Wednesday, May 12, 2021

As stated in the April 22 Jewish Link story “US Jewish Groups Respond to Guilty Verdict in Derek Chauvin Trial,” many of the Jewish groups made a point of stating that Chauvin’s conviction is not enough on its own and that much reform is needed to address systemic racism in the U.S. The same sentiment was also communicated to the residents of Highland Park by our mayor.

While none of us condones racial discrimination, there are other things to which I would like to see these Jewish groups also pay attention. For example, the bedrock foundation of the American judicial system is that the accused is presumed to be innocent and is entitled to a fair trial.

Neither of these criteria were met in the media circus surrounding the trial of Derek Chauvin. In the heat of a confrontation with George Floyd, Police Officer Derek Chauvin made mistakes, showed lapses of judgment, forgot his police training and exhibited poor police practices. However, I don’t believe that amounted to murder.

Unfortunately, Chauvin’s fate was sealed the moment Floyd died. The media immediately rushed to judgment and branded Chauvin a racist murderer. Then public opinion rushed in to also judge him guilty. Then wide-scale mob violence spearheaded by Congresswoman Maxine Waters was threatened if Chauvin was not convicted of murder. Officials in many cities put extra police on alert and mobilized National Guard troops in the event the verdict was for acquittal. It was in this atmosphere, charged with mob violence and predetermined guilt, that Officer Chauvin was accorded a supposedly “fair trial.”

The main victim in this whole sordid episode was the American judicial system.

If the Chauvin trial is what the Jewish organizations “hope brings some measure of justice, healing and peace” to the America of the future, then we are all auf tsorus.

Max Wisotsky
Highland Park