Bleeding On The Rubble Where Liberty Should Be

Christopher A. Smith
6 min readApr 22, 2021

It is hard to feel relief or safety in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin verdict.
The embedded white supremacy in America makes it that way.

Black Lives Matter Protest, June 2020. (Photo Credit: Felton Davis)

Where were you when the jury declared Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges for the murder of George Floyd on April 20th, 2021?

Personally, I was working on an article on how police officers have gotten away with maiming and killing Black people. I had been given the assignment to write the piece no matter the outcome of the trial. I had just begun polishing up the draft to submit as the judge read the jury’s decision. My mother and one of my older sisters was in the living room with me. As the judge read the first verdict, the silence in the room and outside was massive. It was as if the wind and the earth made a joint decision to pause if only for these few seconds. At the first “guilty” verdict, I exhaled and pumped my fist reflexively. I watched Chauvin’s eyes, the rest of his face covered by the medical mask that’s commonplace during this time of the pandemic. He looked as stunned as I felt, but obviously for different reasons. He probably never felt he would’ve been found guilty on all three charges. Imagine. To be that callous, that sure of your white privilege and the protections afforded by the system and to realize at that moment you wouldn’t have them in full like you thought.

My phone went off like mad, and I was swept up in a frenzy of texts & calls.
I managed to finish up my article draft and submit it, reflecting the news of the verdict. Then I sat and realized that I was relieved. Not overjoyed. As if I
felt that to do so meant that something else was going to come along and put a damper on everything. Still, I watched the news coverage of people in the streets of Minneapolis, hugging each other and weeping. Finally, there was accountability.

I felt for George Floyd’s family, all gathered to speak to the press afterwards. They had fought and struggled, with a great deal of people in the streets protesting behind them to get the measure of justice for their brother who was essentially tortured and murdered for nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds all over a purported counterfeit $20 that as the Reverend Jesse Jackson would remark later the…

Christopher A. Smith

Freelance writer. Author of 3 books of poetry. Raconteur. Queens is the county, Jamaica is the place.