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The premeditated murder of George Floyd

Dan delzell
Photo: Dan Delzell

Did Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin intend to kill George Floyd? The video evidence is overwhelming. Chauvin definitely seemed intent on ending the life of this black man.

A lawyer for the family of George Floyd summed it up this way: "We think that he had intent....almost nine minutes he kept his knee in a man's neck that was begging and pleading for breath," he said.

Lawyer Benjamin Crump went on to say, "The fact that officer Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for almost three minutes after he was unconscious. We don't understand how that was not first-degree murder. We don't understand how all these officers haven't been arrested."

Here is the way a Nebraska statute explains premeditation: "No particular length of time for premeditation is required, provided that the intent to kill is formed before the act is committed and not simultaneously with the act that caused the death. The time required to establish premeditation may be of the shortest possible duration and may be so short that it is instantaneous, and the design or purpose to kill may be formed upon premeditation and deliberation at any moment before the homicide is committed."

Derek Chauvin clearly acted with premeditation. He was smart enough to realize that he was killing the man who was handcuffed and facedown on the pavement. "All premeditation and deliberation require is the time it takes to form the intent, ponder the crime, and then act. Defendants can premeditate and deliberate in a matter of minutes, as long as the thought process occurs before the act." 

These officers treated George Floyd with less dignity than most people treat animals. What caused these officers to have such hatred for this black man? And what led them to think that their hatred and prejudice justified the taking of this man's life?

We have learned that Derek Chauvin and George Floyd "worked together at a Minneapolis club as recently as last year." Who knows? Perhaps Chauvin's hatred for Floyd had been simmering for some time. And then when he saw an opportunity to snuff out this black man's life, he took it.  

The owner of that club said that Chauvin "had a real short fuse," adding that he often pulled out mace and pepper spray even though it seemed unwarranted. In other words, Chauvin would commit as much abuse as he thought he could get away with at the time. And once he had George Floyd on the ground in handcuffs, Chauvin's explosive anger combined with his premeditated decision resulted in 7 to 9 minutes of torture, and ultimately death.

After years of alleged mace and pepper spray abuse, Chauvin now unleashed his hatred and anger with the ultimate form of abuse. And every minute that went by testifies to the deliberate intent of this killer who should not have been allowed to wear the uniform and detain George Floyd.

It comes as no surprise that Chauvin had 17 complaints against him before he was charged with murder for George Floyd's death. This loose cannon was a tinderbox waiting and wanting to explode. 

Chauvin should never have placed his knee on George Floyd's neck for even a few seconds, let alone 7 to 9 minutes. It was premeditated murder, plain and simple. It was evil to the core, and many people would say it deserves the death penalty, or at least life in prison without the possibility of parole. After all, punishment is a matter of justice, and the punishment should fit the crime.

Chauvin violated his duty as a police officer and he violated the rights of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin acted as the judge, jury and executioner of George Floyd. This black man did not deserve to die. And each one involved in his murder should pay a very high price for their vicious crime.

Unless racism is stamped out of man's heart, he is capable of doing almost anything, including murder. Thomas Sowell said, "Racism does not have a good track record. It has been tried out for a long time, and you would think by now we would want to put an end to it instead of putting it under new management."

Several years ago I wrote an article titled, "Christ's Supremacy Conquers White Supremacy," where I stated: "Man by nature tends to take pride in the color of his skin. And this dangerous mindset even leads some people to assume that their race is supreme. A beautiful alternative to such arrogance is to receive Christ's love and forgiveness into your heart. Disciples of Jesus soon discover that Christ's supremacy conquers white supremacy, not to mention every other form of prejudice."

Scripture makes it clear: "Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness" (1 John 1:9). How dark does a person's soul have to be in order to carry out the murder of George Floyd that we have watched on these horrifying videos?
Derek Chauvin was not interested in merely detaining George Floyd. He seemed thirsty for blood and for this man's life. And so he went for the jugular, minute after minute after minute.

And just to make sure that George Floyd would not be able to testify against him, Chauvin remained on his neck for several more minutes after Floyd was already unconscious.

In his racist rage, Chauvin failed to account for one thing: The video evidence. It exposes his hated and murder for all to see. And it reveals the premeditated nature of this horrendous crime. 

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Papillion, Nebraska. 

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