Tragedy In Minneapolis

On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd suffered death soon after being arrested and restrained by members of the Minneapolis Police Department.  Like most Americans, I was appalled by images of Officer Chauvin with his knee on the neck of a prostrate Floyd as the latter struggled to breathe.  It was a terrible scene, and it should never have happened.  Floyd died soon thereafter, was immediately elevated to a state of semi-sainthood, and the nation erupted in a fury of racial violence.  Chauvin and fellow officers at the scene were charged, and now, ten months later, Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd’s death.  Along with Chauvin, American justice will also be on trial.

Chauvin is being tried for being guilty of one of the following offenses:

Second Degree Murder – usually defined as intentional murder that lacks premeditation,  or a murder that was intended to only cause bodily harm and demonstrates extreme indifference to human life.

Third Degree Murder – also called felony murder, when an offender kills, regardless of intent, during the commission of a dangerous crime.

Manslaughter – the crime of killing a human being without malice aforethought.

The jurors will be required to render a unanimous verdict, and there will be intense pressure to convict Chauvin of murder.   Even a manslaughter verdict would not suffice to satisfy those who want Chauvin to suffer a severe penalty – preferably death.  Though a death sentence is impossible in Minnesota, a long prison sentence can be imposed.  Should the jury find Chauvin not guilty, there is fear of massive rioting and possible bloodshed. 

But is Chauvin guilty of killing George Floyd?  Did placing his knee on the neck of a prostrate Floyd cause or contribute to that man’s death?  Many of the examining medical experts say yes, but there are others who insist that Floyd’s symptoms and eventual death were because of a lethal overdose of fentanyl combined with the victim’s recent usage of methamphetamine.  In their opinion, Floyd was a dying man even before Officer Chauvin placed his knee on his neck.

Regardless of what actually killed George Floyd, I believe most of us would agree that Derek Chauvin had no wish to kill Floyd.  A crowd had gathered at the scene, and Chauvin knew that everything he said or did was being recorded.  He was also aware of the racial tensions. What could Chauvin hope to gain by Floyd’s death?  Nothing.  What did he have to lose? Much.  Why Chauvin continued to keep his knee on Floyd’s neck some minutes after he appeared unresponsive is beyond any logical explanation.

I am inclined to attribute Chauvin’s actions to terribly poor judgement or sheer stupidity.  We do not usually imprison people for these failings, else the prisons would be overflowing, but this time we will probably make an exception.        

5 thoughts on “Tragedy In Minneapolis

  1. Officer Chauvin must be found guilty in order to further prevent destruction of property and lives. George Floyd would have been taken to jail and charged had he lived, end of story. Actions of Chauvin is inexcusable for all the destruction he provided rioters. He is certainly guilty of that stupid act…… Betty Mar., 31, 2021

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

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    1. Are you familiar with the scape goat. As part of a religious ceremony the Jews would symbolically attach the peoples sins and the send him out into the desert to die.

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      1. My reply wasn’t complete. I added that I wasnt certain that Chauvin was guilty of anything but stupidity, but, guilty or not, we need him to serve as our sacrificial goat.

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  2. I’m sorry to disagree with you but I think that officer Chauvin’s actions were completely unwarranted. Even if Floyd was already dying, Chauvin should have realized that he was in distress and should have rendered aid instead of keeping his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8+ minutes. Even I have watched enough police and court shows to know that it takes 4 to 5 minutes to strangle someone so Chauvin keeping his knee on Floyd’s neck for over over 8 minutes was cold blooded murder IMO. I know that Floyd was a heavy drug user and a career criminal and I hate that HE is now being nominated for Sainthood but none of that changes the fact that Chauvin’s actions were completely inexcusable and almost certainly lead to Floyd’s death. I think that the charge of 2nd degree murder is warranted in this case. Let the jury hear the evidence and let them decide if Floyd’s death was due to drug use or to Chauvin’s actions or something else.

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    1. Joe, This morning I forwarded you an e-mail from a nephew in Raleigh, NC, a retired attorney. After viewing it, I am convinced that Chauvin’s actions dis not kill Floyd. Floyd’s death resulted from a drug overdose combined with his preexisting medical condition. Nevertheless, Chauvin was foolish to continue keeping his knee on Floy’s neck after the man had become unresponsive. I don’t know the proper punishment for Chauvin, but prosecution of the other three police officers involved is not a pursuit of justice but simply an effort to calm the mob. I pray that the truth will come out and true justice will be attained.

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