Opinion: Liberty and justice for all

Lady Justice holds the balance scales that represent impartiality and the obligation of the law to weigh the evidence presented to the court. Tingey Injury Law Firm/Unsplash

While I am elated by the guilty verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, I am heartbroken for not knowing what my son Magnum went through in the final moments of his life. Did he beg for his life? Did he call out for me?

Was he terrified? Did his life pass before his eyes before they closed forever? 

Had it not been for the video of George Floyd being murdered in broad daylight, would his family have received the justice they deserve? 

Despite witnesses to my child’s last moments, I still do not know the truth. It is appalling to me that Chauvin had no pity for the man he killed. 

He cared nothing for the fact that bystanders were watching. He showed no remorse during the trial. He pleaded the Fifth Amendment refusing to testify on his own behalf – he did not even try to defend himself. 

Even if he unintentionally murdered another human being in the second degree, he never apologized to the Floyd family. 

I never received an apology from the officer who killed my son either.

I can still vividly see the bullet hole in Magnum’s head. I clearly see the horrific bruising on his arms and chest from where police officer Colby Helms held him down as Mag attempted to get out from under him. I know the finding of homicide on his death certificate was not casually written by the coroner without a comprehensive examination. 

Even if it was a suicide, as Helms claimed, he could’ve shown the decency to say he was sorry. He might have had a tiny bit of empathy for the children, fiancée, mother and brothers left behind to grieve such a loss. But nothing. 

I weep for myself, and I weep for all the thousands of other families who have experienced police brutality. My tears are real, and my heart is heavy. My son’s exit from this world in such a violent manner is unbearable.

I have taken it upon myself to honor him by writing about injustices. I pray he is looking down from heaven and is proud of me. I know he sees every tear that falls from my tired and bloodshot eyes.

God understands that this journey is painful and difficult for me and all of the other families I’ve come to know by being in a “club” no person should be a part of. 

I read the following post on Facebook in response to the Chauvin case to thank police officers:

“I have pulled dead, mangled bodies from cars. I have lied to people as they were dying. 

I said you are going to be fine as I held their hand and watched the life fade out. 

I have held dying babies. Bought lunch for people who were mentally ill and haven’t eaten in a while. 

I have had people try to stab me. Fought with men trying to shoot me. I’ve been attacked by women while I was arresting their husband who had just severely beat them.

I have held towels on bullet wounds. Done CPR when I knew it wouldn’t help just to make family members feel better. 

I have torn down doors, fought in drug houses. Chased fugitives through the woods. 

I have been in high-speed car chases. Foot chases across an interstate during rush hour traffic. I have been in crashes. 

Been squeezing the trigger about to kill a man when they came to their senses and stopped. 

Waded through large angry crowds by myself. Drove like a madman to help a fellow officer. 

Let little kids who don’t have much sit in my patrol car and pretend they are a cop for their birthday.

I have taken a lot of people to jail. Given many breaks. Prayed for people I don’t even know. 

Yes, and at times I have been ‘violent’ when I had to be. I have been kind when I could.

I admit I have driven to some dark place and cried by myself when I was overwhelmed. 

I have missed Christmas and other holidays more than I wanted to.

Every cop I know has done all these things and more for lousy pay, exhausting hours, and a short life expectancy.”

My response to that post on Facebook is:

“That is their job. The risk they sign up for is great. Their job is to protect and serve. 

They may not be trained to deal with people having a mental health crisis, but there are plenty of resources to call for backup. There are rules of law. De-escalation techniques can be used rather than lethal force.

Would you chase and kill a person running away from you? Who is really ‘in fear for his life’ there? The so-called suspect or an officer in hot pursuit? 

Soldiers know the risk of going to war. Should they offer the greatest sacrifice a man or woman can give, they are honored. They are awarded medals. 

Their families are offered solace for their loss. Police officers who are killed in the line of duty are given the same respect. 

There are good cops. Hell, even great ones – like the ones mentioned in this post. I salute them. I am grateful for their service. 

We need more like them. Not abusive, arrogant, untrained and trigger-happy cops. 

#AllLivesMatter equally means exactly that. The respect for all human beings is essential in a civilized society.  

Even the ones who commit crimes. No cop should be allowed to be judge, jury, and executioner.”

If you have read this all the way through, I ask for more than your thoughts and prayers. I ask that you stand for every death by law enforcement “justified,” accidental, or with malicious intent. Please join me in this battle for accountability and justice.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere, No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” – Martin Luther King Jr.