charles mcmillian by Conrad Hoyt April 1, 2021
George Floyd may not be on trial, but it sure would sound like he is with the national media coverage. No, rather it is Derek Chauvin on trial for the murder of George Floyd. A fair trial was a luxury that Floyd did not receive.
It is hard not to be jaded by trials in the past where a Black person is the victim. Rodney King. Trayvon Martin. Breonna Taylor. It is heart-wrenching enough to hear the details of Floyd’s death.
But that grief is exacerbated by the fact that even if the prosecution makes its case firmly that the victim was murdered, the culprit may still get away scot-free. That white supremacy will win out yet again.
George Floyd is not on trial, humanity is. And so with remembering Derek Chauvin, legally and morally deserves to pay for his sins, let’s take a look into three takeaways from the case so far.
Charles McMillian was not just a bystander witnessing Floyd’s death. He spoke to George Floyd as the cops arrested him. And he also spoke to him as Floyd cried out for his mother.
That feeling of helplessness is not unique to McMillian, but his situation with Floyd is. The testimony of McMillian and grief he clearly suffers adds more despair to an already anguishing circumstance.
But for the jury, and us watching at home, the sadness in his voice reminds us we have so much work to do. Not only to hold Derek Chauvin accountable during this trial for George Floyd’s death. But to dismantle white supremacy everywhere.
Christopher Martin, like Charles McMillian, has to deal with a lifetime of trauma for Derek Chauvin’s callous actions.
The teenager explained to the jury that he figured the bill Floyd gave him was fake. He told his manager, and offered to have the $20 docked from his pay. His manager refused, instead telling him to go confront Floyd, whereupon Martin witnessed Floyd’s murder.
Not only did he have to witness a cruel murder at the hands of a police officer, but Martin also now lives with the thought that if he just turned Floyd away with the acknowledgment that the bill was fake, he might still be alive today.
I pray that this young man can find peace and prosperity still.
Donald Williams was another witness who took the stand for the trial of George Floyd’s death.
Derek Chauvin’s attorney asked Williams questions about how he was acting towards the cops on the scene. Clearly pointing to the argument that his anger was getting the better of him and only escalating things, the lawyer says, “It’s fair to say that you grew angrier and angrier.”
Williams, calm, cool, and collected, if even just on the outside, responded:
“No. I grew professional and professional. I stayed in my body. You can’t paint me out to be angry.”Donald Williams
Making a Black man out to seem angry and irrational is in the racism playbook. Williams, with poise I am not sure I will ever have, responded accordingly.
Derek Chauvin’s trial will continue and the great majority of us freedom fighters will continue to demand justice for George Floyd. Rest in power Floyd.