As Minneapolis braces for the start of the George Floyd murder trial, a startling revelation deepens the sense of mistrust among community members.
According to The New York Times, former Attorney General William Barr declined a plea deal offer from Floyd’s accused killer Derek Chauvin and his attorneys. Chauvin reportedly agreed to plead guilty to third-degree murder which warranted at least 10-years in prison, even though Floyd’s family pushed for a first-degree murder charge due to the public viewing of Floyd’s death captured on video.
Chauvin was hoping that by pleading guilty he could evade federal civil rights charges, but the decision laid in the hands of the attorney general. A news conference was scheduled at the height of protests surrounding Floyd’s death to announce the agreement, but it was cancelled due to Barr’s decision.
Barr allegedly declined the offer because he was afraid it would look too lenient in moving forward prior to the conclusion of the investigation by state and city officials.
Chauvin will stand trial on March 8, where he faces second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin will face trial solo, separately from the three officers present at the time of Floyd’s death, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao. The Times reports the state has filed an appeal, where many legal experts believe could fare better on Chauvin’s behalf if he is tried separately.
Community members are wearied by the summer tragedy that sparked a global reigniting of the Black Lives Matter movement, but apprehensive about the outcome of the case after watching history repeat itself over and over again. From Michael Brown to Tamir Rice, Black people in America are permanently fatigued from watching the deaths of their community members while their killers walk free.
There are those in Minneapolis who worry the impending trial will lead to more demonstrations and protests, where over the summer cities across America reckoned with the dissolution of a social contract where demonstrators no longer yearned for “civility” over the protection of property and businesses. When the law is repeatedly broken by those who are employed to enforce it, there is no justice and there undoubtedly will not be peace.
Prosecutors have filed appeals to move the case to a later date, afraid that the large crowd gatherings and demonstrations will cause a surge in COVID-19 cases, despite reports which state the summer protests did not correlate to an uptick in cases.