“Not only could Chauvin be acquitted or left with a hung jury, but the impact could be the collapse of all four cases. That will be up to the jury. But if there is violence after the verdict, it will be far worse if the public is not aware up front of the serious challenges in proving this case.’
—Prof. Jonathan Turley in a column for The Hill, explaining that a conviction for Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd murder trial in Minneapolis is far from certain despite the news media refusing to inform the public of that fact.
As is too often the case, Turley professorially states a critical fact without appropriate indignation regarding its implications. Not only has the news media, in Turley’s words, “failed to shoulder their own burden to discuss the countervailing evidence in the case, ” it has done so because “there is a palpable fear that even mentioning countervailing defense arguments will trigger claims of racism or insensitivity to police abuse.” What are these, children? Journalists are supposed to be professionals. Yet Turley says—correctly, unfortunately—they they are deliberately misleading the public, and making a violent reaction to the eventual verdict in Chauvin’s trial more likely by feeding a false narrative rather than conveying essential facts.
Turley lists the reasons why proving murder beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury and a verdict that stands up to appeal in the case of George Floyd’ s death may be impossible:
►When called to the scene due to Floyd allegedly passing counterfeit money, Floyd denied using drugs but later said he was “hooping,” or taking drugs.
►The autopsy did not conclude that Floyd died from asphyxiation (though a family pathologist made that finding). Rather, it found “cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).” The state’s criminal complaint against Chauvin said 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.” He also was COVID-19 positive.
►Andrew Baker, Hennepin County’s chief medical examiner, strongly suggestedthat the primary cause was a huge amount of fentanyl in Floyd’s system: “Fentanyl at 11 ng/ml — this is higher than (a) chronic pain patient. If he were found dead at home alone & no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD (overdose). Deaths have been certified w/levels of 3.” Baker also told investigators that the autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting Floyd died of asphyxiation.
►The toxicology report on Floyd’s blood also noted that “in fatalities from fentanyl, blood concentrations are variable and have been reported as low as 3 ng/ml.” Floyd had almost four times the level of fentanyl considered potentially lethal.
►Floyd notably repeatedly said that he could not breathe while sitting in the police cruiser and before he was ever restrained on the ground. That is consistent with the level of fentanyl in his system that can cause “slowed or stopped breathing.”
►Finally, the restraint using an officer’s knee on an uncooperative suspect was part of the training of officers, and jurors will watch training videotapes employing the same type of restraint as official policy.
How often have you seen this list published in a major news source or heard it explained on a TV news show? For me, the answer is never, though I have accessed enough unbiased sources to know about those facts, which is why I have concluded that the prosecution itself is an abuse of prosecution ethics. The standard narrative from the mainstream media is that Floyd was “killed.” That description can be found in articles in print and around the web every day since the officer’s knee met the drug addict’s neck. The evidence is not at all clear that he was ‘killed.” If he died from a drug overdose, Floyd was responsible for his own demise.
Not for the first time in recent years, the news media’s craven abandonment of basic principles of ethical journalism is destabilizing the nation and our democracy. “Enemy of the people” is apt. In this instance, its bias and incompetence is likely to get many American killed, making the news media’s conduct far more deadly than Derek Chauvin’s .