Eight Minutes and Forty-Seven Seconds

Eight minutes and forty-seven seconds. The length of time a white police officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on the neck of a handcuffed black man, George Floyd. For eight minutes and forty-seven seconds—three minutes longer that it took George Floyd to stop moving and breathing—he knelt on his neck, hands in pockets. The brutal murder of George Floyd—and make no mistake, George Floyd did not die—he was murdered. His murder sparked 13 straight days of protests, some peaceful, many riotous—as a nation and its global neighbors rose up and said Enough! Thirteen days during which “President” Trump teargassed a crowd pf peaceful protesters, appropriated God and the Holy Bible to use as props to bolster his failing reelection campaign, and turned the White House—the People’s House—into a gated fortress.

My husband and I attended a protest last night at McMichael Park in our East Falls neighborhood. It was peaceful and it did my weary heart good to see so many neighbors—of all races and hues and ages—turn out to protest. I would have expected no less from my neighbors.

For me the most significant and jarring moment was the eight minutes and forty-seven seconds of silence we were asked to observe. Many people in the crowd, including me and my husband, took a knee. Eight minutes and forty-seven seconds is a long time. About halfway through people started squirming in discomfort. Many changed knees or stood for a moment. It was a very uncomfortable position to be in. It was an enlightening experience for me. eight minutes and forty-seven seconds is a long time to kneel. It’s uncomfortable to kneel on grass. What must it be like to kneel on someone’s neck? For eight minutes and forty-seven seconds. Hands in pockets. What level of hatred, of malicious intent does it take to do that?

Derek Chauvin is an absolute monster. He is inhumane. He should be put down like a rabid dog. I would suggest that the prosecution ask the presiding judge and the jury to kneel for eight minutes and forty-seven seconds. And then ask them to pass judgment. Derek Chauvin would be found guilty, his crimes finally named: racism, malicious intent, murder, inhumanity to man.

Eight minutes and forty-seven seconds may change the world. Eight minutes and forty-seven seconds certainly changed me.


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