How the events of 2021 can influence what happens in 2022
Over the past two years, we have seen an increase in social justice movements dealing with race and policing.
The issues have taken center stage this year in high-profile court cases, and experts say they could impact legislation and elections in 2022.
In 2021, we saw trials, resulting from the deadly police incidents that sparked protests.
The convictions of former Minnesota cops Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter have caught the nation’s attention. A jury has found Chauvin guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd. A jury has found Potter guilty of manslaughter in the death of Daunte Wright.
“This is definitely the year we see some type of police accountability,” said Jason Williams, associate professor of justice studies at Montclair State University.
He said these verdicts will keep social justice in the spotlight for 2022
However, Williams said another big verdict – the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse – would have an impact in the New Year as well.
“It seems to give the green light to the vigilantes of the extreme right to attend these types of demonstrations,” he said. “We can see more of these cases.”
Rittenhouse successfully claimed self-defense after shooting and killing two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and injuring a third during civil unrest following a police shootout.
“I think for next year we really need to pay more attention to it, especially given the Rittenhouse verdict,” said Williams.
The professor also predicts that he could make proposals for changes to gun laws and even state-level self-defense laws in the New Year.
“Sometimes it’s hard to decipher between the rhetoric, which means the politician is just going to sprout rhetoric or is he actually going to do something about it,” Williams said.
Turning to the 2022 midterm election, Williams said all of these cases will continue to play out in important ways.
“Unfortunately law enforcement issues continue to be a very big political wedge and both sides will tend to use them to their advantage to get some type of movement with their base,” he said. .
There is another big topic before mid-term.
“Voters’ rights are sort of turning out to be the quintessential problem, especially as the Jan. 6 fiasco continues to unfold,” Williams said.
Williams said political parties would likely rally even more to get their supporters to the polls.
He adds other social justice issues like the student debt crisis, the fight for the K-12 curriculum and women’s rights will likely gain more attention in 2022 as well.
“I think next year there will be pressure from all kinds of advocacy groups,” said Williams.