“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” – Martin Luther King Jr.*
King spoke a very very very long long long time before police officer Derek Chauvin was today found guilty of three charges in the 2020 murder of George Floyd, suspected of the petty crime of passing a bogus $20 bill.
King also spoke of a dream for the United States. The idea of King’s dream – the idea that Americans of any colours can dare to dream big – seems a little more possible after today’s verdict.
And because the United States looms so large in the world, the world might breathe a little easier.
King might have approved of the Minnesota judge’s instructions to the jury yesterday.
“During our deliberations, you must not let bias, prejudice, passion, sympathy, or public opinion influence your decision. You must not consider any consequences or penalties that might follow from your verdict. You must not be biased in favor of or against any party or witness because of his or her disability, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, or socioeconomic status. Your verdict must be based solely on the evidence presented and the law that I give you … You must be absolutely fair.”
The long history of American colonization, slavery, discrimination, policing, and inequality proves that far too few – jurors, judges, police, citizens – have been at all “fair.”
Perhaps history will deem fair the guilty verdict in George Floyd’s murder. Perhaps the verdict will go a way toward bending the arc of the moral universe.
Minnesota Judicial Branch 27-CR-20-12646: State vs. Derek Chauvin: https://www.mncourts.gov/media/StateofMinnesotavDerekChauvin.aspx
I have a Dream: Full text March on Washington Speech, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963 https://www.naacp.org/i-have-a-dream-speech-full-march-on-washington/
Wikipedia page, George Floyd https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Floyd
Wikipedia page, Derek Chauvin https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Chauvin
- King was quoting Theodore Parker