Attorney Eric Nelson and the sticks-and-stones defense for Derek Chauvin
Trained officers who fall apart from name calling, please turn in your badge today
Writer’s note: This post was originally published on Medium’s “We Need to Talk” on April 7, 2021.
Writer’s note: On Tues., April 20, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of all three charges — up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. Judge Cahill revoked Chauvin’s bail and ordered he be remanded into custody after announcing the jury’s verdict. He will formerly be sentenced in eight weeks time.
Let’s play a social media game. I want you to find your favorite athlete or music artist online. Type their names into the search engine. Now type “tough guy,” “real man,” “such a man,” “bogus,” “bum,” “fucking bum,” “fucking pussy ass bitch” and “bitch.” Did any of those people kneel on someone’s neck for 9:29 because of name calling? I am usually annoyed when I hear “most people” or “all people” to justify a point made, but I’m pretty certain all the people you chose for your search didn’t kneel on anyone’s neck today.
So taking attorney Eric Nelson seriously for repeatedly reminding the jury of MMA fighter Donald Williams calling former Officer Derek Chauvin these names is a defense argument I cannot take seriously. At some point my eyes are going to roll completely out of my head and to my front door like a red carpet if he makes this argument one more time. Has no one in his social circle heard of the “sticks and stones” saying?
I’m still listening to each testimony twice from all witnesses during the Derek Chauvin trial for George Floyd’s murder, and the more Nelson brings up this name-calling scenario, the more I wonder how poorly police training has been going. I’ve been in Twitter Jail and called far worse names than “bitch” on social media. I’ve even been insulted on Medium. But I’ve never quite been able to take Internet thugging seriously, so I usually giggle and then block the account. If I’m in rare form, I may “Report” but only if I see a pattern on their timelines. Sixty seconds later, I’m on to my next task.
Even in person, it is rare that I am offended. I was once called “roadkill” by a neighbor who was mad at our condo board. I laughed about that for the rest of the day and thought the insult was rather creative. I do have a heart though. I was called another name so heinous that I’ll never forget it to my dying day. I confronted the person who called me this. He cried, snot running down his nose, and I went about my day. I looked him dead in the eyes every single time we passed each other in the hallway. He knew the apology meant nothing to me, but we both kept our hands to ourselves. Sticks and stones.
I have no badge. I have no uniform. I have no steel-toed shoes. My car has no siren on it. I do own security cameras, but none of them are on my person. I was not in the U.S. Army for one day, never mind eight years. And somehow I have realized from this testimony that my skin is thicker than an officer of 19 years (with 18 complaints, almost like it was his birthday ritual).