Thoughts on the Chauvin Verdict
Was Justice Served? Where Do We Go from Here?
The Defense argued that Chauvin acted as a “reasonable” police officer would. If the jury agreed and let him off, it would be indicting the whole system. If a cop could literally get away with murder on tape in front of the whole world, the fig leaf of legality would be gone forever. They would be saying “ Cops have the legal right to execute unarmed, non-resisting people. They have the right to snuff the life out of people who are posing no threat”. Of course the underlying assumption would be “ if they are Black”
The prosecution and even the police could not allow this indictment of the system to stand. They could not openly admit that this is a mere variation on the usual theme. Every year they kill 1000 people in the U.S., disproportionately people of color. In most cases , they try to inject more ambiguity. “ He was armed”. “I thought he was armed”. “ He was menacing “ etc. Here there was no ambiguity. The pig kneeled the life out of a helpless man and even kept kneeling after he was dead. Just as importantly, the whole world was watching this time.
The vast majority of cops who kill civilians get off. In fact, most don’t even go to trial. The blue wall protects them. Other cops defend them as taking reasonable action in the circumstances. In this case , the blue wall cracked. The police institution in the U.S. understood that their legitimacy would be thrown out the window if Chauvin walked free. In this case they had to sacrifice one of their own to preserve the institution. To protect “normal” procedures, they had to say Chauvin was not following procedure. — — even though “normal procedure” results in the largest murder rate by the gang in blue of any country in the world.
This does NOT mean the justice system worked ! There can be no justice for murder of a man over a supposed counterfeit bill ! The use of any force over such a trivial issue is on its face unjust. The fact that a white person would have likely got off with a verbal warning makes this even more disgusting. Chauvin deserves everything he gets and more, but even the severest punishment won’t bring justice.
Capitalists bilk millions of people out of billions of dollars every day, legally and illegally. They kill thousands every year with poor health and safety regulations at work. They deny millions needed health care and decent housing. Their actions are usually legal. Even when they are illegal , they seldom get charged. When charged, they seldom serve time. When they serve time, they enjoy minimum security prisons, country clubs where they can play tennis and keep up their stock trades. As the old saying goes the system is set up to catch minnows and let the whales free.
The guilty verdict was unusual because the circumstances were unusual. Not only did the whole world see this disgusting , vicious, cruel, wanton , racist murder , masses revolted. 26 million people in the U.S. and many millions more around the world expressed their complete outrage. They took to the streets and challenged police authority. In some cases they destroyed police property. They made it clear to the ruling class that without justice there would be no peace. The smooth continuation of the system would be threatened by Chauvin’s acquittal. It took this level of popular response to find him guilty.
This is not a justice system that brings rational results. It is not a system that delivers a modicum of justice to victims of police abuse and murder. If it takes the largest movement in U.S. history to bring one cop to conviction , what can other victims expect? We already know. The killers of Breanna Taylor walked free. The family of Eric Garner got no justice. Trayvon Martin’s family still suffers from the vigilante actions of George Zimmerman while Zimmerman enjoys his life. Besides this, Chauvin’s sentence will be appealed. Even this open murderer may eventually go free. The courts may wait until the anger diminishes and some people forget before finally letting him off.
The “ justice “ system is not designed for justice. It is designed for order. It gives the police immunity for murderous action. It protects them because they protect the division of wealth and power. They “serve and protect” the rich and their system. Black people are killed by police at 3 times the rate of whites. They are 5 times as likely to be in prison as whites — -even for the same crimes.
The U.S. police system on its own would be one the biggest and strongest military powers in the world. This military power will not go away with better laws and nicer policies. It will have to be dismantled in revolution. Justice will never be possible under a capitalist system that favors profit and keeps people divided by racism.
We need to keep the movement in the streets. We need to keep up the pressure. We need to threaten the legitimacy of the system and squeeze out what concessions we can. However, to finally get real justice, we need to abolish the police, the state in general and the economic system that they protect. Real justice requires not justice reform but abolition of the police and the capitalist system.