[Ed. – Among the questions jurors will have to answer is ‘If the tactic Chauvin used was already a crime when he used it, why was there such a rush to change policies and laws to forbid chokeholds immediately afterward?]
The challenge [to a fair trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin] is that many minds have long since been made up by the worldwide dissemination of the shocking initial video images of one part of Floyd’s fatal encounter with the police, and by the way his story quickly became an emblem, symbolizing centuries of racial injustice and the long history of police mistreatment of Black Americans.
But justice for all can exist only if — even in the most disturbing cases, when popular passions burn hottest — criminal conviction requires that the specific criminal nature of individual conduct is proven conclusively. That is not guaranteed, even in this case.
From the moment this agonizing incident burst into the public’s consciousness, the presumption of guilt regarding these defendants — the open-and-shut conclusion of guilt — has been loudly declared by virtually every prominent public official who has addressed the matter.