by George Dodo Williams, London & Eastern Region Equalities Officer
I am happy to report that ‘Humanity’ was granted a ‘breathing space’ on 20 April 2021 by the jurors in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer as they found Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges filed against him:
· second-degree unintentional murder,
· third-degree murder
· and second-degree manslaughter
Colleagues, I said the verdict was a ‘breathing space’ because ‘One swallow doesn’t make a summer.’ This one decision does not imply that the ‘systemic’ police brutality towards Black and ethnic minorities in the US and indeed here in the UK has stopped or would stop.
In fact, while I was waiting for the verdict on CNN, I got a twitter notification that a teenage girl has just been shot and killed by the police in Columbus, Ohio. This shows that we still have a long way to go.
Let’s not forget that the initial inaccurate and misleading description of George Floyd’s death by the Minneapolis Police Department’s might have been accepted as the only official account of what really took place, had it not been for the courage of a teenage bystander who took a video of the event.
It is also important to reiterate the fact that it was and still the young people of all races that are standing up to injustice against humanity. The young ones look at it from the bigger picture – that what has been going on for generations can no longer be allowed to continue in the 21st century.
While the older generation tried to find another hiding place in a coined phrase: ‘unconscious bias’ as to provide excuses for systemic racism; for our younger generation, it isn’t about race but humanity. Rather than the old notion of hate and division, they chose to fight for human dignity. .
In conclusion, yesterday’s verdict is still a drop in the vast ocean of injustice and institutionalised racism considering the continued police brutality in the US towards Black and Ethnic Minorities (even after George Floyd’s death) – this first ever verdict in the US to find a servicing police officer guilty of murder is still a very small step for humanity, nevertheless a significant leap for American Criminal Justice System. The Struggle Continues!