Most Read
Image 01 Image 02 Image 03

Chauvin Trial Day 6 Wrap-Up: Chief Says Neck Restraint Not Trained, But Does It Matter?

Chauvin Trial Day 6 Wrap-Up: Chief Says Neck Restraint Not Trained, But Does It Matter?

Not trained doesn’t mean wrongful, and even wrongful doesn’t mean cause of death

Welcome to our ongoing coverage of the Minnesota murder trial of Derek Chauvin, over the in-custody death of George Floyd. I am Attorney Andrew Branca for Law of Self Defense, providing guest commentary and analysis of this trial for Legal Insurrection.

Anyone interested in a free podcast version of our daily legal commentary and analysis of the Chauvin trial can access the Law of Self Defense News/Q&A Podcast, available on most every podcast platform, including Pandora, iHeart, Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, simple RSS feed, and more.

Overview

Today’s court proceedings brought us a mere three state’s witnesses, although undoubtedly the state considered them among their most important.

The first was Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, the emergency room physician who treated Floyd, and whose testimony did literally nothing to diminish the theory that Floyd died of impaired respiratory function induced by Fentanyl overdose. Like every witness to date, Dr. Langenfeld’s testimony had the appearance of being compelling right up until it was subject to “the rest of the story” on cross-examination.

Much the same could be said of what might be referred to as today’ start witness, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. Chief Arradondo gave the prosecution the headline quote they’d certainly prepared for—effectively, Chauvin’s neck restraint was outside MPD policy, period!—but again much of the apparent power of this quote was gutted on cross-examination by Nelson. The fact that the media will only cover direct questioning, however, and will substantively ignore cross-examination has real implications for race relations in America generally and for urban infrastructure in the immediate aftermath of this case, specifically.

The final witness of the day was relatively brief, and that was Katie Blackwell, Commander of the MPD Training Division around the time of May 25, 2020, the date of Floyd’s in-custody death. Like Arradondo she, too, testified to the effect that she didn’t recognize Chauvin’s neck restraint as being consistent with MPD policy—“I don’t recognize that,” were here exact words. Nevertheless, that’s a far cry from the technique constituting murder, for reasons I’ll discuss below.

As usual, the testimony of every one of today’s witnesses is provided in today’s content below.

State’s Witness: Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld

The day started with the testimony of Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, who was the emergency room physician who treated Floyd upon arrival at Hennepin County Medical Center, delivered by ambulance by paramedic Derek Smith and driver.

The testimony of Dr. Langenfeld has followed what has become a common pattern in this case. The (carefully prepared?) state’s witness is carefully questioned by the state to illicit headline worthy quotes, but it’s ultimately revealed on cross-examination that those quoted opinions were based on extremely limited information, lacked context of the full circumstances, and were gutted on cross-examination as a result.

This pattern actually raises a very interesting, and alarming, public policy danger, based on the media’s coverage of this case. From what I’ve seen of media coverage, which for me occurs only when the case recesses during the day and the talking heads pop up during the break, is that the media effectively only covers the direct questioning of the state’s witnesses. As a result, the public only hears the state’s version of the facts.

Well, just like if you only hear one side of any argument, it’s natural for the public to conclude that the state is KILLING IT!!!! in this trial, and that it’s SUPER OBVIOUS!!!! that Chauvin is a RACIST POLICE MURDERER!!!! You NAZI!!!!

There’s a reason that our legal system is adversarial in nature, however, and that’s for the obvious reason that there’s always two sides to every story. It’s only by listening to both sides, with their individual strengths and weaknesses, that one can have an overall informed opinion about what likely happened.

The jury in this trial will get both sides, and hopefully arrive at a verdict based on both sides.

The public, especially the public willing to riot, loot, and arson (arson must be a verb by now, right?), is however hearing only the narrative of guilt in this case. That means that anything other than a guilty verdict can only come as a complete shock to their sense of justice, and therefore a complete justification of any terror they wish to bring to bear to the public generally.

And who is responsible for this? Well, the rioters, looters, and arsonists are responsible for their own conduct, for certain. It’s kind of hard to not also assign blame to the media pouring out the gasoline across the public square and sparking the matches.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about that, at least today, but for those of you who partake of my Law of Self Defense analysis to make sure you get exposure to both sides of the story, thanks for that!

OK, back to Dr. Langenfeld, who was subject to direct examination by Prosecutor Blackwell.

As noted, Dr. Langenfeld was the emergency room physician who treated Floyd upon arrival at HCMC. We all know, of course, that Floyd died that day, and it seems likely that Langenfeld essentially considered Floyd dead on arrival. That’s not to suggest that the good doctor didn’t do everything possible to safe Floyd’s life, but when someone’s been in cardiac arrest for 30 or so minutes, well, the odds aren’t good. At no time under Dr. Langenfeld’s care was Floyd anything other than flatlined in terms of cardiac function.

In fact, Floyd had little meaningful cardiac activity when picked up by the paramedics on scene, little cardiac activity en route to HCMC, little cardiac activity upon arrival at HCMC, and little cardiac activity after treatment by Dr. Langenfeld. Ultimately it would be Dr. Langenfeld who would officially pronounce Floyd dead at HCMC, but the likely reality is that Floyd died some considerable time prior to the official “call.”

Prosecutor Blackwell made sure to emphasize the importance of initiating prompt care in cases of cardiac arrest, again hitting on the possible criminal liability claim of failure to provide timely medical care. One money quote from Dr. Langenfeld is that every minute CPR is delayed in a case of cardiac arrest means a 10-15% decrease in survival of the patient. Of course, the fact that Dr. Langenfeld possessed this factoid does not mean that it was possessed by Chauvin or the officers on scene, who are, after all, police, not doctors.

Much as was the case with the bystanders, Dr. Langenfeld found himself working with only partial information about what had occurred generally, and about his patient in particular. For example, Dr. Langenfeld had no information about Floyd’s apparent ingestion of a lethal dose of fentanyl/methamphetamine cocktail upon contact by police, and thus could not consider that likely cause of respiratory depression and cardiac arrest result in his differential analysis of Floyd.

Specifically, in his testimony Dr. Langenfeld told Blackwell on direct that he had no report that the patient had overdosed on a specific medication for which there might be a specific antidote. In fact, of course, Floyd had overdosed on the opioid fentanyl, for which there is a specific antidote. That information, however, did not reach Langenfeld.

Why didn’t Langenfeld know that Floyd had likely overdosed on drugs? Well, arguably because the paramedics didn’t tell him. Why didn’t the paramedics tell him? Because they themselves had probably not gotten that information from the officers on scene. Why didn’t the paramedics get the information from the officers on scene? Likely because the angry and threatening crowd compelled the paramedics to do a “load and scoot” to vacate the area of danger promptly, very much limiting the opportunity to exchange information with the officers.

Did the angry crowd actually kill Floyd, by interfering with his effective and efficient medical treatment?

Blackwell spent quite a bit of time in direct of Langenfeld getting the doctor to opine that the most likely cause of Floyd’s cardiac arrest was hypoxia, lack of oxygen in the tissues, induced by asphyxia, the inability of the respiratory system to deliver oxygen to the biological systems of the body.

None of that, of course, actually settles the key issue of what actually caused Floyd’s death. Even if asphyxia caused Floyd’s death, that doesn’t tell us that Chauvin killed Floyd via mechanical asphyxiation via compression of the neck. At least, not when there’s a perfectly viable, and evidence-supported alternative explanation for Floyd’s asphyxia—the three-fold fatal levels of fentanyl in Floyd’s system.

After all, as even Langenfeld himself confirmed today, the means by which fentanyl kills its victims is by suppression of respiration. That’s just another form of asphyxiation. And we have actual toxicology results to support the fentanyl levels. There’s literally zero evidence of how much pressure the 140-pound Chauvin might have been applying, or not, to the neck of the 230-pound Floyd.

A common theme running through Dr. Landenberg’s testimony is this: “Based on the information I had at the time …”. Indeed, that’s how he closed out his direct testimony. That is, of course, just another way of saying “I had only limited information about what was going on with this patient and what had led up to his present circumstances, and my expert opinion must therefore be considered profoundly constrained by that limited information.”

On cross-examination by (of course) Nelson, who explicitly asked if a fentanyl, methamphetamine, or a combination of the two could cause the hypoxia observed by Dr. Landenberg. The answer was, of course, “yes.”

Nelson also confirmed that the paramedics had never informed Landenberg about the possibility that Floyd’s condition was the result of a drug overdose, probably for the reasons already discussed (although I’m naturally speculating there).

Touching upon the state’s apparent line of argument that Floyd’s long history of opioid abuse meant he was somehow immune to fatal overdose, Nelson explicitly asked Landenberg if a history of abuse meant fentanyl can’t kill someone. The answer was, of course, “no.”

Nelson also managed to get into testimony the following question, exploring further alternative explanations for Floyd’s cardiac arrest: “Would someone with a >75% occlusion of a coronary artery be at substantial risk of cardiac arrest?”

The state objected to the question, and Judge Cahill called a sidebar (he prudently doesn’t allow arguing over objections in the hearing of the jury). When Nelson returned to question Landenberg he proceeded with a different line of questioning, suggesting that Cahill had sustained the state’s objection on the occluded coronary artery question.

Why might Cahill have agreed to not allow that question? I’m engaging in informed speculation here, but it might be because Landenberg was present as a personal knowledge witness, and not as an expert witness. That means he can testify about what he knows personally about the events in which he was involved, but he doesn’t have the privilege of an expert witness to opine about hypotheticals—if he does, he’s engaged in speculation, and knowledge witnesses aren’t allowed to speculate.

And that was pretty much it for cross of Langenfeld.

Re-direct by Blackwell was pretty weak, as has been the trend in my observation of this trial. He touched back on an earlier, weak, line of argument he’d made previously, that fentanyl makes people sleepy, and Floyd was patently not sleepy while he was violently resisting lawful arrest, and that must mean that Floyd could not have been on high levels of fentanyl.

I just don’t get the investment in this line of argument, frankly. We have the definitive tox results on fentanyl levels, and they were three-times fatal dose. We also have the chemical analysis results of the pills found both in the Mercedes SUV and the squad car, the latter covered in Floyd’s saliva and DNA, and they were a combination of fentanyl and methamphetamine—and the methamphetamine component is obviously a powerful stimulant that would explain away the lack of sleepiness.

And that was all she wrote for the testimony of Dr. Langenfeld. Here’s the direct, cross, and brief re-direct of the good doctor:

Langenfeld Direct Questioning:

Langenfeld Cross-Examination:

Langenfeld Re-Direct

State’s Witness: MPD Police Chief Medaria Arradondo

Next up was the state’s likely star witness, MPD Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

The first thing it’s important to know about Chief Arradondo is something that’s true of every police chief everywhere—being a police chief is a profoundly different job and state of being that is being a patrol officer. And it’s not merely that the Chief is chief executive officer in a system in which the patrol officer is the factory worker, with profoundly different job responsibilities and perspectives on their day to day work life.

More important than all of that is that a police chief, and indeed for the most part all police officers of Lieutenant rank or higher, are effectively political officers working within a political environment—and none more so than the Chief. In the case of Chief Arradondo, for example, he was appointed to his position of Chief by the Mayor of Minneapolis, Mayor Frey. This is obviously a political appointment by a political official, who is effectively Chief Arradondo’s boss, and that makes the Chief’s job a political job, not a “cop” job.

So when we hear Chief Arradondo testify, that’s the filter through which we should understand his testimony—a political filter—and that we should interpret the weight and context of his testimony appropriately.

Having said all that, simply because we are aware of this political reality doesn’t mean that the jury will be equally aware, and it’s ultimately their perception of the Chief’s testimony that controls the verdict in this case.

Direct questioning of Chief Arradondo was conducted by Prosecutor Schleiter, and Schleiter returned to his earlier emphasis on the “soft” values of the Minneapolis Police Department—compassion, dignity, guardianship, respect, be courteous, be polite, and so forth. Little or no emphasis was placed on the “protect” part of the “protect and serve” motto common to most police departments. It’s as if the assumption is that bad guys be bad only because the police first failed to treat them with courteous respect.

Arradondo even testified that it’s the mission of the MPD “to treat all people with dignity and respect above all else.” Really? Above ALL else? Above preserving innocent life? We’re going to be careful to treat the domestic abuser with a gun to his spouse’s head with all the dignity and respect a non-violent law-abiding citizen would be entitled to?

By Schleiter’s telling, and with Arradondo’s agreement, the job of the police department was mostly touchie-feelie, and any use of force was apparently an implicit indication that the officer involved had failed to do the right touchie-feelie stuff.

Schleiter spent considerable time walking Arradondo through the MPD’s use-of-force policies, as well, several times having the Chief read aloud specific highlighted portions of that policy manual.

I’m sure it was a coincidence that the portion of every single use of force policy that made the policy conditional on circumstances—when safe to do so, as circumstances allow, when consistent with safety, when reasonably possible—was left unhighlighted, and thus unrecited by Chief Arradondo. Instead, the selected portions were read aloud as definitive statements of MPD use-of-force policy.

This is, of course, wildly intellectually and morally dishonest on the part of the prosecution, but we have an adversarial legal system precisely to allow the defense to point out such machinations.

Schleiter also spent a lot of time talking about various MPD de-escalation policies. What most struck me as he worked through the list of explicit de-escalation options was that either the officers on scene with Floyd had already executed those steps, or the steps were likely not practical given the circumstances.

One option for de-escalation was that an officer could call for back-up. Well, Keung and Lane got back-up, in the form of Chauvin and Thau.

Another option was to use verbal commands to de-escalate. Well, Lane did that on his initial approach to Floyd sitting in the passenger seat of the SUV, and to which Floyd was non-compliant—SHOW ME YOUR HANDS! Nope—and then forcibly resistant.

Other options were the use of barriers—you mean like using a squad car as a barrier?—and containing the threat—you mean like physically restraining the threat?

It was also important, according to Arradondo, for the officers to get as much information as they could before responding to the scene. The notion that the officers were limited to the information offered by dispatch, and dispatch in turn was limited to the information offered by the complainant, didn’t seem to be in anyone’s mind.

Somewhat laughably, Arradondo actually suggested that officers reaching out to the community itself for help is a viable option. So in this case the officers should have sought assistance from, whom, Maurice Hall the purported drug dealer? MMA Williams, who was threatening the officers with physical violence? The off-duty firefighter gal who was calling the officers “b!tch”?

Schleiter also disingenuously referred to a previous argument he’d raised, which was that all this happened to Floyd simply because Floyd attempted to pass a bad $20 bill, an offense normally addressed by police with a mere summons (ticket) to appear in court. Surely that’s nothing to die over, right?

Unstated, of course, is that what might have started as a mere bad $20 call quickly escalated, and solely as a result of Floyd’s own conduct. When approached by officers in his vehicle, he repeatedly refused to show his hands, compelling them to draw their service pistols. As the apparent operator of a motor vehicle, there were additional safety grounds to remove him from the vehicle and temporarily detain him, which includes handcuffing—which technically is not even an arrest, if the detention is transitory.

Then the apparent drugs were discovered, Floyd began to violently resist the officers’ commands, then violently resisted lawful arrest, and bang, we were off to the races.

The officers didn’t do that. Floyd did that. I’m sure they would have been much happier to have simply written him a summons than to get into a physical fight with a 6’ 6” 230-pound man who was disinterested in being arrested that day.

Schleiter also spent quite a bit of time on the MPD “critical decision-making model.” I expect Schleiter believes this model generally favors the defense, and he’s decided that rather than attempt to avoid the model he’s going to go hard on offense.

The way he does this is to point out that the “critical decision-making model” obliges the police to continually consider the totality of the circumstances in arriving at their use-of-force (and other) decisions. And that’s true.

Schlieter is using this line of argument to suggest that the officers arresting Floyd failed to consider all the relevant factors in a timely manner, continued to use force when the circumstances no longer warranted the use of force, and therefore acted wrongfully.

Every time I hear Schleiter or anyone else step through the “critical decision-making model,” however, what most strikes me is the enormous breadth of factors the officer is supposed to consider in real-time, while fighting a non-compliant suspect an an angry, threatening crowd, while making an arrest on a busy street with plenty of traffic. I expect most of us would have difficulty juggling that many decision-making variables even when we weren’t physically fighting someone who outweighed us by 100 pounds.

Its all completely overwhelming, and strikes me that the most one could hope for is that an officer does a reasonable job in juggling most of the most important factors—but that there’s a lot of subjective judgement calls being made, and the slack cut for imperfect decision-making should be commensurate with the stressors of the circumstances.

At the end of the day, I expect this favors the defense more than it does the prosecution.

Then we got to what I’m sure will be the money headline of the day, and that was when Schleiter asked if Chauvin’s specific neck restraint was a trained MPD defensive tactics technique. Arradondo unequivocally stated that it was not.

So is that all we need to know? Is Chauvin done?

Nope, because we have to carefully parse the specific words of the question.

The question asked if Chauvin’s specific neck restraint was a trained MPD defensive tactic, and Addarondo answered in the negative. But it turns out that, although he doesn’t offer this context in his answer, Addarondo’s negative response is based on a whole wealth of what he perceives as important circumstances.

Specifically, Addarondo was not testifying that the knee on the neck restraint was contrary to policy, per se—he can’t because neck restraints were explicitly permitted by MPD policy in effect at the time of Floyd’s arrest–but rather that it was contrary to policy for the length of time it was applied.

But that’s now just a judgment call. There’s nothing in the MPD policy about any specific length of duration of the neck restraint. Presumably the neck restraint is permitted as long as circumstances warrant. Which begs the question of what the circumstances warrant, which makes it all a judgment call.

It’s also important to recognize that just because a restraint might not be per policy if used as a defensive fighting technique doesn’t mean it couldn’t be justified for some other purpose—such as the trained full-body restraint of a suspect believed to be a victim of excited delirium.

Another complaint Addarondo had about Chauvin’s particular use of force was that the MPD policy in effect at the time allowed only light or moderate pressure to be applied. Based on Chauvin’s so-called “shimmy” body movements and Floyd’s pained expression, Addarondo inferred that Chauvin was applying greater than moderate pressure.

It should go without saying, of course, that there is no way Addarondo can know, by merely looking at a video, how much pressure Chauvin was actually applying—and remember, guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Further, we know that the medical examiner found zero indication of trauma to Floyd’s neck.

As for Floyd’s pained expression, we have the earlier testimony of his co-addict lady friend that the same pills had previously caused Floyd an overdose involving such tremendous intestinal and body pain that he’d begged her to take him to the hospital—and this was only about a year prior to Floyd’s death, and involving essentially identical pills as those he consumed on May 25, 2020. I’ve little doubt that Floyd was indeed in great pain, but there’s an evidence-based explanation for that pain other than Chauvin’s knee.

Of course, Addarondo never mentioned a word about Floyd’s overdose on the fentanyl/methamphetamine cocktail potentially contributing to his painful demise. After all, even if we presume Chauvin’s knee was out of policy, that doesn’t mean it killed Floyd, given the perfectly legitimate alternative explanations for Floyd’s cause of death.

Schleiter, like Blackwell before him, also touched on the argument that the officers failed to provide Floyd with timely care. Frankly, at this point I’d just as soon the state decided on how they believe the officers are criminally responsible for Floyd’s death, and drive it home, if they can. This constant switching of theories of the case is tiresome.

Cross-examination was, of course, conducted by Nelson.

Nelson emphasized how far removed Addarondo was from hands-on policing. Indeed, given the hedging in Addarondo’s responses it seemed to me likely that he’d only ever physically arrested a very small number of suspects before managing to get himself promoted off the street.

Nelson also got Addarondo to concede that his expertise on MPD use-of-force was at the policy level, and not at the tactical hands-on training level. He could speak to what MPD policy might allow or prohibit, but his knowledge of how the officers were actually trained or what they were obliged to do on the street in carrying out their duties was not a topic on which he could claim great knowledge.

And here we get to the point in cross that illustrates how dangerous it is to rely on the media’s general coverage of only the state’s narrative of guilt. You’ll recall that on direct Addarondo had explicitly stated that Chauvin’s knee technique appeared to him not a trained MPD technique, and Schleiter had Addarondo quote extensively from that policy—but only certain portions of that policy.

On cross-examination, Nelson had Addarondo read aloud the portions of policy that Schleiter had skipped, and it was all the portions that made the policies conditional. For example, that the force used by officers must be objectively reasonable in light of the facts and circumstances known to the officer at the time force is used.

Nelson also had Addarondo acknowledge that the purported objective legal standard of the US Supreme Court decision of Graham v. Connor, generally agreed upon as a core principle of the MPD policy manual, also required that this purportedly objective analysis consider all the subjective knowledge, training, experience, and circumstances known to the officer at the time. Further Graham v. Connor cautioned against judging the actions of the officers with 20:20 hindsight, noting that officers often had to make split-second decisions under dangerous circumstances. Perfection cannot be expected from mere human beings, merely reasonableness.

When Nelson asked Addarondo whether it was true that all MPD policies relevant to use-of-force, to EMS response, to medical treatment, whatever, all of them are by their explicit language situationally dependent, Addarondo was obliged to answer “Yes, I would agree with that.”

Several times during cross of Addarondo Nelson made use of a clever gambit I’ve seen him use once or twice on other state’s witnesses, especially those claiming some level of expertise on a relevant issue. When the witness realizes that Nelson was leading them to a conclusion with which they didn’t want to agree, they’d start hedging their testimony—well, I’m not sure, it depends, I don’t know if I would agree with that.

In response, Nelson would suggest that perhaps it would be better to defer that specific question to, say, a use-of-force expert. The witness would readily agree, because they saw this as an escape from the question they didn’t want to be compelled to answer.

What this gambit does rhetorically, however, is substantially undercut the witness’ apparent expertise on the subject being asked about. Hey, look, even they are saying they don’t really know that much about this subject, and we should instead listen to a real use-of-force expert (which, unstated, the defense will be glad to present to all you jurors in a few days).

Previously Nelson had gotten away with this little trick without objection by the state. Today, however, when Nelson pulled this trick several times with Addarondo, Schleiter was all over it, objecting each time Nelson made use of it, on various silly basis. Despite Schleiter’s best efforts, however, each time an objection was raised Nelson would look over at Judge Cahill with the most innocent “who me?” expression you’re ever likely to see on a lawyer’s face, and Cahill overruled the state’s objection.

Nelson also explored with Addarondo the reality that there was a distinction between use-of-force policy, on the one hand, and permissible use-of-force techniques, on the other. That is, all use of force had to exist within the boundaries of policy, but whereas there might be one “best practice” handcuff technique, for example, that was formally taught by MPD trainers, there might be two or three alternative techniques that while not formally taught also fell within the boundaries of MPD policy. To this proposition Addarondo agreed.

Nelson had, superficially, less success when he attempted to get Addarondo to concede that a police use of force often looked ugly and unpleasant to bystanders, who therefore might be likely to find objectionable even perfectly appropriate uses of force.

The state objected to this line of questioning as speculative, and Cahill upheld the objection, so Addarondo did not have to answer—but, of course, the jury heard the question proposed in the first place, and in many respects the question itself was more important than any answer.

Perhaps the most notable line of questioning of Addarondo by Nelson occurred when Nelson showed the Chief two videos of Chauvin’s knee near Floyd’s neck, but with the videos shot from different angles—one was the bystander video, the other a body worn camera video.

When asked if the bystander video made it appear that Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck, the Chief answered that it did appear to be located there.

When then asked if the body worn camera video made it appear that Chauvin’s knee was not on Floyd’s neck, but on Floyd’s shoulder blade, the Chief agreed that this also appeared to be the case.

The state would respond on re-direct by having Addarondo claim that he noticed this discrepancy only in the last few seconds before the paramedics swept up Floyd, and that prior to that point it appeared throughout that Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck—but I can’t help but wonder if this video angle disparity might not encourage some of the jurors to view the videos with more skepticism than might otherwise have been the case.

Importantly, Nelson also got Addarondo to explicitly agree that just because a suspect was handcuffed did not mean they were no longer a threat to officers, others, or themselves. Indeed, Addarondo explicitly agreed that a handcuffed suspect could still be a threat to officers by kicking, biting, spitting, or other means.

There was also a great deal of discussion about neck chokes (which means airway chokes in this context) versus neck restraints (which includes both constrictive neck constraints intended to cause loss of consciousness, permitted only under deadly force circumstances, on the one hand, and neck restraints intended to, well, restrain the suspect without inducing loss of consciousness, permitted when dealing with non-compliant suspects, on the other hand). With respect to the neck constraints, either arm or leg constriction was explicitly permitted by MPD use of force policy at the time (since changed to prohibit).

Frankly, however, I don’t really think it matters. Either Chauvin’s knee killed Floyd, or the drug overdose killed him. There’s no actual evidence that Chauvin’s knee applied sufficient pressure to kill, and there’s plenty of evidence supporting the hypothesis that it was the three-fold fentanyl overdose, the hypertensive and cardiac disease, and the poor judgment of Floyd to fight police that caused his death. Further, if Chauvin’s knee was not inflicting killing force, it was almost certainly permissible as a restraint intended to protect Floyd from himself, rather than as a use-of-force intended to neutralize an active threat against others.

There was a bit of re-direct after cross-examination—this is where Schleiter got Addarondo to state that he’d only seen Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s shoulder blade in those last few seconds of the video—and then re-cross and a very short re-re-direct, but that’s about all she wrote for the testimony of Chief Addarondo in this case.

Here’s the direct, cross, re-direct, re-cross, and re-re-direct of Addarondo, for your viewing pleasure:

Addarondo Direct Questioning:

Addarondo Cross-Examination:

Addarondo Re-Direct:

Addarondo Re-Cross:

Addarondo Re-re-Direct:

State’s Witness: Commander MPD Training Katie Blackwell

Next up, and the final witness of the day, was Katie Blackwell, whose current job is the MPD Inspector for the 5th Precinct. More relevant to this case, however, during the time around May 25, 2020, Inspector Blackwell was the Commander of the MPD Training division, including the academy and all annual and in-service training.

Prosecutor Schleiter conducted the direct questioning of Blackwell.

Much of Inspector Blackwell’s testimony was foundational in nature, documenting that Chauvin had taken various use-of-force, de-escalation, and other relevant trainings in the years immediately prior to May 25, 2020. This was boring, but technically necessary.

At one point Schleiter did get Blackwell to testify that a photograph shown to her of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd didn’t look like anything taught as MPD training. Again, however, one must take care to parse the specific words of the question and answer. Just because something is not taught as a trained technique does not mean it violates MPD policy. Further, just because something violated MPD policy does not mean it killed Floyd.

Schleiter also spent time with Blackwell exploring the issue of positional asphyxia. I feel obliged to note that there is growing evidence fromm authoritative sources that the whole notion of positional asphyxia is largely nonsense—my own background on this is largely from my training from the Force Science Institute, which as published numerous papers on this topic.

In any case, even if one entirely buys into the notion of positional asphyxia, it is dangerous only in a theoretical way—it’s not any kind of guaranteed death sentence, it has the potential to lead to a bad outcome.

In contrast, a three-fold fatal overdose of fentanyl is guaranteed to result in asphyxia (unless treated with Narcan or similar) because of its profound effect on suppressing respiration. And we know for a certainty what Floyd’s levels of fentanyl were, from the tox results.

Again, the state has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Were there no fatal levels of drugs in Floyd’s system, positional asphyxia might be a reasonable inference of cause of death based on the facts of this case. In the context of the three-fold fatal levels of fentanyl, however, I don’t see how positional asphyxia gets one to guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

And, again, it’s yet another different angle being played by the prosecution on cause of death. Was it asphyxia induced by compression of the neck and body? Was it positional asphyxia? Was it failure to provide timely medical care? Was it a combination of all three? By what mechanism? And all in the context of the fentanyl overdose, for which only Floyd can accept responsibility.

A good indication of the relative unimportance of the Blackwell testimony to the defense is that Nelson spent only about two minutes on cross examination. During that time he seemed to be looking to cast doubt on exactly what training Chauvin actually received, regardless of what the formal documentation stated, but it never seemed to go anywhere, and he dropped that line of questioning, and his cross of Blackwell, promptly.

Here’s the direct and very short cross-examination of Blackwell:

Blackwell Direct Questioning:

Blackwell Cross-Examination:

Until next time, stay safe!

–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. He wrote the first edition of the “Law of Self Defense” in 1997, which you can now order in its current edition for just the price of shipping and handling by clicking here.  To know YOUR state’s use-of-force laws in an actionable way that will keep you safer physically and legally, take our state-specific advanced use of force class either streamed online or via a shipped DVD with a 100% no-question- asked money-back guarantee, here:  Law of Self Defense State Specific Use-Of-Force Class.

[Featured image is a screen capture from video of today’s court proceedings in MN v. Chauvin.]

 

 

DONATE

Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Comments

Good wrap up, although I do appreciate the longer ones!

Do we have a notion of how much more of the prosecution’s case there is before the defense commence?

Can the state bring up any evidence that the pinning of Floyd to the ground that way has ever been found to be lethal in the world? Conjecture at best.

Congested lungs (pulmonary edema), lethal levels of drugs, irrational behavior by a large strong gorked out person… and it’s the cops fault for not knowing the future?

What was the off-camera hearing at the very beginning of today’s broadcast about?

    Nelson wanted to make sure that the training records would be an accurate reflection of Chauvin’s actual training, and also that state wouldn’t use it as a back door way to get 100 MPD officials to also parrot the “neck restraint BAD!” party line.

      thad_the_man in reply to Andrew Branca. | April 6, 2021 at 12:53 am

      I think he was referring to the Schwartz hearing at the beginning, was there some indication of a tainted jury? Maybe something that happened over the weekend.

        Ah, yes, that happened, but I know no more than what you just wrote. It was completely in camera as far as I know.

          BillyHW in reply to Andrew Branca. | April 6, 2021 at 5:27 am

          Yes, I mean this Schwartz hearing (whatever that is). Judge Cahill said it’s going to be on record, but off camera/audio. WaPo cut off the feed while it was happening. What provoked it? What did he ask the jurors?

chrisboltssr | April 6, 2021 at 12:08 am

The state is having a hard time proving its case. And it is no wonder as they are trying to birth a murder into existence based only on conjecture, innuendo and emotion. In other words, a common occurrence in totalitarian show trials.

Andrew, Many thanks for this detailed summary of the day’s testimony. I have just read the report of the same testimony in today’s WSJ – before I read your summary. I was struck by the sketchiness of the reporting of the Chief’s testimony and the even greater sketchiness of the Nelson’s cross-examination. Your description of the media reporting of the case certainly strikes me as being on target.
Do you have any insight into how the jury is responding to the prosecution’s case? Ultimately, it is their reactions and ability to interpret what is said (and not said) that will decide this case.

    I’ve no insight on jury response to any of this. I’m not physically present in the courtroom, I’m watching it streamed like everybody else, and the jury is not visible on the broadcast.

      Olinser in reply to Andrew Branca. | April 6, 2021 at 1:34 am

      That’s unfortunate. I know a LOT of lawyers can pretty accurately gauge what a verdict is going to be by observing the jury.

      I assume that the prosecutor and defense attorneys can see the jurors, correct?

Why is the defense not breaking out the use of force manual with the photograph of the restraint Chauvin used ? (according to Branca)

    Arminius in reply to stacytracy. | April 6, 2021 at 1:20 am

    According to documents filed with the court in July 2020, genius. Specifically filed on 7/7/2020 at 11:00 a. m. Even more specifically, the documents include copies of the MPD’s own training materials (there is a logo of an MPD badge on the top of every one of those pages). It’s in the public domain; marked 27-CR-20-12951. If you weren’t so lazy you’d have already found it.

    “Neck Restraint 25 Minutes
    – Compressing one or both sides of person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck)
    – Non-Deadly Force Option
    – Two Applications Conscious Unconscious”

    In the MPD training materials there’s a pic of a cop doing to another cop in training exactly what Chauvin did to Floyd in real life.

    Let me guess. From the way you jump to the conclusion that you’re jumping to the conclusion that it is only Andrew Branca’s allegation that such a document, with such a photo, exists, and clearly the defense would be breaking it out at this point of the trial if it actually existed, you must be a member of Mensa.

      Keith_ in reply to Arminius. | April 6, 2021 at 2:13 am

      I don’t know why you felt the need to insult OP. What difference does it make that the training document is in the public domain? How do you know that the jury is acquainted with every document in the public domain related to this trial?

      I had the same question. The Chief testified that Chauvin’s actions were not inline with his training when in fact Chauvin was acting 100% by-the-book. I don’t understand why Nelson didn’t bring out the training document pertaining to suspected excited delirium cases and ask the Chief to read word-for-word from the document. The document states “now that the handcuffs are on what next?” it then proceeds to instruct the use of the neck restraint so as to “prevent positional asphyxia”. Chauvin and the other officers were acting by the book to PREVENT GF from injuring or killing himself.

        CommoChief in reply to Keith_. | April 6, 2021 at 9:04 am

        Keith,

        My guess is that Nelson will wait until he is using the defense witnesses choice of expert(s) in use of restraints/holds/ECT.

        This allows the ‘dramatic’ reveal to the jury to have an impact that is:
        1. Closer to deliberations
        2. With a friendly defense expert to assist Nelson in undercutting the prosecution witnesses

          Brave Sir Robbin in reply to CommoChief. | April 6, 2021 at 10:14 am

          Somewhat relatedly, it is also possible Nelson does not want to risk having a biased witness for the Prosecution actively attempt to undercut this crucial evidence.

          Like Keith said, introduce it in a friendly environment where witness will defend it and not try to undercut it.

          stacytracy in reply to CommoChief. | April 6, 2021 at 11:38 am

          Thank you for that explanation on strategy.
          .

          Mike Wilson in reply to CommoChief. | April 6, 2021 at 12:23 pm

          this is correct

    Gremlin1974 in reply to stacytracy. | April 6, 2021 at 9:13 pm

    Simple answer: It isn’t the Defenses turn yet. Remember they get to present a complete counter argument to the Prosecution’s entier case.

James B. Shearer | April 6, 2021 at 12:35 am

“…. Either Chauvin’s knee killed Floyd, or the drug overdose killed him. ..”

Seems to me that there is another possibility, that it was the pressure on Floyd’s chest that killed him. I don’t know if this would help Chauvin though.

James B. Shearer | April 6, 2021 at 12:38 am

“… a three-fold fatal overdose of fentanyl is guaranteed to result in asphyxia ..”

It is my understanding that there is a great deal of variation in response to fentanyl meaning that while the level in Floyd’s blood was enough to kill it wasn’t guaranteed to kill.

    That is true from what I have read.
    I found some stats from one state and the Fentanyl level in fatal ODs ranged from .5ng/ml all the way up to 120 ng/ml. The average dose of fatal ODs though was 9 ng/ml. George had 11 ng/ml, so he had more in his system than 50% of the fatal fentanyl ODs in that state for that year.

    So, no guarantee it would kill him, but still likely.
    Then mix in a high level of Meth, high blood pressure, Covid and clogged arteries and you have a whole lot reasonable doubt! IMHO of course.

      Olinser in reply to fogflyer. | April 6, 2021 at 1:55 am

      That’s a great demonstration of fundamentally not understanding what a data set is telling you.

      1) the average is not the median

      2) by your statement the group analyzed is people THAT DIED, not people that survived.

      for #1, “the average was 9” does not mean that 50% are above and 50% are below. That’s what the MEDIAN (the mid data point) is. When you have numbers that range from 0.5 to 120, and your AVERAGE is 9, that tells you that SIGNIFICANTLY MORE of your data points are going to be lower than 9. The average of 0.5 and 120 is 60. So for that ONE fatal 120 dose to be an average of 9, that means there had to be THIRTEEN deaths at 0.5 (and even more in the 3-8 range).

      That data set is telling you that the bulk of your deaths are considerably below his level of 11.

      For #2, no, there is no ‘survival’ here. Your data set is FATAL OD’s. Once again, he had a higher than average FATAL level in his system than people that actually died. He had more in his system than THE AVERAGE of fatal OD’s (a data set which, as I’ve already pointed out, skews considerably less than 9). There is no ‘50% chance of survival’ here. Your data set is deaths.

      From the data that I have seen, nobody has EVER recovered from a dose more than about 9 ng/ml, and that was with absolutely no health complications prior to the OD. Floyd was well above the always-fatal level AND he had heart trouble. He was a dead man regardless of care.

        Flatworm in reply to Olinser. | April 6, 2021 at 8:13 am

        Part of the problem is that post-mortem serum concentrations of fentanyl are not necessarily indicative of in-vivo concentrations. I’ve seen studies that sometimes show an increase in blood fentanyl concentration post-mortem of three to fourfold due to post-mortem redistribution, especially the release of fentanyl from fatty tissues.

        So you really can’t directly compare post-mortem to in-vivo concentrations.

        On another note, I have to wonder where you got this idea that nobody had ever survived a fentanyl concentration above 9 ng/mL? A single 100 ug/hr patch will cause a peak blood concentration around 3 ng/mL, and I’ve read case reports of cancer patients plastered with 20 of them or more – for weeks.

          fogflyer in reply to Flatworm. | April 6, 2021 at 11:01 am

          I was wondering if the post-mortem blood level would be the same as the in-vivo.
          I guessed perhaps it would go down after death, but it interesting to hear that it actually may rise.

        fogflyer in reply to Olinser. | April 6, 2021 at 10:52 am

        #1 Yes, a median number would have been better than the average, but that is what they gave. My guess is they may have meant median, but who knows. With a large data set, median and average usually end up in the same ballpark, so it isn’t that big of a deal.

        #2 I never claimed that Floyd had a 50% chance of survival, you just made that up.
        I realize that this was from fatal ODs only, so doesn’t do much to quantify what a fatal dose actually is. My point was that Floyd’s level was consistent with an OD death, nothing more. Add in the other drugs and medical conditions and it is not unreasonable in the least to think there was a likely chance of Floyd dying no matter the officers did or didn’t do.

    SamlAdams in reply to James B. Shearer. | April 6, 2021 at 6:15 am

    One tidbit from the girlfriend. She testified that she and Floyd would both have “clean” periods then go back to using. Tolerance will regress if clean for a period of time. Lot of the ODs my former Fire/EMS colleagues have dealt with over the last several years have been formerly clean users relapsing–and with the unavailability of pharma grade drugs and use of indeterminate dosage/composition bootlegs….easy to get a hotshot.

“One money quote from Dr. Langenfeld is that every minute CPR is delayed in a case of cardiac arrest means a 10-15% decrease in survival of the patient”

I actually thought this benefitted the defense. Floyd was only out for a couple of minutes before the ambulance showed up, so according to this doctor, even if the officers started CPR as soon as Floyd became unresponsive, they would have only increased his chance of surviving by 20-30% That means he still would have likely died.

I think it also goes to show that the crowd was a very legitimate concern as the paramedics also made the decision to delay care to Floyd in order to move to a safer location. That delay was also probably a couple of minutes.

    myiq2xu in reply to fogflyer. | April 6, 2021 at 1:44 am

    We should also consider what the officers knew or expected as to the response time of the ambulance. One witness said that the response time of the EMTs should have been 3 minutes. We know how long it actually took (9+ minutes.) If the cops were expecting 3 minutes or 20 minutes, would they have done anything differently?

Every time I watch one of their brass testify it strikes me as the testimony of someone who has never actually done patrol-level police work. Or, at least, hasn’t done it in so long that the political ramifications overshadow all memory of it.
I wish Cahill had allowed the “use of force is never pretty” line of questioning, though I understand why he presumably didn’t. It is a VERY true principle. To anyone without law enforcement training and experience, ANY use of force looks ugly. Especially if you have no idea what brought the situation to that point to begin with.

    One of the primary reasons police are so limited in their responses nowadays is because of video that displays how ugly it can be to get a suspect into a state of compliance and into a car or cell. The subdual of Saint Rodney is a prime example: all sorts of police departments stopped using nightsticks and big flashlights in the years after that, in order to reduce the perception of violence in police tactics. You see it with the removal of that particular restraint from the MPD manual immediately after this publicized event. Eric Garner and “chokeholds”.

    Which means that cops are more and more relegated to talking, then shooting. They might be lucky to get tasing in between there (to no effect, based on certain videos).

Great summary, as always.

Curious: as to “positional asphyxia”—is there any way the defense could possibly work in that 100s, if not 1000s of media stories in the last year described how “proning” patients with severe breathing difficulties due to Covid was used in lieu of mechanical ventilators… and saved many lives?

If turning patients dying of lack of oxygen prone saved their lives—does it make much sense that it killed Floyd, who recently had Covid and complained of lack of breath?

Andrew Branca is a treasure. The usual news coverage of criminal trials reminds me of something Thomas Jefferson said – if you don’t follow the news reports of a trial you will be ignorant of what took place, but if you do follow the news reports you’ll be misinformed.

Most news reports are driven by ratings and focus on dramatic moments in a trial. In reality, the minutia of a case is often where it is won or lost. Most reporters have no training in law, court procedure, or the difference between official police department policies and actual police practices.

What I like best about Andrew’s reporting is his insights into the legal strategies of the prosecution and the defense as well as the idiosyncrasies of judges and juries.

I especially liked this observation from Andrew Branca:

“…[A]ll police officers of Lieutenant rank or higher, are effectively political officers working within a political environment—and none more so than the Chief. In the case of Chief Arradondo, for example, he was appointed to his position of Chief by the Mayor of Minneapolis, Mayor Frey. This is obviously a political appointment by a political official, who is effectively Chief Arradondo’s boss, and that makes the Chief’s job a political job, not a “cop” job.”

It works the same way in the armed forces. You simply don’t get promoted to flag or general rank unless you’re political. And you have to start being political fairly early in your career. There are a few rising stars who the Navy, for instance, will actively try to sell to the pols, but for others who really want to make it to flag/general officer they have to self-promote. Such as, if you’re an aviator, getting out of the cockpit as an O-5 and looking for strategic inside-the-beltway jobs as a senior O-5 then O-6 so you can spend time on Capital Hill so the politicians get to know and like you. Then when it comes time to get your first star they’ll approve your promotion (officers selected for their first star have to be approved for promotion by Congress individually as opposed to Congress approving the entire year group of those selected for promotion for lower ranking officers).

If you’ve spent time glad handing with Congressional staffers and perhaps briefing congresscritters if they recognize your name and think well of you your odds of being promoted are much better than if you’ve actually been spending your time in the fleet and they don’t know who the hell you are.

Those guys always come across as phonies, especially on their rare visits to the fleet and their idea of acting like an old salt is to drop a few f-bombs. They don’t fool anyone.

If I’d have been on this jury my reaction to Chief Arradondo would have been the same as to those Admirals who I learned to just naturally dislike as sleazy ass kissing, ass covering politicians in uniform.

    drednicolson in reply to Arminius. | April 6, 2021 at 10:29 am

    The Civil War lasted a couple years longer than it had to, because of the long line of politicians in uniform who were given and subsequently relieved of command of the Army of the Potomac. It wasn’t until field-promoted junior officers like Grant and Sherman came to fore that real progress started to be made.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Arminius. | April 6, 2021 at 11:01 am

    I take issue with your description to a point. Most career progression models in the military are fairly rigid to get to O-6. You need the right type of assignments rotating from certain types of operational, staff, command, and major staff assignments. It is important to serve in a position and be evaluated by someone already at the general officer or flag level competing for top blocks against “heavy traffic,” that is, a large peer group under the same evaluator and have an evaluation well above the evaluator’s average. Being given or taking an assignment off track will normally end a career even for a highly talented officer. Not getting top marks against your peers in evaluation also ends it.

    In fact, admirals select admirals and generals select generals, so it’s best to be known by admirals and generals to get to a one star selection, but nothing saves you at promotion board if you violate any of the above except, maybe, if one of your general officer or admiral mentors is actually sitting on the selection board, speaks up for you, and convinces everyone to vote for selection despite the flaws in your record or career progression. Politicians at this stage have nothing to do with it.

    Moving forward to two, three and four stars, again, admirals select admirals and generals select generals, so a an ever narrowing group of superior officers selects subordinates for promotion based on personal knowledge, and in reality is done on the basis of need to fill various positions, such as divisional command, battle group command, air wing command, major staff assignments, etc. When vacancies come up, which is often due to the rotational manner of assignments in the military, a personnel decision is made, and a one star is selected to fill a two star’s position, so the promotion gets baked in. At this point, going higher, what becomes important is not only military competence, but the ability to deal productively with political appointees, primarily, congressional staff, and to a lessor extent, actual congressmen, but in general, civilians who are placed in oversight roles over the military. This is necessary because three and four star officers actually must deal with these people on a regular basis, as these are their bosses. So, it’s not political per se, It’s can you work with people who are political appointees in many cases, and have, often, no real or very limited military backgrounds and who will be your boss.

    Only at the very highest levels, that is Joint Chiefs of Staff and combatant command assignments, is the president really ever involved, because these people may need to actually speak directly with the president and must have his confidence. And while congressmen and senators can kill ascendance to a three or four star position, they really cannot get a person into such a position.

    I may know what I am talking about here… or maybe not.

    Back to Chief Arrandondo. My impression is that he was actually throwing the game in favor of the defense. He never said Defendant killed the deceased, and he undercut the prosecution during cross badly. He did not have to admit under cross that it appeared Defendant had his knee on the the deceased shoulder vice the deceased neck. He could have simply said, “It looks like Officer Chauvin’s knee in of Floyd’s neck not matter what angle I look at it.”

    This would have been horrible for the Defense, and I am surprised Nelson asked the question in the way he asked it. It was quite risky, and yet the Chief gave him the answer he wanted and needed which injected a great deal of doubt into the situation from the Prosecution’s star witness. I think Arradondo knew exactly what he was doing, and it was well done by him.

If I may ask would you consider the defense to have botched cross examination of Blackwell?

Midfiaudiophile | April 6, 2021 at 3:24 am

Mr. Branca,

Would you happen to know if the Chief of a city police department is a member of the same union as are the non-political jobs? Presumably he would have been a member for the years he spent in non-management positions, but I’m curious if they boot out brass once they get past a certain seniority level and become, for lack of a better word, the adversary.

I’m pretty sure the doctor did not commit to saying G. Floyd was flatlined the whole time he was in ER. If he continued lifesaving measures, then it stands to reason GF was not DOA.

In contrast, a three-fold fatal overdose of fentanyl is guaranteed to result in asphyxia

I have to throw a flag on this play. There is no one “lethal level” for fentanyl as determined by post-mortem toxicology. 3 ng/mL is the lowest level that some medical examine or other has used as the basis for certifying a death as an overdose, which we must recall is a diagnosis of exclusion. It’s also at the upper end of in-vivo levels considered normal for analgesia. Decedent’s have also routinely been classified as natural – that is, non-overdose – deaths with fentanyl levels of 11 ng/mL and higher. The average post-mortem level for an overdose patient is in the neighborhood of 20-30 ng/mL.

So while Floyd’s level of 11 ng/mL makes a finding of overdose plausible, that’s a far cry from saying 11 ng/mL is non-survivable or “guaranteed” to lead to asphyxia.

    Char Char Binks in reply to Flatworm. | April 6, 2021 at 8:13 am

    First, allow me to point out that nine is greater than three, and by a fair amount.

    Second, I assume (or should I?) that 3 ng/mL is considered “normal for analgesia” under PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE, a level of care presumably more competent than that provided by “mama”.

      lurker9876 in reply to Char Char Binks. | April 6, 2021 at 8:42 am

      What about mixing fentanyl with meth and others? How would this impact the statistics of fatal OD?

      Does flatworm’s comment assume the patient in good health?

      Does a big man of 6.6 and ~225 lbs impact the statistics, regardless of his bad health?

      Does anyone know the source of fentanyl? Some fentanyl can be fatal by touch. Some may not be medicinal. Some may be illegally obtained.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Char Char Binks. | April 6, 2021 at 11:33 am

      And 9 is greater than 3 by 3 fold…hence a 3 fold fatal dose (3 fold above the minimum)

      Yes to other question body size does not matter because the concentration of “per mL” normalized to the larger blood volume incurred by a larger indidivual.

      George Floyd died of OD and would have been higher had he lived longer to absorb more of the crap in his gut. He died at a dose well within the lethal range even if it is not in the extreme because again, he expired, before the drugs were fully absorbed. There are multiple reasons for this: his cardiovascular disease, his recent bout with COVID, his habitual use of drugs and yo-yo cycling of them, his co-ingestion of a stimulant that wreaks havoc on the cardiorespiratory systems and the brain.

        Flatworm in reply to healthguyfsu. | April 6, 2021 at 12:29 pm

        But 3 is not necessarily a fatal dose. That’s what you’re all missing. The “lethal range” greatly overlaps the “survivable range’, especially when we’re talking about postmortem serum concentrations.

        That’s not really a problem for the defense, who merely needs to raise reasonable doubt. But no verdict, guilty or not guilty, should be based on falsehood, and the idea that the toxicology results show an clearly unsurvivable level of fentanyl ARE a falsehood.

The Packetman | April 6, 2021 at 7:24 am

“That means that anything other than a guilty verdict can only come as a complete shock to their sense of justice, and therefore a complete justification of any terror they wish to bring to bear to the public generally.”

Ever since this political shit show started, I’ve been of the opinion, and maintained, that Keith Ellison would rather Chauvin be acquitted than convicted. There will be riots either way, but they’ll be worse if Chauvin’s acquitted … that serves the political left much better than a conviction.

    It’s why he jumped in and stated he was going to go for First Degree Murder. He knew no jury would or could convict on that, and he’d have his race riots.

Char Char Binks | April 6, 2021 at 7:36 am

Chief arradondo, can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?

“I’m engaging in informed speculation here, but it might be because Landenberg was present as a personal knowledge witness, and not as an expert witness. That means he can testify about what he knows personally about the events in which he was involved, but he doesn’t have the privilege of an expert witness to opine about hypotheticals—if he does, he’s engaged in speculation, and knowledge witnesses aren’t allowed to speculate.”

Isn’t that pretty much what the “martial arts expert” did throughout his testimony?

I want to know, how many rioters did the police chief bag and convicted ?

the inner city police departments would make NOLA PD blush and turn green with envy

it’s bagged, moron !

    Ira in reply to REDACTED. | April 6, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Hah! I think you meant either “had the police chief bagged and convicted” or “did the police chief bag and convict.”

Fat_Freddys_Cat | April 6, 2021 at 8:54 am

I’ve likewise noticed the trick the media is playing by only playing clips from direct, pretending the cross doesn’t exist.

I’ll bet that when the defense is presenting its case, the media will “discover” cross…not that I’m cynical or anything…

Fat_Freddys_Cat | April 6, 2021 at 8:57 am

I’ve long understood that police chiefs are political creatures, but watching one throw his officer under the bus is still disgusting.

flatlined in terms of cardiac function
little meaningful cardiac activity
I assumed “flatline” meant NO cardiac activity. Is there a nuance there of which I’m unaware?

every minute CPR is delayed in a case of cardiac arrest means a 10-15% decrease in survival of the patient.
So, at 30 minutes, he was 300% certain not surviving.

the job of the police department was mostly touchie-feelie
Well, Chauvin was doing all sorts of touchie-feelie, and look where it got him!

Further, just because something violated MPD policy does not mean it killed Floyd.
Serious question: Wouldn’t that speak, though, to the issue of negligence? If it falls within policy/training, then he’s somewhat protected from the idea of gross negligence?

    Gremlin1974 in reply to GWB. | April 6, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Flatline is a term used to describe “Asystolie” which is the total lack of detectable electrical activity in the heart. Known as Flatline because that is how it is expressed on a heart monitor or EKG, in the movies and TV this is accompanied by a rather annoying extended “BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP”.

    So for all practical purposes the 2 phrases mentioned above are saying the same thing with different words. In medicine we measure cardiac activity by the electrical impulses, no impulses = no detectable cardiac activity.

    One of the things that I think is being missed here is that the most likely answer is that no one thing killed Mr. Floyd. It was the combination of his medical history, the massive drug overdose, and his engaging in violence with the cops that lead to his restraint. I tend to believe that Mr. Floyd was a goner from the time he swallowed the pills, but as Andrew says that is “insightful speculation”.

Johnny Weissmuller | April 6, 2021 at 9:27 am

Morries Hall takes the stand today. Floyd’s drug dealer who was in the passenger seat. Mama does not like him.

Mr. Branca, I just wanted to thank you, and by extension, Legal Insurrection for these excellent and information-packed re-caps. Bravo.

Just because something is not taught as a trained technique does not mean it violates MPD policy.

This is a growing danger in our society, in that policies & procedures, rules, laws – all of these are written with an unstated “good faith” administration behind them: that they will be administered and executed in reasonable good faith. But we are driving further and further away from that. More and more, nowadays, we see the excuse that something wasn’t expressly prohibited, and therefore is permitted. Chauvin’s training might not have covered the specific actions he took, and that might be reasonably OK today. But that window of “grace” is fast narrowing.

    Char Char Binks in reply to ss396. | April 6, 2021 at 10:56 am

    You seriously think that things that aren’t specifically permitted should be considered forbidden, or illegal? You’ll do well in the coming Woke utopian nanny state, if you’re in with the in crowd.

drednicolson | April 6, 2021 at 10:46 am

The monday morning quarterbacking on display in the witness stand is gag-worthy at times.

FortesFortunaJuvat | April 6, 2021 at 12:18 pm

Today’s testimony again raises the issue of perjury and suborning perjury by the prosecution. If, as has been reported here as well as other places, the MPD manual at the time of Floyd’s death authorized the use of a kneeling procedure (doesn’t matter that it may have been changed after his death) then both the Chief and Ms. Blackwell lied on the stand.

Their testimony is in direct contradiction to the reports stating the MPD manual authorized the procedure Chauvin used. Would that not constitute perjury by both of them? If it does, and the prosecution did nothing to point out their perjury to the court, would that not constitute suborning perjury?

So far, the answer to those questions seems to be a resounding “yes”.

Gremlin1974 | April 6, 2021 at 9:32 pm

I am surprised that the Defense didn’t inquire of the doctor if a Tox Screen was done and if so in what timeframe. As some have pointed out here there can be concentration changes post-mortem, though they don’t tend to happen rapidly (“Rapidly” as in concentrations jump at the moment of death).

It would be helpful to know when they Fentanyl level was determined and what the change of concentrations could have been in that time.

Font Resize
Contrast Mode
Send this to a friend