Photo of protesters marching
A silent march for justice for George Floyd in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the day before Derek Chauvin trial was scheduled to begin. Photo by Lorie Shaull / Flickr

It was a great victory on Wednesday, April 21, 2021, that a white former police officer was convicted on all three charges of murdering a Black man. 

This is the only beginning of the convictions that will hold both white and Black officers accountable for their actions towards people of color, who are ordinary citizens and show that they aren’t above the law!

George Floyd wasn’t the only victim who has died in the hands of white police officers. Days before Derek Chauvin’s conviction, a 20-year-old Black man was shot and killed by Kim Potter, a white female 26-year veteran of the force and trainer of other officers. She said she meant to use her taser instead of her gun. We all know that’s a bald-faced lie! She intentionally shot that Black man in cold blood because she assumed the jurors wouldn’t convict her former colleague Derek Chauvin on all three counts against him!

Daunte Wright, the young father whom Potter killed, was not resisting arrest. He called his mother because he was frightened of being shot by a white police officer. His mother said the phone went completely dead, and Daunte Wright died by the hand of a 26-year veteran who couldn’t tell the difference between the weight of a taser and her gun? Yes, Wright had a warrant out for failing to appear in court but that shouldn’t be a death sentence after a traffic stop. 

Potter had the sense to resign rather than get fired, which could result in the loss of her pension and other perks of serving for decades on the police force. 

The Department of Justice now wants to investigate the Minneapolis police force. Well, the Justice Department needs to do that in all states in the South and Midwest, especially North Carolina and Georgia! Maybe they can reopen some cases that involve Black folks dying at the hands of police.

New attorneys fresh out of law school can do that kind of work, to evaluate cases of Black people serving time who shouldn’t be in prison at all. They need to also look at all the evidence that wasn’t presented in Black folks’ trials, too, and hold every prosecutor and judge accountable for their role in those cases! They aren’t above the law either! The Justice Department needs to probe all states’ judiciary systems, because it’s never a fair sentence if you were born Black or Latino!

I hope it doesn’t take nearly a year to convict Kim Potter like it did for Derek Chauvin. It’s plain as day that she intended to shoot and kill a young Black man. 

Now, some police union presidents and chiefs of police claim that police officers are resigning because of the anger towards them, and recruiting has become difficult. We, the people, don’t need bad cops in our cities!

Police are supposed to protect and serve, not to shoot to kill or place people in chokeholds, their knees on a person’s windpipe when he’s clearly saying he can’t breathe, or someone talking on the phone after stopping when a police car puts on its siren to pull over. It’s a shame that my whole family has to check to see if their license plates are fixed properly, stickers are updated, headlights aren’t broken and they drive under the speed limit regardless of if they have an emergency while Black. 

I’m afraid to be accused of panhandling or soliciting while I walk down the street, which has happened as I was walking out of emergency rooms in Chicago and Washington D.C. I only can thank my angels for looking out for me. I could be in prison or dead. Some of these police have a lot of hatred in their hearts, just because I was born Black. 

Aida Peery is a vendor program associate with Street Sense Media.