A history of white privilege is driving Derek Chauvin’s murder appeal

by Tanesha Peeples
A history of white privilege is driving Derek Chauvin's murder appeal
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During his sentencing trial, officer Derek Chauvin turned to George Floyd’s family and said, “…there’s going to be some other information in the future that would be of interest and I hope things will give you some peace of mind.”

I hope he wasn’t talking about his recent attempt to appeal his murder conviction because that would be the ultimate example of adding insult to injury. And I also pray the appeals judge laughs heartily in Chauvin’s defense team’s face the moment they approach the bench with that nonsense. 

But at the same time, I’m not surprised that Chauvin is trying to appeal his conviction because the culture and history of white supremacy has given him the audacity to do so.

In case you missed it, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has asked the state Court of Appeals to overturn his conviction for the 2020 murder of George Floyd, according to an appeal filed Monday. 

The filing, consisting of 82 pages, cites over a dozen instances during the trial in which the proceedings were tainted and structurally defective. Chauvin’s defense team specifically highlights extensive pretrial publicity, protests held outside of the courthouse and the city’s announcement of a $27 million settlement to Floyd’s family. The filing pretty much insinuates that the jury had been tampered with before hearing the facts presented in court and argues Chauvin was denied his Constitutional right to due process and a fair trial.

Derek Chauvin appealing murder conviction

Chauvin was convicted of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter and sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. If the conviction is overturned, Chauvin can have his sentence reduced to the state issued guidelines in the range of 10 to 15 years. 

Only one thing would give this monster the audacity to try and escape being held accountable for his undeniable and heinous actions–white privilege.

There are many ways white privilege shows up in the world but the most notorious one has always been White people thinking they can get away with murdering or falsely accusing Black people of crimes they didn’t commit.

The most famous case with both occurrences, the murder of Emmett Till.

In 1955 while visiting his family in Money, Mississippi, 14 year old Chicago teen Emmett Till was killed for being accused of whistling at a White woman. An all-White jury acquitted his murderers, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, who later confessed to the crime in an interview with Look Magazine

White privilege is powerful

Years later, Carolyn Bryant (the White woman that initially made the accusation) admitted that Till had not made verbal and physical advances towards her, an entirely different story from what she’d told on the stand in 1955.

Sixty-seven years later, Emmett Till’s family is still fighting for Carol Bryant to be held accountable for setting the acts in motion that ultimately led to the teenager’s death. And as they pursue justice, lynchings are still taking place in Mississippi.

The audacity of white privilege and vile white rage compelled Milam and Bryant to murder Emmett Till. White privilege and racism freed them and white privilege continues to protect Carolyn Bryant, despite having admitted that she lied.

From the Reconstruction era to today, White people have had “the audacity”.

This same audacity showed up when George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, when Jason Van Dyke shot LaQuan McDonald 16 times, when Travis and Gregory McMichael murdered Ahmaud Arbery because he was Black and when Derek Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

So hey, we shouldn’t be shocked that Derek Chauvin filed an appeal. The history of this country’s protection of White people has given him the confidence that he’ll be freed or get a slap on the wrist, despite blatantly murdering a Black man. 

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