JUSTICE HAS BEEN SERVED! ("Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd," StarTribune.com, April 20.) Thank you, God in heaven!
Sharon E. Carlson, Andover
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Thank you to the jury, judge and court system for securing justice in the case against Derek Chauvin. Thank you to the courageous witnesses. Thank you to anyone involved in inventing cellphones with cameras, the accountability tool we wish we'd had for Emmett Till and all the many others. Let's be grateful today, and tomorrow let's get to work to ensure voting rights, end educational disparities and more. The list is long, and we can bend the arc of history toward justice. Onward.
Kathleen Janasz, Edina
Calm, professional and in control
As the trial of Derek Chauvin comes to an end, we should acknowledge and thank Judge Peter Cahill for the masterful job he did presiding over the trial. It was a difficult, emotional case with many witnesses and competing arguments. Judge Cahill's calm demeanor and the control he exercised over the trial ensured an orderly proceeding where both sides were able to fairly and fully present their case to the jury. He ruled on motions quickly and provided the reasoning for those decisions. His tone was always measured and courteous. Minnesota was well served by his expertise and the way he judges. We owe him our thanks.
I should also mention that behind the scenes were many hardworking staff in the court administration offices. The work and planning they did to set up the logistics for a safe and secure trial in the COVID era, care for the jurors and provide a state-of-the-art, technologically enhanced trial was no accident. Their support was so unobtrusive that you would have hardly noticed them, which is a credit to their professionalism and competence.
During this case the judicial and court administration teams worked hard to ensure justice, and they succeeded. Thank you.
Mike Moriarity, Eden Prairie
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Derek Chauvin's attorney sought a mistrial on Monday because of comments made by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters over the weekend. While Judge Cahill did not accept this as grounds for a mistrial, he said her remarks were inappropriate and could lead to an appeal. In voicing that concern, he essentially rose to the same level of hyperbole as Waters.
If outside influence were such a concern, the huge display of force across the city of Minneapolis would have been reason enough for sequestration. That alone implied the actions of the people whom Cahill serves cannot be trusted, and it would have been impossible for the jury not to have picked up on this. In comparison, Waters' words seem more like an expectation than an afterthought.
And what about the incendiary comments made the other day by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida? He essentially said the whole trial in Minnesota had been bungled from the start. Unlike Waters, his comments were totally lacking in ambiguity. How is it that comments like this didn't become part of Judge Cahill's self-righteous narrative?
In the end, Judge Cahill is responsible for his own actions. The fact this trial was televised across an entire nation and beyond was more than enough reason the jury should have been sequestered. The failure to do that falls squarely on his shoulders, and it's unseemly to transfer his guilt to one Black woman.
Dale Jernberg, Minneapolis
It's important to all races, though
At the risk of being accused of not getting it, I can't help but observe that Justin Ellis' commentary on April 20 ignored the reality that much of the property being protected is important to people of color ("Minnesota is armed and ready to defend its investment in whiteness," Opinion Exchange, April 20).
There is no question that Black people and other minorities have been treated unfairly and worse in this country and have a right to be angry. But being unfair in return by creating an accusatory, prejudicial piece about the motives of responsible authorities and the placement of plywood is not a solution.
Jim Bartos, Maple Grove
A Minnesotan of honor and class
The passing of Walter Mondale is a tremendous loss for Minnesota and the nation ("A rich life devoted to public service," editorial, April 20). He was a humble and honest public servant, legendary statesman and fine man. The vice president and I worked at the same Minneapolis law firm at the beginning of my legal career and at the tail end of his, and he was universally adored for his kindness, humor and infectious smile.
Recent headlines and harsh political rhetoric would have us believe that Minnesota's past is filled with nothing but bigotry and racism, but reflection on the vice president's remarkable political life reveals that is not so. Mondale got his start in politics as the protégé of Sen. Hubert Humphrey, who was arguably the greatest and most effective civil rights legislative leader in the country's history.
Although these two men represented an overwhelmingly Caucasian constituency, they became tireless national advocates for voting rights and fairness and fearless enemies of racial discrimination and prejudice. And the good people of the North Star State rewarded them for this noble national work with overwhelming re-elections. Our state's history is imperfect, but much of it is quite honorable — and the electoral career that Minnesota honored Walter Mondale with should certainly be a source of great pride for us all.
Minnesota has a way to go before we realize Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream where all our children "live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." But Mondale's historic and impactful civil rights public service is a reminder of the tremendous progress we have made and Minnesota's important role in it.
Andy Brehm, St. Paul
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It was January 1984 when I traveled by bus from Augsburg College in Minneapolis to Des Moines, Iowa, to work on the presidential campaign of Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro. It was also my first introduction to the world of politics, and I was especially thrilled a woman was on the ticket. Who better than Mondale to show freshmen how important integrity, intelligence and transparency was even in the contentious world of politics. Even in defeat, he showed a sense of class and humility rarely displayed in today's world by anyone. I've never forgotten how important those qualities are. Mr. Vice President, we will miss your integrity and wisdom. Rest in peace.
Lisa A. Carlson, Apple Valley
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Walter Mondale's death on April 19 brought me immediately back to a chance encounter the two of us had in early 2011 in downtown Minneapolis. I was meeting a friend for lunch in the building where Mondale also worked, and he was standing in the lobby next to the restaurant waiting for someone to pick him up. As I made my way to the restaurant I realized it had recently closed shop. I looked around and spotted Mondale but did not recognize him, and I asked, "Sir, do you know when the restaurant closed?" As he leaned back and let out the words "Let's see ..." I realized, to my horror, that I was speaking with the Walter Mondale. Not knowing whether to acknowledge that I knew him or pretend I did not, we ended up having a deeply emotional discussion for several minutes about his daughter Eleanor's health (she passed away six months later), where cancer originates (I, too, shared with him that I lost someone to brain cancer) and why food trucks are such a big deal (he was staring at several on Nicollet Mall and asked me if they were any good).
I have treasured that brief and unexpected meeting and conversation ever since, and I cannot help but remember his measured pain and grief as he told me that Eleanor was not doing well. He was, simply put, a normal, kind, charming, introspective, observant and decent person. He was one of us.
Lisa Raduenz, St. Paul
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