• April 12, 2021

NATIONAL VIEW: Witness’s instincts proved to be terrifyingly and tragically accurate - Odessa American: Guest Columns

e-Edition Subscribe

NATIONAL VIEW: Witness’s instincts proved to be terrifyingly and tragically accurate

THE POINT: No jury should accept that Derek Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do.

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 2:30 am

The first witness the prosecution called in the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd was a 911 dispatcher who watched the arrest unfold in real time on a surveillance camera. So long did the restraint go on that she wondered if the camera feed had frozen. “My instincts were telling me that something’s wrong,” she testified, explaining why she took the unusual step of reporting the officers’ use of force.

Her instincts — as the world knows from its own viewing of video footage of the May 25 events at that Minneapolis street corner — proved to be terrifyingly and tragically accurate. Something is clearly wrong when an arrest for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill ends up with a 46-year-old Black man gasping for air, pleading for help — and dying. Floyd’s death triggered nationwide protests and questioning about race, policing and social justice. A jury in Minnesota now faces one specific question: whether to hold Derek Chauvin, the officer who pinned Floyd under his knee for more than nine minutes — nine minutes and 29 seconds, to be exact — criminally responsible. He is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, and he faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

“You’ll be the judge of the facts, and I’ll be the judge of the law,” Hennepin County District Judge Peter A. Cahill told the 12-member, racially diverse jury last Monday at the start of a trial that is expected to be one of the most closely watched in years. Court TV is providing live, gavel-to-gavel coverage of the proceedings. It is fitting that a public that watched Floyd’s death can now witness whether there is a reckoning.

Jerry W. Blackwell, one of the prosecutors, played the video during his opening arguments to drive home how Mr. Chauvin did not “let up” or “get up.” Floyd said 27 times he couldn’t breathe, and a crowd that formed called repeatedly on police to get up because it was clear Floyd was in distress. “While he’s crying out, Mr. Chauvin never moves,” the prosecutor told the jury. “You can believe your eyes, that it’s homicide, it’s murder.”

Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer argued there is more to the case than the video, contending that Floyd’s death was caused by his underlying heart disease and drug use; he even blamed the crowd for posing a threat and diverting officers’ attention from Floyd. “You will learn,” said Eric J. Nelson, “that Derek Chauvin was doing exactly what he had been trained to do during the course of his 19-year career.”

We hope no jury can accept that a police officer would be trained to be so willing to cause harm and so indifferent to human suffering.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Sunny
70°
Humidity: 24%
Winds: NNE at 13mph
Feels Like: 70°

Your Extended Forecast

Today

weather
High 78°/Low 48°
Sunny. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the upper 40s.

Tomorrow

weather
High 56°/Low 49°
Chance of showers. Highs in the mid 50s and lows in the upper 40s.

wednesday

weather
High 61°/Low 50°
Morning light rain. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 50s.

thursday

weather
High 68°/Low 56°
Morning thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the mid 50s.
Online Features

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.