Andrew Branca, backwards trial, Brooklyn Center, Derek Chauvin, Dr. Andrew Baker, Dr. Lindsey Thomas, Dr. Martin Tobin, Eric Nelson, Freddie Gray, George Floyd, George Zimmerman, Jonathan Turley, Justine Damond, LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, MPD Chief Medaria Arrrandondo, MPD Lt. Mercil, MPD Officer Nicole Mackenzie, political trial
Why do I spend the time, blood, sweat and tears necessary to produce this scruffy little blog? Because I’m a writer, and that’s what writers do. Because I flatter myself to think I have something worthwhile to say, and others might share that opinion, and:
The testimony of Dr. Langenfeld has followed what has become a common pattern in this case. The (carefully prepared?) state’s witness is carefully questioned by the state to illicit headline worthy quotes, but it’s ultimately revealed on cross-examination that those quoted opinions were based on extremely limited information, lacked context of the full circumstances, and were gutted on cross-examination as a result.
This pattern actually raises a very interesting, and alarming, public policy danger, based on the media’s coverage of this case. From what I’ve seen of media coverage, which for me occurs only when the case recesses during the day and the talking heads pop up during the break, is that the media effectively only covers the direct questioning of the state’s witnesses. As a result, the public only hears the state’s version of the facts.
Well, just like if you only hear one side of any argument, it’s natural for the public to conclude that the state is KILLING IT!!!! in this trial, and that it’s SUPER OBVIOUS!!!! that Chauvin is a RACIST POLICE MURDERER!!!! You NAZI!!!!
There’s a reason that our legal system is adversarial in nature, however, and that’s for the obvious reason that there’s always two sides to every story. It’s only by listening to both sides, with their individual strengths and weaknesses, that one can have an overall informed opinion about what likely happened.
The jury in this trial will get both sides, and hopefully arrive at a verdict based on both sides.
The public, especially the public willing to riot, loot, and arson (arson must be a verb by now, right?) [and an adjective], is however hearing only the narrative of guilt in this case. That means that anything other than a guilty verdict can only come as a complete shock to their sense of justice, and therefore a complete justification of any terror they wish to bring to bear to the public generally.
That’s from Andrew Branca’s wrap up of day six, the first day of the second week of the Derek Chauvin trial. It’s an important point, and is part of the pattern we all saw in the George Zimmerman Trial, the Michael Brown Case, and the Freddie Gray trials. It’s yet another reminder that not only can we no longer trust the media—at all—but we can be sure they are doing everything they can to destroy our constitutional Republic, and think themselves virtuous for doing it. It’s why I spend the time to analyze cases like this: I have the background and knowledge, and I can provide a perspective unavailable in the media. Go here to see every article in the SMM Floyd archive.
Would you, gentle readers, if you agree this perspective is valuable, do what you can to pass it around to others? Oh, and be sure to read Ann Coulter’s take on the trial, available here.
As we get into this week, which was, for the most part, an even more desperate disaster for the prosecution, allow me please to refer to my police experience, specifically, court preparation. Before each and every trial appearance, I carefully reviewed my complete report, which included every fact and observation, and all evidence of any kind, necessary to prove the crimes alleged. Not only probable cause for arrest, but proof beyond a reasonable doubt. I would not present a case for prosecution without that level of proof. My superiors would not allow such a case to be presented, and if it were, prosecutors would dismiss the charges– it would never go to trial. Why? Because it would damage the credibility of everyone involved, and in the criminal justice system, that’s all you really have. If you lose your credibility, if your word is no good, you’re useless.
When questioned by the defense, I was unfailingly polite and calm, and fully answered every question. Because my cases were essentially airtight, there was nowhere for the defense to go. I’m not suggesting I was some sort of super cop, only that competent cops and prosecutors do things properly, and don’t take very weak or non-existent cases to court. The risk of credibility loss is too high, and it’s unjust.
The George Floyd case is a bizarre case not only because the roles of the Prosecution and Defense are reversed, not only because the Prosecution’s witnesses actually prove the Defense case, but because there are no police officers present to prove the charges. The defendants are the only police on the scene that day. Not only has the management of the MPD thrown them under the bus, so has the Minneapolis and Minnesota political structure, the media—of course–and the prosecutors. If you think, gentle readers, you’ve seen an exodus of officers from the MPD—and you have–you haven’t seen anything yet, particularly if any of the officers are convicted.
Branca and I are providing not a defense argument, but an argument based on the evidence and the law. Let me remind you that the daily links include video of the events of that day in the courtroom. You might also wish to take this link to Prof. Jonathan Turley’s blog. Turley is anything but a conservative, but he is honest and knows the law very well. An excerpt:
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.
Turley posted this observation on the first day of the second week of testimony. During this week, the Defense, using the prosecution’s witnesses, established Derek Chauvin did not have his knee on George Floyd’s neck, but on his shoulder and upper back. Viewing video and photos from a variety of angles, prosecution witnesses were forced to admit it. As you’ll see, this forced the Prosecution to hastily change their assertions.
This is going to be lengthy, gentle readers, but I promise, it’s worth the effort, and if you’re reading this scruffy little blog, you know you’re not going to find 10 second long sound bites here.
Day 6: Only three prosecution witnesses testified on Day 6: Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, who was the ER physician who treated Floyd, MPD Chief Medaria Arradondo and Commander Katie Blackwell, in charge of MPD Training. All of the prosecution witnesses have been carefully prepared, and when asked the questions intended to conclusively prove the Prosecution case, respond in precisely the right verbiage for that purpose. But when the Defense cross examined them, they invariably ended up making the defense case by being forced to tell the entire truth, which for a normal jury, would badly damage their credibility and testimony. Normal people don’t like witnesses who dissemble, utter partial truths, hide the whole truth unless forced to reveal it, and lie when someone’s fate is hanging in the balance.
Dr. Langenfeld: He was forced to admit he had no idea Floyd overdosed on any specific drugs. He tried to deal with this by saying “based on the information I had at the time,” and tried to testify as though he didn’t know what he subsequently learned. Again, take the link for Branca more specific commentary. He did not look good.
Chief Arrandondo: Keep in mind he replaced the former chief, a female, lesbian Indian, who had the misfortune to be Chief when Mohamed Noor shot and killed Justine Damond. Despite her trifecta of woke checkmarks, she was ousted and Arrandonda took over. He’s not Indian, apparently not gay, and is male, but at least he’s Black, which is a very big woke check in Minneapolis these days. No one unwilling to throw their agency under the bus to vindicate whatever the crazed leftists running the city want would ever be appointed police chief, and Arrandondo obviously wants to keep his job. Like all big city police chiefs, he’s a politician in a uniform, not a police officer, and Defense Attorney Eric Nelson made that point.
What’s significant in his testimony was he absolutely threw Chauvin under the bus, but was forced to admit, after reading aloud the portions of the police manual he omitted under direct examination, a great many things that torpedoed his earlier testimony. This too was a telling exchange:
When asked if the bystander video made it appear that Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck, the Chief answered that it did appear to be located there.
When then asked if the body worn camera video made it appear that Chauvin’s knee was not on Floyd’s neck, but on Floyd’s shoulder blade, the Chief agreed that this also appeared to be the case.
In this case, to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt, the Prosecution not only has to prove Chauvin’s actions substantially contributed to Floyd’s death, and that those actions were unlawful. The Prosecution and media would have you believe only the former matters.
Commander Blackwell: Like other high-ranking officers in the first week, her testimony was primarily to establish foundational issues. Defense Attorney Eric Nelson only cross-examined her for two minutes.
Day 7: I can’t explain how bad Tuesday of the second week of the trial was for the prosecution better than Branca:
Today was a terrible, horrible no good, very bad day for the prosecution, to a degree that I haven’t seen since the trial of George Zimmerman.
If you have no more than an hour to watch the video of today’s proceedings, then I urge you to spend 44 minutes watching the cross-examination of state witness Johnny Mercil, the state’s use-of-force training expert, and 22 minutes watching the cross-examination of Nicole MacKenzie, the state’s medical care training expert. In both instances the result can only be called a train wreck of a disaster for the prosecution.
Indeed, after the judge dismissed Mercil from the witness stand, Prosecutor Schleiter appeared visibly shaken and angry—and he ought to have, given the mauling his case just received. At one point Mercil testified the he himself had personally kept a suspect physically restrained until EMS had arrived on scene, behavior which the state has been arguing for over a week was misconduct on the part of Chauvin.
It didn’t get any better with the two other witnesses the Prosecution presented. If interested, you really need to take the links and see the cross-examination of the witnesses, but one more excerpt from the cross of Lt. Mercil:
It was at this point that Nelson showed Mercil a series of photographs captured from the body worn camera of Officer Lane, and showing Chauvin’s knee on Floyd from the angle down Floyd’s proned body.
Photo 1: Where’s Chauvin’s leg in this image? On Floyd’s neck? Or on his shoulder blades and back. Mercil: Shoulder blades and back.
And in photo 2? Same. Photo 3? Same. Photo 4? Same.
This, of course, fundamentally undercuts the prosecution’s narrative of guilt that it was Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck that killed Floyd.
Are there circumstances like those already discussed where would be appropriate to maintain presence of leg across shoulder blades and back in order to ensure control of the suspect? Yes, there are, Mercil answered. For as long as 10 minutes? It’s possible.
“Ouch” indeed. Absolutely deadly to the prosecution’s case, and a clear indication to any reasonable jury the prosecution is concealing meaningful evidence from them. Sgt. Ker Yang is the MPD’s “Crisis Intervention Training Coordinator.” His testimony was also foundational and added nothing of substance to the Prosecution case.
Officer Nicole Mackenzie: Mackenzie is the “Medical Support Coordinator” for the MPD. The purpose of her testimony was to portray the officers as uncaring murderers who denied Floyd proper medical care. Nelson utterly destroyed her. Nelson also hammered hard on the reality that the hostile crowd played a role in Floyd’s death, forcing the officers to focus on them for their own safety. He also brought up the “load and scoot” of the paramedics that day due to their concerns for their own safety. How bad was her testimony for the Prosecution? Nelson told the judge he intends to call her as a defense witness during his case presentation. That, gentle readers, is rare, and double deadly to the Prosecution. By all means, take the link and read Branca’s summary and view the video.
Sgt. Jody Stiger, LAPD: Stiger was the Prosecution’s use of force expert who is anything but. He testified only about 30 minutes before the trial ended for the day.
Day 8: This was also a terrible day for the Prosecution. Branca explains:
Here’s a leading indicator that state-paid use-of-force expert witness [LAPD Sgt, Jody] Stiger was ultimately more favorable to the defense than he was to the prosecutors who’d paid him $13,000 to provide his expertise to help convict Chauvin: Whereas the State spent about 75 minutes questioning their own expert, Defense Counsel Nelson spent more than 90 minutes doing so.
That’s right, so fond was the defense of the State’s expert, so strongly did the defense believe that the testimony of the State’s expert favored Chauvin, that they spent 20% more time engaged with that expert in front of the jury than did the prosecutors.
In fact, the disparity is even worse if we only look at substantive questioning. Any party who calls an expert witness has to take time to establish the expert’s credentials, training, experience, and then also the methodology used by the expert to form their opinion. In this case that took the state a full 20 minutes, meaning they only questions Stiger substantively about his expert opinion for 55 minutes.
In that context, the defense actually spent 65% more time with the State’s expert witness, in front of the jury, engaged in substantive questioning, then did the State that paid that expert.
This too, gentle readers, is amazing, but not surprising in a backwards case. Normally, prosecution witnesses, particularly expert witnesses are impressive; their backgrounds are impeccable and they are experienced witnesses. The information they present is solid and authoritative. Because they are providing unassailable evidence in a solid case, cross examination is usually ineffective. Perhaps the Prosecution couldn’t find a competent expert who was willing to go along with their narrative? But wait; it’s even worse:
The first shocker in all this was that despite the huge significance of this case, and the national profile it has seized, the state apparently managed to choose as a use-of-force expert witness someone who had never testified in any state or Federal court as a use-of-force expert witness.
I know you’re thinking I mistyped that, so I’ll repeat it:
Sergeant Jody Stiger, the state’s highly paid use-of-force expert witness retained to share his expertise with the jury in Minnesota v. Chauvin, one of the highest-profile police use-of-force prosecutions in American history, has never before testified as a use-of-force expert witness in any state or Federal court.
This. Was. His. First.
To say I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that would be an understatement.
It almost boggles the mind. Can the state really have thought it a good idea, in a case of this magnitude with such stakes—literally, both Chauvin facing possible life in prison and urban centers all over the nation facing an explicit threat of widespread rioting, looting, and arson—to retain as their use-of-force expert witness someone who had never before testified as such in court.
Does that make any sense?
It certainly doesn’t in a normal, non-racist/political prosecution, but in a backwards case…
But it got worse for the prosecution.
Nelson asked if it wasn’t true that there were certain situations that by their very nature created an exceptionally heightened concern on the part of responding officers. Like a domestic.
Or like a robbery, or a shooting, Stiger helpfully suggested.
Sure, answered Nelson. So, sometimes an officer might have to be prepared for an increased risk.
I wouldn’t agree with that, said Stiger.
An officer should be prepared for the highest level of risk in every encounter.
So, every time an officer responds, there’s an inherent risk, it’s the nature of policing, and a reasonable officer has to be prepared for the risk level to change?
It’s hard to imagine more helpful testimony for the defense.
This is also a reflection of Stiger’s inexperience, not only as an expert witness, but as a supposedly experienced police officer. One doesn’t offer testimony in court; one answers questions honestly and directly, while not giving unnecessary openings to the Defense. Here’s another example:
Is the fact of Floyd’s size of particular concern, asked Nelson?
I wouldn’t say so, said Stiger.
Well, Stiger answered, I’ve seen even small suspects be even more dangerous than large ones.
Holy. Cow. In other words, it’s not a case where an officer should not infer greater risk from a large suspect, it’s a case where an officer should infer that same risk from even small suspects.
Holy Cow indeed! Remember Floyd was at least 6’4” (I’ve seen accounts putting him at 6’ 6”), and weighed at least 230 pounds, none of it apparently fat. Chauvin, the largest officer present, was 5’9” and weighed 140. Stiger is correct, but he just fired another torpedo into the Prosecution’s foundering case. This is going to be a significant part of the Defense closing argument, hopefully prominently featured on a Powerpoint slide presentation like that used so effectively by the defense in the George Zimmerman trial:
Nelson then asked Stiger about the extent to which the information in the 911 call should have informed Chauvin’s decision-making. To this, Stiger responded that he had never heard the 911 call.
You read that right: the state’s highly paid use-of-force expert witness had never bothered listening to the 911 call that set this entire police response in motion, and which was the foundational information the officers brought with them in responding to the scene.
I. Can’t. Even.
Neither. Can. I. One more important point: Nelson played a short video excerpt, where Floyd, on the ground, mumbles, “I ate too many drugs,” which is a logical thing for him to say because he did. Nelson asked Stiger what Floyd said, and he replied he couldn’t tell, so Nelson played it again, and Stiger said he still couldn’t tell. It was a brilliant tactic. Despite Stiger’s denial, the jury heard it twice. And it got worse still. Branca again:
Later in the day, with a different witness, BCA Special Agent Reyerson, whose testimony I won’t spend much time on because it was so boring, Nelson would play the same video, and ask the same question. This time, the witness will agree—yes, Reyerson answers, it sounds like “I ate too many drugs” to me.
So damaging was this Reyerson testimony for the state that they actually re-called Reyerson as a witness for the sole reason of having him listen again, and give a different answer. Oh, now, says Reyerson the second, now it sounds like ‘I didn’t take no drugs.’
Keep in mind the police found the same drugs in Floyd’s system in the Mercedes he was in when first approached by the police, and in the police car. Better yet, the pills in both cars had Floyd’s saliva–DNA–on them. Remember his pusher was in the car with him and did not testify because his attorney told the court he’d take the 5th. If the jury doesn’t know that, Nelson will surely remind them. Which version might the jury find more credible? And keep in mind too, Nelson arranged for the jury to hear it four times–brilliant tactics.
There were several other witnesses, but again, they were foundational, and really added little.
Day 9: Today, we saw another indicator of a backwards, racist, political trial. Defense Attorney Nelson was provided a stack of exhibits used by the Prosecution’s chief medical expert, only the night before. The Prosecution had the material long before, and were able to strategize with it with their 12-15 lawyers, but Nelson had only a few hours. The Prosecution is trying to wear Nelson out physically, and deny him the time he needs to properly prepare for cross-examination. To suggest this is unethical and denies Derek Chauvin a fair trial is the understatement of the year. We can be reasonably sure the Prosecution is concealing even more, and more damning, exculpatory evidence, though we may never learn of it.
This was the prosecution’s best day of the week, probably of the trial thus far, which is to say only that for a change, they appeared to know what they were doing and their witnesses–mostly–didn’t spontaneously combust on the witness stand. There were three medical experts: Dr. Martin Tobin, presented as an expert on respiratory matters. Keep in mind he never saw Floyd, so his testimony was based on videos and written reports. Daniel Isenschmitt is a Forensic Toxicologist who had a hand in testing Floyd’s blood, and Dr. William Smock, who described himself as a “Police Surgeon.” There is no such speciality. These three mostly made the trial look something like what a normal, non-political prosecution should resemble. A Branca summary of Tobin’s testimony:
Tobin also demonstrated an amazing ability—or, at least, claimed an amazing ability—to make precise biological determinations from cell phone and body camera video. For example, Tobin claimed to be able to tell the precise instant when Floyd suffered brain damage as a result of low oxygen levels (it was when Floyd abruptly kicked out a leg).
He could discern precisely what was happening within Floyd’s body, despite there being no physical manifestation of those processes either while Floyd was alive or upon medical examination after Floyd had died. Indeed, he claimed to discern the exact moment that Floyd died, by the expression on Floyd’s face: ‘One second he’s alive, and one second he’s no longer.’
This is utter nonsense, and Nelson will surely prove it in his case presentation.
He had models illustrating loses in lung function to the individual percent, although he had no personal knowledge of Floyd’s respiratory capacity when alive.
Nelson’s cross was effective, and I’ve no doubt he’ll do greater violence to Tobin in his case presentation.
Daniel Isenschmit: The point of his testimony was to try to tell the jury that despite have a more than lethal doses of fentanyl—and meth—in his body, those drugs could not possibly have contributed to his death(?!). Branca provides a complete analysis of this attempt at the link.
Dr. William Smock: I’ll let Branca describe him:
The next state medical expert witness, and the last of the day, was one Dr. William (“Bill”) Smock, an Emergency Medical Physician who claimed specialized training in forensic medicine. Direct questioning was conducted by Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell.
Frankly, Dr. Smock struck me as a bit of a nut job. He was portrayed by the state as having a substantive expertise in forensics. In fact, a close reading of his self-stated background and qualifications suggests his expertise is much more akin to that of a hobbiest in forensics than actual formal expertise.
Further, he oddly informed the court that he engaged in “living forensics,” which he described as applying the same forensic techniques to living patients as was more routinely applied to corpses. I’m presuming that does not include autopsy.
There is no such specialty as “living forensics.” Are we seeing a trend, gentle readers?
Further, Dr. Smock is not board certified in forensics, has no degree in forensics, and has never been employed to do forensics. Rather, he has ‘specialized training’ in forensics. This could simply mean that he has a personal interest in the subject and attends local continuing medical education courses in the subject. Oh, and he subscribes to a forensics science journal—though I note he did not say he actually reads it, he only said he ‘gets it.’
Like Dr. Tobin at the start of the day, Smock was present for the explicit purpose of sharing his expert opinion that Floyd’s death was the result of hypoxia induced by police restraint of Floyd, period. And he did that.
In other words, Smock is an “expert” because he has “Dr.” in front of his name. It’s another attempt to convince the jury with volume rather than quality and actual evidence. Like Tobin, he never saw Floyd. He discoursed on “excited delirium,” which has taken police work by storm in the last decade or so. It’s a supposed set of symptoms or behaviors, which indicate a bad guy is particularly dangerous, and give the police an enhanced excuse to use force. There is no such scientific, medical syndrome or diagnosis, but because the idea helps the police to be properly on guard, and is occasionally useful to prosecutors and defense lawyers, it keeps popping up. It was used by Las Vegas Metro in the Erik Scott case to justify murdering him, despite Scott exhibiting no such symptoms. Just the excited lie he was was enough to contribute to his murder.
On Day 10, Prof. Jacobson, a noted law professor and legal scholar and the proprietor of Legal Insurrection, provided some perspective. An excerpt:
The jurors also know that the city and much of the nation will explode if there is a ‘not guilty’ verdict, and that they will be doxxed and their lives ruined.
What I can say with confidence is that as with the George Zimmerman trial, the public is being misinformed by the mainstream media that this is an open-and-shut case, and if Chauvin is found not guilty it’s because of systemic racism in society and the judicial system.
This was very much the narrative in the Zimmerman case. Take this link to the SMM Trayvon Martin archive to read my trial coverage of that case.
For example, the widely accepted narrative that Chauvin kept his ‘knee on the neck’ for 9 minutes has been thoroughly debunked by the prosecution’s own witnesses and the body cams. There was pressure by Chauvin’s knee, but it was not continuously on the neck, and was mostly on the back and shoulders, according to prosecution medical witness testimony. Recognizing this evidentiary problem, the prosecution case has shifted from the initial several trial days of claiming that pressure from the knee to the carotid artery cut off blood flow to the brain causing loss of oxygen and inability to breathe, a claim rejected by the prosecution’s own medical experts, to a broader claim that Floyd being restrained while handcuffed in the prone position with pressure from multiple officers impaired his ability to inhale.
There are very significant evidentiary problems ignored or misrepresented in the mainstream media as to (1) cause of death, (2) whether Chauvin caused the death, (3) whether the force used by Chauvin was unlawful, and for some counts, (4) Chauvin’s intent. People who only read the mainstream media coverage of the case are ignorant of these issues.
Indeed. On to Branca’s coverage of the final day of the week.
Day 10: Friday of the second week was much more like the pattern established in this case from the beginning. Nelson turned prosecution witnesses into proof of the defense case, while making it clear the Prosecutors were concealing evidence from the jury. There were two witnesses, Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist, and Dr. Thomas Baker, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner who actually conducted Floyd’s autopsy.
Both gave the prosecution exactly what they wanted to hear, and tried to deny reality, but Nelson didn’t let them get away with it. Keep in mind Baker’s report is deadly to the prosecution, but since writing it–concluding the drugs killed Floyd–he has been trying to distance himself from it. One can only imagine the pressures exerted on him from all directions.
Thomas testified before Baker, from his autopsy report! She was merely interpreting Baker’s work, which in a normal trial, would not be done. The best witness is the witness that actually did the work, not someone talking about the work that was done by someone else. Like most of the other witnesses, she never saw Floyd, living or dead. Again, the Prosecution is trying to get, through sheer numbers and repetition, what the evidence can’t establish. Normally, a Defense Attorney would object to this, and a judge would agree, but Nelson did not. I suspect his overall strategy is to allow the Prosecution to do this, the better for him to eviscerate their case later. Branca provides a great example:
In the case of both Thomas and Baker, there was a common pattern in the nature of their testimony. On direct questioning by Prosecutor Blackwell they would both say the magic words they certainly knew the state needed them to say on the witness stand—in effect, and perhaps even literally word-for-word—they identified the primary cause of George Floyd’s death as asphyxia complicated by law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.
When asked on direct if any of the other notable factors everyone knew the defense would raise on cross—the existing cardiovascular disease with 75% to 90% occlusion of all three major coronary arteries, the hypertension-induced enlarged heart, the presence of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, the adrenaline induced by Floyd’s poorly made decision to fight four police officers for 10 minutes—could any of that have been the cause of Floyd’s death.
The answer was a flat no, period. Floyd’s death could only be attributable to asphyxia complicated by law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.
Nelson’s cross, yet again, forced them to contradict themselves and helped make the defense case before the Defense so much as begins presenting it. Take the link for more commentary and video.
As I’m sure you know by now, in Brooklyn Center, MN, a female police officer, apparently grabbing her Glock when she intended to use a Taser, shot and killed a 20 year old criminal who was wanted on multiple warrants and resisting arrest. He was, from the first second of media coverage, portrayed as a loving father of a two year old, and virtual saint, beloved by everyone. The information in this case is very preliminary, but from the body cam video I’ve viewed, I was amazed her black partner appeared incapable of handcuffing the criminal, allowing him to break free, and apparently utterly panicking the female officer, who appears to be an experienced veteran.
Keep in mind, these are very preliminary impressions, formed only after viewing the body camera footage. Brooklyn Center is on the NW border of Minneapolis, and has a population of over 30,000. The city’s manager was promptly fired. Why? He dared to suggest the female officer should be afforded due process. Oh, and you knew the dead criminal was black? This apparently accidental tragedy was immediately taken as an excuse to fight for social justice by the usual rioting and looting.
No, the criminal should not have died, but the life of the female officer is surely going to be destroyed in ways impossible for most to imagine, which is also a tragedy. News reports suggest she is white. If she goes to jail…well, jail, for police officers, is a death sentence. By all accounts, she is a dedicated, career professional who made a life-changing, terrible mistake. Was her partner, who seemed unable to handcuff someone who did not appear to be resisting at the time a diversity hire? How long had he been a police officer? What training, if any, did these officers have in Taser use? In handcuffing? We don’t know any of these answers, but these days, sadly, we need to know the answers.
Nelson, in light of this incident and the ongoing riots, asked the Judge to sequester the jury. He was refused, which is another potentially helpful issue if an appeal is necessary. While this incident has taken some of the media focus off the Chauvin trial, it will certainly keep the consequences, personally and for Minneapolis and the nation, of a not guilty verdict in the forefront of the minds of the jury.
The trial, thus far, by any professional, reasonable analysis, has not gone well for the Prosecution. Before the Defense has spoken a word of its case, more than reasonable doubt has already been introduced for a reasonable juror. But it’s highly likely there is no such thing in this case, or that reason will be overpowered by more than reasonable fear.
Again, take the links to see the entirety of Branca’s fine summaries, and I’ll provide more as necessary. Again, gentle readers, if my analysis is providing useful information you can’t get elsewhere, please commend it to your friends.