WHAT DOES CHAVIN SENTENCE
SIGNAL FOR FUTURE POLICE
SHOOTING BLACKS CASES?
Because of Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, the most time that former Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin could have expected to have been punished with for the May 25, 2020 second, third-degree murder and manslaughter of unarmed North Carolinian George Floyd was 40 years in prison.
The Chauvin case, the first of four connected to Floyd’s slaying, was watershed in terms of the aggressive prosecution, but in the opinion of many, including some of Floyd’s family, the 22.5 year sentence rendered by presiding District Court Judge Peter Cahill on June 25th didn’t go far enough to send a message to racist and abusive police officers that unnecessary brutality against unarmed black citizens is no longer to be tolerated by the criminal justice system, but will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
"Derek Chauvin will spend a significant portion of his life behind bars ... so that seems to be appropriate," Ayesha Bell Hardaway, assistant professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law told the Insider, an online magazine. "I'm hesitant, as some may be inclined to, to think that it means anything significant about police reform in this country."
Indeed Chauvin - a relatively young 45 years of age - could be walking the streets of Minnesota again in just 15 years with good behavior, critics say. Given that Chauvin displayed no mercy or consideration for George Floyd’s life when he handcuffed, and then jammed his knee against Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes until the life drained out of the black man, many critics believed deserved the maximum punishment under Minnesota law.
"What kind of message are you sending to our country?" Brandon Williams, Floyd’s nephew, asked at a family press conference after the sentence was handed down. "What kind of message are you sending to the younger kids like Gianna (Floyd’s young daughter), that you can kill a man in cold blood and get a slap on the wrist?"
The message that was sent, many activists agree is that similar police abuse cases will continue to require maximum pressure from family members, their attorneys and the community on the criminal justice system to deliver requisite justice when a sworn officer acts beyond the scope of their oath, ultimately taking a life in the process.
That axiom is certainly clear here in North Carolina, where the Andrew Brown Jr. police killing case in Pasquotank County continues to be an open wound for the family and community.
"If we're being honest with ourselves…,” said former Pres. Barack Obama after Chauvin guilty verdict in April, “… we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial."
Still, in the minds and hearts of others, including members of George Floyd’s family, while Derek Chauvin didn’t get the maximum sentence allowed, he did get enough for them to move forward with.
"It will certainly give him something to think about – the devastation that he caused for our family and what we had to relive during that trial," Roger Floyd, George Floyd’s uncle in Raleigh told WRAL-TV last week, said.
"As a family, we're doing so much better," he added. "We're getting there one day at a time, and I think this [sentence] will somewhat close the chapter on this aspect of it."
Derek Chauvin still faces federal civil rights violation charges.
Passage of H.R. 7120 - the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, is still pending in the U. S. Senate.
STATE SENATE TO JOIN
HOUSE IN OUTLAWING
“CRITICAL RACE THEORY”
BY Cash Michaels
Now that they’ve passed their version of the proposed 2021-22 state budget, Republican legislative leaders are gearing up to join their state House counterparts in outlawing critical race theory (CRT).
Or at least what they “think” is critical race theory.
FACT - according to Vox, “…critical race theory, created four decades ago by legal scholars, is an academic framework for examining how racism is embedded in America’s laws and institutions. It is just now receiving widespread attention because it has morphed into a catchall category, one used by Republicans who want to ban anti-racist teachings and trainings in classrooms and workplaces across the country.”
Indeed, beyond the drive in GOP-led legislatures across the nation to quickly pass so-called “election integrity” laws, under the erroneous accusation that the presidential results of the November 2020 elections were somehow corrupted, nothing else has grown more legislative legs than the push to outlaw what Republicans “think” is leftist indoctrination in the nation’s public schools regarding American and state racial history.
Here in North Carolina, House Bill 324 - the Ensuring Dignity and Nondiscrimination /Schools Act, passed by the state House in May and now pending in the State Senate, states that it would “…demonstrate the General Assembly’s intent that students , teachers , administrators, and other school employees recognize the equality and rights of all persons and to prohibit public school units from promoting certain concepts that are contrary to that intent.”
Further on in the measure, it is stated that public schools “shall not promote…one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex,” or that “…an individual, solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
And the bill doesn’t stop there. According to HB 324, now pending in the state Senate, public schools “shall not promote that …an individual , solely by virtue of his or her race or sex, bern responsibility for actions committed in the past by other member of the same race or sex. Any individual , solely by virtue of his or he race or sex, should feel discomfort , guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological distress. That the belief that the United States is a meritocracy is an inherently racist or sexist belief, or that the United States was created by members of a particular race or sex for the purpose of oppressing members of another race or sex.”
The act, when passed by the state Senate, becomes effective July 1st, 2021.
So even though the term or phrase “critical race theory” is never used in the legislation, conservatives and Republicans have decided to label anything that speaks to the racial history of the United States, or negative conditions and treatment of people of color today as critical race theory.
Thus, teaching how the white supremacy of 1898 Wilmington still has roots in racial bias in the port city today would now be illegal.
Teaching how racial segregation historically hurt Black public school students in North Carolina, and continue to do so today, would now be illegal.
And of course, not hiring Nikole Hannah-Jones to teach at UNC - Chapel Hill’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media after she authored the controversial 1619 Project would not be illegal under HB 324, but certainly go against conservative orthodoxy.
Teaching from the 1619 Project about how important American institutions were born in the cradle of slavery and racism…that would be illegal, and is already in several other states like Texas and Idaho.
Indeed, black Republican Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, and Republican Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, have already blasted both the Charlotte and Durham public school systems for promoting critical race theory to their students.
And GOP budget writers have deliberately not funded the establishment of black historical monuments for the proposed state Capitol grounds, saying that now is “not the time.”
The question now is …when Republicans in the NC Senate ratify HB 324, will Gov. Roy Cooper sign it?
STATE NEWS BRIEFS FOR JULY 1, 2021
ST. AUG’S FORGIVES COVID-19 DEBT
[RALEIGH] About 800 students at HBCU St. Augustine’s University are happy, not only that the pandemic seems to be over, but that, thanks to over $9 million in federal Coronavirus AID, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding, many of their unpaid balances to the school from the most recent semesters, have been paid off. Now students at St. Aug., and other historically black colleges and universities across the state, can also continue their studies without the weight of pressing bills from the pandemic.
Shaw University used $1 million in CARES Act funding to pay for summer school for hundreds of students.
UNCW PROFESSOR TARGETED FOR CONTROVERSIAL POSTING
[WILMINGTON] Dan Johnson, an associate professor at UNC - Wilmington, recently posted the phrase, “Blow up Republicans” on his Facebook page. As a result, the UNCW chancellor and Board of Trustees have now gotten into the act, apparently forcing Johnson to apologize. Critics say what Johnson posted was constitutionally protected speech, and civil libertarians should be weary of not challenging overbearing investigations into such.
NCNAACP ALLEGES RACISM BY STATE AUDITOR AND SENATOR
[ROCKY MOUNT] State NAACP President. Rev. Dr. T. Anthony Spearman is alleging racism against Democrat State Auditor Beth Wood and Republican state Sen. Lisa Barnes regarding who he insists are false allegations of corruption in the predominately black Rocky Mount City government. Woods was chided for probing an alleged $48,000 in utility bills owed by Councilmember Andre Knight. That debt was reported forgiven by the black city manager. Knight has vigorously denied the allegations, calling them “a lie.” Sen. Barnes is sponsoring SB 473, basically targeting Knight’s alleged corruption.