I first wrote of the George Floyd case on 06-02-20. Knowing little about the case, because little had been released, I cautioned against making snap judgments, like those made by prosecutors who indicted the officers involved so quickly they could not possibly have even half the facts. The same was true of the actions of the Minneapolis Police Department in immediately firing Officer Derek Chauvin. The icing on the woke, political cake was the appointment of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a noted fraud and race hustler, as lead prosecutor.
As I’m sure you know, gentle readers, Floyd’s death became a convenient excuse for rioting, looting, arson, assault, even murder on a national scale. Interestingly, these incidents have been confined to Democrat-ruled cities in blue states. When Antifa/BLM tried their usual tactics at an event supporting the police in Ft. Collins, CO, they were chased from the area, and beaten by citizens. It would seem even anarchists/Marxists are mostly smart enough not to put on their political theater where audiences will show their displeasure with their fists.
As I noted in the original article, the autopsy did not support murder charges against the police. In fact, the level of Fentynl in Floyd’s blood was more than three times higher than the known lethal dose. He also had meth and cannabinoids–pot–in his blood as well, to say nothing of serious health issues. The Floyd family attorney, Benjamin Crump, another noted race hustler previously involved with many similar cases, such as the Trayvon Martin case, brought in Dr. Michael Baden, a celebrity coroner, who claimed the opposite of the autopsy:
Much has been made of Dr. Michael Baden, celebrity coroner for folks like Benjamin Crump, who the media tells us discovered Floyd’s death was caused by the opposite of the findings of the original autopsy: the cops did it. But Attorney Andrew Branca, the foremost authority on the law of deadly force tells us Baden found no clinical evidence to support that conclusion, he just inferred it from watching the video, which will tend to make Keith Ellison’s job just a bit tougher. Imagine the media not telling that whole truth.
The original autopsy is available here.
These are some of the most significant findings:
1) Severe arteriosclerotic heart disease
2) Hypertensive heart disease with a clinical history of hypertension
3) “No life-threatening injuries identified,” including no injuries to the neck or throat.
Now, significant portions of body camera footage of the officer’s contact with Floyd have been leaked to the press. The videos may be viewed here, at Powerline. Ellison refused to release that footage, claiming he believes in transparency, but winning the case was most important. Actually, that’s one of the few true things he has ever said. The footage does enormous damage to any case against the officers, particularly those other than Derek Chauvin. No wonder Ellison didn’t want the video released: it destroys the narrative of a compliant, saintly, family man brutally murdered by uncaring police.
Before we go on, I’ve viewed both videos multiple times. There is no evidence—at all—of racism in this encounter. Floyd is obviously drugged, is foaming at the mouth, having trouble standing and walking, wanted to lay on the ground, and complained of having trouble breathing many times before he was restrained on the ground by Chauvin. Significantly, respiratory distress is one of the symptoms of Fentynl—and meth–poisoning. He consistently resisted and struggled, was paranoid and not in control of himself. He refused to cooperate with officers from the very beginning of the encounter.
Gavrilo David, at Medium.com, provides a solid analysis of the events. I recommend you take the link and read the whole thing, but this excerpt is particularly significant:
There are six crucial pieces of information — six facts — that have been largely omitted from discussion on the Chauvin’s conduct. Taken together, they likely exonerate the officer of a murder charge. Rather than indicating illegal and excessive force, they instead show an officer who rigidly followed the procedures deemed appropriate by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD). The evidence points to the MPD and the local political establishment, rather than the individual officer, as ultimately responsible for George Floyd’s death.
These six facts are as follows:
1) George Floyd was experiencing cardiopulmonary and psychological distress minutes beforehe was placed on the ground, let alone had a knee to his neck.
2) The Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) allows the use of neck restraint on suspects who actively resist arrest, and George Floyd actively resisted arrest on two occasions, including immediately prior to neck restraint being used.
3) The officers were recorded on their body cams assessing George Floyd as suffering from ‘excited delirium syndrome’ (ExDS), a condition which the MPD considers an extreme threatto both the officers and the suspect. A white paper used by the MPD acknowledges that ExDS suspects may die irrespective of force involved. The officers’ response to this situation was in line with MPD guidelines for ExDS.
4) Restraining the suspect on his or her abdomen (prone restraint) is a common tactic in ExDS situations, and the white paper used by the MPD instructs the officers to control the suspect until paramedics arrive.
5) Floyd’s autopsy revealed a potentially lethal concoction of drugs — not just a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl, but also methamphetamine. Together with his history of drug abuse and two serious heart conditions, Floyd’s condition was exceptionally and unusually fragile.
6) Chauvin’s neck restraint is unlikely to have exerted a dangerous amount of force to Floyd’s neck. Floyd is shown on video able to lift his head and neck, and a robust study on double-knee restraints showed a median force exertion of approximately 105lbs.
There are several points to address in this excerpt. “ExDS” is a general police term for such a wide variety of behaviors/symptoms it is essentially meaningless. It is widely applied to people who appear to be drugged and potentially or actively violent. There is no accompanying medical diagnosis of “excited delirium,” so one shouldn’t read too much into this other than to realize the MPD recognized it as a real thing, and in acting as they did, the officers were acting properly on their training and common knowledge. As you can see by viewing the video, Floyd is clearly drugged, paranoid and violent.
The Defense will surely argue Floyd was dying of Fentynl toxicity before the officers laid eyes on him, and they will be right. They will also argue his indiscriminate drug use, coupled with his serious heart problems, was killing him, and they will also be right. Keep in mind police officers are trained only in basic first aid. They are incapable of diagnosing medical conditions, and are ordered never to engage in medical treatment beyond their training. They recognized Floyd was in some kind of distress, but believed it was drug related. As soon as it became obvious he was in medical distress, they called for paramedics. It takes time for paramedics to arrive.
The article also presents a study indicating the force Chauvin applied to Floyd’s shoulders/neck was insufficient to restrict breathing or blood flow:
But let’s take a look at that study again. The study concludes that the double-knee weight was exactly 23.3 kg plus 24% of a specific LEO’s body weight. Some preliminary information indicates Chauvin is 156 lbs, which is a reasonable estimate, as the footage shows him to be thin and of average height. This means Chauvin was exerting 90 lbs in the double-knee position, for 45 lbs exerted spread across the back and the neck (implying balanced force). 45 lbs is definitively insufficient to restrict breathing or blood-flow in the neck. The other officers are of a similar build.
Officers acting within policy and their training must be given the benefit of the doubt. If the goalposts can be moved without notice, no police officer can act, and the public suffers.
I would also argue that while one can put some of the blame on policy and the political establishment, the person ultimately responsible for the death of George Floyd was George Floyd.
At the Spectator.org, George Parry provides some transcript excerpts from the videos that are revealing of Floyd’s behavior and condition. They also indicate that rather than being uncaring brutes, intent on harming Floyd, the officers were consistently concerned for Floyd, and did their best to avoid harming him. Spectators, who are in the excerpts, were trying to convince Floyd to calm down and cooperate. Take the link for those excerpts. I’ll provide only this:
Instead, the evidence proves that, when he first encountered the police, George Floyd was well on his way to dying from a self-administered drug overdose. Moreover, far from publicly, brazenly, and against their own self-interest slowly and sadistically killing Floyd in broad daylight before civilian witnesses with video cameras, the evidence proves that the defendants exhibited concern for Floyd’s condition and twice called for emergency medical services to render aid to him. Strange behavior, indeed, for supposedly brutal law officers allegedly intent on causing him harm.
Similarly, the evidence recorded by the body cameras worn by the police conclusively establishes that Floyd repeatedly complained that he couldn’t breathe before the police restrained him on the ground. As documented by Floyd’s autopsy and toxicology reports, his breathing difficulty was caused not by a knee on his neck or pressure on his back, but by the fact that he had in his bloodstream over three times the potentially lethal limit of fentanyl, a powerful and dangerous pain medication known to shut down the respiratory system and cause coma and death. He also had in his system a lesser dose of methamphetamine, which can cause paranoia, respiratory distress, coma, and death.
Final Thoughts: Once again, gentle readers, take the links, read the article and view the videos. Any sober prosecutor viewing all of the evidence, could never have filed murder charges. It’s doubtful they would have filed any charge against the officers. But there were no sober adults in the Minneapolis Police hierarchy or among any of the local prosecutors. Bringing in Keith Ellison, a social justice/resistance, race hustler and neophyte prosecutor as the lead prosecutor made a badly handled case a disaster.
As the videos show, the officers responded to a legitimate complaint of a crime. They identified Floyd as the person that committed it, and made a lawful arrest. If anything, they were restrained in their use of force. Floyd resisted with various degrees of force and violence from the beginning. The officers showed remarkable patience with him, and rather than jerking him out of the police car and killing him by crushing his neck, it was Floyd himself that forced them to remove him from the vehicle and put him on the pavement, as he repeatedly requested. The neck restraint used by former Officer Chauvin was not only allowed by MPD policy, it was a recommended technique, and the medical evidence shows it did not, in fact, harm Floyd.
There is no evidence whatever of racism, and even spectators tried to encourage Floyd to do as the officers told him to do. Their testimony will be deadly to the prosecution. Far from being indifferent to Floyd’s medical needs, the officers called for medical help twice, and removed him from the police car in part because of their concerns.
But what about Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe. If one can say that, they are breathing. What he was probably trying to say was he felt he wasn’t getting enough oxygen, or was having trouble breathing, which is the most likely explanation. He killed himself by ingesting overdose quantities of multiple drugs which suppress breathing. He was almost certainly dying before the officers met him.
None of this sounds—or looks–remotely like the narrative.
Restraining Floyd as Chauvin did looks bad. But the technique was policy, widely used, and caused Floyd no harm. Floyd was a big, strong guy, 6’4” and more than 220 pounds. Officer Chauvin weighed about 160 pounds. Even if the officers were able to correctly diagnose cardiac arrest and perform CPR—remember, paramedics were on the way; there was nothing the officers could do to get them there faster—there is no way to tell whether they could have successfully revived him. CPR is successful only a small portion of the time. Considering his triple-plus overdose, it’s most likely nothing anyone could have done would have saved him.
But here’s the greatest danger: by acting without all the evidence, by pushing a political prosecution from the beginning because Floyd was black and the officers weren’t, Minneapolis has bought itself no end of riots, looting and violence. The narrative inspired the nationwide conflagration that has yet to burn out. When the officers are exonerated, or even if one or more is found guilty on lesser charges, the flames of social justice/Antifa/BLM rage are going to reach epic heights. Were I the owner of a business destroyed by the Floyd riots, I wouldn’t rebuild until long after the trial ends. In fact, I’d take the insurance money—if they pay—and run, far, far from Minneapolis. Real justice—the rule of law—doesn’t mix well with social justice.