When I received the news flash on my phone today that the jury had reached a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, I prayed out loud, “Please, Lord, let justice be done.” The news flash said that it would be 30 or 40 minutes before the verdict was read.
I hoped the jury would do the right thing. I had watched parts of the trial and the prosecution made an impressive case. And, of course, there was the video – shot by a brave 17-year-old girl – which showed the world exactly what transpired on that day.
Still, I didn’t naturally assume a conviction would come. I was afraid there might be a few people on that jury who had brought a biased eye to the proceedings and they might try to shift the blame away from Chauvin and somehow onto George Floyd.
So when I later heard that the verdict was unanimous and Chauvin was found guilty on all three counts, I breathed a sigh of relief. Our court system actually can work. Fellow police officers had been as appalled as people all over the world when they saw that video. So appalled, in fact, that they had become witnesses for the prosecution to speak out against this kind of bad policing.
I felt proud of us as a nation today. And relieved that we, as a people, lived up to our collective responsibility to name brutality and injustice when we see it.
But I also understand this is only one step on a very long journey. One that moves us forward, but only one small step at a time.
Still, change requires forward movement and today was proof that we can make that happen.
I am grateful for that reassuring news.