George Floyd died at the knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Memorial Day. Floyd was handcuffed and held to the ground with Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd complained that he could not breathe. The arrest and detention were captured on sickening video. Three other officers were on the scene. It all went down at 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis’s Third Precinct in south Minneapolis.
The front page of Wednesday’s Star Tribune is below. I have embedded video of a WCCO-TV new report on Floyd’s death at the bottom of this post.
— Greg Mees (@mees_greg) May 27, 2020
I don’t think that Chauvin’s knee to the neck of a suspect in custody is an authorized police maneuver. I haven’t heard any hypothesis that offers an innocent explanation of Chavin’s behavior. The video is sickening. Chauvin and his three colleagues were all promptly fired by Minneapolis Chief of Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. No one defends what happened to Floyd. No one justifies it.
Floyd’s death is under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI. When the BCA investigation is complete, the file will be turned over to the Hennepin County Attorney for charging. The case has been assigned to Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Amy Sweasy. Sweasy is the prosecutor who secured the third-degree murder conviction of Mohamed Noor last year in the death of Justine Damond. I would guess that Sweasy will be closely involved with the BCA investigation. She was not impressed with its work in the Noor case.
Floyd was black and Chauvin is white. Floyd’s death has been endowed with a racial component that has yet to be determined, but has already served as the pretext for riots, looting, and violence. The city is struggling to restore order. The police are overwhelmed. State troopers are pitching in. The National Guard may be called in at the request of Minneapolis boy mayor Jacob Frey.
Frey and the rest of the political crowd tried to get out in front of the crowd in Floyd’s apparent murder. Frey called for Chauvin’s charging and arrest now, before the completion of the pending investigations. Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, Attorney General Keith Ellison all spoke to Floyd’s death at the daily press briefing yesterday. They could barely bring themselves to discourage rioting or violence. I will post the video in my daily coronavirus update.
In his remarks Governor Walz paid tribute to Ellison’s “civil rights work” decades ago. I’m not sure exactly what Walz was referring to, but Ellison made his name in Minneapolis as a racial hustler for the Nation of Islam. He led protests on behalf of the Vice Lords gangbangers on trial for the 1992 murder of Minneapolis police officer Jerry Haaf. The man and the moment have met.
Fast-talking Governor Walz, “light-skinned Native American” Flanagan, former Nation of Islam leader Ellison — this is a parade of clowns and, in Ellison’s case, a malefactor. They go this far: they urge protesters to use masks and employ social distancing. Will any of them call out the violence for what it is and do something about it?
The scene is surreal. Businesses have been burned and destroyed. Third precinct headquarters have been under assault. The atmosphere is one of mob rule. The looting and rioting have gone so far that we may have passed the point of euphemism.
Someone needs to speak up for the rule of law. Someone in authority needs to restore it. We are long on chaos and short on leadership.
UPDATE: I have posted the video of yesterday’s daily press briefing in the adjacent post. Walz, Flanagan, Ellison and others addressed Floyd’s death in their remarks.