Home U.S Chauvin trial: Blue wall of silence crumbling. Police chief, others, bring landmark...

Chauvin trial: Blue wall of silence crumbling. Police chief, others, bring landmark moment.

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The most recent days of the Derek Chauvin trial have shown this country, and specifically Black America, something most never thought they’d see: that the blue wall of silence can, indeed, crumble. 

This week, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, a lifelong veteran of the department and the city’s first Black police chief, testified that Chauvin’s actions in the killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd violated police training and ethics.

“When we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life,” Arradondo said Monday, “and when we talk about the principles and the values that we have, that action (holding a knee against Floyd’s neck) goes contrary to what we’re talking about.” 

Another strong moment during Arradondo’s testimony: When he stated loudly and clearly that it’s the duty of officers to make sure that community members make it home alive.  

That same day, police Inspector Katie Blackwell, who formerly led training for the department, said of Chauvin putting his knee on Floyd’s neck, “that’s not what we train.” On Friday, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-serving officer in the department, called Chauvin’s use of force “totally unnecessary.” 

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testifies on April 5, 2021, in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.

A police chief (and anyone on the force for that matter) publicly testifying against officers is rare. One testifying against an officer in his own chain of command is historic. 

And with the unprecedented public attention on this case, Arradondo’s testimony sends a loud signal down the chain of command and to police across the country to value truth and life above loyalty. If Chauvin is found guilty, these testimonies will represent a turning point in how individual cases of police misconduct are handled and promote a cultural change and greater accountability throughout law enforcement.  

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