Who dares to demand due process for Derek Chauvin?
Saturday at 8:56 am
I guess I do.
If anyone else does, I haven’t seen it. Everyone–politicians, journalists, activists –have pronounced Derek Chauvin a murderer. Protestors and rioters have declared it to be so. Conservatives–self-proclaimed guardians of the rule of law–have joined the chorus, perhaps a sense of guilt or fear of being perceived as insensitive.
The crowds throwing Molotov cocktails, breaking down barriers, attacking journalists, looting stores and burning down a police headquarters act under the cover that they demand justice. For me, they conjure up images of vigilante and frontier justice. All that they’re missing are pitchforks, tar and feathers.
I’m not arguing that Chauvin is innocent in the killing of George Floyd. He sure looks guilty But I am arguing that he, like all of us, are protected by the constitutional right of due process. Trial by jury. Defense lawyers. And–this will rile some of you–presumption of innocence.
Is Chauvin safe from mob action? A cordon of police was called to protect his house from protesters and were condemned for it:
“Look how many fucking people are defending this killer’s house,” a woman identified in reports as Chloe Jo Sherrill repeatedly says in the footage. “Look how fucking many! Look at this shit! They are defending a murderer’s house.”
And what, Dear Chloe, would you have done if the police weren’t there?
You can crab and bitch about slow justice and justice denied by the American judicial system. But at the heart of that system is protecting the rights of even the most despised among us. It is not just a constitutional imperative. It also is the necessary ingredient for a just, fair and functional society. Let us extend Chauvin those protections; if we don’t we’re all in danger.
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