The four killers of George Floyd are scheming to get away with murder already. Defense attorneys for the ex-cops who killed Floyd requested their trials be moved outside Hennepin County. But last week a judge denied their requests and ruled all four defendants will stand trial together. Defendant attorneys claim jurors in Minneapolis proper will feel pressured to convict. They also wanted to be tried separately. The judge said no to that too.
The trial should be held in the jurisdiction where the crime happened for a number of reasons: First, regardless of where this trial is held it will be hard to find jurors who haven’t already formed opinions, seeing as video of this modern-day lynching has been viewed by millions and sparked worldwide protests. There is no place for these killers to hide from their senseless and egregious act. That leads me to my second point:
These defendants, Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, are seeking a sympathetic panel of jurors which isn’t likely in Minneapolis. So they want the trial(s) moved to the suburbs for a better chance of getting more White jurors.
As impartial as some people claim to be – and jurors are supposed to be – past trials have proven when it comes to killer cops White people are prone to exonerate them for killing unarmed Black people who posed no threat. History shows White people find a way to excuse racist behavior by other White people.
Why else would the 2020 Presidential election have been decided by just four million votes? Why else would mostly White people still vote for the obvious racist, sexist, liar, elitist, scamming, morally bankrupt Donald Trump (who knew how deadly COVID-19 was but kept it hidden to avoid negative publicity allowing more than 225k Americans to die as a result), even after they no longer could hide behind the ‘economy’ excuse as their reason to support him? Because he is a White man, plain and simple.
Even though President-elect Joe Biden won Minnesota in last week’s election, it was Minneapolis residents who made it happen. It’s the largest city in that state. Most registered Democrats in that state reside in Hennepin County. Of the 437k people who live in Minneapolis proper 43k are Somali born immigrants, the largest population of Somalians in the United States. That’s in addition to other Black and Brown people who call Minneapolis home.
Other than a few adjacent counties, the rest of Minnesota supported Trump. So if it wasn’t for voters in Minneapolis and two other nearby counties Trump would have won Minnesota. I’m in no way saying Biden was a flawless candidate when it comes to race relations. My point is these killer cops have a better chance at acquittal outside of the city regardless of the facts or the video.
Just like Trump in his failed bid for re-election catered to his base, these cops are searching for their White approval base that’s more likely found in the suburbs. That’s where the cop who killed Philando Castile got away with murder.
Another part of this equation is the prosecutor in charge. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison took over the case from local prosecutors who refused to bring charges against these killer cops until nationwide protests forced them to do so. Had local county prosecutors been in charge of this prosecution this case could be another Breonna Taylor verdict. But Ellison is no Dan Cameron.
Ellison upgraded the charges from 3rd to second degree murder against Chauvin. And he put aiding and abetting charges on the other three who were free for nearly a month.
Ellis is the former Director of the Civil Rights Center specializing in defense law. He served for at least a decade as a U.S. congressman before he was elected to the AG position. He is the first Black and first Muslim elected to statewide office in Minnesota. If he doesn’t get convictions and justice for George Floyd and his family I don’t know who could.
Steffanie Rivers is a freelance journalist living in the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. Email her at [email protected] with your comments, questions and speaking inquiries. Follow her @TCBStef on Twitter and Instagram.