Tuesday, July 07, 2020

George Floyd Case: MPD Allowed Neck Restraints; Follow Due Process

Image is screenshot from video cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

More facts are surfacing in the George Floyd case. We need to step back, allow a critical examination of evidence and allow the criminal justice system to be applied.

It is important to follow proper procedure, rules of evidence, allowing of the defense to present its case, and an adversarial examination at trial.  It is irresponsible for national media figures to proclaim guilt before a trial is conducted or the defense is heard.  Here are some reasons to withhold judgement.

Having studied self-defense doctrine, and having some familiarity with police policy, it was not surprising neck restraints are allowed by the Minneapolis Police Department.

Numerous people have claimed no department allows neck restraints.  The Minneapolis Police Department explicitly allows neck restraints, including the kind arguably used in the restraint of George Floyd.

Link to  mpd policy  

Update: The link has been removed from the police site. Here is a saved screen shot:

The policy says light pressure applied by the leg or arm, to the side of the neck, is allowed to restrain a person who is actively resisting arrest.

There is video showing Floyd initially resisting arrest as he is taken from the car he was in. Two passengers come out of the passenger side and are not handcuffed.

Floyd resists arrest. It takes two officers to remove him from the car. They handcuff him. One officer moves away, and Floyd appears to be somewhat impaired, because he stumbles and slumps down next to the door.  The officers treat him with care, rather gently it appears.

Floyd violently resisted the officers when they attempted to place him in the police vehicle, after some time where he is siting, handcuffed next to the building. Video of that period has surfaced. Some claim it shows Floyd being beaten, inside the car.  Prisoners must be restrained (in seat belts) inside of the car to be transported. Remember Fredy Gray in Baltimore, where police where criminally charged when Gray was not restrained, and died in police custody. It is very difficult to place a struggling prisoner in a seat belt, especially if they are are large and muscular.

There is at least one photo of three officers restraining Floyd on the ground. It appears it took three or four officers to subdue Floyd on the ground next to the police car, even though he was handcuffed. At about this time, the officers call an ambulance.

On the video showing the officer with a knee on Floyd's neck, one officer at the scene, can be heard to say they attempted to place him in the vehicle for ten minutes.  Without video, it is difficult to be certain of the timing. When in a violent struggle, a person's sense of time tends to change. The phenomena is called tachypsychia.

George Floyd was a very large, reportedly 6'6", muscular man, with a long history of violence and a violent rap sheet.

The police did not move him from that location until the ambulance arrived.

Floyd appears to be resisting arrest for at the first four minutes of the video, where he is on the ground, and the officer has his leg on the back of the shoulders and the side of Floyd's neck.  What is unclear is how much resistance Floyd put up over the entire time period.

The officer can convincingly argue he was following department policy. The police had called an ambulance. The officers knew Floyd had medical issues, suspected drug involvement, and that an ambulance was on the way.

There are two minutes and 43 seconds after that where Floyd was not resisting.
Those minutes will be the strongest argument the officer did not follow policy.

It cannot be determined, from the video, how much pressure was being applied to the neck. It has been argued there was little pressure and that there was strong pressure.  The optics of the video look very bad, but they are not conclusive about how much pressure was applied.

Floyd repeatedly saying "I can't breathe" can be consistent with heart failure. We know it was not blockage of the airway.  Blockage of one of the arteries to the brain is possible. Blockage of both is less likely.  The fact Floyd could speak and move his head some amount, indicates the pressure on his neck was not extreme.

Floyd saying "I can't breathe" is dramatic. It appears very bad in the video. It does not prove the officer's actions were the reason for the complaint.

All the evidence will be exhaustively examined at trial.

We do not know how many times the officer may have heard similar complaints from other suspects, attempting to manipulate him. The phrase gained a lot of "street cred" after the Eric Gardiner case resulted in a large payout.

The autopsy did not find any damage to the neck, and did not find evidence of strangulation or asphyxiation. It found underlying problems with Floyd's heart, and suspected drug involvement.  This does not mean the pressure on Floyd's neck was inconsequential. It leaves room for doubt as to the cause of death.

The toxicology report in the autopsy shows Fentanyl at 11 ng/mL, Norfentanyl at 5.6 ng/mL, and Methamphetamine at 19 ng/mL.  It does not show any alcohol in Floyd's blood.  Lethal doses for Fentanyl, especially as part of a drug cocktail, show a wide variation.

What is needed is a careful examination of the evidence, due process, and the rule of law. Here is a link with a detailed examination of evidence which has not been given much publicity.

All of those things are destroyed by the mob rule and electronic lynching that is happening as I write.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Anonymous said...

Bullshit Millions watched the Video. It was clearly gross abuse of power and factually murder in my opinion. Nobody needs cops like that. the other two refused to stop him and prevented any one else from stopping him. the video clearly shows one of the other two roughly shoving by standers away and the other helping to hold him down. The cops continually claim a taser is not deadly. If he had tased the one there were two others, armed, to stop any further harm. I'm all for deadly force when being attacked. attackers are facing you not running from you. Only a coward shoot a person in the back. He could not have been to drunk he was running pretty fast. three bullies killed another black with a choke hold. The three of them tried to choke hold him. The cops already had all of his information if he ran away they could have arrested him at his home any time. They could have mailed him a citation. any one that misses a man sized target at 20 feet and hits a car should not have a gun.

BT2PO2 said...

Unfortunately for all concerned, what has occurred since the death of Mr. Floyd is nothing compared to the chaos that will occur if/when a trial results in acquittal for the officers. They are truly in a lose/lose situation.