The world eagerly awaits a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin. While many legal experts and onlookers find it hard to believe that Chauvin could be acquitted of all charges, there are Black families that know the pain of an acquittal all too well. A recent report from CNN has documented the range of emotions many Black families feel when an officer eludes charges after killing an unarmed Black man.
"You can have police killings on video and they still get away with it," Tiffany Crutcher said.
"The system we live in was never truly designed to protect Black people."
In 2016, Crutcher's twin brother, Terrence, was killed by Tulsa Police Department Officer Betty Jo Shelby as he stood unarmed near his own vehicle. The killing was ruled a homicide and Shelby was charged with first-degree manslaughter. Despite video evidence of the incident, Shelby was found not guilty.
Though they are miles apart, Crutcher shares much of the same pain that Gwen Carr and the Garner family holds. In 2014, Eric Garner called out for help as former officer Daniel Pantaleo held him in a chokehold. Garner repeated "I can't breathe" more than times before he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter. Much like Crutcher's death, Garner's death was caught on tape as well. Still, Pantaleo was never convicted of murder and it took another five years for him to be removed from the local police force.
Years after Crutcher and Garner were killed, many hope that there is no doubt in the trial of Derek Chauvin. However, history says that a guilty verdict is not promised even with incriminating evidence.
"Don't think that this is going to be a slam dunk, even though you have a video," Carr said, referring to the State v. Chauvin case.
"I had a video for the whole world to see and they still didn't indict any cops in my son's case."
In anticipation of a potential acquittal, the White House, NBA and several other large entities are preparing for the fallout. However, nothing can prepare a family for that outcome.
"So many times I have seen African American people killed and nobody gets a conviction," Philonise Floyd told CNN.
"We're all fighting across America, not just me. You see protesters all around the world. They're all standing up for George Floyd. If you can't get justice in America for this, what can you get justice for then?"
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