We’ve been listening to days of emotional testimony in the case against Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with George Floyd’s death. Last week, there was excruciating detail from Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonary specialist. He took people through different videos, pointing out all the ways that George Floyd was dying and trying so hard to breathe.
Yesterday, about a mile from my home, there was another death of a black man during a traffic stop. Only twenty years old and the father of a one year old, Daunte Wright, was just too young to die. It should never have happened. The officer says it was a mistake. She meant to use her Taser, not her gun. But Daunte is still dead. His family is grieving and an already tense community was ready to explode.
So, it was not surprisingly, that looting broke out last night after Daunte Wright’s death. Once again stores in my neighborhood are covered with plywood. The city is unsettled. There was a 7P.M. curfew tonight. And my black neighbors, having seen too many lost children, are in distress, fearful for their own young sons.
What is so different for me this time, is recognizing the face of the police officer. This is not some stray person I’ve never met. She has been in my home, when my old phone kept sending out false 911 signals. She was the one who came on a night when my door was ajar and checked out my house, assuring me it was right to call. On several occasions, she has presented at our neighborhood National Night Out gatherings. I know her to be a good officer, without a history of bad policing.
I wonder what justice looks like. Justice for Daunte, who foolishly tried to run. Justice for a police officer, who made a terrible and deadly mistake. I’m grateful I don’t have to make that judgement. But I pray for both families, that some peace, comfort and healing will come. I’m grateful for a God who understands all things, and holds each of us in hands of love.
“He heals the brokenhearted,
and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 34:18