May 30, 2020

Will the Lynching Be Televised?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 3:05 pm

Floyd Newsphoto Composite


“What lynching?” you ask.

Why, the lynching of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, of course.

It seems as if every maggot-bait national and syndicated radio and television talk show host and pundit and every television and NPR network skews reader who has watched the eight-minute video of Chauvin with his knee on the side of the neck of George Floyd has already publicly convicted former Officer Chauvin of first or second degree murder.  No presumption of innocence, no indictment, no trial by jury of his peers based on admissible evidence.  Just lynch him in public for all to see.

Hiding under their desks,  Minnesota Governor Walz, his Antifa-friendly Attorney General Keith Ellison, and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey seem to desperately hope that maybe rushing to lynch Chauvin will stop the anarchists populating those two highly respected civil rights organizations, Black Lives Matter and Antifa, from burning and looting Minneapolis in memory of George Floyd.   And if using Chauvin’s lynching to sate the blood lust of public officials, anarchists, and entertainers isn’t enough, Walz, Ellison, and Frey might be persuaded to use the same gallows and drop the door from beneath former officers Lane, Kueng, and Thoa for good measure.  Serial lynchings!

No need to bother with a complete and impartial investigation.  Don’t bother with an evidence-supportable charge.  Isn’t the video enough evidence?  And certainly don’t bother with a trial based on a presumption of innocence.  Just march Chauvin out to the gallows, fit the noose over his neck, pull the lever, listen for the neck snap, and wait for any neural post-mortem twitching to stop.  Justice will have been done, won’t it?

Before you start ordering pizza for snacking while watching the lynching, though, please humor me.  I have a few questions.

  • Floyd died on Monday, May 25, 2020, some time after 8:24:24 p.m.  Aside from what you have seen on TV, heard on the radio, and read in the skewspapers about Floyd’s death, where have you obtained your information?  For example, have you read the criminal complaint filed against Derek Chauvin by the State of Minnesota?  It was filed on May 29, 2020, approximately four days after the alleged offenses.  In particular, read the Statement of Probable Cause in the complaint.
  • According to the complaint, the contact between Floyd and the police originated this way:

    “On May 25, 2020, someone called 911 and reported that a man bought merchandise from Cup Foods at 3759 Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Hennepin County, Minnesota with a counterfeit $20 bill.  At 8:08 p.m. Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Kueng arrived with their body worn cameras (BWCs) activated and running.  The officers learned from store personnel that the man who passed the counterfeit $20 was parked in a car around the corner from the store on 38th street.”

    • Before contacting Floyd, how did Officers Lane and Kueng independently determine the $20 bill was, in fact,  counterfeit?  The report doesn’t say, but making that determination would have been critically important, because it would  provide the officers with the essential probable cause to arrest Floyd.  The tools to make that determination are readily available to law enforcement and the public.  Assuming they made that determination, did they seize the counterfeit $20 bill as evidence?  Again, the report doesn’t say, but seizing it as physical evidence would help substantiate their probable cause arrest.  What was the value of the merchandise purchased with it; how much change, if any, was returned to Floyd? Again, the report doesn’t say.
    • When the officers contacted Floyd while he was sitting in the car with two others around the corner from the store on 38th Street, did Floyd admit to using the $20 bill and knowledge of its being counterfeit?  Or did he deny any or all of it?  What was said to the officers or seen by them that established or enhanced the probable cause for Floyd’s being arrested and removed from the car at gunpoint?
    • Presumably Floyd and the car were searched incidental to arrest or pursuant to a subsequent search warrant.  Were any other counterfeit notes found or was the one Floyd allegedly passed in the store the only note passed?
    • If Floyd denied knowledge of the $20 note being counterfeit AND if no other counterfeit notes or evidence of his producing counterfeit notes were found, what is the Minneapolis Police Department’s policy on arresting for a one-note pass?  Since $20 bills are common and are also frequently counterfeited, it is entirely possible that a citizen may at any given time unwittingly have a single  counterfeit $20 in his possession.   Barring other incriminating evidence (e.g., more counterfeit notes) , innocent and unwitting possession of a single counterfeit $20 and even passing it will often not result in arrest, at least not by the US Secret Service.  The counterfeit note would be seized as contraband, and the bearer would be given a contraband receipt so he might write off the $20 loss on federal income tax.   Did the officers follow departmental policy and their training regarding the handling and investigation of the counterfeit note pass?
  • What circumstances prompted Chauvin to hold the handcuffed Floyd prone on the ground for over eight minutes?  Why did Chauvin hold Floyd down on the ground for so long?
  • How did the underlying reasons and the length of time Chauvin held Floyd down converge with or diverge from Minneapolis PD policy?  From training Chauvin had received?
  • According to a Twitter post attributed to Mayor Jacob Frey and time/date stamped “12:09 PM — May 26, 2020,” “Four responding MPD officers involved in the death of George Floyd have been terminated.  This is the right call.”
    • What evidence did Mayor Jacob Frey receive before 12:09 PM on May 26, 2020 (fewer than 24 hours after the officers’ initial contact with Floyd), that convinced him firing the four officers was “the right call”?  From whom did he receive it?
  • Have you read the Medical Examiner’s full report including lab and toxicology results of the autopsy completed on May 26 2020?  Probably not, because the Statement of Probable Cause states,

    The full report of the [Hennepin County Medical Examiner] ME is pending, but the ME has made the following preliminary findings.  The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.  Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease.  The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions, and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.” [emphasis and hyperlinks mine]

  • Floyd’s family has engaged a forensic pathologist, Dr. Michael Baden, to conduct an independent autopsy on Floyd’s body.  He expected to perform the autopsy on Saturday, May 30, 2020, and have the results some time next week.  Why did Floyd’s family feel that a second autopsy was indicated?
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation began a federal civil rights investigation into the death of George Floyd on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea to wait for the results of that investigation before pulling the gallows lever on Chauvin?
  • Presumably the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is conducting full and historical background investigations on victim Floyd, suspect Chauvin, and former officers Lane, Kueng, and Thoa as principals in the homicide investigation.  Those will include work histories and personnel actions including the recommendations and results of any disciplinary actions.  Those may well be done in conjunction with the FBI.  Wouldn’t it be a good idea to wait for the results of those investigations before fast-tracking Chauvin for lynching?

When justice is rushed, we need to ask “What’s the hurry?”

The oral flatulence of national and syndicated radio and television talk show hosts and pundits and every television and NPR network skews reader and pundit is not admissible evidence.  If all the admissible evidence acquired during systematic diligent investigation shows that former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin should be charged with a crime that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court, then he should be charged and tried according to appropriate state and federal laws and in a court of law, not the cesspool of talk radio and television.

In this instance the rush seems to be as much political as ensuring that former police officer Derek Chauvin receives a fair trial if criminal charges against him are even warranted.  Officials in Minnesota and now in several other states as well are undoubtedly getting a lot of political heat to quell the Black Lives Matter and Antifa anarchy occurring in their states.

Politicians of all partisan stripes and smells desperately want to be able to point the finger of blame for the riots and insurrection at someone — anyone — else.  The police institutionally and Derek Chauvin in this particular case meet that need nicely.  Politicians like to shift blame to their favorite whipping boy, law enforcement, when those politicians fail dismally to live up to the utopian promises they made while pimping their social, political, and economic policies to gullible constituents.

If a thorough investigation and subsequent criminal trial reveals that Derek Chauvin and possibly others were culpable in George Floyd’s death, then any penalties imposed on Chauvin and other former officers must be consistent in severity to that proven culpability only.   Jurors and the court must not impose additional or heavier penalties on Chauvin and other former officers for the riots and insurrections that occurred after Floyd’s death.


  1. I knew I was going to be in for a much longer read once I got to “I have a few questions.” Thank you for the excellent discussion.

    Comment by Tributary — June 1, 2020 @ 9:09 am

  2. Tributary,

    Thanks for taking the time to slog through the post.

    Today, June 2, 2020, at 11:10 AM, the StarTribune online of Minneapolis posted this article headlined Hennepin medical examiner classifies George Floyd’s death as ‘homicide’. The article includes a link to the final public report by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner with information about Floyd’s death.

    The StarTribune article has some discussion about the private autopsy that was completed as well.

    Comment by Bill — June 2, 2020 @ 3:27 pm

  3. On June 3, 2020, I noticed yet another “final” autopsy report from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner. This one appears to be the more complete link to the pathological and laboratory report. the link to the most recent and complete-appearing report.

    Would someone much more familiar than I am at reading ME reports please explain what, if anything, in this report might have prompted Ellison’s upgrading the Chauvin charge to second-degree homicide?

    Comment by Bill — June 4, 2020 @ 6:04 am

  4. In an online opinion posted June 4, 2020 at 02:29 PM and headlined What if Derek Chauvin Is Acquitted?, Washington Examiner writer Tom Rogan asks that question and discusses possible answers.

    His first question is whether Chauvin can even get a fair trial given the extent of national attention and commentary Floyd’s death has caused. His opinion piece then goes on to look at what Rogan considers the stronger and weaker points of the charges against Chauvin.

    I was surprised that Rogan did not ask the same question I did in the post: Why was Floyd held on the ground for so long? For example, with four officers there, what was going on that made the senior officer or arresting officer conclude that Floyd needed to be positioned prone against a car for so long rather than simply transported to either intake or the hospital? Were the officers picking up on some crowd activity, a possible safety issue, or something else that suggested they could not immediately transport him?

    Comment by Bill — June 5, 2020 @ 8:07 pm

  5. Fair trial? Highly unlikely. If acquitted? Best bar, literally, the windows/doors.
    Why held on the ground so long? That will be tough one to explain; especially given the calm facial affect of each officer. In any event, I would predict that even Vegas will not accept bets on whether or not the officers, collectively or individually, come up with a seemingly reasonable reason for keeping him on the ground. Why Rogan did not ask…? He could only do the best he could do and that was the best he could do.(i.e. you have a tendency, from time to time, to modestly down play your knowledge and expertise)

    Comment by Tributary — June 9, 2020 @ 2:43 pm

  6. Tributary,

    Thank you for the compliment.

    This TMZ video, likely taken by a citizen’s smartphone, seems to tell a more complete story. If Floyd had not already been handcuffed behind his back before he was taken to the black MPD SUV (for transport?), I’d say he was in the prone handcuff position. But he had already been handcuffed, so I guess we’ll have to wait for the trial to learn who did what and when, and why was he on the ground for so long. From the TMZ video segments, I can understand why Ellison felt comfortable with the second degree murder charge.

    Comment by Bill — June 10, 2020 @ 7:16 am

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress
Copyright © 2023 by OpenCDA LLC, All Rights Reserved