The Painful Distinction Between Justice and Accountability | Properly+Good

After 10 hours of deliberation, 12 jurors discovered Derek Chauvin—the ex-police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for greater than 9 minutes—guilty on counts of unintentional second-degree homicide, third-degree homicide, and second-degree manslaughter. The decision is exceptional, an exceedingly rare occasion. And nearly instantly upon its studying, it highlighted the important thing variations between accountability and justice.

Following Chauvin’s conviction, President Barack Obama issued a statement Tuesday evening to make this level. “At this time, a jury did the proper factor. However true justice requires far more,” he wrote. “Michelle and I ship our prayers to the Floyd household, and we stand with all those that are dedicated to guaranteeing each American the complete measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.”

Within the hooked up assertion, Obama famous that “true justice is about far more than a single verdict in a single trial.”

“Whereas at this time’s verdict could have been a vital step on the highway to progress, it was removed from a enough one,” he wrote. “We can not relaxation. We might want to observe by way of with the concrete reforms that may cut back and finally remove racial bias in our felony justice system.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders additional defined the distinction between justice and accountability in a collection of tweets. “The jury’s verdict delivers accountability for Derek Chauvin, however not justice for George Floyd,” he wrote. “Actual justice for him and too many others can solely occur after we construct a nation that essentially respects the human dignity of each individual.”

Vice President Kamala Harris mentioned the decision can not undo the ache attributable to the homicide of George Floyd and that of many others like him. “[T]he verdict won’t heal ache that has existed for generations,” wrote Harris. “It won’t take away the ache felt by the Floyd household. That’s why we should recommit to battle for equal justice.”

In a later tweet, Harris urged the Senate to go the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act “to carry regulation enforcement in all places to the best requirements of accountability and assist construct belief between regulation enforcement and our communities.” The Home of Representatives handed the act on March three in a vote of 220-212, however the laws did not advance within the Senate, the place it wanted 60 votes to proceed. The act would work to finish racial and spiritual profiling, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and make it simpler to prosecute offending officers in court docket, among other reforms.

Chauvin’s conviction additionally serves as a reminder of what number of different households didn’t get any decision when their family members had been killed by police, and what number of gained’t if the work doesn’t proceed, says author Austin Channing Brown.

“I’m having quite a lot of blended feelings proper now. I hope Floyd’s household feels some sense of reduction for positive. I’m additionally very conscious of what number of Black households didn’t get this verdict,” wrote Brown. “I’m a bit overwhelmed by all that it took to get this conviction—the tape, the unanimous witnesses decided to not be knocked off by the protection, the worldwide protests, the 10 years main as much as this second. I’m nonetheless afraid—I’m nonetheless afraid of police, nonetheless gonna educate my son what to do throughout a police encounter, nonetheless gonna be afraid my husband, father, myself may very well be subsequent.”

Shortly earlier than the jury reached a responsible verdict in Minneapolis, officers in Columbus, Ohio, fatally shot Ma’khia Bryant, a 16-year-old woman who had referred to as 911 for assist. Her aunt instructed reporters that she had a knife to guard herself from her aggressors. Bryant alleged lunged at two girls with a knife earlier than police opened fireplace, hanging her within the chest.

“I’m actually upset that the media is already laying the groundwork for dismissing Ma’khia’s dying,” Brown wrote in a subsequent post. “If police can arrest mass shooters with assault rifles, they will arrest a 16-year-old woman with a knife.”

Rep. Cori Bush reminds us that the Black Lives Matter motion isn’t about verdicts, it’s about lives. “Our hope is that this verdict shall be a small step in the direction of accountability. However that’s nearly accountability, not justice,” wrote Bush in a tweet. “For us, justice can be George Floyd alive at this time.”