In my view, Derek Chauvin is a scapegoat for the ages. Scott wrote a little while ago about the Minnesota Court of Appeals’ turning down Chauvin’s appeal based on pretrial publicity. I would say this is one of the year’s least surprising news stories. The Court of Appeals was no more willing to risk inciting riots than the Chauvin jurors were.
Unlike (I think) Scott, I believe Chauvin’s guilty verdict was wrong on the merits. On the day of his death, George Floyd ingested three times a lethal dose of fentanyl. He showed the classic symptoms of a fentanyl overdose–most notably, difficulty breathing, which he complained of for 20 minutes before anyone knelt on him. Two months before the fatal Memorial Day incident, the same thing happened: Floyd overdosed on fentanyl. He was rushed to the hospital, where he spent three days and the doctors saved his life. The only thing that was different on Memorial Day, in my opinion, was that the ambulance didn’t arrive in time. I think the police officers were bystanders at at one of many thousands of fentanyl overdose deaths.
In my view, the medical testimony at the trial showed little evidence of death by suffocation. There was no significant physical evidence that Floyd suffocated; the prosecution’s testimony was mainly directed to showing that it is possible to suffocate without leaving evidence in the autopsy. Fine, but cause of death is one of the elements the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and showing that it was possible Floyd could have suffocated didn’t come close to meeting that burden. Then we have the fact that the prosecution called two medical experts–one of them was the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, whose testimony wasn’t good enough, so they had to hire a paid outsider–and they disagreed on the cause of death. How do you get beyond a reasonable doubt when the prosecution’s own experts don’t agree?
In any event, that is how I saw the evidence. I bring all of this up because on Thursday, the City of Minneapolis announced that it would pay $8.9 million to two alleged victims of police brutality by Derek Chauvin:
The city of Minneapolis agreed Thursday to pay nearly $9 million to settle lawsuits filed by two people who said former police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into their necks years before he used the same move to kill George Floyd.
I don’t think Chauvin killed George Floyd, and he certainly didn’t kill these two plaintiffs. Did they suffer injuries? What injuries? One of these plaintiffs, John Pope, got $7.5 million, the kind of money that normally might be paid to a quadriplegic. Is Pope a quadriplegic? I don’t think so. No doubt his injuries, if there were some, have been reported, but I didn’t see any reference to them in the current stories about the City’s settlement.
So how did Chauvin come to kneel on these two plaintiffs?
Code’s lawsuit said she was in handcuffs when Chauvin slammed her head to the ground and pinned his knee on the back of her neck for 4 minutes and 41 seconds.
But why? You have to read news stories with care to have even an inkling of what was going on:
Code was arrested in June 2017 after she allegedly tried to strangle her mother with an extension cord.
Oh. Maybe that was why she only got $1.375 million–still, not a bad payday. How about John Pope?
Pope’s lawsuit said his mother was drunk when she called the police because she was upset that he and his 16-year-old sister left their cellphone chargers plugged in, leading to a physical confrontation. It alleged Chauvin struck Pope in the head with a large metal flashlight at least four times. It says he then put Pope in a chokehold before pinning him to the floor and putting his knee on Pope’s neck.
No hint as to why Chauvin “struck Pope in the head with a large metal flashlight,” etc., other than a vague reference to a “physical confrontation.” In any event, Pope is now a wealthy young man.
In both of these cases, higher-ups reviewed body cam footage and approved, or at least didn’t take action against, Chauvin’s use of force.
This is the worst of it:
Speaking at a news conference announcing the settelements on Thursday, [Minneapolis Chief of Police Brian] O’Hara referred to Chauvin as a “national embarrassment to the policing profession.”
“More than another iteration of the hateful and violent legacy of this former employee,” said O’Hara. “This is an example of the cancer that has infected this department. Today is not a day for excuses or attempts at justification. The notion that we are dealing with the bad actions of one employee is false. We are dealing with the ugly consequences stemming from a systemic failure within the Minneapolis Police Department that has allowed for and at times encourage unjust and brutal policing.”
Shockingly, the City of Minneapolis is having a hard time hiring police officers, despite being ordered to do so by a local court. With support like this from the top–recall, too, that the former chief testified against Chauvin in his trial–who would want to be a Minneapolis cop?
And, finally, this is just childish:
While apologizing to the victims, O’Hara also announced a symbolic act to move beyond the shadow Chauvin has cast on the department. Typically, the department recycles badges and badge numbers. With Chauvin, O’Hara says that won’t happen.
“Our community deserves good policing that reflects community values and is effective at keeping all people safe,” said O’Hara. “As Minneapolis chief of police, I expect nothing less. The Minneapolis police has a tradition to recycle the badge numbers that are no longer assigned to a current officer. This badge, betrayed so and so egregiously dishonored, will be destroyed and the badge number permanently removed from our rosters so that no future Minneapolis police officer should have to wear it.”
Yeah, that’ll help. Liberals feed their egos with other people’s money, while the city of Minneapolis continues to slide downhill.