By: Roy Douglas Malonson
Where’s the humanity? One by one, witnesses described the horror which unfolded before their eyes, watching a white monster kill a Black man in front of the entire world as time slowly ticked for nine minutes and 29 seconds. It was a moment many in a “blinded” America have never experienced, but it is a reality that many Blacks know all too well, but no one ever did anything about.
Before Derek Chauvin killed George Floyd, many from this generation have never witnessed hate in rare form in broad daylight – that kind of hatred only exists when they stalk us under the cover of darkness, when they trap us in the dark alleyways and when they shoot us from behind as we are trying to run for our lives.
Ninety percent of the time they get away with it, with an excuse that we Black folks were threatening them in some kind of way – and usually a judge or a jury of “their” peers allow them to walk free. Whites typically find it difficult to hold another white person accountable for any atrocity against a Black person. Even when they know it’s wrong, they find a loophole or a clause in the “justice” system to stand by one another.
But can they do it this time? The cover of darkness provides no reasonable loophole. The video cameras did not freeze, nor were they blurry. They were from every angle, from every cellphone, from every corner store surveillance – step by step – we watched the “beginning of the end” of George Floyd’s life. The white monster took his time, as if he was eating his morning donut and coffee, while he calmly applied pressure until he was sure the Black man was dead.
Being murdered is the ultimate tragedy, but helplessly witnessing murder is gut-wrenching as well. It creates long-lasting nightmares and effects people for the rest of their lives. For many of those who had a front seat to Floyd’s execution, they had the chance to tell their stories this week as the trial in his death began. And from a 9-year-old to a paramedic, they all expressed one thing the officers lacked – humanity. We ask again, where was it?
Humanity was on the sidewalks flooded with people begging on behalf of Floyd for mercy, but evil was holding the man face-down on the asphalt. It was a true depiction of “the devil riding your back.”
Minneapolis firefighter EMT Genevieve Hansen testified that she was off duty and on a walk when she saw Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. She says she told officers that Floyd needed medical attention, but police ordered her to stay back.
“I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my ability and this human was denied that right,” a tearful Hansen described. “I tried calm reasoning, I tried to be assertive, I pled and was desperate. I was desperate to give help.”
She was direct and truthful, with emotions ranging from sad to anger as the judge reprimanded Hansen for being combative with the defense during questioning.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen someone die in front of you, but it’s very upsetting,” she said during cross-examination.
In addition to Hansen, five other bystanders testified on the second day of Chauvin’s criminal trial, including a 9-year-old girl, three high school students and a mixed martial arts fighter.
They all left from different homes on May 25, 2020, not knowing they would arrive at the same destination to be front and center to one of the darkest days of America that the world would witness – in real-time – thanks to social media.
“I was sad and kind of mad,” the 9-year-old testified. “Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”
Donald Wynn Williams II, an MMA fighter, testified that he “called the police on the police” to report the murder in progress he was watching.
One of the teenagers who took the most widely known witness video, Darnella Frazier, said she saw her own Black father, brothers, cousins and friends in Floyd.
“I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them,” she said through tears. “It’s been nights I’ve stayed up apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”
Another high school student said, at one point, Chauvin got out his mace and started shaking it at bystanders who begged officers to get off Floyd.
“I was scared of Chauvin,” she said.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson said Chauvin was following his police use of force training and argued Floyd’s cause of death was a combination of drug use and preexisting health issues.
The only “health issue” that day was a racist cop who was hell bent to kill a Black man.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
The second-degree murder charge says Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd with his knee, which unintentionally caused Floyd’s death. The third-degree murder charge says Chauvin acted with a “depraved mind, without regard for human life,” and the second-degree manslaughter charge says Chauvin’s “culpable negligence” caused Floyd’s death.
Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend about 12.5 years in prison for each murder charge and about four years for the manslaughter charge. To us, none of those sentences carries enough time to make Chauvin pay for what he did.
So, will there be a day of reckoning? Will there be real police reform? Will the Black man now get the targeted bullseye off his back? Will Black people band together, rebuild and help police their own communities, lifting each other up to keep the racist cops away? And at the end of it all, will this judge and jury do the right thing and put this monster behind bars? It’s all part of what they choose to admit they see in the video, or what they choose to ignore.
“You can believe your eyes that it’s a homicide,” prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell told the jurors. “You can believe your eyes.”
Black people, FIGHT for what you BELIEVE in. JUSTICE!