The alleged “murder” of George Floyd by Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin triggered the riots, looting and arson that have dominated the Summer months. That Floyd was murdered by the Minneapolis Police Department is an article of faith on the left and on many precincts of the right.
But is it true? Floyd’s case became internationally famous because of cell phone video that showed him slowly becoming unconscious while a police officer knelt on his neck. Surely he was asphyxiated! That conclusion seemed inescapable, especially since, while lying on the street with officers restraining him, Floyd complained of being unable to breathe. “I can’t breathe” became a Black Lives Matter battle cry.
But video that came out later showed that Floyd had been complaining of inability to breathe when he was standing up and walking around, long before he was on the street. And it emerged that the toxicology report associated with his autopsy found that he had at least double the dose of fentanyl in his blood that is normally considered lethal, along with other drugs. And shortness of breath is notoriously a symptom of fentanyl poisoning.
I wrote about all of that here. But now there is a new bombshell: on Tuesday, prosecutors who have charged Derek Chauvin with murder released a document that suggests that he had nothing to do with Floyd’s death, which in all likelihood resulted from a drug overdose. Not only that, prosecutors have known that fact for months. Former state and federal prosecutor George Parry has the story. It was linked earlier as a Pick, but I think deserves more attention:
At 7:30 p.m. on May 31, 2020, prosecutors “met” online with Dr. Andrew Baker, Chief Medical Examiner of Hennepin County, to discuss Floyd’s toxicology report.
The memo of that meeting is embedded at the link.
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.”
And yet the homicide prosecution against four Minneapolis Police Department officers continues.
It is quite telling that this explosively exculpatory June 1 memorandum was not released by the prosecution until August 25, 2020. All of which prompts these questions:
First, why did the prosecution wait three months to release this memorandum?
Second, if the prosecution had released this information in a timely fashion, would that have helped to quell the anti-police outrage that has fueled the nationwide orgy of rioting and looting?
Third, in light of Floyd’s toxicology results and the medical examiner’s assessment that Floyd’s fentanyl overdose caused him to essentially drown in his own bodily fluid, why haven’t the charges against all of the police defendants been dropped?
I can answer the last question. If charges against Derek Chauvin and the other officers were dropped, rioting would break out not just in Minneapolis, but across the country. Broad swaths of the City of Minneapolis have already been burned to the ground, and that is probably nothing compared to what Black Lives Matter would do if the criminal justice system followed normal procedures. Derek Chauvin, at this point, is a man without a country, a man who probably cannot receive a fair trial anywhere in the United States. Certainly not in Hennepin County, where he has been charged.
Sorry, Derek. The normal rules don’t apply to you. Raisons d’État–reasons of state–dictate that you spend the rest of your life in prison. Civic authorities are too frightened of rioters, or too sympathetic with their cause, for it to be otherwise.