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The Scoop - Justice elusive, even with verdict

It's hard to sit back and smile and say justice has been served when a 46-year-old man is dead and a 45-year-old is facing significant prison time.

George Floyd is the man who is dead and Derek Chauvin is the former Minneapolis police officer convicted on Tuesday of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

Time will tell how our nation reacts in what's become, in recent years, an adversarial relationship with authority. Gone are the days immediately following Sept. 11 when police officers could seemingly do no wrong and were constantly praised for their service.

Claims of police brutality are no new thing and it's often a fine line between necessary and unnecessary force. Officers sometimes have to exert some measure of power to enforce our laws because citizens who break the law are not always friendly toward those enforcing it.

Clearly, the death of George Floyd, captured painfully on video for the world to see, was a case where the officer went too far with a man handcuffed and lying face down.

I know of two local cases off the top of my head in the past three years where an enraged suspect tried to take an officer's gun in a remote area, once in a Viola cornfield and once atop Harrison Ferry Mountain.

Clearly, there are times when an officer must use force to save their own life.

President Herbert Hoover, over 90 years ago, established a commission to investigate police tactics amid cries too much force was being exerted.

Decades later, the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s led to many "peaceful protests." But just like our so called "peaceful protests" of today, many of these rallies descended into violence.

It is indeed an interesting study of the human mind to note that some people think it's OK to destroy a storefront or police car if it's done in the name of some greater cause.

Today, relationships between police and the citizens they are sworn to protect can only be so peachy. With so many people walking around with loaded guns, officers fully realize they may just have a split second to save their own life.

We can play armchair quarterback and analyze police body camera video frame by frame from the comfort of our heated recliner. We can boldly proclaim what we would have done in such a situation after having 24 hours to think about it.

I truly believe law enforcement officers have the most difficult job in our society. They have to uphold the laws of our land facing a citizenry armed with AR-15s.

There's no excuse for Derek Chauvin's actions and I think the jury made the right decision in finding him guilty on Tuesday. 

But getting past this decision and moving forward to the next year, or the next decade, what are our chances of seeing things improve?

Based on my evaluation, it seems our framework is set up to fail.