You watching the trial of the now ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, the person I call the “knee man?”
That’s what he was. Chauvin’s on trial for the murder of George Floyd, but I’m wondering how the defense is going to play this. Say that Chauvin’s knee acted independently?
The evidence is piling up. In Monday’s testimony, no less than the Minneapolis Chief of Police Medaria Arradondo said that Chauvin’s actions were in violation of “our principles and values that we have.”
In other words, the placing of the knee to the neck of Floyd, who was face down with hands cuffed behind his back, was “in no way, shape or form part of police policy or training.”
If you’re a juror and hear the chief come down on Chauvin, how can you possibly not find the officer guilty?
The defense has said it will focus on Floyd’s fentanyl drug use, presumably to link that as the real cause of death. But the prosecution on Monday brought out Dr. Bradford Langenfield, the Emergency Room doc who pronounced Floyd dead. He noted the length of time before Floyd got any breathing aid, and said Floyd’s death was more likely caused by asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen.
From the drugs or the knee?
The defense will claim it wasn’t the knee, which at times was also on Floyd’s shoulder. Is that enough reasonable doubt?
Remember it was when Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck, not when he was walking around with drugs in his system, when Floyd said, “I can’t breathe.”
So far, the trial’s most compelling moment came when Darnella Frazier, the teenager who took the cell phone video we all have seen, recalled her trauma at witnessing of Floyd’s death.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black brother, I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them,” Frazier said. “It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more. And not physically interacting.”
Van Jones on CNN said Frazier had witnessed a lynching.
“When you have a lynching, which is what this was,” said Jones, “you aren’t just torturing the individual who you’re strangling to death, you’re torturing the whole community.”
A modern-day lynching is specific and symbolic all at once. If you know Asian American history, then you know Asians in California, Chinese, and Filipino, were lynched in America.
As my friend Ishmael Reed told me on my amok.com vlog, don’t let the media play “divide and conquer.” This isn’t a Black vs. Asian thing.
All BIPOC are fighting a common foe. All people of color have been under someone’s knee at some time in America. It’s our common ground, our shared past in America’s racist history.
That’s why to paraphrase Darnella Frazier, when I see George Floyd, I see an Asian American. And so should you.
Emil Guillermo is an award-winning Bay Area veteran journalist and commentator. See his vlog at www.amok.com