A “depraved heart” if there ever was one

Dear President Trump,

It was another one of those mornings when I just didn’t have it and all I could get down was the date and the salutation. I don’t know – maybe it was the effort needed to stay polite in the aforementioned salutation or maybe it was just plain weariness from all the shit that’s going on. I know, you probably think I’ve already said everything there is to say (and then some), but no such luck, bucko – you and your threat detector aren’t rid of me yet. However, if you do want to be rid of me all you have to do is resign the presidency, pack your multitudinous bags, and go somewhere very far away from the Oval Office – then I’ll stop bugging you. Promise.

In the meantime, I have to tell you that I was pissed when I first saw the announcement that the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd by f*cking kneeling on his neck was charged with 3rd degree murder and manslaughter. 3rd degree murder sounds so much less serious a charge than 1st or 2nd degree murder and, well, actually it is – in Minnesota 2nd degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 40 years while 3rd degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 25 years (though one outlet says the sentencing guidelines max out at 15 years). Apparently the prosecutors didn’t think they could convince a jury that Chauvin intended to kill Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 8 minutes, the last 3 of which Floyd was unresponsive. What, pray tell, do you think Chauvin was intending with his knee bearing down on Floyd’s neck and his hands nonchalantly shoved deep in his pocket? Seriously, in the pictures that just show the asshole’s face while he’s murdering Floyd, he looks like he could be watching a boring baseball game for all the emotion he is showing.

So actually, I’m still pissed. I know that Chauvin’s calm could make it seem like he wasn’t intending to kill or gravely injure Floyd (as in where was the angry drama?), that he was just doing his police-ish job by restraining a suspect. But personally, I think his calm is a dead giveaway signaling a profound sociopathy. I bet you see this too since you know sociopathy from the inside and probably recognize it in others from many a mile away.

And, we know that 99 times out of 100 (or worse), even if they are charged, cops who kill black people are acquitted and not held accountable for their crimes. So maybe this was part of the prosecutor’s calculus – don’t shoot too high by going for 2nd degree murder because it’s more likely that a jury won’t convict and then Chauvin gets off.

You may know this by now, but Minnesota and a handful of other states frame most 3rd degree murder charges around the idea of the perpetrator having a “depraved heart” or engaging in “depraved indifference.” If they can’t get him on at least that, then down is up and up is down (and what about the three other officers who stood around and watched Chauvin murder Floyd – when are they going to be charged, damn it?). For the record, here’s how Minnesota law (at least according to Wikipedia) defines “depraved heart” murders:

“without intent to effect the death of any person, caus[ing] the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life”

Because it’s critically important to understanding the whole deal, here’s the definition of depraved:

“morally corrupt, wicked”

I honestly don’t get how it is that someone who engages in a morally corrupt and wicked action without regard for human life that causes another’s death, even if not premeditated, isn’t deserving of up to 40 years in prison. They damn well better be able to get him for at least 15.

This is a moonshot LKM, but it shouldn’t be….

May African American people be safe and critically, may they feel safe.
May we deal with white people’s insecurities and dangerously misplaced rage.
May we do the deep, deep interrogation and healing of racism we desperately need to do.
May we absolutely not accept this horrid status quo.

Tracy Simpson

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