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LIVE: Chauvin Trial Day 1 – Opening Statements

LIVE: Chauvin Trial Day 1 – Opening Statements

Jury gets first exposure to the state’s narrative of guilt

Welcome to our LIVE coverage of the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, over the in-custody death of George Floyd.  I’ll be live blogging the court’s proceedings all day in real-time!

For those who may not know, I’m Attorney Andrew F. Branca, an internationally-recognized expert in use-of-force law, providing daily real-time legal analysis of the Chauvin trial’s proceedings as a guest commentator for Legal Insurrection, as well as over at my own blog, Law of Self Defense.

As a reminder of the actual criminal charges against Chauvin, and therefore what the prosecution has to actually prove beyond a reasonable doubt, and what we’d expect them to focus on in their opening statement, I’ve shared the relevant portions of the criminal statutes below. It’s worth noting that although two of the charges against Chauvin are labelled “murder” under Minnesota law, these are not murder charges in the traditional sense, in that they do not allege an intentional killing. (The second-degree murder charge specifically is what most states would call felony murder, predicted on assault in the third-degree.)  All the charges against Chauvin allege only an unintentional killing, so not even the state prosecutors are arguing that Chauvin intentionally killed Floyd–that this was literally a “racist police murder of a black suspect.”

§ 609.19. Murder in the second degree:

Subdivision 2. 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: (1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting;

§ 609.223 Assault in the third degree:

Subdivision 1. Substantial bodily harm. — Whoever assaults another and inflicts substantial bodily harm may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than five years or to payment of a fine of not more than $ 10,000, or both.

§ 609.205. Manslaughter in the second degree:

A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $ 20,000, or both:

(1) 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;

§ 609.195. Murder in the third degree:

(a) 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 and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.

Here’s live video of the court’s proceedings:

We are using a new live blogging software. If you encounter any problems, post in the regular comment section to this post.

Here’s our live blogging, updated in real time throughout the day:

Enjoy the show!

–Andrew

Attorney Andrew F. Branca
Law of Self Defense LLC

Attorney Andrew F. Branca’s legal practice has specialized exclusively in use-of-force law for thirty years.  Andrew provides use-of-force legal consultancy services to attorneys across the country, as well as near-daily use-of-force law insight, expertise, and education to lawyers and non-lawyers alike in the form of blog posts, video, and podcasts, through the Law of Self Defense Membership service.  If this kind of content is of interest to you, try out our two-week Membership trial for a mere 99 cents, with a 200% no-question- asked money-back guarantee, here:  Law of Self Defense Membership Trial.

[Featured image is a screen capture from the live video of this trial, Minnesota v. Chauvin.]

 

 

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Comments

Thanks again, Attorney Branca.

every police officer in Minnesota should spend the entire trial sitting in their cars doing absolutely nothing for the duration of the trial. And if there is a guilty verdict they should just walk off the job.

    fishstick in reply to starride. | March 29, 2021 at 11:19 am

    @starride
    I mean I can easily see an easy verdict for the third degree assault charge and the second degree manslaughter charge

    the only way Chauvin can possibly get off those charges – considering the video evidence already out there – is new video evidence showing Floyd not only resisting arrest to warrant a takedown, but also showing a great deal of resistance to warrant the continued use of pinning him down for nearly 10 minutes

    THAT is the big thing here is the defendant’s actions, along with what 5 other officers at the scene whom did nothing to try and alleviate the problem itself

    Floyd’s cause of death may not have been a knee to the throat, but the excuse of the officer showing no regard in knowing (or not) of the perp dying right there on the ground is hardly an excuse for his behavior

    but we’ll see with the case the defense pushes forth

    but I would type out again, there would have to be a considerable amount of video evidence not already known to counter what was out there since last year

      f2000 in reply to fishstick. | March 29, 2021 at 12:06 pm

      I don’t think you know how evidence works, or cause and effect. But then again, neither might the jury, so who knows.

        deadrody69 in reply to f2000. | March 29, 2021 at 2:16 pm

        You do not commit a crime by implementing a restraint approved by the Minneapolis PD. It really is that simple. AND he was restrained for his own protection as he was completely erratic

      Burn_the_Witch in reply to fishstick. | March 29, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      “Floyd’s cause of death may not have been a knee to the throat, but the excuse of the officer showing no regard in knowing (or not) of the perp dying right there on the ground is hardly an excuse for his behavior.”

      Taking the inherent stupidity of this hypo into account, we don’t put people on trial for murder for not displaying what fishstick deems proper decorum during an arrest.

        fishstick in reply to Burn_the_Witch. | March 29, 2021 at 5:13 pm

        it is hardly a hypothesis though

        Floyd suffered severe complications then died as a result of this encounter

        remember 2 of the charges is for ‘murder’

        one only needs to prove culpable negligence where a conscious choice led to this person’s death, even without intent

        the other is a simple assault charge where a jury can easily judge Chauvin’s actions as excessive use of force

        and showing callous disregard for a person as they lay dying – even if one were to believe them to be faking it – is hardly proper procedure

        I mean this cop only has himself (themselves) to blame for this shitstorm

        I mean you clearly saw bystanders with their vid phones out and they still continued to pin a guy down who’s struggling for life

        and they continued to pin him down

        do you really think Chauvin gets an automatic pass simply because he was under some ‘assumption’ or because this didn’t fall under same training parameter?

        I mean, cmon

        the verdict is gonna come down to whether or not the jury can reasonably believe the officer could be under that assumption and whether or not Floyd’s actions leading up to it give it credence

        otherwise, I cannot see a jury letting Chauvin go on some of these charges

        again, like I posted above… unless there is crystal cut evidence showing that Floyd is being physically resistant and continuing it against some 5 cops, it is gonna kill the defense’s justification argument

          Burn_the_Witch in reply to fishstick. | March 30, 2021 at 12:56 am

          So you don’t even know what a hypo is in legal terms. It’s “hypothetical”, not “hypothesis”. You’re off to a great start.

          Remember, your first claim here is not proven. A “charge” is not proof. Floyd may have died as a result of this encounter, or he may have died as a result of his own actions.

          If an overdose of drugs led to Floyd’s death, where do you think this case stands? If Chauvin was following established police procedure, where do you think this case stands?

          You keep thinking this is easy, for some reason.

          I mean this cop only has himself (themselves) to blame for this shitstorm

          Do you even know what the police procedure in question is? I’m betting you don’t, based on the knowledge you’ve failed to display so far. What is the proper “regard” a police officer must show someone who’s resisting arrest and is showing the signs of an overdose? What are you going to say if the evidence points to Chauvin executing approved Minneapolis PD procedures for handling someone in custody who is ODing?

          I mean you clearly saw bystanders with their vid phones out and they still continued to pin a guy down who’s struggling for life

          and they continued to pin him down

          So you don’t know what the procedure was. And you probably haven’t even seen the evidence that shows he was having trouble breathing before being pinned. Nor have you seen the evidence of him resisting the officers. Nor are you probably aware that they called EMS since they recognized he was in distress.

          I don’t think Chauvin gets an automatic pass. I don’t think Floyd does either. You should ask yourself why you don’t apply the same basic standards of critical thought.

          the verdict is gonna come down to whether or not the jury can reasonably believe the officer could be under that assumption and whether or not Floyd’s actions leading up to it give it credence

          No, the verdict is going to come down to what the cause of death was and if Chauvin followed established procedures.

          again, like I posted above… unless there is crystal cut evidence showing that Floyd is being physically resistant…

          There is.

          and continuing it against some 5 cops, it is gonna kill the defense’s justification argument

          No, it’s not. Because even if the resisting angle gets overlooked, it’s going to come down to the cause of death. And if Chauvin didn’t cause his death, the most a rational jury is going to be able to convict on is possibly assault in the third degree.

          But people like you are the reason for crap juries. They have preconceived notions based on incomplete evidence.

          fishstick in reply to fishstick. | March 30, 2021 at 8:44 am

          but if you really meant “hypothetical”, then you are off to an even worse start because there is nothing hypothetical to what happened

          we can literally see what is happening here

          second as for the claim argument – what you misunderstood is the prosecution only has to prove culpability for the assault and manslaughter charges

          they won’t actually need to prove Chauvin murdered him, only that his actions contributed towards Floyd’s death in some manner

          which is a considerably easier threshold to meet, considering the video in evidence

          whether or not Floyd died of an overdose and/or stress complication per arrest will be moot if the jury comes to the decision that the officer/s actions played a role… however minor it be

          if I believe (which I do) that Floyd died to drugs + his own poor physical state coupled with the stress of his arrest, then it still does not absolve him of guilt as it pertains to 2 of the charges

          the thing with Chauvin following [established police procedure], THAT is gonna come down to what his defense team can present that shows both that Floyd’s actions give credence to what our eyes see in said videos + explanations to the defendant’s state of mind in believing his own actions were justified

          and like I opened up with – currently there is none that I see… however the trial just started so…

          again – just in case you are wondering why – the reason I think the third degree assault and second degree manslaughter are easy for the prosecution is because the video in question shows callous behavior on the officers part for a dying perp

          because there is no question that Floyd was dying right there and that officers (not just Chauvin) did jack squat to even alleviate the problem with even basic common sense

          then to your police procedure argument

          to answer that, I’m pretty sure 5 people pinning someone down who is struggling for life is NOT the right course

          one could even argue – and the video shows this – that even the bystanders could see SOMETHING was wrong

          so WHY couldn’t the officers in question?

          hence trial in session

          I actually have seen the clips of Floyd with officers prior to the aftermath of him being pinned down

          but I’ve yet to see a full compilation of the entirety of the encounter

          thus what I’ve seen thus far is hardly justification for such excess treatment

          I mean they had him 5-1 and cuffed, so why pin him down moreso?

          and then continue to pin him down as he lay dying?

          it is gonna be hard for the defense team to explain that away as being ‘procedural’

          no, I repeat – the verdict is gonna come down to whether or not the jury can reasonably believe the officer could be under such assumptions above and whether or not Floyd’s actions leading up to it give it credence for their excess behavior

          looks it is possible, if there is video evidence to show Floyd fighting officers, trying to break out their holds, throwing a tantrum in the back of their squad car, etc…

          but I think the defense will need clear video evidence to counter what that 10 minute video the prosecution is going to be using, over and over and over and over again

          the only vids I’ve currently seen is Floyd being led to and fro a couple street corners, which one could say is resisting but not so much to the point where the aftermath is him on the ground being pinned by 5 officers as he’s choking away

          the jury is gonna need to see alot more to counter that narrative

          the body-cam footage should fill in alot of gaps

          nice pot shot at the jury system at the end there

          but I disagree with you on the second degree manslaughter charge

          the way I see it being played out is the prosecution will aim to show Chauvin’s actions being a contributing factor, not as the main cause for death

          again for that charge and the third degree assault, they don’t have to prove Chauvin killed Floyd

          and for that second degree, one only needs to show he’s criminally negligent

          Burn_the_Witch in reply to fishstick. | March 30, 2021 at 12:32 pm

          You posted the hypo, genius, not me. You’re really bad at this.

          they won’t actually need to prove Chauvin murdered him, only that his actions contributed towards Floyd’s death in some manner

          Which is a high hurdle. Not as open and shut as you keep painting it to be. If the cause of death was OD, and since he was experiencing breathing trouble prior to the take down, the state is screwed because the reasonable doubt standard is going to be too much to overcome.

          if I believe (which I do) that Floyd died to drugs + his own poor physical state coupled with the stress of his arrest, then it still does not absolve him of guilt as it pertains to 2 of the charges

          Sure it does. Floyd was resisting arrest. Police officers are lawfully justified in the use of force in subduing a suspect who is resisting arrest. Chauvin did not cause Floyd to resist arrest.

          because there is no question that Floyd was dying right there and that officers (not just Chauvin) did jack squat to even alleviate the problem with even basic common sense

          Nonsense. There is no “common sense” in play here. There certainly isn’t any “common sense” legal standard. No one, not even you from the comfort of your couch watching a video, knew what was happening.

          to answer that, I’m pretty sure 5 people pinning someone down who is struggling for life is NOT the right course

          one could even argue – and the video shows this – that even the bystanders could see SOMETHING was wrong

          so WHY couldn’t the officers in question?

          You know as little about use of force scenarios as you do evidence. The bystanders were already taunting cops beforehand. The “bystanders” are not reliable here. People who are ODing are usually considered extreme threats and there are tons of examples of ODing perps, resisting arrest, who present clear dangers to cops and bystanders. The Rodney King incident comes to mind.

          You’re looking at this through the bias of knowing what happened after the fact. The cops didn’t have that luxury. A suspect ODing on god-only-knows-what who’s resisting arrest with a hostile crowd gathered around. Not a “common sense” scenario by any stretch.

          I mean they had him 5-1 and cuffed, so why pin him down moreso?

          and then continue to pin him down as he lay dying?

          Because they didn’t know he was dying. Given Floyd’s size and the indication he was high as a kite, along with his prior record, it’s no wonder to anyone who has the first clue about use of force why 5 people might be pinning someone who is cuffed. It’s actually pretty common, so no, it’s not going to be hard for the defense. The issue is not the defense, but armchair quarterbacks on the jury who, like you, already have their mind made up and have little clue about how the situations go down in reality.

          “the ground being pinned by 5 officers as he’s choking away”

          Right, and I suppose the officers were using their Darth Vader choking skills when he was upright complaining about breathing problems.

          again for that charge and the third degree assault, they don’t have to prove Chauvin killed Floyd

          Yes, they do. Repeating this doesn’t make it true. If the apprehension was lawful, then the situation is caused by Floyd. Then it will come down to what the cause of death was. Absent any trauma caused by Chauvin, we don’t convict people of 3rd Man based on “Police stressed him out to death based on medical conditions there were totally unaware of”.

      FiftycalTX2 in reply to fishstick. | March 29, 2021 at 5:40 pm

      Gee, I didn’t know MMA training included “blood choke” and fighting to the death. Tell me again how someone who “can’t breathe” can speak.

        You certainly can feel like you can’t breathe (because you’re not getting enough oxygen) and yet be getting enough air that you can speak.

        Of course, why this would manifest is a medical condition or something like drugs in your system. (And Floyd had both.)

        As to whether or not that condition can be alleviated by changing someone’s body position, I don’t know – and it would likely depend on what was causing the issue.

It looks like the prosecution is going to try to show that George Floyd had a tolerance to Fentanyl and that’s why the level in his blood was so high. I think they’re going to have a problem because doesn’t that open the door to Floyd’s prior behavior and maybe allow the defense presenting evidence of Floyd’s previous arrest where he swallowed the drugs he had on him?

    fogflyer in reply to Xmas. | March 29, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    The court has already ruled to allow evidence that Floyd had swallowed drugs in a previous arrest and had to be hospitalized because of that action.

    Joe-dallas in reply to Xmas. | March 29, 2021 at 12:24 pm

    Drug tolerance and alcohol tolerance is misunderstood

    In the early days/years of a drug addicts / alcohol abusers life, tolerance does go up.

    However, after a point, the abuse to the body, starts to lower the tolerance. especially true with alcoholism. Many alcoholics can get passed out drug with only one or two beers.

      deadrody69 in reply to Joe-dallas. | March 29, 2021 at 2:18 pm

      Known at least one raging alcoholic. So not close to true

      Observer in reply to Joe-dallas. | March 29, 2021 at 2:29 pm

      Yep, and no person’s body has unlimited drug tolerance, which is why so many addicts die of overdose. Floyd was a big guy and a chronic drug user, so his body could undoubtedly tolerate more than the average person’s. But Floyd also had a badly diseased heart and had swallowed a huge amount of fentanyl — more than 3 times the known lethal dose — on top of the meth and other substances he had in his system. There was no way he was going to survive that, and it’s obvious on the tapes that he’s feeling the effects of the drug overdose as he repeatedly complains of being unable to breathe while still on his feet. As we know from the autopsy report, his lungs were filling up with fluid long before the cops placed him on the ground. Floyd’s difficulty breathing was due to the drugs, compounded by his severe heart disease, not Chauvin’s knee.

Burn_the_Witch | March 29, 2021 at 11:46 am

This is a pretty simplistic take.

Additional video evidence already exists that shows Floyd resisting. As for the pinning him for 10 minutes, that’s going to come down to additional factors: 1) Was he exhibiting signs of overdose? 2) Did the defendant recognize this from his training? 3) Did the defendant follow established procedure? Did the defendant’s actions actually cause Floyd’s death?

That’s just off the top of my head.

As of right now, considerable evidence exists to produce reasonable doubt to every one of those questions. That would completely undermine the two charges you claim are going to be easy.

    Burn_the_Witch in reply to Burn_the_Witch. | March 29, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Sorry, this response was meant for @fishstick

    fishstick in reply to Burn_the_Witch. | March 29, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    yet clips I’ve seen of said video evidence is questionable towards justification

    unless you got the full layout of the timed encounter, there is simply too many breaks from the first few clips to the aftermath

    1 – Floyd overdosing won’t matter against 2 of the charges, as the prosecution will only have to prove Chauvin was culpable with his own actions

    2 – a defense of, “well… I really didn’t know my action of a knee to neck, on a man saying he can’t breathe, could actually cause ‘that’. it wasn’t part of my training.”

    — I don’t think that kind of excuse will really fly, nor one that defense will even attempt to pull off here in this trial —

    3 – I think we can say this didn’t follow established procedure since you know, we are in a trial a year after the event occurred and the defense didn’t likely have this in their opening arguments of [knee on neck of dying (potentially) perp] was a proper one

    now whether or not enough facts can dispute Chauvin’s actions as being lawful, that is up for his defense to show and reasonably prove

    and again for 2 of these charges, one would think the prosecution will build their case over the officer/s actions than over the cause of Floyd’s death

    but unlike the Zimmerman case where it was easy for an outside perspective to reasonable assume certain things in the case of the defendant, because it almost matched up with the forensic evidence

    in this case – it is almost the opposite where one has to make inferences to Chauvin’s train of thought to better describe his actions?

    THAT is not the position you want to be in when having to answer these 4 charges

      Burn_the_Witch in reply to fishstick. | March 30, 2021 at 1:31 am

      So you’re already starting out at “questionable”. And yet earlier you were talking about how easy this all was. There’s other video that’s been available for months which shows the lead-up to this. You might want to avail yourself of it.

      1 – Floyd overdosing won’t matter against 2 of the charges, as the prosecution will only have to prove Chauvin was culpable with his own actions

      Wrong. If Floyd ODed, and Chauvin followed procedure, Man 3 is off the table, and assault is going to have to show that Chauvin caused harm to his neck. The evidence we have right now shows no trauma to the neck.

      2 – a defense of, “well… I really didn’t know my action of a knee to neck, on a man saying he can’t breathe, could actually cause ‘that’. it wasn’t part of my training.”

      Because a knee to the neck doesn’t cause trauma, or obviously doesn’t cut off the airway since he was still clearly able to use his airway to speak. And he was saying he couldn’t breathe before he was even taken down. That’s part of the video evidence you’re clearly unfamiliar with.

      — I don’t think that kind of excuse will really fly, nor one that defense will even attempt to pull off here in this trial —

      Now you’re actually thinking, which raises the question, why did you even bring it up?

      3 – I think we can say this didn’t follow established procedure since you know, we are in a trial a year after the event occurred and the defense didn’t likely have this in their opening arguments of [knee on neck of dying (potentially) perp] was a proper one

      You really don’t know what you’re talking about. The old text of the Minneapolis Police Policy Manual read: Neck Restraint: Non-deadly force option. Defined as compressing one or both sides of a person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck). Only sworn employees who have received training from the MPD Training Unit are authorized to use neck restraints. The MPD authorized two types of neck restraints: Conscious Neck Restraint and Unconscious Neck Restraint.

      Here’s a media article on it, since the MPD has since updated their manual and banned Neck Restraints: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/29/george-floyd-experts-say-neck-restraint-allowed-minneapolis-can-kill/5274334002/

      Now, if Chauvin didn’t receive this training, his defense gets harder. But if he did, and the defense can show that he applied it in accordance with his training, then the State is going to have a damn hard time.

      and again for 2 of these charges, one would think the prosecution will build their case over the officer/s actions than over the cause of Floyd’s death

      And if the cause of death can be shown to be OD, the State’s case is sunk on Man 3, with the assault charge being harder to prove without evidence of trauma.

      in this case – it is almost the opposite where one has to make inferences to Chauvin’s train of thought to better describe his actions?

      Bullshit. There’s enough forensic and video evidence available right now that far exceeds what was available in the Zimmerman case.

        fishstick in reply to Burn_the_Witch. | March 30, 2021 at 9:07 am

        hmm… you misunderstood the context of the “questionable” in question /pun

        what I meant was it is currently questionable that Floyd’s actions warranted such a takedown and continued treatment of being pinned as he lay there dying on the ground

        I mean they had him 5-1, unarmed, and cuffed, so why keep him pinned to the ground?

        and again – I’ve yet to see enough of the encounter not chopped into bits prior to the 10 minute video

        so if you have such vids of these angles and shots, do post them to better inform those you are trying to convince instead of just saying they are out there

        it would better make your case here if you can actually paint a full picture of encounter beginning to end

        as for your second and third bits – Floyd’s real manner of death is mooted with the third degree assault and second degree manslaughter charge

        he died during the course of this encounter, that is all the jury needs to consider there

        so the only way Chauvin gets off on those is if and only if the defense can reasonably prove their defendant’s own actions were justifiable given the circumstances of this encounter

        as of right now – I’m not seeing it with the videos out there

        as for your fourth snide, again you completely missed the point of it

        what I was implying is the defense has little wiggle room to make up an excuse for Chauvin (and the other officers) behavior

        unless they want to go with the “they got caught up in the heat of the moment” defense, which I don’t think is gonna fly in this case

        so yeah, better not to try it

        what you posted in the fifth is probably going to be the defense they are going to put on

        that Chauvin wasn’t breaking any procedure due to this

        problem is… it is going to have to overcome the hurdle that is Floyd’s death video

        you see normally, your perps are alive after such restraints, not dead

        thus taking us to your sixth point of Floyd OD’ing

        again, you’ve taken the defense’s side of seeing everything as individual events isolated from the whole

        the jury is likely NOT going to see it through this lens

        they are going to see a dead man and the events that led up to it as a totality

        they are going to see a living Floyd pre-encounter to a dead Floyd post-encounter and gauge on how ‘culpable’ Chauvin was to the end result

        my guessimate is I don’t think they will reasonably determine this was a murder

        however (as of the video evidence I’ve seen) the third degree assault is easily proven as well as the second degree manslaughter of the defendant’s own actions in said video

        because unless the prosecution goes the all-or-nothing route of trying to establish Chauvin was Floyd’s main cause of death – which I don’t see why they would bother to attempt to do this – then they only need to show culpable negligence

        which that one video has in abundance

        I mean do you really think this jury is going to see that 10 minute at closing, and think everything is fine and dandy?

          Burn_the_Witch in reply to fishstick. | March 30, 2021 at 1:09 pm

          No, I understood the “questionable” part perfectly. Earlier you were going on about that part being easy to determine, then you said it was questionable. Moving on….

          I already answered some of your opening questions here in my other response.

          As for the videos, just do a search for it on DDG or some other non-Google engine. It was leaked by the MPD. Go forth and be less lazy, I’ve already done enough work for you here.

          “Floyd’s real manner of death is mooted with the third degree assault and second degree manslaughter charge

          he died during the course of this encounter, that is all the jury needs to consider there”

          Total nonsense. If Floyd died of an OD, then his death becomes coincidental with the encounter. In other words, if Floyd had lethal amounts of drugs in his system, he was going to die anyway. Rendering the cause of death irrelevant in a Man 3 charge has got to be the stupidest thing I’ve read on the internet in a week.

          “what I was implying is the defense has little wiggle room to make up an excuse for Chauvin (and the other officers) behavior

          I didn’t miss the point. I know what you were implying, and, as I pointed out, your characterizations of the officers’ behavior is inapt. The situation was volatile and there were a lot of unknowns.

          again, you’ve taken the defense’s side of seeing everything as individual events isolated from the whole

          This is projection. I have frequently qualified nearly all of my statements with “if”. I don’t pretend to know what went on, unlike you, but I can see plenty of room for doubting the popular narrative.

          [the jury] are going to see a living Floyd pre-encounter to a dead Floyd post-encounter and gauge on how ‘culpable’ Chauvin was to the end result

          “Well golly! Floyd was alive before the cops, then he wuz dead after the cops. Open and shut case!”

          No, the jury is going to see all of the facts of the case presented, and not fishstick’s low-end take (neatly summed up in this quote) on it that remarkably resembles the popular narrative as portrayed in the media – that being one that must ignore one really big, fat pertinent fact or two in order to stick. I’m reminded of how open-and-shut everyone thought the Rodney King case was. The parallels here are uncanny.

          however (as of the video evidence I’ve seen) the third degree assault is easily proven as well as the second degree manslaughter of the defendant’s own actions in said video

          Ok, you run with that.

          I mean do you really think this jury is going to see that 10 minute at closing, and think everything is fine and dandy?

          No, and only a stupid person would anticipate or read that into my responses.

          I’ll include your other response.

          on there I’m gonna call bullshit on your bullshit

          the Zimmerman case is entirely different from this one simply because ALL the evidence pointed to a shot made in self-defense

          Look, galaxy brain, you’re the one that brought up Zimmerman. And you said there was more evidence there than this case. That’s unmitigated bullshit. Was there video of that case? Did you have dozens of eyewitnesses? Did you have tox reports? No? Then you don’t know what you’re talking about…once again.

          That’s the bullshit part, not the other irrelevant stuff from the Zimmerman case.

        fishstick in reply to Burn_the_Witch. | March 30, 2021 at 9:15 am

        forgot to address your last point

        on there I’m gonna call bullshit on your bullshit

        the Zimmerman case is entirely different from this one simply because ALL the evidence pointed to a shot made in self-defense

        the only gray area existed in the lead-up to the altercation

        NOT in the actual event where Zimmerman’s own actions were justifiable

        and remember, the state overcharged in trying to prove murder

        THAT is not happening here

        so there is a much wider net being covered here with Chauvin

“Did the defendant’s actions actually cause Floyd’s death?”

I think our society is largely beyond the point where that matters.

    Burn_the_Witch in reply to f2000. | March 29, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    I can’t disagree with you. Thankfully it’s not entirely up to the whim of the jury, but I can’t see how he gets anything remotely close to a fair trial. I don’t see how this trial concludes without some sort of jury shenanigans.

Thanks for doing this.

Minor spelling nitpick: petechial hemorrhage

Burn_the_Witch | March 29, 2021 at 12:22 pm

Seemed like a competent opening from the defense. Would have liked to see a little nod toward acknowledging the tragedy of Floyd’s death at the end, while maintaining that it was not due to the defendant’s actions, but I don’t know the ins and outs of opening statements in criminal trials.

The replay software is making annoying, intermittent loud beeping alerts. Is there some way to turn it off?

    clintack in reply to ray. | March 29, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Yes. Upper right, the icon that looks like a bell. Click it and a little window pops up with the word “Alert” and a slider switch. You can turn the audio alerts off.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to clintack. | March 29, 2021 at 5:01 pm

      I don’t see the icon anywhere. I also see “Leave a Comment” down below, but, no means to do so.

        At the top of the updating LiveBlog thing, under the video, right after the line that reads “Here’s our live blogging, updated in real time throughout the day:”, there’s a strip with “Updating…” at the left and a little bell at the right. .

Wow, prosecution looking bad right out of the gate.
In opening they framed this dispatcher as being SO distraught with what she saw, she called the police on her own officers!

That is not even close to what she testified to. In reality, she called her sergeant, just to let him know that their might be a “use of force” happening that officers are required to report, but hadn’t done so yet. The sergeant let her know that a takedown (which this was) does not meet the “use of force” requirement for reporting. The whole conversation between dispatcher and sergeant was very casual and not reflective of any concern the dispatcher had about inappropriate conduct. She admits that she never gets to see this stuff in action, so has no idea how things normally happen. It was an novelty that she got to see this on a camera in real-time.

I am sure the defense will bring all this up in cross.

I think this will set a tone right away with some members of the jury that the prosecution oversold their case in opening.

    Joe-dallas in reply to fogflyer. | March 29, 2021 at 1:47 pm

    Defense should be nice to this lady on cross – just a few short easy clarifications will work to make the prosecution case weaker

      Joe-dallas in reply to Joe-dallas. | March 29, 2021 at 2:36 pm

      Also need to ask the dispatcher when the ambulance was called and by whom

      Plant the seed early that the police was trying to help. – not trying to murder the guy who ingested a bunch of drugs.
      She could be early good witness for defense on cross

    Observer in reply to fogflyer. | March 29, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    I thought it was also absurd hyperbole for the prosecutor to say that Chauvin “crushed” Floyd. Really? Floyd had no redness, no swelling, no bruising, no sign of any injury to his neck, inside or outside. How exactly does one crush someone to death without leaving a mark on them?

    BillyHW in reply to fogflyer. | March 29, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Yeah, I noticed that they exaggerated her testimony in their opening statement. I hope the jury noticed too.

The prosecution seriously told us that George Floyd excelled a basketball.

Mr. Branca, a lot of your live blog posts are posting duplicates. Maybe a glitch in the blogging software.

    Apologies for that, I just use the system I’m assigned. 😉

      Could you configure it so it reads from oldest to newest, for those of us reading it after the fact? Otherwise I have to scroll down, click “Load More” then scroll down some more, click “Load More” again, scroll some more and click again, then… until I finally get to the original post. (Approximately 28 times with this post.) And, when I click “Submit” on this comment, I will have to do it 28 more times to get back to the start.

amatuerwrangler | March 29, 2021 at 3:10 pm

Reading the cited code sections (which Fishstick might want to try) it looks like the prosecution must show that the training given the MPD and its supporting policy is a criminal assault in order to meet the elements of the other charges. What did I miss?

The calling of medical help early in the encounter argument does seem to take a lot of air out of the “wanting to harm” element.

The numbers in the tox report are not gross amounts of the substance, but the amount found in a given volume of blood. The amount of blood or tissue is immaterial, its the concentration that determines the toxicity.

2nd Prosecution witness doesn’t know what part of Arizona she grew up in, when she came to Minnesota, or with certainty what part of Minnesota she lives in.

. . . And these should be the State’s best witnesses. Holy Crap!

    clintack in reply to f2000. | March 29, 2021 at 4:10 pm

    Definitely doesn’t want to be here. Hard to blame her.

    GWB in reply to f2000. | March 29, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    And these should be the State’s best witnesses.
    I wonder if they’re putting the crappy ones first so the jury forgets about them by the end of the prosecution’s case?

Ladies and gentleman,
Meet Alicia Oiler… the Rachel Jeantel of the Chauvin trial! ?

Ms Oiler testified that she yelled at the cops “the cops are always messing with people”

seems unbiased

The Friendly Grizzly | March 29, 2021 at 5:06 pm

Now, I got the comment box back by switching browsers. Still no way to make the bell stop. In the different browser it’s louder.

The bells, the BELLS…!

Wow. Did the prosecution just get Williams to say that Thao told him, at the time, that Floyd was OD’ing? That seems really helpful to the defense, despite the spin. I mean it’s easy to call it a racist stereotype at the time, but with the toxicology report… And it would seem to show what the police thought was happening at the time.

I can’t believe how the reporters think Williams (the “martial arts” guy) is such an “expert” witness. Williams is not compelling in the least. His inability to even properly describe the difference between a blood choke and an air choke showed his ineptitude.

I am NOT a trained martial artist, but I do know where your carotid arteries and your windpipe are located and *spoiler alert!* they aren’t in the back of your neck.

The moment I saw this video, I told my wife that the knee had nothing to do with this guy’s death and that it will be interesting to see the toxicology report… and sure enough… it was.

    Joe-dallas in reply to fogflyer. | March 29, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Fogflyer comment – “I can’t believe how the reporters think Williams (the “martial arts” guy) is such an “expert” witness. Williams is not compelling in the least. His inability to even properly describe the difference between a blood choke and an air choke showed his ineptitude.”

    I completely agree with your statement and Skydoc below, and he would be excluded under the daubert standard if testifying as an expert.

    However, Unfortunately he comes across as a very good witness for the prosecution. Being MMA, trained to kill people, to choke people, etc, he comes across as being able to recognize somethng causing death, I suspect he was very convincing to most of the jury.

      fogflyer in reply to Joe-dallas. | March 29, 2021 at 7:06 pm

      I see your point, but I can’t imagine most of the jury fell for his “shimmying” description.
      The guy actually said that Chauvin was shimmying to move his knee for a “kill choke.”

      I don’t think any reasonable jurist will believe that Chauvin deliberately choked Floyd to death. Anybody believing that has already made up their mind and is as biased as this witness was.

      I assume the defense will present actual experts that will invalidate this angry young man’s farcical claims.

Is it too late to be a witness for the trial?
I would like to challenge Mr Williams to choke me out with his knee, while keeping his foot on the ground, when I am lying on my stomach. Good luck! You simply can not get your knee to the carotid artery from that angle (which is why it is an approved technique) and you also need to close off BOTH carotid arteries to choke someone out. I am afraid that physics and anatomy do not support the theory.

This Mr. Williams needs some remedial training. As a physician, and a Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I maintain that Chauvin’s only possible culpability in Floyd’s death would be from failure to render aid in a reasonable time frame.

Even if Chauvin’s knee was in a position to occlude the right carotid artery (unlikely, but not impossible), there was nothing to occlude the left carotid artery. In order for that choke to induce unconsciousness, the down side arm needs to be in front of the body, bringing the shoulder under the neck, so that the down side carotid is compressed against it. Floyd’s down side arm is behind his back, and there is nothing to compress the left carotid against. Further, unconsciousness from bilateral carotid occlusion occurs within seconds, and is very peaceful. I agree with the above posters that it is somewhat unlikely that Chauvin even successfully occluded one of the carotids, much less both.

The state brought charges against the wrong individual because of the popularity of the one video. If any of the police officer’s actions contributed to Floyd’s death, it was the officer that was pushing his chest into the ground and/or the officer that was pushing his abdomen into the pavement. If you have ever been in that position, you know how hard it is to breath with the weight of even one person driving into your chest/ abdomen in the “knee on belly” position.

    bigskydoc in reply to bigskydoc. | March 29, 2021 at 6:07 pm

    There is one theoretical way that Chauvin could have brought about unconsciousness in Floyd with only occluding the right carotid. If Floyd had a congenital malformation of his cerebral vasculature, with an incomplete Circle of Willis, a unilateral choke could put him to sleep. I assume this would have been noted on autopsy. He would have passed out within seconds, though.

      Joe-dallas in reply to bigskydoc. | March 29, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      big sky doc comment -” As a physician, and a Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I maintain that Chauvin’s only possible culpability in Floyd’s death would be from failure to render aid in a reasonable time frame”

      I have to agree that Chauvin’s only culbabiltiy is the failure render aid, though floyd died approximately 4 minutes into the knee on the neck. So prior to the Floyd on the ground, he was pre-ordained to die.

      Its possible that nacan (?) could have saved him if administared within 5 minutes, but unlikely .

      Doc – one question for you – The autopsy noted the lungs weighed approx 20%-30% more that the lungs normally would weigh. But the autopsy did not indicate any further evaluation of the lungs or disclose why they weighed more. Also notable, in spite of the signs of drugs, body tissues were apparently not examined for signs of drugs.

    fogflyer in reply to bigskydoc. | March 29, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    Nice to hear an expert validate my non-expert, common sense belief that it is very unlikely that the knee on the neck had much if anything to do with Floyd’s death.

    I (and I think most people) agree that it was disturbing to watch the video and not see any aid given to Floyd after he lost consciousness, but I don’t know what aid police are legally required to render. That is a key question for me. Is it required to start CPR even when an ambulance is only a few minutes away? Even if you have a semi-hostile crowd?

    And if they are required to render aid, what is the crime? Surely not murder.

so not even the state prosecutors are arguing
Which is telling, since Ellison had immediately jumped on this and said he was going to get him for 1st Degree murder. Anyone with eyes knew it wouldn’t hold, but Ellison was going to make it a political trial.

Boy that 911 dispatcher is really something else. She sees officers struggling to arrest a belligerent man, and rather than call for help, she calls their boss to find out if, WHILE THEY WERE STRUGGLING TO BRING THE MAN UNDER CONTROL, they reported a “use of force” incident yet, just to try to get them into trouble. Un-freakin’-believable.

Let’s ask Mr. Williams if he ever tried to wrestle with another person who was at least 6 inches taller and some 75 lbs heavier than he is? If you wrestled someone that much larger what would you do?

exceptionally high level of carbon dioxide, none of the tell-tale signs of asphyxiation
Now, to a layman, this seems contradictory. Wouldn’t the CO2 be extremely high if he were asphyxiated? I would think it would be the “tell-tale” sign?

Any good explanations for this? Or will I just have to wait for the defense portion of the trial?

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