The conviction for murder of a police officer is an extremely rare event.
There have been only seven murder convictions of officers for fatal shootings by police since 2005, according to Philip Stinson of Bowling Green State University. This suggests that the odds of a police murder resulting in a murder conviction are approximately one in 2,000.
Yet a jury in Minneapolis yesterday sentenced Derek Chauvin for second degree murder (plus two other counts) for killing George Floyd last May. A typical sentence for this crime in Minneapolis is 12 and a half years in prison, although prosecutors have asked for more and the maximum is 40 years. A judge will condemn Chauvin in about eight weeks.
Those close to Floyd said they felt relieved by the verdict. “I hope I can finally get some sleep,” said Philonise Floyd, George’s brother.
Chauvin’s conviction does not automatically signal a new era of police accountability. The Floyd case was the exception of all exceptions. A video, watched worldwide, showed Chauvin pressing his knee onto Floyd for over nine minutes. These images have led to weeks of some of the largest protests in U.S. history. And during the trial, the so-called blue wall of silence – that is, the willingness of many officers to protect their colleagues, regardless of their misconduct – crumbled. “To many it seemed like it took all of this for the justice system to take on only basic accountability,” President Biden said said late yesterday.
Most of these factors will not apply to future police killings. Rather, these cases will be more likely to resemble the deaths of Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, Daniel Prude, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, and hundreds of other cases. that did not lead to a conviction for murder or manslaughter.
Yet the Chauvin trial is not guaranteed to be a one-off event either. Some of the same factors that set it apart could also give it a wider impact. Before Floyd’s death, it was hard to think of a signature lawsuit against an American policeman, one that received sustained national attention, as could a celebrity lawsuit.
This trial, of course, received such attention. The TV stations interrupted their normal coverage yesterday to broadcast the verdict, and the President of the United States has organized his program around it.
This attention made it clear that a policeman can be charged with and convicted of murder. It is an idea that will remain in the minds of prosecutors and future jurors. Perhaps more importantly, it can affect the thinking of other officers when considering whether to use physical force when it is not necessary.
The YOLO economy: Full of money and exhausted by the pandemic, some workers are quitting their jobs to be closer to their families, to focus on a pushover side or finally to write this scenario, The Times’ Kevin Roose writes.
Lives lived: In 1980, Chuck Geschke and a colleague created a way to send documents between a computer and a printer. The company they founded, Adobe, caught Apple’s attention, and the rest is history. Geschke died at 81.
ARTS AND IDEAS
The eternal attraction of gardening
Before the pandemic, actress Drew Barrymore wasn’t exactly known for her gardening skills. Yet last spring she planted her first lawn. She bought chickens, grew tomatoes, and “felt really self-sufficient,” she told The Times. And now she’s one of the celebrities capitalizing on the pandemic-induced gardening boom: she’s the face of a lawn care subscription service.
Many people turned to gardening last year, fueled by a desire for a hobby, self-sufficiency, or both. Celebrities and other brands have taken notice: Kate Hudson’s vodka brand has partnered with a plant delivery service to launch a pot “Fern love.” HGTV has added gardening shows like “Martha Knows Best,” Martha Stewart’s reality show about life on her estate in Bedford, NY, and a series of upcoming topiary contests.
“We constantly receive letters and comments on our social feed,” said the president of HGTV. “Where’s the gardening?” You are HGTV. Put the “G” back into HGTV. “
Celebrities vie for the lucrative role of guiding a growing audience of garden lovers like Ronda Kaysen written in The Times. “Someone has to explain the difference between a shovel and a shovel.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook
Yesterday’s Spelling Bee pangram was backyard. Here is today’s puzzle – or you can To play online.