George Floyd Points of Action Points of Controversy
I’m beginning by analyzing and comparing the difference in Georg Floyd’s autopsy reports. Points of action are analyzed as it relates to the officers action and their lawful capacity, and where any party’s action may have contributed to George Floyds death. The aftermath of the incident and the irrationality of the rioters is summarized in the final portion, along with my motivation for producing this article.
What caused the death of George Floyd?
There is the autopsy of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner that ruled his death was caused by “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” The medical examiner found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxiation or strangulation.” There was the presence of fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system. Cardiac arrest was likely induced by the stress of being approached by police, which was amplified by the requirement of force to remove Floyd from the vehicle. Once Floyd was removed from the vehicle stress was further amplified by his continued refusal to comply with lawful orders, where he went to the ground and officers restrained him in an effort to gain compliance.
The stress of being arrested and going to jail, the release of adrenaline, combined with minutes of physical resistance can produce sudden cardiac arrest, and drugs contribute to the probability of that outcome. The medical examiner concluded “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”. (1)
1: Hannah C. 5/30/2020 “Autopsy Report:George Floyd May Not Have Died of Asphyxia”. Science Times. https://www.startribune.com/read-the-complaint-charging-derek-chauvin-in-the-death-of-george-floyd/570870791/?refresh=true Citing: 5/30/2020 Star Tribune “Read the complaint charging ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd”. Source is the criminal complaint filed by the state attorney. https://www.startribune.com/read-the-complaint-charging-derek-chauvin-in-the-death-of-george-floyd/570870791/?refresh=true
The family has conducted an autopsy where the doctors claim he died because the force of the officers on his neck and back obstructed the flow of blood to his brain, and claim he had no underlying medical conditions that contributed to his death.(2) Which is misleading, because since they claim his cause of death was the obstruction of blood flow and not cardiac arrest, then the presence of heart disease and hypertension, didn’t contribute to his death. To the public, it sounds as if the medical examiner is lying about the presence of medical conditions.
2: Frances Robles and Audra D.S. Burch, 6/1/2020 “How did George Floyd Die? A Private Autopsy Said it was Asphyxiation” New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/article/george-floyd-autopsy-michael-baden.html
They provided no explanation of evidence for those findings. If someone dies of a heart attack blood stops flowing and you die because blood isn’t being delivered to the brain and other vital organs. If you die because blood cannot reach the brain your heart stops. This becomes a matter of opinion since one could precipitate the other. Floyd was in the same position with seemingly the same amount of pressure the entire time he was on ground. Cardiovascular functioning appeared to be unobstructed based on Floyd’s behavior. 1: Consciousness. Floyd was conscious for at least 5 minutes from that same position where there is nothing to indicate that more pressure was being applied in his final moments of consciousness compared to the previous minutes. If the flow of blood to the brain was obstructed, Floyd would have lost consciousness in less than a minute. 2: The force with which the officer applied pressure can be roughly determined by Floyd’s ability to move. When Floyd did move the officer moved his knee with him. It is unlikely that the force with which the officer kneeled on Floyd was sufficient to produce any obstruction of blood flow since Floyd moved often and easily. 3: If respiratory function was compromised as the private autopsy asserts he wouldn’t have sufficient breath not only to talk, but to yell and remain conscious. The findings are dubious to me.
The second reason the findings seemed biased is because of the motivation. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner was not retained to do an autopsy by a party who has an interest in an opinion that supports a legal outcome. The Hennepin County Medical Examiner has been hired by the people of Hennepin County to do all autopsies required by the county. Whether the officer is convicted or the city is sued has no effect on him. There are roughly 500 cororonors in the country, it is one of the most difficult jobs to replace, and they are in very high demand.(3) The Medical Examiner has no reason to sully his reputation and integrity within his field to provide a biased explanation for death.
3: Jordan Kisner 2/25/2020 “Piled Bodies, Overflowing Morgues. Inside America’s Autopsy Crisis”. New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/25/magazine/piled-bodies-overflowing-morgues-inside-americas-autopsy-crisis.html
Often people do things that are wrong based on the purpose they believe it serves. Where a medical examiner may present a conclusion not supported by the evidence, because he believes it will serve better purposes to the public. Based on the details that have been revealed, there is no reason to conclude that the officers restraining him contributed to the cause of death, since there is no explanation for how the act of the being restrained produced evidence of the contribution. The full autopsy report provides no basis for how the officer’s restraining Floyd produced any injury beyond superficial scrapes, scratches, and bruises that is consistent with a reasonable level of force in restraint. There’s nothing to suggest the officers restraining Floyd obstructed breathing, circulation, or left any evidence that gave rise to the idea that officer restraint contributed to Floyd’s heart stopping. The medical examiner made an assertion not supported by his findings in an effort to pander to public opinion, and in recognition of this bias, we can dismiss the idea that the Medical Examiner had a police bias.
Dr. Baden who was also the doctor retained in the high profile Micheal Brown case has been retained by an interested party to produce an interested result. At a point of opinion where based on examination there may be no physical evidence as to whether the heart stopped and this stopped blood flow, or if a lack of oxygen and an obstruction of blood flow caused the heart to stop, the interested party can choose the interested interpretation to provide to his client. Based on the description of the organs, including blood vessels and airways, there is no evidence for Baden’s conclusion. In addition to the autopsy details and the bias of the person conducting the autopsy and his partner from the University of Michigan, the video evidence that doesn’t represent sufficient force in the act, or George Floyd’s behavior doesn’t indicate pulmonary and or respiratory obstruction.
Action begins with circumstance since circumstance determines opportunity. Points are deemed relevant in that a circumstance was introduced by behavior that caused another party to act and contributed to the outcome of George Floyd’s death.
The relevant points of action are
1: The store clerk identified George Floyd as a person who gave him a counterfeit 20 dollar bill, after he attempted to pass it earlier and was denied.
2: Floyd being removed from the car.
3: Floyd’s refusal to enter the squad car.
4: The first 5 minutes of Floyd being restrained on the ground.
5: The first bystander.
6: “His nose is bleeding”.
7: The other bystanders.
8: The final three minutes.
These points represent decisions that determined circumstances that produced motivation for actions, results, purposes.
1 The Circumstance of Probable Cause
Law enforcement officers are paid by the public to ensure the rights of citizens are not imposed on by enforcing the laws of the state and ordinances of the municipalities within their jurisdiction. Law enforcement arrived at the location because the store owner reported that he was a victim of a crime where George Floyd defrauded him out of merchandise using a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. Witness testimony and other evidence gathered at the scene created probable cause that crime did occur and that George Floyd was the person who perpetrated that crime.
2: Removing Floyd from the Car and Introducing Him to the Circumstance of Detainment
At roughly 20 seconds into the referenced video (4) the officers make contact with the car, where one officer is speaking with the passenger and another is speaking to the driver is later identifiable as George Floyd. I do not have the audio for this period but according to the criminal complaint, the officer informs Floyd he has been accused of a crime and asks him to come out of the vehicle among probably other questions and conversation geared towards persuading him to that end.
4: Doug Winfield “Full George Floyd Available Footage”. You Tube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNX8-PWCi6E
Introducing the circumstance of being confronted by police carries with it not only the circumstance that the police are taking him to jail, but the prospect of going to jail increases stress because it is not a desired objective for Floyd.
First, the circumstance of imminent arrest creates the desire to not to be arrested. This is the valued purpose and becomes the immediate objective when confronted by that circumstance. There are two general strategies to avoid being arrested: evasion where the suspect will attempt to physically escape the officers, or diffusion where the suspect will attempt to talk his way out of the situation.
Floyd’s presumed intent is to convince the officers that he did not perpetrate the crime or provide them with some other reason why he shouldn’t go to jail. If this doesn’t work or he cannot think of a good explanation, resistance to detainment is perceived as progress towards the purpose of not being arrested, since detainment is nearer to arrest than is not being detained.
Floyd chooses not to comply with the lawful order to exit the vehicle. This order is lawful since the officer has reasonable suspicion to detain until they conduct their investigation or probable cause to arrest based on the investigation they’ve already conducted. The officers may lawfully use force to gain his compliance to detain or arrest. Floyd being confronted with the circumstance of the officer attempting to arrest him, led to Floyd’s decision to resist arrest or detainment. The officers being confronted by Floyd’s resistance used a reasonable and adequate amount of force to gain his compliance and seemingly nothing beyond. Typically if an officer has to remove a suspect from a car the officer may take the suspect to the ground to gain control of the suspect and advantageously position himself for possibility of further resistance. After about 1 minute and 30 seconds from the time the officer made contact with Floyd, at 1:50, the officer physically removes Floyd from the vehicle. At 2:02 his partner joins him in the effort to gain Floyd’s compliance. One of the officers can be heard telling Floyd to put his hands behind his back. At 2:20 a passenger from the vehicle witnessing the resistance states “stupid man”, presumably in reference to Floyd resisting arrest. Once Floyd is handcuffed at 2:31, he falls to the ground resisting efforts to be escorted by the officer, and falls to the ground again at 2:43 before he complies and is seated next to a store.
The only controversy of fact would be the content of the conversation that took place during the minute and 30 seconds from when the officer made contact from 0:20 to 1:50 since the remaining points are apparent from the video evidence.
Floyd’s purpose of not being arrested was harmed in that he was removed from the vehicle, handcuffed, and detained. The officer’s purpose of arresting Floyd experienced progress in the aforementioned results. As a contributor to Floyd’s cause of death, his behavior during this portion of the arrest (yelling and falling to the ground) clearly indicates he was experiencing stress from the prospect of being arrested which was amplified as progress towards that end was achieved. It is unclear what the extent of that perception was, but thinking about an outcome can produce emotional responses that are equal to or worse than if the individual was actually experiencing the outcome.
If the medical examiner’s cause of death is correct, these results contributed to the death of George Floyd by increasing his stress. Both the physical resistance and his perception of the outcome. The officers were acting in a lawful capacity to gain Floyd’s compliance, and Floyd was resisting the lawful orders of the officers, therefore Floyd’s action at this point contributed to the stress he experienced and therefore his cause of death.
Point of Controversy One: The first point of controversy is the Baden autopsy that asserts that Floyd’s death wasn’t caused by heart failure, but from the obstruction of blood to his brain and inhibited respiratory function. There is no relevant purpose served to that outcome if we accept that opinion as fact.
Point of Controversy Two: The second point of controversy is an irreconcilable principle difference. This would be the assertion that the officers were wrong for trying to arrest him and then we divide between those who respect the rule of law and those who do not.
For those who do accept the rule of law we do so based on the idea that we agree to rules because we are freer with the rules than we would be without them. For example, in the absence of laws, much of an individual’s time would be spent defending his life, liberty, and property. This mode of operation would require enormous investments in personal security, it would make the advancement of knowledge, technology, and production extremely inefficient.
We elect representatives (who typically do not serve our interests) who are supposed to make laws in our interest to protect our life, liberty, and property, and apply collective funds to collective purposes. We pay for citizens to take an oath to uphold the rights of citizens and enforce the laws (allegedly) passed on behalf of our representatives. Officers have the right to use force as much as is required to gain the compliance of a suspect in performing their lawful duties. If we accept the rule of law, we accept that at this point, if George Floyd died of cardiopulmonary arrest, he contributed to that outcome by increasing his stress by resisting the commands of officers who were acting in a lawful capacity on behalf of the public.
3: Introducing the Circumstance of Arrest
After taking Floyd’s information he is informed that he is being arrested for passing counterfeit money. The video shows Floyd being helped to his feet and the officer beginning to escort him. At this time Floyd is animated, and in the absence of any action from the officer that would seem to produce any physical discomfort to warrant his reaction, we can presume this grief is caused as his purpose of not going to jail is being put further in jeopardy by being escorted to the squad car.
Once the officers approach the squad car with Floyd, Floyd begins actively resisting which culminates with him falling to the ground at 5:31, and the officer attempting to put him into the squad car. From 5:52 to until 11:07 there is no non-redacted video of Floyd with the officers. The criminal complaint states that the officers were attempting to put Floyd in the car and he was resisting during this period by throwing himself to the ground. According to the criminal complaint, while standing Floyd said he was claustrophobic and could not breathe. At 8:19 Floyd went to the ground face first and it was at this point the officer’s restrained him on the ground.
Floyd’s perception of being closer to arrest and the physical act of resisting increased his stress which contributes to the cause of a cardiac arrest.
The officers during this period were still functioning within their lawfully employed capacity, where many officers dealing with a non-compliant suspect for 5 and a half minutes may have used additional force to persuade his compliance to enter the squad car.
Point of Controversy: My opinion that the officers showed restraint is based on my personal experience with law enforcement officers, witnessing law enforcement’s treatment of others, as well as video footage I’ve seen of law enforcement officers making arrests. Despite these personal experiences, it is just as valid to assert that the force these officers used during those 5 minutes is normative. It is not a valid opinion that the force was excessive since there is no evidence he sustained any injury during this period from the force used by the officers, and they did not gain his compliance. The issue of denying that the officers showed restraint is it undermines the general position that police tend to use more force than is required to gain compliance. That means if the force applied here is normative that officers typically do not use more force than is required to gain compliance. Otherwise, we should acknowledge that the officers used restraint, especially since it would be valid that more force was required to gain his compliance.
Additional Points of Controversy: The previous points of controversy carry over as it relates to the private autopsy assertions, and the rule of law.
4: The First 5 Minutes of Floyd Being Restrained
In the previous points of action I began with the summary of facts according to the video evidence supplemented by the criminal complaint where the video evidence failed to account for time. For this point we will ask what I presume is a popular question related to the officer’s motivation, and begin with the circumstance of Floyd going to the ground which must be confronted to make the arrest.
The officer’s circumstances consist of Floyd going to the ground and their valued purpose is putting Floyd in the squad car to make the arrest. Why do the officers get on top of him to restrain him if their purpose is to put him in the squad car?
The officers have been attempting to overcome Floyd’s resistance for 5 and a half minutes. Despite their efforts to get Floyd in the car they have been unable to gain his compliance. Floyd going to the ground yet again, creates an opportunity for the deployment of another tactic to gain a psychological advantage in achieving their goal. The restraint isn’t intended to prevent Floyd from escaping which there is no indication he is trying to do, the goal is to put Floyd in a position where he is powerless and accepts the outcome that he is going to jail. If Floyd can accept this outcome he will comply with commands to get in the vehicle because he understands his resistance will not produce the outcome of not being arrested.
Was the tactic of the three officers holding Floyd down beyond the amount of force required to gain his compliance and does such action pose a significant risk of serious injury or death?
This is probably the biggest source of controversy. Whether or not officers undergo training where they are taught that this is “a prone position and is inherently dangerous”, does not change the fact that these are tactics used by officers somewhere in the country on a daily basis without creating injury or death. While law enforcement during this period will distance themselves from this tactic given the current climate around this incident, I know there are many who have and will put their knee on a suspect’s neck to gain compliance. There are probably many who watched the video and know it could have just as easily been them who lost their jobs or were charged with murder.
For what it’s worth, my skepticism results from personal experience. There are four occasions I can remember, and probably others I cannot. I was arrested or evaded arrest somewhat frequently between the ages of 15 to 24, and I was also incarcerated for roughly 6 years off and on during this period. The first incident I was 14 years old in the Milwaukee County Juvenile Detention Center. I don’t remember the controversy, but the staff wanted to remove me from my cell and transport me to the disciplinary cell and I refused to go. 5 staff members entered my room, tackled me to the floor and one of the staff members put his knee on my neck while the other staff held me down on other parts of my body. If I remember correctly it took time to resolve the incident because they were demanding my hands which were beneath me, but I was unable to give them my hands because the weight of the staff holding me down. It was uncomfortable, but I do not recall any feelings that my life was endangered, and I have no reason to expect that I would have died if I were held in that position for 8 minutes, or even a greater period of time.
The second incident I was 17 years old and in a van that was pulled over. The passenger fled without the officer seeing him, and there were at least 4 and probably more of us in the back drinking. We were removed from the van and sat on what I remember as a stone wall maybe 2 feet high. A female officer arrived on the scene and was more assertive than any of us would have liked and I exchanged words with her. I told the officers that the alcohol was mine, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to comply with their orders when they sought to take me into custody. I refused to get up to be handcuffed. They threatened pepper spray and put my hands over my eyes. One officer tried to pull my hands away from my eyes and I stood up and pushed him. The other officer pepper sprayed me. I clenched my eyes tight and stood in a fighting position. I was tackled and rolled onto my stomach. One officer took my back and the other officer leaned on my neck. While I was handcuffed and restrained I was sprayed with more pepper spray. When the paddy wagon arrived I was screaming from the pain of the pepper spray, a moment I’m still not proud of 20 years later. I told them I had difficulty breathing and thought I was going to die when I was put in the back of the transport vehicle.
There are two other incidents when officers put my pressure on my neck. One incident fearing officers were going to enter a residence based on a circumstance associated with the residence (they did eventually enter) I left the residence and was confronted by two officers from the Cudahy Police Department. I was smoking a cigarette. The officer told me to get rid of the cigarette. Force of habit I went to hit the cigarette again before I threw it. The officer smacked the cigarette from my mouth, slammed me to the ground, handcuffed me and put his on my neck during the process.
A final incident I can recall which is less relatable to this incident, I ran from an apartment because police were being let in and I had warrants. The apartment was in the shape of the U and I exited through a window that put me at the lower portion of the horse shoe. There was only one exit and at least 3 officers between myself and the opening which I was approximately 50 feet from. I ran past the officers across the street and avoided traffic into a yard where I jumped fences and sprained my ankle coming down. I considered my option and initially I was going to hide, encountering a boat in a backyard with a tarp on it. The tarp was secured with cinder blocks and it would have been apparent I was hiding beneath the tarp had I attempted to gain access. I decided to try to make it to another location but it is difficult to be nonchalant when you’re dressed in nothing but your boxer shorts. I was spotted by an officer. I tried running but I couldn’t achieve a worthwhile stride. Instead of being tackled I laid down on a grass hill with my arms up. The officer jumped on me and handcuffed me. The hill had me at an angle and the officer secured me by putting his foot on my neck.
These are my personal experiences that validate that an officer using his knee to restrain a suspect is not atypical, and such action based on experience would not be thought of as an action that causes death or serious harm. For objective evidence, there is at least 3 decades worth of COPS episodes, and certainly many more hours of arrest footage on the internet which can be used to substantiate both the frequency of usage, as well as common results.
The reason this point of controversy is so important because it establishes that the officer while Floyd was conscious had no reason to believe that his actions and the actions of his subordinate officers created a danger for Floyd.
Floyd stated he can’t breathe, but also made these claims while he was standing and not being physically restrained. The claim also loses credibility because Floyd was not only able to talk, but also able to yell which requires an ample amount of air to do. During this period Floyd was able to move without much difficulty which suggests the amount of force applied by the officer was not great.
During this period when Floyd was conscious the officers were acting within their lawful capacity in restraining Floyd to gain his acceptance of the consequence of being arrested to gain his compliance to enter the squad car. During this period their investigation and arrests efforts were obstructed by bystanders asserting themselves into the situation.
Point of Controversy One: The act of putting your knee on a suspect’s neck is not an act that one should expect can produce death or injury. To make this determination we need to know the frequency with which the tactic has been used, and the frequency with which injury has resulted. Clearly, there have been some injuries otherwise it wouldn’t be labeled a prone or dangerous position in training. Despite that distinction, if a tactic is used frequently enough it will produce injury but often it is less about the tactic and more about how it is applied. Meaning experience in using the technique properly could lead an officer to the conclusion that the tactic is safe in how they apply it.
Point of Controversy Two: The intention of the officer was to gain Floyd’s compliance through restraint where he would come to accept the outcome of arrest. I don’t know if that was the officer’s intent. I do know, if I were that officer in that situation and I had unsuccessfully tried to wrestle him into the squad car for 5 and half minutes, it would be something that I would consider and serves as an explanation as to why he chose to restrain Floyd which seems counterintuitive to getting him in the squad car. To assign malicious intent is contradicted by the previous 11 minutes of the arrest where there is a good argument that the officer’s used less force than they would have been justified in using considering the circumstances. The other factor that suggests the intent was not malicious is the amount of force used by the officer in the video appears to not be minimal based on Floyds ability to talk, yell, and his ease of movement.
Point of Controversy Three: The third point of controversy is as expressed in the previous point that the force applied by the officer was not great. As I previously stated I believe the force was not great because Floyd could move without great difficulty, where if force was great it would require faster and more violent efforts to move. Instead we saw slower controlled movements where the officer’s knee moved with Floyd’s movement. Second, in order to produce sound you have to force air to vibrate your vocal cords. It isn’t only an amount of air sufficient to talk, but an amount of air sufficient to let out a sustained yell requires normal respiratory function to produce. Another contributing factor for the pressure is the position of the officer’s foot. His foot is off to the side. If you kneel on something, you will discover that you cannot apply a great deal of force with your foot spayed out to the side. Finally, there was no evidence or opinion expressed by either of the autopsies that there was any damage to the structure of the neck or tissues of the airways.
Point of Controversy Four: This point of controversy I’m restating more to assert the cause of additional stress by Floyd being restrained on the ground. Floyd’s refusal to enter the squad car and to put himself on the ground created more stress through the restraint that contributed to his cardiac arrest. The officers acted lawfully through this period using force to gain his compliance that was not noticeably resulting in any harm to Floyd. That statement is the point of controversy expressed in point one, whereas this point of controversy is that Floyd died of cardiac arrest.
5: Introduction of the First Bystander
The first bystander enters the scene at 11:47 on the video. He states “you got him down man, let him breathe a little bit, one of my buddy’s died like that”. The Bystander turns his attention to Floyd and says “get in the car man, just get in the car. I’ve been watching the whole time man, just get up and get in the car… they done gave you an opportunity to get in man, I told you, you can’t win”. Floyd converses with the man and say’s “I’m through”. The man responds “I know, because you didn’t listen”. This is this man’s last statement and the interaction concludes at 12:45 after Floyd says “my knee hurts, my neck hurts, my stomach hurts, everything hurts”.
This bystander attempts to contribute to the officer’s purposes of gaining Floyd’s compliance, most notably by telling him he “can’t win”. He also asks officers to let him breathe a little bit and warns that someone he knows died like that. Should the officer’s have taken those warnings seriously? Based on Floyds ability to move, talk, and yell, there is no evidence that the tactics of restraint are compromising Floyd’s ability to breathe or pose any danger to his life.
Point of Controversy: The only point of controversy from this interaction is that the officer should have disregarded his experience and yielded to the understanding of the bystander, or he should have known Floyd’s condition was worse than he was observing based on the bystanders interpretation.
6: His Nose is Bleeding
At 13:05 The woman recording the video states his nose is bleeding. This detail is important as it relates to the likely cause of death. There is no evidence that he sustained any trauma to his nose that caused it to bleed. A nose bleed can indicate “Heart conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) and congestive heart failure can also cause nosebleeds, as can hypertensive crisis — a sudden, rapid increase in blood pressure that may be accompanied by a severe headache, shortness of breath, and anxiety, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).”(5) The medical examiner stated that Floyd had hypertension and heart disease. Floyd’s increased stress levels which seemed to increase as the attempted arrest proceeded would have the effect of increasing his blood pressure possibly resulting in a “hypertensive crisis” which is accompanied by anxiety and shortness of breath which were symptoms described by Floyd and evident in his behavior. Floyd complained he couldn’t breathe and his behavior indicated great anxiety prior to him being restrained while he was still standing. His problems likely started before he even made it to the squad car.
5: Jennifer J. Brown Ph.d 2/27/2020 “Nose Bleeds for No Reason? Here are Some Possible Causes”. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/nose-bleed-for-no-reason-here-are-possible-causes-3856.aspx#:~:text=Heart%20conditions%20like%20hypertension%20(high,American%20Heart%20Association%20(AHA).
Point of Controversy: The point of controversy is that the nosebleed indicates a cardiopulmonary issue which supports the conclusion of the medical examiner. While it could be argued that an obstruction of blood to the brain could also increase blood pressure and possibly cause his nose to bleed, this was during the period where Floyd was most active in movement and sound, meaning there is a great deal of evidence for this period that Floyd’s respiratory functions as well as his blood flow was not obstructed.
7: The other Bystanders
At 13:16 other bystanders begin to engage the officer. Most notably is one of two antagonizing bystanders who begins by saying “you’re a tough guy, he’s a tough guy, he’s not even resisting arrest, you can put him in the car”. The officer holding the line between the bystanders and the other officer’s replies “we tried that for 10 minutes”. The bystander calls the officers “bums” for restraining Floyd, and begins telling them he was in the academy and what they should do. There are multiple bystanders who are making comments to get off of Floyd among other suggestions that continue past the point when Floyd loses consciousness. This point of action is referenced to identify the circumstance of antagonistic bystanders and the potential effect it had on the arrest.
The bystanders create a distraction to the purposes of the officers. Their sole objective was achieving compliance but the introduction of antagonistic bystanders introduces secondary objectives of immediate priority. The first relates to the safety of the officers and the second includes an element of the first which is maintaining control of the scene. Without the bystanders it is possible the officer would have directed more attention to Floyd and taken different actions. One possible explanation for the officer not removing his knee from Floyd’s neck and ordering his subordinates off of Floyd, was because to do so, would be to lose control of the scene by surrendering to the demands of the bystanders. Bystanders who mind you didn’t arrive until 13 minutes of interaction had already taken place. They were unaware of Floyd’s resistance and previous assertions that he couldn’t breath when he was not being restrained, so their perspective was limited, and assertions that you’re cutting off his airway have proven incorrect.
Second, and this reason isn’t morally or professionally sound for the officer, but it is a factor in determining human behavior. The act of telling someone to do something especially after you’ve been berating them while they’re operating in a professional capacity can cause them to not do the thing they would otherwise do because they don’t want to do what you’re telling them to do.
Point of Controversy One: The officer made different decisions than he otherwise would have made if not distracted by the bystanders. This can be denied but there isn’t much of a basis for it. The introduction of the bystanders comments were included in his perception of the event. It is impossible that he would think, feel, and do the same things without the behavior of the bystanders to consider.
Point of Controversy Two: The officer did not respond to the bystanders demands because doing so could have caused him to lose control of the scene and potentially compromised officer safety. If and officer gives in to anything, bystanders can touch that same button again and control scene which can compromise the safety of the officers as well the investigation in other settings. Even though it may seem counterintuitive, where you would think officers become safer by doing what the bystanders say, generally that is the wrong approach and especially in stressful situations human beings are creatures of habit.
Point of Controversy Three: The officer did not get off of Floyd to spite the bystanders who were telling him to do it. Only the officer knows if this was part of his motivation.
8: The Final Three Minutes
At about 15:10 Floyd appears to lose consciousness which coincides with the time he is identified as losing consciousness in the criminal complaint. The time of the video can be matched to the time of the complaint by using the arrival of the paramedics, which occurs at 18:10 in the video and is about 3 minutes from the time Floyd loses consciousness.
At 15:30 the tension and volume of the bystanders voices increases and the officer on Floyd’s neck draws his pepper spray likely because he believes the bystanders may attempt to physically intervene.
At about 16 minutes the bystanders say he’s not responsive and tell the police to check for a pulse. According to the criminal complaint, one minute and 7 seconds passed from the time Floyd lost consciousness to the time an officer checked Floyd’s pulse. This puts us at 16:17, which is shortly after the time the bystanders call for the officers to check his pulse. At that time Floyd did not have a pulse according to the criminal complaint.
I have to imagine there was probably some shock to the officer in learning that Floyd did not have a pulse, based on Floyd moving and talking less than a minute previously with nothing to indicate that Floyd was in any danger. With the arrival of the ambulance imminent and Floyd without a pulse, although remaining on him was not required, getting off of him was potentially dangerous due to the scene that was developing around them. I don’t know what the officer was thinking during this period, but throughout the arrest there was no evidence that the officers intended to harm Floyd. Therefore there is no reason to believe there was any ill will attached to his reasoning for not getting off Floyd after learning he did not have a pulse. If the officer did have ill intentions as some suggest it would certainly make more sense to get off of him after discovering he did not have a pulse. If harm was his intent he couldn’t inflict anymore harm. The reason he didn’t get off of Floyd appears to be concerned for the safety of the officers in consideration of the scene and what the perceived consequence of getting off of Floyd could have been.
Point of Controversy One: The officer did not get off of Floyd when he became unconscious because he had no reason to believe the same force of restraint that had not harmed Floyd in the previous 5 minutes, would harm him in succeeding moments. Given my own experience with police and having witnessed the experience of others, holding a person down while being mindful of the force applied during restraint is not an action that should be expected to cause death, especially since there was no evidence that Floyd was in any danger in the preceding 5 minutes.
Point of Controversy Two: The officer did not get off of Floyd when he discovered there was no pulse because he didn’t believe doing so would have any effect on Floyd’s health, and he believed doing so could be detrimental to the scene, in officer safety as well as the perception of the incident. I agree this may not be the reason, but if this was not his reasoning what was? Again, there is no evidence of any malintent during the first 15 minutes of the arrest. I would challenge anyone to find an action in those first 15 minutes that seemed to be motivated by the desire to harm Floyd that went beyond what was required to gain his compliance? The officers were being very patient and I think there is a valid argument that the officers should have used more force to get Floyd in the car.
Officers performing in their lawful capacity did not use inappropriate force for the first 15 minutes of the arrest effort. Being confronted by law enforcement increased Floyds stress levels. Floyd’s perception of what was taking place and his physical efforts to resist arrest also contributed to his stress. The act of restraining a suspect in the manner and with the force used by the officers is not an act that should be expected to cause death, and based on all the evidence it does not appear that this was the cause of Floyd’s death. Floyd’s nose was bleeding without any trauma to his nose during a period when he was moving, talking, and yelling to indicate that his pulmonary and respiratory functioning is unobstructed during the nosebleed. This reinforces the conclusion of the medical examiner that Floyd died of cardiac arrest precipitated by elevated stress levels which were a product of his resistance and his perception of going to jail. The officer’s decision not to discontinue restraining Floyd during the last minute and 50 seconds after the officer could not find a pulse, had no bearing on the outcome and was a decision influenced by the obstruction of bystanders and probably the shock that a man who did not appear in any danger suddenly died. Floyd’s death was not caused by the officers actions.
Conclusion Two: Neither his act of resistance, the stress from the physical act of resistance and his perception of being arrested, nor his use of drugs contributed to the cause of death. Despite Floyd’s ability to move, talk, yell, no evidence of trauma to internal structures, and the previous 5 minutes of being restrained in a similar manner that did not harm Floyd, Floyd died due to the officers restraining him where blood flow and respiratory function was obstructed.
There is no evidence that Floyd was treated differently than any other suspect who behaved the same way would have been treated. Those pushing an agenda of racial inequality rely on events they can present to the public as evidence of systemic racism.
February 28th, Arial Roman was removed from a subway train for moving between cars which is against an ordinance. The officers attempted to take him into custody. He resisted. The officer wrestled with him and the other officer tried to tase him and then pepper sprayed him. He was unarmed and was not harming the other officer and did not pose a danger to anyone else. His efforts were evasive. The one officer shouted several times for his partner to shoot him. Eventually she shot him. He was able to get enough separation to run up the stairs after being pepper sprayed and shot in the stomach. As he ran up the stairs the officer shot him again in the back. These were two black officers attempting to apprehend a white suspect, but there were no assertions of racial motivation by activist groups. This is correct because there was nothing in the officer’s actions to suggest race played a role. The same as many other interacial arrests like the arrest of George Floyd where there is no evidence race contributed to how the officers treated him. There were also no protests. One protest was called but the reporter on location during the time the protest was scheduled discovered that no one turned out.(4) There were also no protests across the country to stand against police brutality or calls for justice for Arial Roman.
(4) Minyvonne Burke 3/5/2020 “A man on a subway train walked between cars. Chicago police shot him twice.” NBC. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/man-subway-train-walked-between-cars-chicago-police-shot-him-n1150391
It isn’t about police using excessive force, it is about using tragic events to assert systemic racism usually without the qualification of fact, as has happened in the George Floyd incident. Otherwise, the act of shooting someone is intent on harm that is much much greater than putting your knee on someone’s neck, and three was little to no outrage. People use social justice causes for opportunities for social interaction, belonging, and the feelings from the moral affirmations attached to the ideas of the causes. They seek to make everything an example of their cause to justify the existence of their groups and to project the idea that the cause is relevant.
People have the right to assemble to petition their government for redress of grievances. That is what protesting is. A grievance is the problem, so what is the problem? A problem isn’t police are racist, or police use excessive force, that is an opinion not a grievance. A grievance is an issue with a policy or law or the application of policy or law. What can the government do to address that grievance?
For example, across the country there have been protests over Covid-19 restrictions. There is a policy in place that restricts the rights of citizens, and citizens gathered to tell the government they do not support the policy, to create awareness of the problem, and the redress was ending those restrictions. That is what protesting is, and it is right protected in the constitution.
Blocking traffic, destroying and stealing property, and shouting that police are racists, murderers, that you want justice, is not expressing a grievance and seeking redress. First, the right to liberty and property are also rights guaranteed in the constitution, and you’re violating the rights of other citizens to their property and to their liberty of movement, in addition to violating state laws and city ordinances.
The stated problem is that a man died and you believe the police are responsible for it. What can the government do to solve that problem? Do you want the officers fired? They were. Do you want the officers charged? They were, based on what appears to be very weak evidence, and this was done largely because of your actions.
If we look at the statute for 3rd degree murder, the statute states “Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree”. Holding your knee on the back of another person’s neck, even for 8 minutes is not an act that can be considered eminently dangerous, and as the autopsy showed there was no trauma to the airway. Based on the act and the words of the statute the officer is not guilty of 3rd degree murder because the act of holding your knee on the back of someone’s neck is not “eminently dangerous”. If the officer is acquitted you can protest to change the law and offer up a definition that you feel adequately represents 3rd degree murder, however, such a statute will also apply to the rest of the public.
The second charge is 2nd degree manslaughter defined as “A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree ((1) applicable subsection) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another.
Was the officer grossly negligent? The action of restraining Floyd as the officers were restraining him are not actions that create an “unreasonable risk, and consciously take chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another”. The officer should be acquitted of this charge as well.
The charge of 3rd degree murder has been upgraded to 2nd degree murder which states: whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years: causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation;
2nd degree murder is even more difficult since you have to prove the officer intended to kill George, and there isn’t a shred of evidence in the entire 18 minutes of interaction to even suggest that intent.
NBC posted a legal analyst who stated they only had to find that Chauvin intended to commit a 3rd degree assault, but the portion of the statute he was referring to was for people with restraining or protection orders who are killed by people who they are supposed to be prevented from seeing. (6) The statute reads “causes the death of a human being without intent to effect the death of any person, while intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm upon the victim, when the perpetrator is restrained under an order for protection and the victim is a person designated to receive protection under the order. As used in this clause, “order for protection” includes an order for protection issued under chapter 518B;” NBC is reporting a legal opinion that isn’t consistent with the statute. That’s what people want to hear? Then when he is found not guilty they’ll be another public outcry.
(6) NBC News 6/4/2020 “Upgraded Charges Against Derek Chauvin May Make Conviction Easier, Lawyer Says”. https://www.today.com/video/upgraded-charges-against-derek-chauvin-may-make-convictions-more-likely-lawyer-says-84352069825
The previous paragraphs apply to Minneapolis. For every other city where there are “George Floyd Protests”, what is your grievance? What is it you want from your government? Your cities and states have implemented no new policy, they were not involved in acts that require redress, so what are you doing? How does the disruption you’re creating count as a grievance and what redress does that grievance require? Do you think you are persuading the state of Minnesota or the state attorney of Hennepin County to take action by blocking the roadways where you live and engaging in other criminal acts against your community?
Seemingly in response, days after the previous paragraph was originally written there were reports that protesters wanted the police defunded and the creation of community based programs. One incident, involving officers from another police force, has caused you to believe that your police department needs to be defunded? Even if we accept your interpretation of the event that the officers are wrong, what does it represent? It represents 1 out of 50 million police contacts that occur every year. It is these handful of events, most of which are being projected as something they are not that create the public’s perception of law enforcement officers. Even if you have 100 per year, or a 1000 per year it doesn’t represent how officers typically interact with the public irrespective of race, because 1000 out of 50 million still represents exceptions not the norm. If the police were what people think they are, you wouldn’t have a handful of incidents per year, you’d have 100s to 1000s per day. In the attempted arrest of George Floyd, I don’t believe the officers did anything wrong.
It speaks to a deeper problem, and that is the basis for your grievance itself. You can say anything you want, but just because you say it doesn’t mean it is true. If you’re claiming law enforcement is terrorizing the black community or terrorizing the community in general that is an assertion you need to provide evidence for. Where is your evidence? George Floyd? Is that your evidence? 1 out of 50 million? You want to rattle off 10 to 15 examples from the last 3 years, most of which are controversial examples and are misrepresented. Even if they weren’t, the number of examples you have do not represent a problem and there are laws and procedures for holding those people accountable. What law or procedure do you want to change?
Defund the police? You can protest everyday to defund the police if you want to, but unfortunately, especially after you’ve destroyed and stolen property, there are other people who do not want to defund the police, and probably feel the need to hire more officers and increase funding. What do you do? You have to study your issue objectively, which will either lead you to the correct conclusion or will allow you to understand the points of controversy and engage the opposition to gain support for your redress. They can’t do this because their positions are built on lies. They cooped pre civil rights act talking points, and attempt to assert them in a post civil rights act world. They don’t understand systems enough to understand where the real problems are and what the solutions are. Not only are they without a factual basis for their positions, they’re without a principled basis for their fake moral causes. Their objective is to emotionally engage stupid people to join them in a cause that benefits the individual, and others for social stimulation, but doesn’t do anything to improve people’s quality of life.
It isn’t about George Floyd and it isn’t even about the police. It is about using the event to unite people to riot. The response has likely been amplified by the Covid-19 lockdowns, including the consequence of people losing their jobs. If you don’t have money, and you don’t have a way to get money, then why not riot, you may have the opportunity to get some free stuff out of it. What we have is a product of many different issues, media, politics, economic opportunity, and the human inclination in this world to reinforce biases.
If you want to riot go ahead and riot. There are firefighters to put out the fires, police to ensure you’re limited in what you can steal and destroy, armed private citizens who will protect the life, liberty, and property of one another, and nothing else will change. We can live in a nation where part of the population riots. It will hamper growth and decrease opportunity, but apparently that isn’t what people are concerned with.
There was graffiti from the riots that read “kill all racists”. It’s a troubling sentiment in the graffitti when someone writes kill all racists, probably doesn’t know what racism is, and choose to label everyone who disagrees with him as a racist. What that says is kill all people who don’t agree with us, and they cannot be reasoned with because they don’t know what a fact is versus an opinion, or the difference between contradiction and consistency. That is the principle basis of facism, kill those who don’t agree with us. It’s interesting that facism in this country is running under a banner of antifacism, and is coming from the bottom up.
I saw a post that asserted the media is at fault. Sometimes the media is at fault. But you cannot blame the media, they’re just doing what they do to make money: presenting the stories people want to see in a way that maximizes the attention they will receive. This means reinforcing biases and engaging people emotionally. The problem is the people because the people are not concerned with what is true. They’re the ones who consume information that reinforces their biases and avoid information that challenges their biases to preserve a perception of the world they want to exist over the world that actually exists. Politicians, the media, activists, and others are components of the problem, but the real problem is the people. People accept authorities that reinforce their biases, but still don’t have a strong grasp of the subjects they have strong opinions about, and prefer their chosen lies over objective reality.
This is why “What we have here, is a failure to communicate”.
What’s my motivation for writing this? I understand the utility of the truth as it pertains to solving problems and liberty. You cannot pretend things are something they are not and expect to solve problems. Correcting a problem requires a correct understanding of the problem. I have hundreds of pages worth of material that is beneficial but has no market because people do not want to know the truth. People want information that reinforces what they want to be true. I write about issues of popular importance in an effort to promote truth, and to promote ideas that contribute to human liberation as well as my own.
The overemphasis and exaggeratioen of race, gender, and sexuality discrimination is one of the most obstructive elements to correcting the one true disadvantage which is economic inequality. A lack of worthwhile opportunities is what led to Floyd’s death to begin with. People who have worthwhile opportunities do not use meth, opioids, and pass 20 dollar counterfeit bills off at corner stores. If you were really concerned about George Floyd, you should have been concerned with him before he descended into what appears to be drug dependency and criminality. There were far fewer people concerned with George Floyd then, and the same people rioting in the streets are not concerned about people like George Floyd now. If they were, instead of rioting in the street they’d read my material to learn how systems function, where the deficiencies are, and what we must do to provide worthwhile opportunity for all people of this country, which isn’t only jobs. They’re not concerned with that and they’re not concerned with George Floyd. They’re concerned with the sensations derived from being affiliated with social justice causes, the moral affirmations, social interaction, and group inclusion. They’re concerned with advancing the ill conceived causes associated with their affiliation, not addressing the issues they perform with such passion about.
Do I have a bias towards law enforcement? Hardly, in general, I respect the idea of what law enforcement represents but I do not like how a portion of law enforcement fails to represent that idea. The idea previously mentioned, where the law creates freedom, and law enforcement officers are supposed to be the defenders of freedom. Instead some officers are excessively assertive in interactions with the public, some are quick to resort to the use of force, some use force excessively, some use the law as a cover to impose on people lives, and many are career oriented where instead of responding to crime that carries imposition on others with it, they prey on citizens looking to find a violation of a statute. Just as a box maker is paid and reviewed for the efficiency of box making, an officer’s career opportunities similarly depend on production. An officer with more arrest, for more serious charges, and more convictions from his charges probably does better in review and advancement opportunities than an officer with fewer. Being a law enforcement officer should be the noblest of professions, but law enforcement cannot live up to that ideal because they don’t understand the morality of liberty and how the principle serves as the basis for law and the application of law.
Most of my encounters with police typically were the product of my own behavior, but I have also observed officers who performed their jobs like the descriptions above. I’ve been engaged in criminal activity for a large portion of my life which means police have been my adversaries. Years ago I began to see past that, where there is a person inside that uniform and often those people are intelligent, articulate, and are not seeking to apply law as a burden on the public.
My conception of law is based on the universal interest that all people want to do what they want to do. Therefore, the only wrong action is an action that prevents someone from doing what they want to do, where obviously safety is a product of not wanting to be physically imposed on, and property crimes are imposition on means but I see everything in terms of imposition. All laws should prevent more imposition than they impose. Included in imposition is systems produced by collective consent imposing trapping circumstances on individuals. Nearly all crimes that advance an economic interest (theft, drug sales, robbery, etc) are evidence of imposition that already exists that create the will to impose. The previous sentence deviates from the point but is essential to liberty. Based on my morality, if a law doesn’t prevent imposition, me following that law depends on the reward associated with breaking it, compared to the risk if I’m caught, since the act is not wrong if it is unimposing.
I have no bias towards law enforcement officers one way or the other. I know if I’m potentially in trouble when I encounter law enforcement and I talk to them the same as other people. Unless of course they interfere with me and I feel like they don’t have any business doing it. In those situations where I haven’t done anything wrong I can be an asshole and ride it to the border of disorderly conduct. Generally I’m social during police contacts and I’m not involved in a criminal lifestyle any longer so I typically have less to worry about.
My motivation in all things is truth and liberty and that is my motivation for learning these details and subjecting them to analysis to reach the most objective conclusions. It includes the liberty that will come through creating a market for my material, and through that market the ability to proceed with ideas that will improve the species.