The difference between justice and vengeance is one cares about the evidence, the other just wants to settle scores.
In light of the outrageous treatment of George Floyd that ended with cop kneeling on his neck as he died — on video, with all of us to see — this creates a tension.
Onlookers in America and around the world can look at the video and draw quick conclusions, the facts take longer to gather and act upon. The crowds wanted instant gratification of what they assume is the correct response. But the legal process proceeds more slowly and cautiously.
The good news, that the restless crowd can take some comfort in, is that charges are being brought against Derek Chauvin, the (now former) cop whose knee was pressed onto George Floyd’s neck. For those wanting more, the good news is also the bad news.
It was assumed by many that the knee on his neck created a problem with his airway, leading to asphyxiation. This is not what the autopsy results indicated. Mr. Floyd had an underlying cardiovascular condition.
One of Chauvin’s colleagues suggested rolling Floyd on to his side but Chauvin allegedly said, “No, staying put where we got him.”
When Floyd stopped moving, Officer J. Alexander Kueng “checked Mr. Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and said, ‘I couldn’t find one.’ None of the officers moved from their positions,” the complaint said.
The medical examiner found no evidence that Floyd died from traumatic asphyxia or strangulation, the complaint said.
Instead, Floyd had coronary artery and hypertensive heart disease and, “the combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” according to the complaint.
Freeman said he anticipated more charges to come, possibly against some of the other three officers.
“The investigation is ongoing,” Freeman said, “We felt it was appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator. This case has moved with extraordinary speed.” —NBC
So, those charges aren’t the end of the story. They are, perhaps just the beginning.
Floyd’s family wanted something stronger than third-degree murder laid against Derek Chauvin.
Ben Crump, attorney for the Floyd family, released a statement calling the arrest of the former Minneapolis police officer “a welcome but overdue step on the road to justice.”
“We expected a first-degree murder charge. We want a first-degree murder charge,” said the statement. “And we want to see the other officers arrested. We call on authorities to revise the charges to reflect the true culpability of this officer.” –WashingtonExaminer
This writer is careful NOT to demand any particular court ruling, or particular charges. That’s not how the justice system in a nation with the freedoms America cherishes was designed to work. Justice is meant to be blind, evaluating the facts and coming to a determination. This writer wants the charges, the ruling, and (if found guilty) the sentencing that is found to be in line with the full scope of facts of this case.
We may not love that outcome, but the American system was specifically designed to draw the best and most just outcome possible out of a messy and complicated situation.