Author Topic: Chauvin Trial and verdict  (Read 9196 times)

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13585
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #15 on: April 21, 2021, 12:16:37 AM »
Peter writes:
If things had gone differently today, would you post, "OK, social justice people; what's the deal here? There was an arrest, a trail, an acquittal. Do we respect that?" The answer would be no you wouldn't.
I comment:
No, I would not do that. I would respect thevdecision and take it as an increased reason why we should work harder for reform of our justice system. You stereotype unfairly what you think I would do.

Peter writes:
You and your ilk would right now be defending the destruction of Twin Cities.
I comment:
Again, I would not. And I got no ilk. But I would have some compassion for and understand those who might, had  that happened, turn a bit destructive.

Peter again:
You cannot reasonably demand that people respect the system that produced a conviction while simultaneously claiming that said system is intrinsically racist and has white supremacy woven into its very fabric. We respect the verdict precisely because it was not produced by a systemically flawed system. It is a system that falls prey to human mistakes, much like law enforcement. Not systemically flawed, but not infallible or flawless, either.   
Me:
Ye gods and little fishes, Peter! How desperate are you? Can you not see the difference between saying the system is flawed, and at the same time noting that in this case perhaps it worked? Donít you see that so much of the shock and joy that the system worked this time is precisely because people see that most of the time the system does not work? ĎDo you not hear those people?
But I suspect we are going nowhere here. Let it go.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 12:28:38 AM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 17530
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #16 on: April 21, 2021, 09:15:40 AM »
Peter writes:
If things had gone differently today, would you post, "OK, social justice people; what's the deal here? There was an arrest, a trail, an acquittal. Do we respect that?" The answer would be no you wouldn't.
I comment:
No, I would not do that. I would respect thevdecision and take it as an increased reason why we should work harder for reform of our justice system. You stereotype unfairly what you think I would do.

Peter writes:
You and your ilk would right now be defending the destruction of Twin Cities.
I comment:
Again, I would not. And I got no ilk. But I would have some compassion for and understand those who might, had  that happened, turn a bit destructive.

Peter again:
You cannot reasonably demand that people respect the system that produced a conviction while simultaneously claiming that said system is intrinsically racist and has white supremacy woven into its very fabric. We respect the verdict precisely because it was not produced by a systemically flawed system. It is a system that falls prey to human mistakes, much like law enforcement. Not systemically flawed, but not infallible or flawless, either.   
Me:
Ye gods and little fishes, Peter! How desperate are you? Can you not see the difference between saying the system is flawed, and at the same time noting that in this case perhaps it worked? Donít you see that so much of the shock and joy that the system worked this time is precisely because people see that most of the time the system does not work? ĎDo you not hear those people?
But I suspect we are going nowhere here. Let it go.
Again, we're at the level of assumption, and your preemptive condemnation of the justice system as systemically racist leads you to pervert justice. You went into it already thinking you already knew what the only correct result of the trial should be. The outcome was a test of whether the system worked properly to achieve your predetermined result, not a test of whether or not a defendant was guilty and if so, of what charge. You do this because you don't think of Chauvin, you think of "the police." And you don't think of Floyd but of "black males" or "the African American community."

Because I don't think in terms of systemic racism and saw no evidence of race having anything to do with what happened, I simply look at the facts of the case, not the larger sociological forces represented by the main players. And in this case, I think Chauvin should have been tried on different charges. Unlike you, I do not think he was a monster or had any intent to kill anyone.   

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2021, 09:36:10 AM »
Perhaps it's the chaplain in me, coupled with a pastoral career that inevitably has involved jail and prison visits over the years (one, in fact, just last week of a young man I confirmed and may face prison time).  But as the verdict was handled down yesterday I looked at Chauvin and wondered what was going on in his mind and heart.  Media characterized him as basically unresponsive, but the darting eyes told a different story to me. What do we know about him? How is he processing this? And more important to me, is where might he be in terms of faith? 

He faces the possibility of decades in prison.  An appeal will be made, but he will certainly serve time, and I am guessing a lot of it.  His wife divorced him after George Floyd's death.  She was a Hmong refugee who moved to Thailand and later to the US in the late 70s when she was very young.  He has no children.  Those who knew him did not see him as a 'monster,' a word I have heard used of him. Like all people his past was varied.  He was a 19-year veteran of the department, a decorated law enforcement officer who also faced complaints and discipline.  People who knew him had mixed reactions, but it seemed little different than many might receive from those who know them.  His ex-wife once described him as a good and polite man. Given her ethnic background one has to wonder just how racist he should be considered. 

I realize that Chauvin has become the face of racism in law enforcement and is now the man to hate.  But the pastor in me hopes that someone will minister to him in jail and prison.  I think of the LCMS pastor/chaplain who ministered to Nazi war criminals facing justice at Nuremberg (Henry Gereke).  I read the book about his work at the time and was surprised how some turned hatefully on Chaplain Gereke.  He quietly saved those hate-filled letters, tucking them into the back recesses of his desk.  He understood that his calling was to share the Gospel with all people, even those the world left behind in disgust and hatred. 

I hope that Christians are praying for Derek Chauvin.  I am not excusing his actions and recognize and respect the decisions handed down yesterday.  But while his conviction and imprisonment may send a message in one direction, Christians also have a responsibility to remember the others whose sins caused great harm and damage, but are people for whom Christ also died, and for whose repentance we hope and pray.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13585
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2021, 09:40:01 AM »
You seem to know quite a lot about what I think. And you are wrong on almost every point.
But it serves your purpose to believe I think certain ways.
I donít think the officer had any intent to kill anyone, and that was not part of the trial.
And if you refuse to see that racism, whether systemic or incidental, had something to do with the situation, then I really donít know what to say to you. Do you reject all the statistics that have been collected regarding interactions between African-Americans and the police? Do you reject all the comparisons of those interactions with similar inter-actions between police and white Americans? What about the differentials in sentencing?
You have not quite gone this far, Peter, but the more comments you make, the more I am seeing evidence of a certain kind of white nationalism.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 09:43:35 AM by Charles Austin »
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Jeremy Loesch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2236
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2021, 09:41:17 AM »
Thank you Don for your good words and for the encouragement to be praying, to be fulfilling our pastoral roles with concern for people, not concern for what people think of our roles.

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Charles Austin

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 13585
    • View Profile
    • Charles is Coloring
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2021, 09:45:13 AM »
Ministering to individuals is important and is the right thing to do. But if it distracts us from looking at the broader situation, that ainít good.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2021, 09:48:30 AM »
So the spiritual well-being of a convicted person is of lesser importance than debating the extent of systemic racism? Just got to make sure my priorities are not all mixed up.
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

John_Hannah

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 5367
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2021, 09:49:33 AM »
One Christian theologian's reflection with his 13 year old son:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/20/opinion/derek-chauvin-verdict-floyd.html
Pr. JOHN HANNAH, STS

Jeremy Loesch

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 2236
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2021, 10:10:01 AM »
So the spiritual well-being of a convicted person is of lesser importance than debating the extent of systemic racism? Just got to make sure my priorities are not all mixed up.

As one who is the proud recipient of a pass from Charles Austin...I think you are catching on. 

Jeremy
A Lutheran pastor growing into all sorts of things.

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12585
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2021, 10:32:03 AM »
For what itís worth (admittedly not much), in my opinion based on what I saw in the news of the evidence presented at the trial the verdict was sound and warranted. Unlike many, I do not pretend to have great insight into the mind and motivations of former Officer Derek Chauvin. To simply call his actions racist would be, I believe, overly simplistic. There was no evidence that Chauvin set out that day to find some Black man to kill simply because he was Black. Nor was racism or American policing or the American justice system on trial here, much as some wanted to make it that. This was an individual in a particular public office who did certain things in a situation in which another individual died. How all those pieces fit together and establishing causal links among them was what the trial was about.

To simplify this into a racist cop monster or even a racist police institution at war with Blacks would miss an opportunity to help discover the factors that would lead a relatively good cop and relatively good person, as Chauvin apparently was, to act in the manner that he did. Years of policing, especially in large cities, can have an effect on people that I suspect in some ways is similar to that of soldiers who spend a long time in an active war zone. We need to begin to understand these factors so that with perhaps improved training and monitoring we can help prevent these tragedies in the future. There was nothing presented that I heard of to suggest that Derek Chauvin was a White Nationalist or White Supremacist. According to much of the testimony and the verdict what he did was clearly wrong. But to simply write it off as racism or the result of a racist nation or racist police institution may serve an ideological purpose but do little to get at the root of some of these tragedies.

There is a distinct tendency to see these tragedies simply in terms of Black and White. Life is messier than that.

Police reform is necessary, but to be effective reform needs to be more than analyzing every situation only in terms of racism. Racism is, no doubt, at times part of the mix, but not the entire mix.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:12:52 AM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

David Garner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 7360
    • View Profile
    • For He is Good and Loves Mankind
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2021, 10:38:47 AM »
As I followed the trial in the news, it seemed to me that the verdict as reached was warranted by the evidence. What motivated Chauvin to act as he did was not clear to me. Whatever his motivation, it seems apparent that Chauvin continued to apply force to Floyd after he was restrained.

Agree.  I worried in the beginning they had overcharged him, but they proved their case, and well.  The testimony of Dr. Rich was devastating, and powerful.  Combined with the video, it pretty much assured a conviction.

The defense did not have a lot to work with.  They provided him a good defense, but the best attorney in the world cannot change the facts of a case.  The defense expert was not qualified to give the opinions he tried to give, a point that was hammered home during his cross.  Whether that is because they hired the wrong expert or they couldn't find a qualified expert to give the opinions they needed is open to question.  I suspect the latter, but we will never know that.
Orthodox Reader and former Lutheran (LCMS and WELS).

peter_speckhard

  • ALPB Administrator
  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 17530
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2021, 10:58:37 AM »
You seem to know quite a lot about what I think. And you are wrong on almost every point.
But it serves your purpose to believe I think certain ways.
I donít think the officer had any intent to kill anyone, and that was not part of the trial.
And if you refuse to see that racism, whether systemic or incidental, had something to do with the situation, then I really donít know what to say to you. Do you reject all the statistics that have been collected regarding interactions between African-Americans and the police? Do you reject all the comparisons of those interactions with similar inter-actions between police and white Americans? What about the differentials in sentencing?
You have not quite gone this far, Peter, but the more comments you make, the more I am seeing evidence of a certain kind of white nationalism.
What is it that makes you think racism had something to do with this situation? Nothing other than the assumption that if a white person mistreats a black person, it is because of skin color. The fact that people of all races mistreat each other quite regularly doesn't weigh into it for you. In this case, your default is that if racism could possibly explain it, we should assume racism played a role. But that is still an assumption. You and the antiracist movement constantly demand that people prove a negative. The starting point is that they are racist until they prove otherwise. My starting point is to assume they are not racist until they prove otherwise. And the only way to prove you are not a racist is to admit to having been one and repented, then prove you've moved past it by decrying it somewhere else. Thus, the constant rush to find racism everywhere-- in math and physics, in grammar, in schedules and clocks, everywhere. It is an effort to establish that the people doing the decrying are on the good side.

That isn't how Christians ought to proceed. I have absolutely no reason to believe Chauvin was a racist, and it is uncharitable in the extreme to assume he was. He obviously had his problems and did a terrible thing. I did not know before today that he had married a Hmong woman, but that would also seem to argue against his having some sort of white supremacy outlook. I also don't happen to think he was the primary cause of Floyd's death, but that is not a moral judgment, it is an assessment of the facts of the case about which reasonable people might disagree. In this case, I think Chauvin should have been tried on the lesser charges but not the most serious charges.

You see hints of white nationalism in my posts because you have trained your eyes to see it everywhere you look, again, until the people prove to you that they aren't white nationalists, which they can only do by joining the antiracist mob. That such a lens leads you to absurd conclusions doesn't deter you. If you think there are hints of white nationalism in my posts, you have been brainwashed or are simply a fool.

The actual statistics, by the way, support my point of view. The media pick and choose which event to hold up as typical and which to ignore to promote your point of view. You can see this at work, for example, when there is a shooting and media jump all over it thinking it was some white nationalists militia member. Then they find out the shooter was nothing of the kind and the story dies. 
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:11:49 AM by peter_speckhard »

Dan Fienen

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 12585
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2021, 11:11:13 AM »
Another tragedy of this whole episode is that we have an opportunity here to begin to come together as a nation and work together to heal wounds, look to ways to improve and reform our systems to see that justice was done. But it seems that many people would rather view this as an exercise of power to impose one view over everyone else.
What was the purpose of the trial? In theory, trials are supposed to be a place and occasion to lay out and sort through the evidence, try to connect the dots and have the jurors come to a conclusion as to what happened and specifically if the defendant was at fault and of what. In this case many commentators had their minds made up ahead of time (not that unusual) and the trial was a test of whether or not the judicial system could get it right and agree with them.
More than that, this had become an exercise of mob justice. Before the case ever opened in the court room, the mob had tried Chauvin and found him guilty, and threatened violence (well actually committed violence) to ensure that the court came to their conclusion, i. e. the right conclusion.
So some viewed the guilty verdict not as the result of the judicial process but bowing to threat.
KYRIE ELEISON.  What does it mean?  There are issues here. Lord have mercy.
 
It means the jurors were afraid for their safety and their homes and their families.
Even Pr. Austin put little faith in the judicial process.

Peter writes: If things had gone differently today, would you post, "OK, social justice people; what's the deal here? There was an arrest, a trail, an acquittal. Do we respect that?" The answer would be no you wouldn't.

I comment: No, I would not do that. I would respect the decision and take it as an increased reason why we should work harder for reform of our justice system. You stereotype unfairly what you think I would do.


Despite saying that he would respect the decision, if it had not gone the way he had decided it should go, he would have decided not that his judgment of the case had been wrong but that further reform was necessary to ensure that future cases would be decided ďcorrectly.Ē
What conclusions should we draw from this? Some from both sides seem to want to draw the conclusion that the way to get matters of guilt and innocence decided is to decide as a group what the conclusion should be, often more on the color of the skin of those involved than the evidence, and commit violence with threats of further violence until the decision is made our way.

Rather than seeing that this trial and verdict gives hope that we can come together as a nation, seek justice, and betterment for all, many seem to want to use this as success for mob justice, that there is the power we need at the point of the riot.

Do we need the reminder that in another era, mob justice did not do well by some who seem to want to perpetuate it today?


Peter writes:You and your ilk would right now be defending the destruction of Twin Cities.

I comment: Again, I would not. And I got no ilk. But I would have some compassion for and understand those who might, had that happened, turn a bit destructive.
Might we have some compassion for and understanding of those who have suffered destruction of their property and livelihoods, suffered injury and even death at the hands of rioters this summer?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:20:16 AM by Dan Fienen »
Pr. Daniel Fienen
LCMS

D. Engebretson

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2021, 11:19:04 AM »
This story and the shooting that took place recently, not to mention other stories of the deaths of black people at the hands of police, keep the issue of police and racism and "systemic racism" front and center in the news. One can certainly make an argument for systemic racism from statistics alone, showing a higher percentage of black people arrested, incarcerated and killed at the hands of law enforcement. One such study was done out of Harvard: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/hsph-in-the-news/blacks-whites-police-deaths-disparity/

However, the more difficult argument, it seems to me, is motive and intent.  Do the departments foster within themselves racist attitudes?  Do many of the officers? Are there racist attitudes prevalent in the upper ranks?  What about departments led by Blacks where Blacks are arrested and/or shot at what is perceived to be higher than normal rates? Are there studies that demonstrate any of this in a conclusive and convincing way?

Or are these attitudes largely assumed?  Did Derek Chauvin's career arrests and other official acts on the street involve a disproportionate amount of Blacks vs. Whites?  I haven't heard.

Are there other factors that cause the seeming racial disparity in arrests and deaths? Have these been studied?  Or are we allowed to even bring them up? 

My concern, which has been voiced elsewhere here, is that we have a White officer responsible for killing a Black person and racist attitudes and intent are immediately assumed because of the White-Black contrast.  We would not do that the other way around because in similar fashion we would assume that Black officers are not racially biased against White criminals. 

It has become fashionable of late to assume that there is built-in racism within the White community in general.  Once that is assumed certain conclusions automatically follow. 
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:21:26 AM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

Donald_Kirchner

  • ALPB Contribution Leader
  • *****
  • Posts: 11526
    • View Profile
Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2021, 11:21:19 AM »
... I simply look at the facts of the case, not the larger sociological forces represented by the main players. And in this case, I think Chauvin should have been tried on different charges. Unlike you, I do not think he was a monster or had any intent to kill anyone.

Well, it certainly has been a cold spring! Hell hath frozen over again. For the most part, in this thread I have to go with Charles as to the trial itself, not necessarily the social aspects of the case. Speaking of assumptions, yours are erroneous, Peter, and manifest an ignorance of the law and the judicial system. A few examples:

As Charles has told you at least once, Chauvin was not charged with intentional murder. He was charged with unintentional murder. So, the State did not have to show that he had an intent to kill.

You also manifest a misunderstanding of the legal definition of "depraved heart." It does not require showing that the defendant is a monster. So, the jury did not find that Chauvin is "a monster of depraved heart."

As it is, the adrenaline that comes from resisting arrest coupled with his heart condition and massive amounts of drugs in his system likely would have killed [Floyd] even if Chauvin had left him in the back seat of the car.

So what? The State had to prove that Chauvin's actions were a "substantial" cause of death.

I can't prove it, but I can say that there is at least reasonable doubt that Chauvin killed Floyd.

Well, the burden was on the State to prove it. A jury of 12 citizens who actually heard all of the evidence determined that the State did prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Peter, above you wrote:  "The trial seemingly wasn't about Chauvin and Floyd but about the historic sociological problems the two men represent. Had the exact same thing happened to a white victim, we probably wouldn't even be aware of the case."

Your words are pure wisdom!

You both demean the criminal justice system. I know Peter Cahill. He was a fine practicing lawyer and is an excellent judge. The trial was about justice, holding defendants accountable for their criminal actions, and it appears that justice was served. As Mr. Garner stated, Chauvin had a good defense lawyer (Although, given my experience trying criminal cases as a defense attorney, I believe that a closing argument should never go longer than an hour,) and the prosecution did an excellent job. That the media and some commentators used the trial to serve other purposes does not detract from the fact that the trial was about Floyd and Chauvin's actions that caused his death. The system worked.

I think there will be an appeal, and Chauvin will have at least a fighting chance of acquittal on the most serious charge.

I'm not sure how that  works. An appellate court does not "acquit" anyone. They can overturn a verdict, but the prosecution has the right to retry the defendant, although they must do so in light of whatever issues the appeals court relied upon in overturning the conviction.

Of course, there will be an appeal, and the appellate court could overturn the verdict due to publicity, a failure to sequester, and the like. But an appellate court rarely attempts to second-guess the triers of fact who heard all the evidence, saw the demeanor of witnesses, etc.

I also don't happen to think he was the primary cause of Floyd's death, but that is not a moral judgment, it is an assessment of the facts of the case about which reasonable people might disagree. In this case, I think Chauvin should have been tried on the lesser charges but not the most serious charges.

Again, the 12 who actually heard all of the evidence and were actually able to assess the facts determined otherwise. And when you get your law degree and become a prosecutor, you will be able to charge defendants as you see fit.

But, thank God that we live in a country where folks can opine and pop off about things they know little or nothing about on online boards like this one, in public, and in the media.

I realize that it's CNN, but the below link gives a very good explanation of charges, terms, etc as addressed above.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/19/us/derek-chauvin-charges-explain/index.html
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:33:35 AM by Pr. Don Kirchner »
Don Kirchner

"Heaven's OK, but itís not the end of the world." Jeff Gibbs