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Medical Examiner: George Floyd Wasn't Asphyxiated
Minneapolis, Minn.
   
 
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From the first hours after George Floyd died on Lake Street in Minneapolis, the rush to convict the officers who took him into custody seemed unstoppable. The frenzy was fueled by a video of one of the officers kneeling on Floyd, seemingly on his throat, while the officers waited for an ambulance to arrive. Every politician in Minnesota (and elsewhere) denounced the video as “appalling,” “disgusting,” and so on, and called for the policemen’s heads. Only a few brave souls suggested that we should at least wait to learn the cause of Floyd’s death before stringing anyone up. Or burning anything down.

Today we got the first information from Hennepin County’s Medical Examiner, in an attachment to the criminal complaint against officer Derek Chauvin:

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner (ME) conducted Mr. Floyd’s autopsy on May 26, 2020. The full report of the ME is pending but the ME has made the following preliminary findings. 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. Further, the complaint’s Statement of Probable Cause recites that Floyd complained of being unable to breathe well before Officer Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s neck:

While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe.

Does this mean that the officers’ handling of the situation was a model of fine police work? Of course not. And the manner in which they handled Floyd could have contributed to his death, according to the Medical Examiner. But the outrage over the Floyd case has mostly been based on the assumption that Officer Chauvin choked him to death by kneeling on his throat. If that assumption is false, the story is far more nuanced.

There is a great deal about this incident that we do not know. To cite just one example, we don’t know, as far as I am aware, whether Floyd was, in fact, the person who tried to pass a counterfeit bill. We also don’t know whether drugs played a role in his death; the Medical Examiner refers to “potential intoxicants in his system.” The full report will contain chemical analyses of any such intoxicants. Maybe there weren’t any, but at this point, no one has ruled out the possibility that Floyd died not on account of police brutality, but from a drug overdose.

It may be that when all the facts are in, we will conclude that George Floyd died as a result of negligence on the part of Minneapolis policemen. If so, there will be plenty of time for an accounting. But today’s disclosure of the Medical Examiner’s preliminary findings reminds us why lynch mobs have always been a bad idea, and calls for overnight justice are nearly always misguided.



Comments:
~ Lets hope those officers have a good union delegate or FOP Atty.
Posted by CaptMidnight at 5/31/2020 6:41:47 PM

There is no way that anyone can defend what these Officers did.
No "nuance" is ever going to justify a death while in custody. Ignoring his pleas for help was pure redneck arrogance. Four trained, grown men can't handle one unarmed suspect poor training and poor supervision in the Dept. They have been covering up and making excuses for years for these officers.
We have to make it easier to remove rouge officers instead of passing them along to another agency.
The "All cops are hero's" is a false/failed narrative.
Look around the room...one of your fellow officers needs to go...you know who he is....Speak up!
"Houston officer runs over woman with his
horse on purpose"...Once again the Chief and Turner have a news conference and apologize for a Houston Officers actions...Peeing in public will get you killed in Houston..by off duty LEO.
Posted by L.T. at 6/1/2020 9:04:56 AM

The "Law of Parties" should apply to officers also....Silence is complicity...if you stand by silently while a fellow offer commits a crime you are as guilty as him...now we know that he died because of pressure applied to his back and neck caused him to have a heart attack.
Please speak up if you can stop a fellow officer from starting the next riots by killing a man in custody.
Posted by L.T. at 6/2/2020 8:19:17 AM

Did you watch the video? Imagine if these were black kids choking a police officer: would you be wondering if the officer really died of a heart attack? Or would have all 4 on charges for murder?

That's not even a real question, is it: if this were done to police, there would be 4 murder charges instantly.

Even the worst caricature of a liberal lawyer who wants every last bit of evidence of a crime to have four witnesses and a videotape: we have that. We have that. We watched it.

One murderer, three officers begged for help who assisted instead — and back in the office what happens? Every last effort to prevent the murderer from facing his crimes, efforts to derail the autopsy in tiny ways that might create doubt for a jury.

Did no one take an oath of office when signing up? Who did you take your oaths to?
Posted by Stephen at 6/2/2020 11:51:09 AM

It is never wise to jump to conclusions without all of the facts. What happened to George Floyd was tragic, and the lynch mob media jumped in with both feet. /the Minneapolis police acted inappropriately, but a 6'6" bouncer hopped up on amphetamines could have been a formidable force to handle. Nonetheless, this incident should have never happened and deserves a full investigation.
Posted by Old Dog 1 at 6/2/2020 5:42:38 PM

Finally someone is getting this right. All the talking heads on the fake news channels have become a lynch mob.
Posted by Jack Rider at 6/5/2020 4:57:36 PM

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