Originally published April 21, 2021
On Tuesday, the trial of Derek Chauvin ended with a guilty verdict on all three counts: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. As everyone knew, if the jury came back with anything less, the rioting around the country would have caused immeasurable damage and untold injuries. Hopefully, this verdict will placate the radicals who would join in with the mob, but can a verdict under these circumstances be trusted?
The trial occurred in Minneapolis, so the jurors knew that their home city was under direct threat. In addition to that, Democrats from the President to the Mayor of the city were publicly pushing for a guilty verdict.
After the jury was sequestered, President Joe Biden said, “I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is, I think it’s overwhelming, in my view.” If Biden was watching the trial, the case was not that simple. The prosecution relied almost solely on the infamous video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd, while the defense made the case that the amount of drugs in Floyd’s system and the autopsy showed that the cause of death was not that simple. Yet Biden risked inflaming the nation even more than it already was.
Brooklyn Center Mayor Mike Elliot told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, “It’s not safe to drive in Minnesota while you’re Black.” When he says this, he does not care that he is telling a statistical lie, because he’s saying something that feels true. However, that same statement will get another young Black man, like Daunte Wright, to try to run from the police and get shot. Then the city will burn again.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey contributed to this, as well. Last year, Frey was quick to kneel with the protesters; but when he wouldn’t confirm that he would defund the Minneapolis Police Department, he was yelled out by the crowd. The chant, “Go home, Jacob. Go home” followed him until he left the protest. Frey is unlikely to forget that experience; so at this point he’s looking at his re-election. Between George Floyd and Daunte Wright, two high-profile deaths at the hands of police occurred in the Twin Cities area recently. Any white politician is probably looking over his or her shoulder for a primary. So Frey agreed with the mob and demanded a guilty verdict. Had it come out another way, the city that he is supposed to govern would have been burned.
Of course, the most heinous language came from California Representative Maxine Waters. Waters flew from Washington to Minnesota to rile up the crowd and intimidate the jury. She told reporters that “We’re looking for a guilty verdict and we’re looking to see if all of the talk that took place and has been taking place after they saw what happened to George Floyd. If nothing does not happen, then we know that we got to not only stay in the street, but we have got to fight for justice.”
And if there was no guilty verdict? “We got to stay on the street. And we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,” she said.
This is not the first time Waters has called for violence. In June 2018, in response to the Trump administration’s child separation policies on the southern border, Waters said, “And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd. And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Needless to say, she does not have anything nearly as forceful to say about Biden’s border policies, which has far more “children in cages” than Trump did at the time.
Back in May 1992, the Los Angeles Times analyzed Maxine Waters’ reluctance to condemn the LA Riots, which she referred to as the “LA Uprising.” Waters would consistently redirect the question to excuse the rioters. “When asked about white fear,” writes the Times, “she instead talked about Black fear. Asked to condemn the looters, she instead raked President Bush over the coals. When the focus was put on problems in her district, she retorted that the problem is that there is something ‘desperately wrong’ with America.”
So when Waters says to get “more confrontational,” she is specifically referring to violence, despite what her defenders say. When Nancy Pelosi was asked if Maxine Waters’ words could incite violence, Pelosi replied, “No, absolutely not.” This is the same woman who led the charge in the second impeachment of President Donald Trump for incitement to violence, despite the fact that Trump said to “peacefully” protest. Republicans didn’t even try to impeach Waters, merely censure her. The Democrats blocked it.
After the death of George Floyd last year, which kicked off months of riots, including dozens of people dead, billions of dollars in property damage, and changes in policing that only led to more death in the inner city, what does “more confrontational” look like to Maxine Waters? What was Joe Biden’s expectation if the “right” verdict was not reached?
The results are tainted because only a juror with extreme courage could have viewed the evidence impartially. Any juror knew that the media would have doxxed them, and their lives would be destroyed. So while our country may not burn this week, we have now reached a new level of justice in this country. If you achieve a certain level of fame, one high enough that riots will occur based on the results of your trial, you cannot receive justice. It is not possible under these circumstances. The politicians are fanning these flames in order to win the next election or push the next policy. But they aren’t around when your city is destroyed.
Moshe Hill is a political columnist and Senior Fellow at Chovevei Zion. You can find Moshe on his blog at www.aHillwithaView.com, facebook.com/aHillwithaView, or twitter.com/TheMoHill.