Wednesday, June 03, 2020

2nd degree murder


  1. I've posted this as a comment below, in case you may have read this before. But I think it's relevant, and no one is saying it.

    I'm not saying anything at all here about the guilt or innocence of Chauvin (or the other police on the scene). We just simply don't know enough. And we still live in a country where there is a presumption of innocence, and there will certainly be investigations and trials.

    But here are some of the things we know.

    George Floyd had on multiple occasions passed counterfeit money. That is a federal crime -- it would be a federal crime for anyone. The FBI was called in immediately. That is one of the first things I heard about all of this. And I'm sure the FBI knows a lot already.

    On top of that, Floyd was intoxicated. He was a very big man, and he clearly dwarfed the police officers on some of the videos. He had history with Chauvin in the past -- they worked "security" at a "night club". Did they interact there? What was the nature of their relationship? Did Chauvin think Floyd was playing "possum"? That is not outside the realm of possibility. He had already in this incident (passively) been resisting arrest. Clearly there was a concern on the part of the police that he could be capable of lashing out in some way.

    He was clearly intoxicated, which could have been a thought underpinning the belief Floyd could lash out and be dangerous. What if the physical hold was a desire by the police to avoid having to be put into a position of shooting at him? I'm sure that will come out in the trial too.

    As well, at least one autopsy has shown that high on Fentanyl and Methamphetamine, which also contributed to his death.

    1. Thanks, John. I appreciate the comment. Just in response:

      1. It's true Floyd may very well have been perceived to be a threat, and he may have been in the wrong, but that doesn't necessarily exculpate let alone justify how Chauvin handled the situation.

      2. I've read several law enforcement officers speaking up against how Chauvin handled the situation. I recall reading one officer saying his police academy never trained officers to handle the situation like Chauvin handled it and in fact trained them to always be extra cautious in placing too much pressure on a person's neck. Anyway I think what other law enforcement officers think should be relatively easy to Google.

      3. This includes one of the other three officers present on the scene with Chauvin, i.e., Thomas Lane. Lane was also arrested with Chauvin and the other two officers present for his role in Floyd's death. However, Lane (who was a rookie or very junior police officer on the scene) tried to speak up twice against Chauvin (who was the most senior officer on the scene) during Floyd's arrest. The first time Lane said "should we roll him on his side" and the second time Lane said "I am worried about excited delirium or whatever". Both times Chauvin did not heed what Lane said.

      Importantly, here is what "excited delirium" means to first responders including police officers. Excited delirium is a medical emergency and places the restrained person at an increased risk of death.

      In short, another police officer on the scene with Chauvin (i.e. Lane) raised serious concerns about what Chauvin was doing.

      4. It further appears that, despite Floyd having already lost consciousness, Chauvin continued to apply pressure to Floyd's neck, while the other two officers (including Lane) continued to apply their weight on Floyd's back. Given this, Floyd very likely lost a pulse too, but currently available video footage does not show Chauvin attempting to feel for a pulse, despite bystanders yelling at Chauvin to try to feel for a pulse. If all this is true, then that's excessive.

      5. As far as the medical issues including the autopsy report, here is a pulmonary and critical care physician's informative analysis. It's a solid analysis from a medical perspective without getting into any of the politics.

      6. The autopsy report from both the Hennepin County medical examiner as well as a forensic pathologist named Dr. Michael Baden who served as an independent expert states Floyd died from "asphyxiation from sustained pressure when his back and neck were compressed, with the neck pressure cutting off blood flow to his brain".

      7. As far as Floyd's character, I don't know enough to say one way or another. That said, I posted that Chrsitianity Today has an article about how Floyd may have been a Christian.

    2. Oops, sorry, my mistake: there are two separate autopsy reports. The Hennepin County medical examiner report states Floyd's death was from "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression", while the earlier quote is from the independent forensic pathologist. However, both are consistent with one another. And both ruled in homicide as the cause of death.

    3. "As well, at least one autopsy has shown that high on Fentanyl and Methamphetamine, which also contributed to his death."

      Here's Dr. Mike Hansen starting at 17:10: "[T]he Hennepin County release also says heart disease was an issue. The independent examiner didn't find that. The county said that fentanyl and methamphetamine were among significant conditions. But the report didn't say how much of either drug was in his system or how that may have contributed. So here's the thing. Let's say for a second, at least hypothetically speaking, he had underlying heart disease and he had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system. So what? Could those have indirectly contributed to his death? Sure, but that's not the direct cause of his death. A better way to describe it would be to say they might have hastened his death had he not had heart disease or those drugs in his system. But either way that's not what killed him. The officers had their weight on his back and pressure on his neck for a total of 8 minutes 46 seconds and for 2 minutes 53 seconds after he lost consciousness."

  2. I know this is two days old now, and Shapiro may have corrected himself, but it seems he's mistaken on Minnesota law regarding second-degree murder. You don't need to prove intention if the person being charged killed the person while committing a violent felony. But apparently it's still a risky charge. cf.

    1. Thanks, John! Good to know. I appreciate this.