It's little surprise that Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis cop accused of killing George Floyd, was convicted on every count thrown against him. Minneapolis had been wracked with riots over Floyd's death which all the trial's jurors experienced, presiding judge Peter Cahill refused to allow the trial to move to another venue, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters promised more destruction if Chauvin weren't convicted (actually inciting what Donald Trump was falsely accused of, but Waters' actions were politically correct and therefore beyond reproach), and an alternate juror frankly mirrored the jurors' presumed fear of violence at their doorsteps if they voted against conviction.
- Derek Chauvin juror: 'Every day we had to come in and watch a Black man die
- Forum Editorial: Let’s make George Floyd’s tragic death a turning point
Every juror—nonsequestered of course—knew that the city of Minneapolis had already announced Chauvin's guilt by awarding the Floyd family $27 million. As a card-carrying member of America's fifth column the Minneapolis Star-Tribune did its part, too, giving away the neighborhoods the jurors lived in, what they did for a living, pretty much everything except names and specific addresses which any halfwit could track down. Conviction was all but a foregone conclusion. It appears that due process and justice took a beating in Chauvin's trial, regardless of his guilt or innocence.
George Floyd was arrested for trying to pass a counterfeit bill. He resisted arrest and, being far larger than any of the cops at hand, made a formidable struggle. He foamed at the mouth and his behavior led the cops to ask him if he was drugged, to which an autopsy later verified that he was awash with fentanyl and meth. Floyd complained of not being able to breath while still standing outside the squad car, which might have been true given that three of his main heart arteries were nearly blocked and his drugged condition. But how Chauvin and the others were to know this when Floyd was talking, resisting, and on his feet is a mystery.
The evidence and arguments in the Floyd trial, pro and con, are voluminous and contradictory. What's unclear is how prosecution witness Dr. Martin Toobin maintained simultaneously that Floyd died of oxygen starvation (“not an ounce of oxygen”) when Chauvin knelt mostly on his shoulder and back for nine and a half minutes, while also noting that his blood oxygen saturation level taken at the hospital was a normal 98%. The debate gets into the medical weeds pretty quickly over saturation and partial pressure of oxygen, but the two are related and move up and down together. Perhaps an unbiased expert can explain.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. One not only gets the impression that the prosecution not only threw the whole bowl of spaghetti at Chauvin to see what would stick, but that the jury would have agreed to convict him of jaywalking if so charged. To the layman the serious charges seem to subsume the lesser, but that's another matter. Was Chauvin guilty beyond a reasonable doubt on all of these charges?
Perhaps this is rough justice for all the past false convictions of Blacks by bigoted juries. Unfortunately holding the children guilty for the sins of their fathers is just as evil.
Nelson lives in Casselton, N.D., and is a regular contributor to The Forum’s opinion page. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.