None of it had to happen. Capt. Dorn did not have to have his execution live-streamed on Facebook in the name of “justice” for George Floyd. Minneapolis did not have to be burned, with businesses which took a lifetime to build gone in a flash of flame. Statues of some of our country’s greatest heroes of human rights, men like Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses Grant and so many others did not have to be torn down by packs of ignoramuses who had no idea who they were or what they stood for — all in the name of “avenging” the “murder” of George Floyd.
Much of this–admittedly not all–could have been avoided had the thoroughly corrupt Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, waited just a few days before “jumping the gun” and filing murder and related charges against the Minneapolis Police Officers who arrested George Floyd on May 25, 2020, before all toxicology and autopsy reports were completed. Now, as a growing number of observers and analysts are bringing to light, these officers’ lives and liberty are at peril due to the inexcusable and detestable politicization of the criminal justice system and the prosecutors –and the Court–are saddled with a very likely unwinnable case in view of the real conflicts in the evidence making “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” difficult, if not impossible.
In this discussion, I will attempt to illustrate just how glaring those inconsistencies are but in doing so, I start with one important caveat. That has to do with the popular misconception created by the combination of the premature charges with the usual ubiquitous iPhone video of “the knee on the neck” scene layered on top of the countless riots, looting, shootings, injuries, deaths, candlelight vigils, etc., all of which have rendered almost impossible any fair and reasoned evaluation of the evidence. Any doubt about the power of that deeply-entrenched narrative should be dispelled by the briefest consideration of the fact that mobs are still shouting “hands up, don’t shoot” years after that entire scenario was proven to be sheer fiction.
There have been several comprehensive analyses of the evidence weighing against guilty verdicts in these cases, with two of the best written by our colleague, @arizonapatriot, and this discussion will not plow those furrows again, except to refer to some of their findings. My thesis will be to summarize, as succinctly and dispassionately as I know how to, the various strong arguments in favor of these defendants– legal arguments, not emotional, social justice “arguments” — to illustrate the life-or-death danger of prejudgment of any case, the George Floyd case, the Jacob Blake case in Kenosha, the Michael Brown case in Ferguson. It will also be my goal to try to illustrate the dominant role played in many of these cases by he corruption of public officers who we entrust to help assure we live in an ordered society–the very antithesis of what we are seeing today in many of our cities.
The arrest occurred on May 25, 2020; Floyd expired later that day, perhaps in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, although a viewing of the video of that scene is not clear as to whether he survived that long. A full autopsy was performed the next day, but the toxicology report, the findings of which have assumed heightened importance recently, was based on a study of “Hospital Blood” drawn upon his admission to the hospital soon after the arrest.
On May 29, 2020, charges of Third Degree Murder were filed against Officer Derek Chauvin. The Attorney General of the State of Minnesota, Keith Ellison, increased that charge to Second Degree Murder later, on June 3, 2020, in a move likely designed to appease the howling mobs then busily destroying everything in sight in downtown Minneapolis in the interest of “Justice” for Mr. Floyd. The mob, like mobs since the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, continued howling and burning and looting and, as surely as night follows day, killing.
In this interim of several days , however, a development was taking place which may well mean there is no rational argument that the State of Minnesota can prove these officers guilty of these crimes “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
The autopsy report, analyzed meticulously and brilliantly by @arizonapatriot in his post of July 6, 2020, was discussed with two representatives of the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office on May 26, which meeting was memorialized in the following memo, making it crystal clear that as of the night of the arrest incident, there was no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation:
On May 26, 2020, Patrick Lofton and Amy Sweasy met with Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker (AB) over Microsoft Teams. Also present in the MS Teams meeting were SAIC Scott Mueller and SA Mike Phill from the BCA and FBI Agents Hoffstetter, Rainer, Kane, and Melcher.
AB explained his findings from the autopsy of George Floyd. He stated that his final report
is not complete and that he must review more evidence, including video evidence, and toxicology
results before releasing a final opinion.
The autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation. Mr. Floyd did not exhibit signs of petechiae, damage to his airways or thyroid, brain bleeding, bone
injuries, or internal bruising. Mr. Floyd had several external injuries, including laceration to his lip and bruising on his left shoulder and face. He also had abrasions on his fingers and knuckles as well as wrist injuries
likely associated with being handcuffed. Mr. Floyd had preexisting health conditions including heavy heart and some coronary artery disease, including at least one artery that was approximately 75% blocked.
AB sent Mr. Floyd’s blood samples to NMS Labs, who will provide full toxicology report.
AB opined that he does not have full context for Mr. Floyd’s death without reviewing more of
the evidence. He specifically avoided watching any videos associated with the case to avoid
bias during the autopsy.
As observed in an article written by a 30 year veteran of the LAPD, Jack Dunphy (his nom de cyber according to his bio) about a week after the arrest incident, another curious piece of the puzzle was revealed:
On May 28, three days after Floyd’s death, there emerged the first hint that the narrative may have been too hastily constructed and that its foundation was less than solid. The Hennepin County medical examiner issued a press release citing preliminary results from George Floyd’s autopsy. “The cause and manner of death,” it read, “is currently pending further testing and investigation.”
As the author of that article then noted, “[t]his should have given a dispassionate observer pause”, but there was to be no “pause” with these prosecutors who charged ahead in the face of what many lawyers would have regarded as bright, large red flags and filed the first charges on May 29, in an action which appears to this hopefully objective observer to be, at best, ethically and professionally questionable.
Two days after the charges were filed, the prosecutors held an evening “virtual meeting” with the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker which was memorialized in the memo below:
It is important to note that this memo was only made public a few days ago (August 27, 2020) and then only in response to a Motion to Compel Disclosure in the case against one of the officers.
In other words, not voluntarily or with great fanfare, like the very public action of the execrable State AG in increasing the severity of the charge against Officer Chauvin.
The prosecutors and the State AG had to be ordered by a Court to produce information almost 3 months after the burning and looting and rioting in Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis, Washington, Kenosha and the injuring and maiming and killing of scores of American citizens, including a baby boy in his stroller in Chicago.
George Parry is former federal and state prosecutor. He has had extensive experience with a section of the Philadelphia DA’s Office investigating and prosecuting the use of deadly force by police. He has written a 3-part series in The American Spectator (here, here and here) about the George Floyd case and in the third part of that series gives a rather vivid imagining of the scene as the prosecutors heard this information and considered what it had done to their case:
So there they were, staring at the just-received and damning toxicology report that blew to smithereens the whole prosecution theory that the police had killed Floyd. To their undoubted dismay, Dr. Baker, the chief medical examiner, had to concede that at 11 ng/mL, Floyd had “a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances.” He also conceded that the fentanyl overdose “can cause pulmonary edema,” a frothy fluid build-up in the lungs that was evidenced by the finding at autopsy that Floyd’s lungs weighed two to three times normal weight.
This is consistent with Officer Kueng’s observation at the scene that Floyd was foaming at the mouth and, as found at autopsy, that his lungs were “diffusely congested and edematous.”
In other words, like a drowned man, Floyd’s lungs were filled with fluid. And that was the obvious and inescapable reason why Floyd kept shouting over and over again that he couldn’t breathe even when he was upright and mobile.
The memorandum ends with Dr. Baker’s devastating conclusion that “if Floyd had been found dead in his home (or anywhere else) and there were no other contributing factors he [Dr. Baker] would conclude that it was an overdose death.”
Translation: this toxicology report drives a stake through the heart of our murder case. How do we justify criminally charging these police officers and explain away our colossal screw-up?
While that should be legally sufficient to end this tragically wrongful prosecution, as the TV salesmen might say, “wait, wait, there’s more!” in the nature of a coup-de-grace, as if one would be needed. There is also a handwritten note, described and discussed by @arizonapatriot as follows:
The final evidence is a single page of handwritten notes dated June 1, 2020 (here). It does not identify the person who wrote the notes but appears to be written either by Dr. Baker or by someone recording a discussion with Dr. Baker. Here is the full text (again, my emphasis added):
Fentanyl at 11 ng/ml – this is higher than chronic pain patient. If he were found dead at home alone + no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD. Deaths have been certified w/ level of 3.
Baker: I am not saying this killed him.
4ANPP – thinks this is non-commercial
Meth 19 ng/ml – this is relatively low, but meth is bad for your heart.
From videos I have seen, it appears like his knee is on the side of his neck, not where the structures are.
This last line is relevant to the asphyxia argument, and specifically the media narrative that Ofc. Chauvin was choking Floyd by kneeling on his neck. As noted in my June 6 post and in the first memo quoted above, the autopsy found no physical evidence of choking or other asphyxiation — specific relevant details is the lack of damage to Floyd’s trachea and hyoid bone. This is common sense. In the video, Floyd’s head is turned to the side — his right side — and Chauvin’s knee is on the right side of Floyd’s neck, presumably pressing down (with an unknown amount of force, except that it was insufficient to cause any bruising or other tissue trauma, according to the autopsy). You can’t choke someone with pressure on the side of their neck.
@arizonapatriot, with admirable and circumspect professionalism, observes that the officers in this case are “engaging in deliberate obfuscation, and I find this very troubling.”
While this evidence should —legally– finish this prosecution and free these wrongfully persecuted officers (I write the word “persecuted” advisedly on the day a Federal Court of Appeals has disgracefully extended the persecution of Gen. Flynn apparently indefinitely), there is more powerful evidence in their favor. This evidence is discussed in the second of George Parry’s series, entitled “Chauvin, Lane, Kueng, and Thao: The George Floyd Fall Guys”, and shows that every step they took in the arrest and subduing of George Floyd was in complete compliance with the Minneapolis Police Department officer training materials on how to safely properly subdue a suspect.
As I promised I would (attempt to) keep this as succinct as possible, and considering that I believe, in the utmost of good faith, that there is no way for the prosecution to overcome the challenges presented by the evidence of their own Medical Examiner, I will not cover that additional evidence in detail here. However, for those who wish to delve further into this additional source of “reasonable doubt”, it is set forth in the article cited above and also in the Memorandum Supporting Motion to Dismiss in behalf of Officer Thomas Kiernan Lane and especially the exhibits listed in the appendix.
The result of the callous and sickening corruption of the officials involved in this prosecution is best described by George Parry, a lawyer, as noted above, with a lifetime of professional experience in this field:
So where are these well-intentioned, well-trained, and dutiful public servants today? They are in jail awaiting trial on murder and aiding and abetting charges after having been universally condemned in the news media and used by neo-Marxists and opportunistic criminals across the country as a pretext to riot, loot, and burn. And, while they sit in their cells, not one Minneapolis official, from Mayor Jacob Frey to Police Chief Medaria Arradondo or any member of City Council, has come forward to acknowledge that, in subduing Floyd, these law officers were acting in meticulous accordance with the MPD training and directives designed to reduce the risk of harm to persons suffering excited delirium.
In fact, after Chauvin, Lane, Kueng, and Thao were summarily fired by the MPD, Chief Arradondo apologized to Floyd’s family and acknowledged his department’s purported role in creating “the deficit of hope” that he claims existed in Minneapolis even prior to Floyd’s death.
“I am absolutely sorry for the pain, the devastation and trauma that Mr. Floyd’s death has left on his family, his loved ones, our community in Minneapolis and certainly across the country and the world,” Chief Arradondo announced in a news conference.
For its part, the Minneapolis City Council has acted to defund and dismantle the police department.
All of this, mind you, from the very officials who are ultimately responsible for the training and directives that the defendant officers followed to the letter in their attempt to safely subdue Floyd, who was under the influence of a massively lethal overdose of fentanyl and exhibiting the unmistakable signs of the deadly excited delirium.
By their hypocrisy and cowardice, these blame-shifting public officials, desperate to preserve their political careers and places at the public trough, have tossed these police officers to the howling mob.
In this discussion, I have repeatedly emphasized the word “legally” in weighing what should be the outcome of these unjust prosecutions to distinguish from what we all suspect will be the tragic actual outcome. Here is a passage from one of the very early articles by an author who saw “the handwriting on the wall” months ago”:
Think about this for a minute. What becomes of a society in which facts do not matter? The US media, Democrat Party, white liberals, and the sorry excuse for a leftwing are so primed for “white racism” that they jumped to their desired conclusion and egged on riots and looting that resulted in massive property damage in multiple cities, some deaths, many injuries, and much damage to racial relations. Democrat mayors and governors stood down. Police and National Guard attempting to contain the violence were not supported. Even the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Trump’s Secretary of Defense accommodated the rioting and looting by undermining President Trump’s stand against it. Many people’s businesses were wiped out, and in most cases insurance does not cover damage from riots. The politicians and the media are responsible for the billions of dollars the “peaceful protests” cost. Those who suffered the damage should bring class action suits.
When the Minnesota police, who have been falsely charged with George Floyd’s murder, are tried, the jurors will be afraid not to convict. The story is set in stone, and too many powerful interests are committed to it. The police have already been tried and convicted in the media, and the jurors will fear going against public opinion that the media and white liberals have orchestrated. The effect on police morale and commitment will be devastating. Already police are standing down when faced with crimes committed by “people of color.” Blacks are learning that they have immunity from their violent behavior. For the criminal element, protests are profit opportunities. Expect more “peaceful protests.”
If the name O.J. Simpson comes to mind now and then it is for good reason. “Jury nullification” is a real and most pernicious reality in our legal system, and its ghost haunts the future of these horribly mistreated Officers of the Law.
I pray I’m wrong.
Respectfully submitted, Jim.