According to law professor and celebrity legal commentator, the prosecution of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd is descending into farce.
I previously wrote that the key to conviction in the Derek Chauvin trial (and avoiding a cascading failure in all four cases) is the autopsy findings and the role of drugs (including fentanyl) in the body of George Floyd. Prosecutors are now asking the jury to effectively dismiss the findings of the only official autopsy in the case and insist, contrary to those findings, that Floyd died from asphyxia, or, lack of oxygen. Some new disclosures may make that claim more difficult for the prosecution.
Last week, special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell admitted to jurors that Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker pointed to cardiac arrest as Floyd’s cause of death. However, he insisted that the state would prove that “was … not a fatal heart event,” but asphyxiation.
It is a bold move since it could invite reasonable doubt on the cause of death. The question is whether a case of manslaughter could have been advanced without the need of opposing the state’s own coroner on such findings. The failure of Chauvin to respond to a medical emergency speaks more to manslaughter than murder but it could be framed consistently with these findings. Instead, the prosecution has asked the jury to effectively reject the coroner’s findings — a risky maneuver.
Consider that for a moment. The prosecutor is asking the jury to ignore the findings of the Hennepin (MN) County medical examiner and to, of their own volition, rule that the cause of death in Floyd’s case was some form of asphyxiation caused by Floyd’s encounter with Chauvin and three other Minneapolis police officers. The same medical examiner’s autopsy has opined that had Floyd been found dead alone, his death would have been ruled a drug overdose.
Fentanyl at 11 ng/ml — this is higher than (a) chronic pain patient. If he were found dead at home alone & no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD (overdose). Deaths have been certified w/levels of 3.
You don’t have to like what you see in the video of Floyd’s apprehension on suspicion of passing counterfeit bills to acknowledge that Derek Chauvin is as much a human sacrifice to BLM as any Aztec captive who shuffled up a pyramid to have his beating heart torn out in honor of Xipe Totec. The prosecution team is reinforced by the Minnesota Attorney General’s office and, bizarrely, pro bono attorneys. The trial, itself, has now degraded to the point where the feelings of witnesses to the incident are included for, it seems, nothing more than shock value.
A professional fighter felt scared. An off-duty firefighter felt desperate. A high school student felt threatened. And a 9-year-old girl felt sad and kind of mad.
Feelings of horror and fear were recalled in a Minneapolis court Tuesday as a series of bystanders testified about what it was like to witness George Floyd slowly die under the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin last May.
My colleague Jeff Charles reports that there was testimony today that Chauvin violated department policy (see Minneapolis Police Chief Says Chauvin Violated Department Policy During George Floyd Encounter). The same jurors will also view a training video by the Minneapolis Police Department that instructs officers on applying the precise kind of restraint that Chauvin used. Add to this the political grandstanding that led to Chauvin being charged with murder to appease those howling for Chauvin’s blood. It becomes undeniable that this trial has nothing to do with the events surrounding Floyd’s death and everything to do with the Minneapolis power structure making a statement.
It remains to be seen how the jury will react to the prosecutor disavowing the official autopsy and medical examiner’s report and asking them to mete out a vile travesty of justice based on the race of Floyd and Chauvin rather than on facts and evidence.