The entire country was rocked by the almost 9-minute video–but what about justice?
When I first saw that terrible viral video of the death of George Floyd while in police custody, I was just as disturbed, outraged, and horrified as the activists shouting about police brutality–but I couldn’t say with certainty that it was motivated by racism. Nobody could claim that definitively even though they did just that on the left. The video did, however, seem to be a clear case of police brutality out in broad daylight. At least, it did to me…but then, I’m not a law enforcement officer.
After the horror subsided a bit, one thing really started to bother me–how would these police officers get a fair trial?
We pride ourselves on a justice system predicated on fairness and that it ideally looks at “just the facts” of each case. We know our system doesn’t always live up to those ideals, but even when it does seem cut-and-dry, a full investigation needs to be done to bring forward the facts that aren’t immediately visible.
The details came out that Floyd was being held down because of a counterfeit $20 bill. It seemed like such an insignificant crime to lose a life over, especially since so many people are struggling due to ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns all over the world. The outrage grew and spread, and cities began to burn.
How do you have “blind justice” when the video is so emotionally jarring and compels people to make a knee-jerk reaction to it once they’ve seen it? I can’t think of a single person who watched the entire thing from beginning to end and didn’t have the reaction that it was just a police officer “doing his job.” We all made judgments.
The video had gone viral, protests were already beginning, and all four officers had been deemed guilty in the court of public opinion. Politicians were speaking out as though the officers involved were already guilty, and the Attorney General of Minnesota ramped up the initial charge against Derek Chauvin from “third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter” to “second-degree murder.”
Minnesota’s AG, Keith Ellison, said that even though there was video of George Floyd’s final moments, it wasn’t going to be an easy trial.
George Parry, a former federal and state prosecutor, wrote a very thorough article in The American Spectator looking at the evidence in the George Floyd case. What he found was that it wasn’t as open-and-shut as everyone seems to think it is.
…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.
Here’s a quick summary of Parry’s article.
1. The Officers’ Bodycam Videos
Parry includes transcripts of the arrest from the moment that the officers approach Floyd.
Floyd was incoherent, acting erratically, non-compliant, and foaming at the mouth. He was having trouble walking and standing up. He wanted to lie on the ground. But, while still upright, he complained three times that he was “claustrophobic,” seven times that he “can’t breathe,” and twice that he was “going to die.” And Speaker 9 exclaimed that Floyd looked like he was about to have a “heart attack.”
All of this happened before he was on the ground and immobilized by the police. Nevertheless, as he continued to resist and behave irrationally, his condition deteriorated and his complaints of being unable to breathe increased in frequency even though no one was applying force of any kind to his neck or compressing his back or chest.
After Floyd was on the ground, he continued to move about and say that he couldn’t breathe. Lane was near Floyd’s feet, Kueng at the middle of Floyd’s body, and Chauvin at his back and head with his knee on Floyd’s neck.
2. The Autopsy Report
The autopsy report by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office is titled “CARDIOPULMONARY ARREST COMPLICATING LAW ENFORCEMENT SUBDUAL, RESTRAINT, AND NECK COMPRESSION.” Strangely enough, the report, which thoroughly sets forth in detail all physical and toxicological findings, makes no other mention of the purported cause of death. In fact, the first iteration of the report didn’t even mention “law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” and the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors stated that the autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”
Moreover, prior to issuing the autopsy report, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner preliminarily found that the “autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” (Emphasis added.)
3. The Toxicology Report
So why couldn’t Floyd breathe, and how did he die? The clear answers to those questions are to be found in his toxicology report, which overwhelmingly and unerringly supports the conclusion that Floyd’s breathing difficulties and death were the direct and undeniable result of his ingestion of fentanyl mixed with methamphetamine.
When Floyd arrived at the hospital, his blood was drawn. According to the toxicology report, postmortem testing of that blood established the presence of, among other drugs, “Fentanyl 11 ng/mL” (nanograms per milliter). In that regard, tucked away in the report’s “Reference Comments” is this: “Signs associated with fentanyl toxicity include severe respiratory depression, seizures, hypotension, coma and death. In fatalities from fentanyl, blood concentrations are variable and have been reported as low as 3 ng/mL.”
Got that? According to the toxicology report, which is central to the prosecution’s case, at 11 ng/mL, Floyd had over three times the potentially lethal 3 ng/mL dose of fentanyl in his bloodstream when he arrived unresponsive at the hospital.
George Parry isn’t the only one to notice these inconvenient truths, either. The attorney for Thomas Lane, one of the Minneapolis cops charged with “aiding and abetting second-degree murder” of George Floyd, has filed a motion to dismiss the charges against Lane because evidence points to Floyd having died of an overdose.
In Monday’s filing, Earl Gray said the disappearance of a white spot on Floyd’s tongue in the body camera video looks like “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose.”
“All he had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,” the court documents read. “Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death.”
The Hennepin County medical examiner’s autopsy report said toxicology testing found fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system.
Source: New York Post
With this evidence, Parry asks the question, “will there be a judge or jury with enough integrity and courage to defy the mob and, in recognition of the clear and overwhelming exculpatory evidence, set these wrongfully accused men free?”
I think we all know the answer to that. If they did, the cities would be burning even worse than they are now.