Speaking on the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the Rev. Emmett Price said Tuesday on Boston Public Radio that he’s weary about the court’s ability to focus on Chauvin and avoid questioning the character of George Floyd, the 46 year-old Black man he killed in May of last year.
“When these trials occur, Black folks, Black integrity, Black dignity, Black pride is always on trial,” Price said. Framing the proceedings as an "attack on white supremacy," he said it’s difficult to achieve justice in a legal system "grounded" in the same racist ideology.
Chauvin faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter over Floyd's, with a a Minnesota appeals court currently considering a third-degree murder charge as well. Bystander footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds sparked thousands of Black Lives Matter protests across the country last summer.
Price's All Rev’d Up co-host, the Rev. Irene Monroe, expressed her own lingering frustration over what she described as a legacy of impunity in Americ for those who kill Black people.
"This is about the person who killed George Floyd,” she said. “Of course, we know [Chauvin’s defense team] is goning to try to say that [Floyd] was arrested, he was a wanderer … they will make up stuff. But even if some of that stuff was true, that doesn’t give the cop legitimacy to kill George Floyd.”
"That’s the whole idea of a ‘reckoning moment,’” she added. "If we’re going to use his moment as a reckoning moment, let’s recognize who’s the injured party here. We’ll hope that the judge will do the same thing."
Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist, the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail and a visiting researcher in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University School of Theology. Price is a professor of worship, church and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he directs the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience. Together they host the All Rev’d Up podcast, produced by GBH.