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When the killer is a cop

Twinkling with Ninfa R. Leonardia

Are we becoming a “No Man’s Land”? I almost jumped out of my skin when I heard the news that U.S. President Joe Biden is advising Americans to avoid travel to the Philippines these days! And I thought they were our best friends! But it looks as if we have become notorious for the number of COVID cases spreading throughout our country that, apparently the vaccines we have acquired have not caught up with yet. Seems those keeping tabs on the rise of cases are so efficient that we have gotten this reputation.

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Well, that is fair warning to us, to not only be vaccination shy, but to observe all the “protocols” being suggested, in order to steer clear of possible carriers. This pandemic does not discriminate, it has been attacking everywhere, with no regard for the economic status of the town, city or country. I am relieved to know that our people in Bacolod now seem even eager to undergo vaccination, unlike before when many were hesitant to undergo it. If it is the so-called adverse reaction rumored, I believe it if only mild ones and worth the bit of discomfort one may feel  for a while.

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Meanwhile world interest was diverted yesterday from the COVID to the trial of policeman Derek Chauvin, who was charged with the killing of a black man named George Floyd, on whose neck he knelt as the man lay under a vehicle. Well, we hear of criminals all the time and murderers, too, but when it is a policeman who is the accused, it is a very different story, indeed, and naturally evokes a very different reaction from the public, too. I am sure that thousands, millions even, must have seen the video showing how the killing happened, and it was the main witness to the killing when the trial came up.

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And, it was not known, until the trial, I understand, who was responsible for that graphic video that very, very clearly showed what happened as well as the pleas of the victim, which  must have shocked viewers worldwide. The fact that the one responsible happened to be an officer of the law, whose job is supposed to protect people, made it even more shocking and despicable. The trial ended the other day, and yesterday the conclusion of the jury was announced.

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And nobody seemed to doubt the outcome, with the evidence so strong and vivid, but it is the penalty that is still being awaited, and the determination of whether it was a case of first, second or third degree murder, in which cases, the penalty would be determined. But one could almost admire Derek Chauvin, the policeman involved. He was as  staunch as can be with no reaction or emotion displayed, even when manacles were placed on him by his fellow cops. And do you know what was later confirmed as the main evidence during the trial? A video of the actual crime taken by a teenager who happened to be near the scene! That was the video that we have seen  over and over, on our TV sets all these months and it sealed the fate to Chauvin.

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But what do you think the defense tried to present in their attempt to save Chauvin? Among their revelations was the Lloyd had a heart ailment that could have been the cause of his death. But this was disproven, especially when it was clear that the length of time when he was being choked by the knee of  Chauvin   on his neck had been more than nine minutes! Now, the American justice system is very, very different from ours. Here, such a case would have taken months to get to court, and maybe even years to get a judgement. Why is that not possible in our country? What can the Justice Department, and even our Senate and Congress do?

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I heard President Biden himself praised the reaction of his people to the verdict that he, doubtless, is also agreed with. But I, as a viewer, felt like praising Chauvin who allowed himself to be handcuffed, and led out by his former colleagues without any change in expression, stoically, without looking left or right. I guess his policeman’s training was responsible for that. But the term he has to serve is yet to be known, and he appears prepared for that.

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In Bacolod City, meanwhile, more and more people are now expressing their desire to undergo vaccination when there were so many who claimed they were not willing before. It looks as if not only children like to play “Follow the Leader” because after the mayor was seen being inoculated in public and photos of the incident came out in the media, the percentage of those now willing to undergo it has also risen, Which is a very welcome sign. Now all we have to worry about are the vandals who have been cutting decades-old trees that have beautified and sheltered our city for years. Can they be charged in court? Many hope so.*

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