Derek Chauvin has been found guilty. Eugene Robinson writes that it shouldn't feel like a victory. But it does:
It shouldn’t have been an open question whether a police officer could kneel on a man’s neck for more than nine minutes, snuffing out his life, with complete or even partial impunity. We shouldn’t have had to hold our collective breath from the moment it was announced there was a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial to the moment that verdict was read. This shouldn’t feel so much like a victory.
The jurors in Chauvin’s trial trusted their eyes and ears. They saw the video of George Floyd pinned to the hard pavement, they heard him plead again and again that he couldn’t breathe, and they held Chauvin fully accountable.
They saw George Perry Floyd Jr. — fully — as a human being.
In 1857, the Supreme Court of the United States declared that black people weren't human. They were "chattel" -- property -- and could be used or abused at their master's whim. And, despite the Emancipation Proclamation six years later -- and subsequent Supreme Court decisions -- the notion that black people are not human persists.
Yesterday's verdict was a clear rejection of that notion. Whether it will find its way into public acceptance remains to be seen.