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Chauvin Trial Day 10 Wrap-Up: Defense Raises More Reasonable Doubt with State Witnesses

Chauvin Trial Day 10 Wrap-Up: Defense Raises More Reasonable Doubt with State Witnesses

Floyd’s Health & Drug Problems Alone Would Be Reasonable Causes 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.

OK folks, I’m playing a bit of catch-up here on last Friday’s testimony of state witnesses, Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist retained as another expert witness for the state, and Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner who conducted the autopsy of George Floyd.

I know that Professor Jacobson did an awesome job live blogging this testimony as it was happening on Friday, which kindly gave me the opportunity to take the day to attend to other commitments, so I’ll treat my view of Friday’s proceedings in a rather more summary fashion that is my usual practice. In part this is also because of the nature of the testimony provided.

In the case of both Thomas and Baker, there was a common pattern in the nature of their testimony.  On direct questioning by Prosecutor Blackwell they would both say the magic words they certainly knew the state needed them to say on the witness stand—in effect, and perhaps even literally word-for-word—they identified the primary cause of George Floyd’s death as asphyxia complicated by law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.

When asked on direct if any of the other notable factors everyone knew the defense would raise on cross—the existing cardiovascular disease with 75% to 90% occlusion of all three major coronary arteries, the hypertension-induced enlarged heart, the presence of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, the adrenaline induced by Floyd’s poorly made decision to fight four police officers for 10 minutes—could any of that have been the cause of Floyd’s death.

The answer was a flat no, period. Floyd’s death could only be attributable to asphyxia complicated by law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.

Good for the state, right?

On cross examination, however, both Thomas and Baker agreed that every single one of those factors, by themselves, even in the absence of any police involvement, or any of the other factors, if viewed in isolation could be an entirely reasonable cause of death for an official death certificate. (I’m amalgamating the responses of both Thomas and Baker, as they were so similar—video of their individual cross-examination testimony is embedded below for those wishing a more granular sense of what each said.)

In other words, had Floyd been found dead at home and autopsy revealed the 75% to 90% occlusion of his three major coronary arteries, would it have been reasonable for a medical examiner to attribute cause of death to that heart condition? Yes.

You’ve signed thousands of death certificates listing cause of death as atherosclerotic disease in patients with similar levels of occlusion as Floyd? Yes.

You’ve signed death certificates listing cause of death as hypertensive cardiomegalopathy in patients have a similar degree of enlarged heart as Floyd? Yes.

Did you tell investigators when interviewed that cardiovascular disease was a significant contributo rto Floyd’s death? Yes.

If Floyd had been found dead at home, and toxicology had revealed 11 ng/ml of fentanyl in his system, would it have been reasonable for a medical examiner to attribute cause of death to fentanyl overdose? Yes.

Have you signed death certificates as overdose deaths in cases where fentanyl levels were at 11 ng/ml? Yes. Below 11 ng/ml? Yes. As low as 3 ng/ml? Yes.

Would the presence of a combination of drugs, like fentanyl and methamphetamine, make overdose a more likely cause of death? Yes.

Could asphyxia of the heart be induced by methamphetamine creating a higher demand for oxygen by the heart than Floyd’s body could deliver? Yes.

However low the level of methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, is there any level which is safe? No. Would you recommend methamphetamine or even prescription amphetamine for a patient with Floyd’s cardiac status? No.

Would this the demand for oxygen of Floyd’s heart, and the inability of his body to deliver on that demand, be worsened by adrenaline resulting from Floyd’s physical confrontation with the officers? Yes.

So, even if we don’t consider Floyd’s exertion in fighting police, take the police out of the question entirely , pretend there was no impact made by the illicit drugs in Floyd’s system, a reasonable call on cause of death was simply Floyd’s existing cardiovascular disease and hypertension? Yes.

What percentage of restriction of the coronary arteries would be potentially fatal?  70% to 90%.  What was the restriction of the coronary arteries in Floyd’s heart? 75% to 90%.  Does a 90% stenosis of a carotid artery limit blood to the heart? Yes. Does adrenaline increase the heart’s demand for blood? Yes. Does meth increase demand for blood? Yes.

In the context of death being purportedly afflicted by subdual restraint and neck compression, Nelson also hammered on the absence of any objective evidence of actual force sufficient to achieve such a result.

Was there any bruising to the back of Floyd’s neck or back? No. Either on the surface or even deeper in the tissues? No. Would a knee and shin applied with substantial force be expected to cause a bruise? Yes, would be expected, but absence of bruising doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. That’s true of course, but one does not get to guilt beyond a reasonable doubt based on explaining away an absence of evidence.

Then, for both Thomas and Baker, on re-direct by Prosecutor Blackwell they would both once again parrot the magic words desired by the state:  Floyd’s death could only be attributable to asphyxia complicated by law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression.  Not to heart disease? No. Not to hypertension? No. Not to fentanyl? No. Not to Meth? No. Not to fighting the police? No.

This generalized and simple-minded denial of the uncertainty and doubt raised in detail by the defense on cross may once again provide fodder for conviction-favorable headlines, but it doesn’t push the needle closer to certainty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

And that is precisely the state’s burden:  certainty beyond a reasonable doubt.   Any ambiguity in the case necessarily accrues to the benefit of the defense, and the lengthy cross examination of both Thomas and Baker revealed plenty of ambiguity.

It’s also worth noting that the state calling for the testimony of Thomas immediately before that of Baker borders on the inane.  The entirety of Thomas’ testimony was premised on Baker’s autopsy report and other materials also used by Baker to arrive at his conclusions on cause and mechanism of death.

With Baker appearing to testify himself about his autopsy and conclusions, what purpose could possibly be served by first having Thomas provide her own interpretation of Baker’s work? What would she know that he didn’t know? What could she testify about on these issues that Baker himself—the only one of the two of them who actually did an actual autopsy of Floyd—could not testify about?

Absolutely nothing.

Even worse than simply being a less well-informed and duplicative witness immediately preceding Baker, Thomas also made some serious missteps of her own.  For example, at one point Nelson raised a Canadian study that looked at 3,000 instances of Canuck police putting suspects in prone position, without even a single one of them dying of this purported positional asphyxia.

Thomas’ response was not to impeach the quality or methodology of the study but simply to express bewilderment.  She claimed she had no idea why the Canadian study should be so different; she said that she was completely baffled, given that in her experience virtually every forensic pathologist in the United States had experience with positional asphyxia.

Frankly, I thought Nelson could have been much more aggressive on cross of Thomas on this point in particular, because her bafflement reflected a profound failure to understand the essential issues at play here.

For example, even if it were true that every forensic pathologist had experience with positional asphyxia—a claim I would strongly question—the forensic pathologist by definition only ever sees dead people.  They would have no knowledge of the number of suspects placed prone who did not as a result require an autopsy.  Thus they could have no informed opinion on the relative risk of prone restraint.

Further, there were obvious points to hammer home here. Was Dr. Thomas suggesting that human physiology worked differently for Canadian criminals than it did for American criminals, in such a way that the Canadian suspects were apparently immune to ill effects from a restraint technique that presented an imminent threat of immediate death to American suspects?

Of course, perhaps Nelson does intend to make such points with vigor, but with his own experts on direct questioning, rather than on cross of the state’s witnesses.

By the way, Prosecutor Blackwell’s response to this Canadian study on re-direct of Thomas was to ask her if Floyd had died while a Canadian suspect. As if that matters.

On cross-examination Baker was also specifically asked by Nelson if the prone position was inherently dangerous? His answer was that according to his understanding of medical literature, it was not.

Did it appear to Dr. Baker, based on autopsy, review of all videos, and every other piece of evidence made available to him, that Chauvin’s knee ever occluded Floyd’s carotid artery?  It did not.

But even if it had, noted Baker, it would have done so to only the carotid artery on that side of the body, and the non-occluded artery would have continued to carry blood to the brain.

So much for the testimony of the state’s MMA expert bystander witness Williams who had testified under oath that a “blood choke” could be effectively applied by the knee to merely one side of the neck.

Would the placement of Chauvin’s knee have been able anatomically to cut off Floyd’s airway? It would not, answered Baker.

So how again, exactly, did Chauvin’s conduct kill Floyd?

Baker also testified that a factor in his consideration of cause of death was that Floyd had been given CPR and survived until he reached the hospital, only dying there.  This testimony directly contradicts that of early state expert witnesses who testified that they could identify the precise moment of Floyd’s death as he lay prone on the street based on police body camera, surveillance, and bystander videos.

My take away from watching the entirety of the testimony of Thomas and Baker was that, like other earlier state expert witnesses, they’d said the magic words the state had called them to say, but then had their credibility and purported certainty profoundly gutted by the defense on cross examination.

This is particularly so given that it is the state that needs to prove a cause of death attributable to the defendant, and do so beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense does not need to prove some alternative cause of death. The defense need merely raise a reasonable doubt that some cause of death not attributable to the defendant may have been what killed Floyd.

Thomas Cross-Examination

Thomas Re-Direct

Thomas Re-Cross

Baker Cross-Examination

OK, folks, that’s it for tonight.  I’ll be back on the case every morning, LIVE blogging right here at Legal Insurrection, and of course with our end-of-day wrap-up commentary and analysis in the evening.

Finally, 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 PandoraiHeartSpotifyApple PodcastGoogle Podcastsimple RSS feed, and more.

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.]

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Comments

Did Baker ever really affirm the State’s asphyxia claim?? I don’t think he did. He basically said that the police restraint pushed Floyd’s compromised physiology over the edge. I considered that a win for the defense. Yes, he affirmed the medical/forensic “homicide” and the role that primary role the restraint played in pushing Floyd over the edge, but I think that was it. The defense got much more time with Baker than the State, I believe.

    lurker9876 in reply to foospro86. | April 12, 2021 at 9:30 am

    Baker’s use of “homicide” was a medical term / definition. Not a legal definition.

    CHTruth in reply to foospro86. | April 12, 2021 at 10:59 am

    Actually Baker’s autopsy defines the death as cardiopulmonary arrest, The difference between asphyxia and arrest is a distinction with a pretty big difference. Did the breathing stop, causing the heart to fail (asphyxia) or did the heart fail, causing the breathing to stop (arrest). The former suggests that he was strangulated, crushed, or whatever else they are suggesting, while the latter suggests he was not otherwise strangulated.

    kneeonmyneck in reply to foospro86. | April 12, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Watching this thread is like watching a long therapy session for closet racists. According to your logic, Floyd died of OTHER causes…it just HAPPENED TO OCCUR while half of Chauvin’s body weight was placed ON HIS NECK, WHILE CUFFED. Bad timing, eh? Which means anyone who has heart disease, or who’s high on drugs, or whatever CAN’T BE MURDERED–because hey- how do we know they didn’t OD at the moment of the murder? EVEN THOUGH I WAS LITERALLY KNEELING ON HIS NECK FOR minutes and minutes…and minutes Then–even though you watched me strangle him, my defense can be “well, do we REALLY know I killed him? How can you be sure it wasn’t the drugs??? Conversely, If A BLM guy was kneeling on some white druggie’s neck until he DIED, this article—AND all these pseudoscientific comments—wouldn’t exist.you’d all be somewhere baking brownies or mowing the lawn. But hey at least you’re consistent with your selective blindness & stupidity.

      Harry9000 in reply to kneeonmyneck. | April 13, 2021 at 2:04 am

      First off, If a BLM person was sitting on a white druggies neck, it would haver been in order to steal his drugs or money or simply because he’s white.
      If you had sat thru the testimony you would have noted that on cross examination with pictures and everything, that Chauvin did not have his knee on Floyds neck at anytime. Nonie of the time. It was across his shoulder as it had been admitted, where MPD training says it should be, and for the length of time necessary to hold him while also having to monitor a hostile crowd that, if it merely went about its business and not concerned itself to what the cops were doing to a resisting career criminal, might have gotten to the hospital in time to same Floyd from his self induced injuries.
      Watch the trial. learn something.

        kneeonmyneck in reply to Harry9000. | April 13, 2021 at 11:48 am

        I watched the same trial you watched, except without the apparent selective memory you have. It was testified that his knee was on his neck the majority of the time. Even after Floyd went limp, the knee REMAINED ON HIS NECK FOR NEARLY THREE MINUTES. While cuffed. And you’re here to find ways to defend it. Incredible

Fyi- Baker does not believe he was asphyxiated. This is why they barely questioned him and brought in all the other experts. He believes Floyd could not handle the stress of the restraint with his bad heart and drug filled body. He is also the first to state that it could have been am overdose in a zoom meeting with prosecutors right after the toxicology came back. He also ruined all of the state’s theories. The knee did not impact Floy’s airway or cut off blood flow to the brain. The prosecution has been trying to deny that drugs played a role and he straight up said they did play a role, significant enough to be listed in the cause of death.

    foospro86 in reply to Unknown. | April 12, 2021 at 12:42 am

    Well said! Baker affirmed the police restraint as a topline cause and thus stood by the “homicide” manner of death, but that’s it. I don’t consider that him saying the State’s magic words, considering everything else the defense got him to admit.

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Unknown. | April 12, 2021 at 12:48 am

    Why would witnesses lie to favor the prosecution on an innocent man? Is not the death of George Floyd tragedy enough? Must it be compounded by a blood sacrifice of a blameless man who as far as I can tell was trying to help the deceased.

    Joe-dallas in reply to Unknown. | April 12, 2021 at 9:15 am

    how as the zoom meeting addressed on direct and how was the zoom meeting addressed on Cross?
    any observations pro – con?

    kneeonmyneck in reply to Unknown. | April 12, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    “The knee did not impact floyd’s airway” …these are your words, expressed with complete certainty. You closet racists are hilarious with your oh-so-meticulous analysis of what “really happened.” Disgusting

      Actually those were the words of Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner who conducted Floyd’s autopsy, and a state witness in this trial.

      But thanks for playing.

        kneeonmyneck in reply to Andrew Branca. | April 13, 2021 at 12:39 am

        OH you mean the same doc who said he’s “not an expert on lack of oxygen” because he DOESN’T TREAT LIVING PEOPLE” That’s the guy you’re quoting? And you jokingly act like this is a game. You closet racists will quote Dr. Zhivago if you think it’ll justify the unjustifiable. Wake up

          Harry9000 in reply to kneeonmyneck. | April 13, 2021 at 2:08 am

          There were pictures of Chauvin NOT kneeling on Floyds neck and everything. You’d have to be a closet racist yourself to assume otherwise just because Floyd was black and Chauvin is white.

Also, I am not a doctor but I have been binge watching documentaries about fentanyl addicts on YouTube. Some OD a lot. One guy OD’d 4 times after relapsing and said that he could feel his “breathing going.” Floys said he could not breath while standing outside of the police car and clearly had just eaten the drugs as evidenced by the two pills found in the backseat of the police car. Then, the old man who was yelling at him testified that he could see the “foam” coming out of his mouth when he was dying. I think he really overdosed. His girlfriend said that he had foam and a stomach ache the last time he OD’d in March 2020. In the video on the ground he complains about a stomach ache. Her OD story also lets you know that when he ODs, he is alert and can talk ( he asked her to take him to the hospital), has stomach aches and foams. He does not just pass out or drift off into sleep. He had tons of fluid in his lungs at autopsy and if the old man saw foam (plus Officer Kueng noted foam), that means the fluid was there prior to autopsy.

I want to get an Eric Nelson t-shirt.

https://i.imgflip.com/5536dw.jpg

Hurray, Andrew is back!

thanx Mr Branca and Mr Jacobson for your great coverage of this case!
all these factors seem to contribute to G floyds death
health
resisting arrest
drug consumption
police restraint
But did officer Chauvin violate the law ?
Excessive use of force ?
Did he do anything outside of training?
Nelson has already established that he (Chauvin) or the other officers could have used more force by law.
What if they had tasered Mr Floyd ?
Would that been a factor in his death?

Did officer Chauvin violate the law by using excessive force or any other means in the arrest of George Floyd?

    drednicolson in reply to woden76. | April 12, 2021 at 10:10 am

    I doubt the taser would have had an effect anyway. It produces pain and muscle spasms but the electric current generally doesn’t penetrate to the vital organs (hence why it’s considered a less than lethal instrument of force). Someone doped up to the eyeballs on an opiate would barely notice that he’s being tased. (This may have factored into Chauvin deciding not to deploy it.)

I see that the rioting and looting, (er protests) have begun in Minneapolis as a result of the shooting death of a Black man as a result of a police stop.

Will this have an effect on the trial of Chauvin?

Midfiaudiophile | April 12, 2021 at 4:39 am

Mr. Branca,

Thank you for your hard work documenting this case. I can’t imagine that it’s not exhausting for you, but you’re doing a great service.

I’m interested in the temporal aspects of the “superseding cause” thing, because this event played out over the course of a fairly prolonged period of time and multiple events happen at any given time.

Example: The call for the ambulance happened prior to the decision not to hobble Mr. Floyd, which may have necessitated them continuing to keep him manually restrained in the prone position so that he might be more quickly transferrred onto a gurney and treated. But the ambulance, through no fault of the officers, showed up significantly later than expected. Is the ambulance showing up late a superseding cause when compared against the decision to keep him restrained, if that decision is shown to be a contributing factor to his worsening condition?

    lurker9876 in reply to Midfiaudiophile. | April 12, 2021 at 9:39 am

    I would say that the following had more contributing factors than the delay of the ambulance:

    — hostile crowd leading to a load and go decision
    — 320 rookie paired up. They lacked the experience.
    — Floyd’s size, weight, strength, and muscular system
    — Floyd’s poor decisions (why didn’t he drive off? He was already high while inside the store. Why was he resisting arrest and fighting he police? Taking drugs. That fake 20 buck is irrelevant.
    )
    — Fire EMT got lost – took too long to reach the EMS.
    — 320 and 330 did not have NARCAN (I have not seen any confirmation that they had it nor used it).

    Last of all, the MDP training materials, probably backed by the medical industry, Graham v. Connor, police “guidelines”.

    I still wonder what steps MPD has taken when dealing with excited delirium after removing all references to neck constraints.

      Joe-dallas in reply to lurker9876. | April 12, 2021 at 9:45 am

      “I still wonder what steps MPD has taken when dealing with excited delirium after removing all references to neck constraints.”

      Just noting that the pathologist Thomas described his delirium / behavior and then said he had no delirium

        lurker9876 in reply to Joe-dallas. | April 12, 2021 at 9:58 am

        That was a bizarre comment. Plus Blackwell and Thomas went over each bullet describing excited delirium and Thomas said nope, nope, nope nope. Maybe they were thinking that all bullets must be checked yes before reaching the conclusion of “excited delirium”.

        I’m thinking that Floyd’s symptoms of excited delirium do not have to match exactly all of those bullets but he WAS displaying excited delirium no matter how they cut it.

        They were unconvincing and I hope the jury is smart enough to see through their fogs.

      Midfiaudiophile in reply to lurker9876. | April 12, 2021 at 2:30 pm

      The majority of those things are preceding factors. For something to count as a superseding factor it must, apparently, take place AFTER (chronologically) the injury done, as I understand it (they’re quite clear on this point).

      Floyd could have had 11000ng/mL blood fentanyl concentration, but if someone shot him they’d still be on the hook.

OwenKellogg-Engineer | April 12, 2021 at 4:58 am

Top work, Mr. Branca and Mr. Jacobson! Also, Mr. Nelson; I can only imagine how exhausted he is as a one man show.

My observation is that this is a question of mechanical asphyxiation versus pharmacological asphyxiation. No evidence of tissue bruising, as Mr. Branca indicates, opens wide the door for reasonable doubt as to the prosecutions argument.

Will the jury walk thru? We will find out at the end.

    I can’t see anything coming from this but a hung jury. There are some of them who will, through malice or fear, vote guilty, regardless of the evidence. Hopefully, there are others who will see that the prosecution failed to prove that any of the police officers did anything out of line (rather, they tried to accommodate Floyd to the degree they could), and there is no proof that Chauvin holding him down in the street caused his death (though it could have been an additional stress factor, combined with Floyd’s drug overdose, cardiovascular disease, overexertion and adrenaline dump from fighting the police, etc.).

Great job as usual– this has become my favorite reality series.
I can’t help but wonder if these videos were hosted on YouTube if they would be taken down.

Anacleto Mitraglia | April 12, 2021 at 5:07 am

So the fellow died in Hospital. Ha! So much for the “expert” of last week that testified to know the exact moment of his death, when he “kicked the bucket” like in cheap Western movies.
So much bacon to grill when the defence starts with their witnesses.

Bucky Barkingham | April 12, 2021 at 7:19 am

Excellent job by Branca parsing the expert’s testimony to show that there is reasonable doubt there. However IMHO this jury in this trial will not be swayed by reasonable doubt. Any juror who may have such doubt will also have the certain knowledge that should they fail to vote for conviction they will be doxxed and their and their family’s lives will become a living hell.

Justice for Ashli Babbitt!

The defense need merely raise a reasonable doubt….

That was then, this is now. I think our justice system has changed…and not in a good way.

If justice is served, in this case, I will be shocked.

Ty for a yoeman’s effort.

Thomas came across as very non credible
On cross she agreed, High probability of OD,
High probability of heart problem,
High probability other health problems
zero evidence of trauma to support police induced aphyxiation

Then on redirect 100% positive death occurred because of police restraint
She had super big smile that it was only caused by police action – Almost like dog getting her treat for doing the trick.

    Smooth23 in reply to Joe-dallas. | April 12, 2021 at 9:19 am

    I think he cocky attitude and her smiling and laughing will not play well for the jury. She already has a bitch-slappable face.

could floyd’s previous OD (required multi-day hospitalization) have caused long term heart damage?

    Smooth23 in reply to drozz. | April 12, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Of course not, he was the spitting image of health. Would have lived to be 120 years old had the racist cops not decided to stop him and violently choke the life out of him for no reason. NO REASON!!

    Flatworm in reply to drozz. | April 12, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Long-term heart damage should have been visible at autopsy. So far I haven’t heard of any such findings beyond coronary atherosclerosis and hypertensive cardiomegaly.

      lurker9876 in reply to Flatworm. | April 12, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Has anyone developed coronary atherosclerosis and hypertensive cardiomegaly in a month or two? I thought these are long term effects.

      90% occlusion of the main of three coronary arteries, 75% occlusion of the other two of the three major coronary arteries, and hypertensive cardiomegalopathy due to hypertension ARE THE DEFINITION OF LONG-TERM HEART DISEASE.

      Sheesh.

I have watched every minute of the trial and have yet seen what the State thinks killed Floyd .
Lots of fancy words and something about low oxygen but not a description that would make you believe Chauvin had anything to do with his death .
Dr Baker said that the knee did not cut off the blood flow to the brain or effect his wind pipe .
Baker had some theory of the fact the police had Floyd on the ground that his heart couldn’t take it and he died ?
How would that make Chauvin a murderer ?
The police were lawful in what they were doing how were they to know that this giant muscle bound man had a weak ticker ?
It’s not their problem he was under arrest and resisting so they had to hands on never pretty and always has risks
It’s possible maybe another cop was putting pressure on Floyd’s lungs but the Video shows chauvins knee on Floyd’s s neck and shoulder blades .
Looking at the video there is no way to even know what amount of pressure was put on Floyd but without bruising I don’t think much pressure at all .
So the only sure thing is the 100% fact is he had eaten three times the lethal amount of fentanyl and it was almost certainly going to kill him in a matter of minutes .
The defence should have Chauvin place his knee in the exact position he had on Floyd to his lawyers neck .
Do it fo 10 minutes and for sure his Lawyer will not be harmed .
Just like remember if the glove doesn’t fit you must acquit
Hopefully Chauvin takes the stand obviously he is innocent and has nothing to hide

Christopher B | April 12, 2021 at 8:40 am

I wonder if Schleiter isn’t doing direct examination because these aren’t his witnesses, or because somebody figured out he was doing a lousy job?

I think Mr Branco has already decided that Chauvin is innocent on all three charges; he keeps mentioning a three-fold overdose of Fentanyl when witnesses say it would not be a fatal dose for a habitual opiate user. I find his summations very interesting but I wish he would keep an open mind.

    luckystars in reply to kelper. | April 12, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Commit a crime, do a bunch of drugs. Refuse to return the cigs and change to the clerk who would have to pay for it, fight with 4 cops.
    Come on man, see reality this guy was a dead man walking and all Chauvin did is hold him down until the EMT’s arrived, late.

    The state’s own forensic pathologist experts on Friday–including the medical examiner who was the only person to conduct the actual autopsy on Floyd–testified that they would certify a death as overdose if there was as little a 3 ng/ml of fentanyl in the body.

    Floyd had 11 ng/ml, nearly four times the 3 ng/ml level the state’s own expert witnesses testified would be accepted as sufficient for fatal overdose.

    bernie49 in reply to kelper. | April 12, 2021 at 9:16 am

    I think keeping an open mind at this stage is still necessary. However, it also makes no sense to ignore the reality that Prosecution witnesses have acknowledged that other relevant factors could have contributed significantly to George Floyd’s death besides police restraint. If the prone position is not potentially “deadly” – as the Canadian study clearly suggests – then the Prosecution needs to come up with additional evidence. I do not yet buy the argument that the other factors would have caused George Floyd’s death absent the restraint but I also don’t see that the Prosecution has proved that the restraint did cause his death. Presumably there is more actual evidence to come.

    kevinbrown in reply to kelper. | April 12, 2021 at 10:36 am

    Well would imagine any thinking person has come to the conclusion that it was a self inflicted drug over dose .
    The state just hasn’t been able to explain why Floyd died of low oxygen
    The knee placed on the shoulder blades ,base of neck could not of cut off blood to brain or effect the wind pipe .
    Place where the knee was would not put pressure on the lungs like for example someone sitting on the back .
    So perhaps you can explain the mechanics of death cause all these expert witnesses sure haven’t
    Floyd had close to 4 times the lethal amount of fentanyl in his body and that along with all the other hard drugs in his system and his bad heart for sure finished him off .
    An innocent man should not have his life destroyed because of this thug

I believe the defense has more than raised reasonable doubt for anyone willing to be rational. However I don’t think it matters much.

The folks on the jury are from Hennipen County and have seen first hand the damage, destruction and protest over the last year. They have seen the daily protest outside the court as they arrive each morning and depart each night. Now with the shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, they’re seeing more looting, more rioting and more “no justice, no peace”. Its highly possible that one or more of the jurors live in Brooklyn Center and today they’ll get to drive by looted buildings, police tape / barriers on their way to the Hennipen County Courthouse. I doubt they’ll have the desire, even if there is reasonable doubt, to ignite the fire of riots should Chauvin not be convicted.

Sidenote; Mr. Williams, the MMA Expert, the training center he attends is in Brooklyn Center as is the new MN FBI field office.

Slightly off topic – does anybody know what Duante Wrights arrest warrant was for? I sincerely hope it was for a serious crime and not some trivial item. I was once subject to a failure to appear arrest warrant with police banging on the door late at night scaring my mother-in-law. I had moved the date for a traffic court date but the change of date had not been duly noted. Things happen.

Just when I was thinking about moving to Minneapolis

Could the trial be declared a mistrial due to the rioting for safety purposes? Could the trial be postponed?

Here is a way of accessing a pre-publication version of the Canadian Study. It includes a healthy biography. The NIH site also list related studies. I would stay after scanning the Canadian study the Prosecution has its work cut out.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25735781/

Just because I haven’t said it recently. Thanks Andrew! Also, Thanks to the Professor for providing this forum.

scottythemenace | April 12, 2021 at 10:27 pm

Mr. Branca is obviously correct in principal that “the defense does not need to prove some alternative cause of death. The defense need merely raise a reasonable doubt that some cause of death not attributable to the defendant may have been what killed Floyd.” I fear though, that the reality in this case is different.

Sadly, in this case, BLM and the Woke Mafia are already threatening a repeat of last summer’s carnage. This jury is not sequestered and will likely know about those threats. They likely also sense the danger of personal threats headed their way for anything other than the Woke Mafia’s “correct” outcome.

I pray that Mr. Nelson has a spectacular closing in mind and that at least one juror is honorable and recognizes that justice is individual, not societal, and makes a decision on what’s happened in the court room, not out in the streets.

Even after Floyd became nonresponsive and went completely limp, Chauvin kept his knee on his neck for nearly THREE MORE MINUTES. Nevertheless some white folks, DESPERATE to dismiss any insinuation of white guilt….are lining up on this thread to declare Chauvin innocent. It’s sick.

    Harry9000 in reply to kneeonmyneck. | April 13, 2021 at 2:23 am

    So, Floyd having had a good dose of fentanyl on board, a preexisting heart condition resisting arrest of four officers, needing to be detained where he was due to a hostile crowd, none of that had ANYTHING to do with his death?

scottythemenace | April 13, 2021 at 1:19 am

Much of the expert testimony agrees that there were multiple factors present that alone could have caused Mr. Floyd’s death, factors that Officer Chauvin had no knowledge of. Certainly he had no access to Mr. Floyd’s medical history and, though officers suspected recent drug use, they could not have known his toxicology levels were fatal.

If I were a juror and could ask a question with all those experts in a room it would be this: Absent those other equally fatal factors, what’s the probability that Officer Chauvin’s actions alone could have caused Mr. Floyd’s death?

Despite all the “Yes, it was definitely Chauvin’s actions, not all those other equally fatal factors” I don’t see how any of these experts can say without any uncertainty that Officer Chauvin’s actions alone were the cause of death. If Officer Chauvin’s actions ALONE could not cause Mr. Floyd’s death (and absent his knowledge of the other factors) there’s no case.

If it’s only with the unknown complicating factors that Officer Chauvin’s actions could have caused Mr. Floyd’s death I’d have a hard time as a juror convicting him if I was being honest and responsible in my duties, despite how admittedly ugly the event looked and how tragic Mr. Floyd’s death was.

You can’t convict a man simply because a death is tragic or conforms to the mob’s sense of societal justice. In courts of law, justice is individual, not societal.

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