: “Nothing in the world is easier in the United States than to accuse a black man of a crime” adding that this is “still true today.” Carter Jackson ends on a pessimistic note, predicting that “black Americans will not cease to be seen as threats,” while “Chauvin will walk away as the exception and not the rule.”
While left-leaning pundits claim victory in Chauvin’s conviction, they also zero in on the need to continue pushing against what they see as institutional racism laced with white supremacy.
On The Right
Moderates on the right credit the judicial system with properly administering justice in a difficult case. Still, they criticize outside interference without going so far as their more conservative peers, many of whom think the jury may have bent their ruling in response to intimidation bred through protest.
The Wall Street Journal editors believe the “justice system performed better than political critics predicted…” They outline the essence of the case, which was that the jury determined Chauvin’s actions “substantially caused Floyd’s death.” While justice prevailed, the editors criticize politicians like President Biden who weighed in before the verdict, thereby engaging in what they believe is “outrageous interference with the administration of justice.” They state this is a form of intimidation (as was the case with a defense witness who saw his “house vandalized”) and that this outside interference breeds a possible need to overturn the verdict. Instead of “inflaming” the public, the editors write, “politicians and media elites should be calming tempers.” After all, they say, “The verdict showed that the legal system isn’t systemically racist” and “American justice isn’t perfect, but it works.”
On Fox News, Tucker Carlson summarized the jury’s mental calculus as: “Please don’t hurt us.” To Carlson, while the public can and will debate the merits of this specific case, it is crystal clear that “no mob has the right to destroy our cities…under any circumstances…for any reason.” Likewise, he believes “No politician or media figure has the right to intimidate a jury, and no political party has the right to impose a different standard of justice on its own supporters.” Given the outside noise, Carlson wonders whether Americans can “trust the way this decision was made.” It’s pretty clear he believes the answer is “no.”
Lastly, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy opines in The New York Post that “This conviction now has a real chance of having the result overturned because public officials, who know better, have recklessly undermined the integrity of the trial.” Due to Representative Waters’ “inflammatory language,” he writes, Chauvin now has “grounds for appeal,” meaning “this isn’t over.” McCarthy believes President Biden also helped undermine the verdict’s credibility, as he weighed in on the case knowing full well “that sequestration does not make jurors impervious to prejudicial publicity.” Moreover, Biden made his remarks even after judge Peter Cahill “pleaded that public officials stop commenting on the trial.” Add in existing “substantial reason to doubt that Chauvin could get a fair trial in Minneapolis,” and McCarthy thinks the public should ready themselves for an appeal.
While justice was seemingly served in the conviction of Derek Chauvin, the right sees a high likelihood for appeal given jury and witness intimidation, they believe, at the hands of Democrats and Democratic-aligned groups.
Flag This: The Derek Chauvin Verdict
A mid-April Hill-HarrisX poll of Minnesotans found that 47% believed Chauvin should be found guilty, against 20% who deemed him innocent, and 33% who were unsure. Within these results, 62% of Democrats, 47% of independent voters, and 31% of Republicans sought a guilty verdict. Hence, public sentiment is once again split across parties.
Flag Poll: The Derek Chauvin Verdict
Do you agree with the verdict made in Derek Chauvin’s trial? Comment below and share your thoughts.