Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of the murder of George Floyd. Despite overwhelming evidence that Officer Chauvin followed all the rules in the book on how to act and what to do, and despite the evidence showing multiple hard drugs in Floyd’s system and pre-existing health conditions, and proof that simply kneeling on Floyd didn’t caused his death, he was still found guilty on all counts.
This leaves current police officers in a pickle. Now even if they follow the book, they can now be convicted of murder for doing their job. They now need to be career long experts of physical and mental health, they need expertise in physical combat, even against intoxicated individuals who can’t feel pain, without showing too much force in subduing their opponent. They are now required to know top level negotiation tactics, how to calm the uncalmable (that’s why they are called to the scene), and how to masterfully de-escalate any situation. They need to be able to tell when a threat is really a threat when they have a weapon and can kill you within a second. They need to deal with the worst parts of society on their worst days, and are expected to act like every day is their best day ever, completely unaffected by what they deal with day in and out. It is simply too much.
We are requiring too much of our police. That doesn’t excuse the bad cops. There are bad cops. There are dirty cops. We just worry now that the good cops now have no reason to stay on the force. Why would they? Their pay isn’t hard to replace with other jobs that wont make them choose life or death at any moment.
In the end, an appeal will be made, the jury wasn’t sequestered, the family of George Floyd was already paid on outstanding $27m, and even the President of the US and members of congress were publicly calling for more contention if he wasn’t found guilty. That’s more than enough for an appeal. This will go on for a long time
Even such, this should worry all police officers around the country. Enough for a mass exodus? No one knows. We doubt it based on humans being creatures of habit. The pain isn’t real enough, the comfort of doing what they know is too easy to break. This will undoubtedly hurt further recruitment as those people aren’t yet in the system and comfortable, they are watching this all play out and will more easily be able to choose to take or leave this career before they begin. The real question is, when will enough be enough for the current body of officers?