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The major difference in the Chauvin case? His fellow officers are not trying to protect him

When I watch the Derek Chauvin trial, I know we’ve been here before. A grieving Black family whose loved one is gone. A criminal justice system with a track record of racism. A community bracing itself for a verdict no one wants to see.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe Chauvin will be found guilty on one or more of the charges he’s facing after George Floyd died under his knee. But there are those who know a lot more about these kinds of cases than I do, and they think it’s possible Chauvin could walk, because they’ve seen it happen before.

Tiffany Crutcher, whose twin brother Terrance was killed by a Tulsa police officer, said we can’t take for granted that Chauvin will be found guilty.

“You can have police killings on video and they still get away with it,” Crutcher told CNN. “The system we live in was never truly designed to protect Black people.”

And she’s right. So is Gwen Carr, whose son, Eric Garner, died after an officer put him in a chokehold. Like Garner, Floyd died with the words, “I can’t breathe” on his lips. Like Garner, Floyd’s death played out on a video viewed millions of times.

Still, Garner’s mother says, a guilty verdict is not guaranteed.

“Don’t think that this is going to be a slam dunk, even though you have a video,” Carr told CNN. “I had a video for the whole world to see and they still didn’t indict any cops in my son’s case.”

Of course, there was a major difference in those cases. Police closed ranks to protect their own. That’s not the case here. Everyone from Chauvin’s lieutenant to the dispatcher, trainer, and police chief have said Chauvin was wrong. The question now is, will the jury get it right? Because if they don’t, there won’t be justice, and without justice, there can be no peace.

Photo: Oakland, California, June 6, 2020 By. Thomas Hawk

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