LIVE: Chauvin Trial Day 9 – State’s Evidence Begins to Align with the Defense Narrative of Innocence
Yesterday state’s witnesses described lethal fentanyl in vehicles; today will they describe lethal fentanyl in Floyd?
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.
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Today begins the 9th day of the prosecution in the Chauvin trial presenting their case-in-chief to the jury, and from the perspective of this small-town lawyer things don’t appear to have been going well for the state so far.
Indeed, things appear to be degenerating for the state, and badly.
Followers of this trial will remember how the state began its narrative of guilt to the jury. Lots of emotion, sorrow over the loss of George Floyd, a man struggling with demons but dearly loved by his family and community. We had an entire series of bystander witnesses still exhibiting the shock of having watched Floyd apparently die in the street. Many of those witnesses openly sobbed and cried on the witness stand, some to the point where court had to be recessed to allow them to recover and continue their testimony.
Powerful stuff, on an emotional level.
But eventually the state ran out of sobbing and crying bystander witnesses, and the prosecution’s narrative was obliged to begin talking about facts. And the apparent trend to my eye is that the more the state talks about facts, the more their narrative of guilt begins to closely resemble the defense narrative of innocence.
From the state’s telling, fentanyl had nothing substantive to do with Floyd’s death. Sure, Floyd was an addict, but that wasn’t a factor to which we should attribute his death, but merely another reason to sympathize with the struggling Floyd, who was after all still a loved human being despite his addictions. Don’t pay any attention to the drug narrative, that’s not what killed Floyd!
Rather, what killed Floyd was Derek Chauvin’s “blood choke” knee to Floyd’s neck. Or maybe it was a respiratory choke delivered by Chauvin’s knee to Floyd’s neck. Or maybe it was mechanical asphyxiation resulting from the pressure applied by all three officers holding Floyd prone. Or maybe it was positional asphyxia because they failed to put Floyd in the recovery position. Or maybe it was that the officers should have started chest compressions on the handcuffed, huge, and just-violent Floyd before EMS showed up. Or maybe, or maybe, or maybe … Does it really matter. Chauvin’s knee!!! Excessive force!!! Not a trained technique!!!
Unfortunately for the state, many of its own witnesses, especially its use-of-force and medical witnesses, whether existing MPD trainers or well-paid expert witnesses from out of town, have testified in ways that substantively undercut that narrative of the state.
So far in the state’s case we’ve heard the state’s own witnesses and experts testify that Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s back and shoulder blades, not his neck. We’ve heard them testify that not only was Chauvin’s force not excessive, he would have been privileged to use more force and declined to do so—a choice they characterized as de-escalation. We’ve seen photographs from MPD training materials showing officers being trained to place their knees on suspects in exactly the manner Chauvin had placed his knee on Floyd.None of that can be said to buttress the state’s still vague and ambiguous narrative of guilt.
Even now, 9 days in, we still don’t have an actual medical opinion of Floyd’s cause of death, other than cardiac arrest induced by apparent asphyxia. Was that asphyxia caused by the officers charged in this case? Perhaps.
Alternatively, is there an equally, or even more likely, explanation for Floyd’s death? Perhaps the astonishing high levels of fentanyl in his system, and the fentanyl discovered (eventually) in both the Mercedes SUV Floyd was driving and the squad car from which Floyd achieved his violent escape.
After all, how does fentanyl kill? By depressing respiratory function. That is, by chemical induction of asphyxia. Which eventually, of course, will result in cardiac arrest. Which is how Floyd died.
The more the case turns to drugs—not in the hypothetical sense of Floyd’s generalized and tragic life-long struggle with addiction, but in the specific sense that his body was full of a drug whose lethal effect was cessation of respiration—the more reasonable doubt is raised about the state’s claim that the causal factor in Floyd’s death was the officers charged in this case.
Yesterday we saw the state compelled to begin presenting witnesses—again, all state investigators or private scientists paid by the state—who provided concrete investigative, photographic, forensic, and chemical testimony about the lethal fentanyl found in both Floyd’s own vehicle and the squad car he fought his way out of. All of that moves the collective narrative away from Chauvin’s knee as a cause of Floyd’s death, and towards Floyd’s poorly made decision to hide his toxic drugs from police by ingesting them as being what killed him.
Soon—perhaps today—we’ll start hearing from the experts who will testify not just about the drugs found in Floyd’s vehicle and the squad car, but about the lethal levels of those drugs found in Floyd himself.
And that can only move the narrative of cause of death further from Chauvin’s knee and closer to Floyd effectively killing himself with a lethal overdose of fentanyl.
That can only raise even further reasonable doubt.
Juries are always dangerous and unpredictable things, and as a professional I know better than to place a wager on what a verdict might be. That’s even more so the case when we have the dynamic of mob violence, rioting, looting, and arson hanging over this case, and a government unable or unwilling to meet its fundamental responsibility of securing the safety of its citizens and their property.
So there’s no way I’d be so bold as to say an acquittal in this case is certain, or even likely.
But on this 9th day of hearing the state make its best arguments, the prospects for acquittal look more, not less, likely each day.
That said, no one can know yet what this new day will bring from the state’s continued testimony of its witnesses and experts. Perhaps today will be the day that the state progresses closer to, rather than further from, a compelling narrative of Chauvin’s knee as the causal driver of Floyd’s death.
The best way to find out, of course, is to partake of our LIVE coverage of today’s trial proceedings, right here, with our live video feed and blogging throughout the day, followed by our end-of-day wrap-up of legal analysis and commentary of the day’s testimony this evening.
Here’s the live video feed of today’s trial proceedings:
Here’s today’s LIVE Blog commentary:
Until next time, stay safe!
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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What did Tobin prove for the state? It’s just his own opinion.
He stated that in his expert opinion, George Floyd did not die from a fentanyl overdose. He said it strongly and directly and gave plausible-sounding reasons. And it was the last thing the jury heard from him before a break.
You and I may think he’s wrong, but the jury could easily be persuaded by that.
I hope we’ll be hearing similarly strong statements the other way from defense experts, at some point.
Well, if I was part of the jury panel and watched how Nelson destroyed every state witness, I would not trust this kook and more interested in seeing what Nelson brings forth for his case. The state lost its credibility and would have a hard time getting it back.
Perhaps you could tell us what’s interesting about it before we go there.
That’s not unusual. Issues with Discovery seems to be an ongoing problem Nelson has been having.
Dec. 14, 2020
Jan. 26, 2021
Must be why Nelson asked one of the state witnesses this afternoon is whether he is board certified pathologist. Answer is no but he works with pathologists.
Among the 12 jurors and three alternates selected for the panel are three Black men, one Black woman and two jurors who identify as multiracial. If none of the three alternates — all of them white — is needed in the deliberation room, 50% of the panel that will vote on Chauvin’s fate will be Black or multiracial.
Hennepin County, where the trial is being held, is only 17% Black or multiracial, while it is 74% white.
I noted this, too—the jury isn’t at all representative of the county.
No idea how it happened—maybe more blacks showed up for jury duty? Or, with the county being very liberal, maybe the whites who showed up were unusually objectionable to the defense, and they actually found more blacks who they thought would be sympathetic to Chauvin or more able to follow the law?
I’m sure a lot of psychological considerations involving race come into play here: a black juror may actually be reluctant to play into the OJ-type nullification jury stereotype—while white jurors may be more likely to insist on Chauvin’s guilt in the presence of black jurors.
Well just to be on the safe side, clever Minneapolis store owners are building false fronts on their stores, so they appear to already be burned out shells.
How it happened.
BLM activist protested during jury selection to push for more black percentage. Going by demographics is should be one black and one other race not white.
Blackwell: Asked about nicotine, did he die of nicotine?
Blackwell: Fentanyl and meth, did he die of meth?
Blackwell: Fentanyl would expect reduction in rate of breathing, see that?
That’s it for re-direct.
That exchange comes across as full fledged BS
Maybe meth and fentanyl never killed anybody.
I’m surprised that the cross was so short and that Nelson did not challenge Tobin on two major points of his testimony. First Tobin’s assertion that most of Chauvin’s body weight was on GF’s neck (he even cited a specific #). There is no way Tobin could know how much weight was on Chauvin’s left leg. I wish Nelson would have asked Tobin to imagine a hypothetical whereby he is balancing on a weight scale in his bathroom while lifting his left leg until it is off the scale. This would have driven home to the jurors using basic physics we can all understand how Tobin’s testimony was completely unsupported by basic physics. Secondly I would have challenged Tobin on his assertion that GF’s respiration was normal. Since GF was being held down by Chauvin there is no way to know if the movement of GF’s right hand indicated GF’s respiration rate or that of Chauvin’s. I would have also challenged him on his expertise. Tobin testified this was his first criminal trial which means that this is the first time he has ever testified as an expert in a case of suspected positional asphyxia involving LE. I would also ask him if he has ever written a peer-reviewed report on the effect of officers weight on suspects in the prone position. Tobin may be an expert in a lot of areas but not this area. Nelson missed a chance to drive this point home.
If anyone on this jury has not smelled the stink of this I would be amazed. Hung jury or some sort of manslaughter compromise, based not on evidence but on political ideology and fear. A juror voting not guilty will reciev a lifetime negative social credit score. There ain’t no EZ way out. Long hot summer coming fast.
Nelson probably just made a tactical decision that he would wait and have his own medical expert explain why Tobin is wrong when he presents the defense case in chief. Some of these medical experts will never admit when they’re wrong, so it’s just a waste of time trying to get them to acknowledge it on cross. Better just to have your own expert explain it to the jury.
I suspect you are right. Bringing in a defense expert witness who can show details on how fent and meth interact would be more effective at disrupting the credibility of the prosecution witness than arguing with an expert in the field.
Well, he seems to be a quack – not an expert. There is no way he could make those detailed calculations from simply looking at photos and videos and without actual measurements of forces applied. Beyond that, his theories were not credible, but it would take a very long time to refute them, and you have to have a cross by an expert who could do so.
I think you are correct. Nelson was not as comfortable with the medical stuff. Tobin swatted him away on a number of occasions. If Nelson knows his experts can be impressive and undercut Tobin then a tactical withdrawal was the right move. It preserves the general positive halo Nelson has built as being bright and savvy.
So the foremost breathing expert in the US requires 4 hours and unending numbers of charts and explanations and oversimplifications and explanations of every precise aspect of positioning to explain how it’s possible that Chauvin impacted Mr. Floyd’s breathing.
And we’re supposed to believe that it’s reasonable that a reasonable beat cop could and should take all of this into consideration in a split second decision in the best circumstances, let alone with an angry crowd of people distracting him?
Sure- maybe the MPD protocol is bad, for all of the reasons that Dr. Tobin cites, but that doesn’t put Chauvin on the gallows.
And we’re back to the tolerance to fentanyl line.
How many drugs did this horrible human specimen have on board?
There is no way this man can make the calculations he made from looking at photographs or video. Simply impossible without direct measurement. He is a quack. Employing this to either derive diagnosis or determination of death is not only pseudoscientific, but actually unethical. He was provided simply to provide a biased jury cover.
Has he shown the concentrations fentanyl in those who died of overdoses? Not just the ratios of fentanyl to norfentanyl?
Blackwell: Nelson brought up fentanyl as cause of death. Do they go into a coma before they die from a fentanyl overdose.
Tobin: Yes they do.
Blackwell: was Mr. Floyd ever in a coma?
Tobin: No, he was not.
Is Tobin correct on this? BigSky?
It’s fascinating their ‘expert’ witness can – with absolute certainty, apparently – conclude that the decedent was never even in a transient period of coma before death. Without examining Floyd as it happened, how does Tobin discern this? Ouija Board? Magic 8-ball.
At a minimum, to reach a clinical diagnosis of coma, patients must be examined to determine if they react to specific stimuli in certain ways. Did Tobin examine Floyd? I’m sure Nelson has one or more physician lined-up who will pick-apart this part of Tobin’s testimony.
Yup – a quack. He states things he cannot possibly know. I hoe the jury saw through this. If so, witness credibility is shot. However, quackery will appear to those searching for a rationale to convict.
Is anyone else missing live blog commentary? The last comment I have is from an hour ago?
I wish I were! I’m trying to read the comments, and they WON’T STOP BOUNCING all over the place!
Is the live blogging out? I’ve seen nothing since the break.
Q for Mr Branca: Nelson is receiving some of these reports the night before but I can’t imagine the state hasn’t had them for much longer. Are there guidelines on the timeliness of the defense getting witness reports and the format they are in?
Nelson is pissed off about it and not happy right now, Judge is giving state plenty of cover
All the testimony about levels of fentanyl in drivers is odd—presumably the ones with very high levels have tolerance to it, whether by illicit or prescription use.
Overdoses are really the only outcome for comparison. Curious if there are any toxicological data from the 2019 arrest where Floyd had to be hospitalized after swallowing pills. It may well be that they just tested for the presence of drugs, not the exact concentrations.
It seems the degree of Floyd’s drug use in the period leading up to his death will be key, as it will speak to his tolerance. Addicts who have abstained for even a short time are frequently unaware how rapidly their tolerance has decreased and OD when they resume.
Testimony from Morries Hall would be ideal, but that’s out. Floyd’s lady friend said that she thought he’d been clean for some time before his death—but I’ve read she also said the opposite.
Floyd did overdosed in Houston before moving to Minnesota. He also threatened his girlfriend during a no-knock raid and released by Ogg. Ross testified that Floyd overdosed in March 2020 and hospitalized for 5 days on similar symptoms he experienced on May 25, 2020. Mere months apart.
Blog is not refreshing, anyone else having this issue?
yes, posted within the article that there are issues and it is being worked on
Mentioned earlier with two confirmations. Seems to have stopped before the break around 1:20.
Is ANYONE here seeing blog comments?
Nelson’s had a tougher day than yesterday for sure. He looks fatigued and I think Tobin’s obnoxious personality and scientific babble rattled him.
I think he thought it best to present his medical experts forward as part of his defense case. Tobin is muddling up his answers
40k k discovery dump will do that. Now the state is defending Crack, Smack, and Ice as no big deal but cops getting the bad guys off the street.
Trying any case is exhausting, but doing one with dozens of lawyers arrayed against you, dumping thousands of pages of documents on you on a regular basis, having their experts changing their reports and then emailing the revisions to you at the last minute (after you’ve already prepared your cross based on the original report you received) — it would be enough to make any defense lawyer crazy. Nelson deserves a medal for doing this case, and if he manages to get an acquittal, or even a hung jury after all this, they should throw a parade in his honor.
All of those antics from the prosecution tells me what I’ve always suspected. Trials are novellas. The best actors will get the highest score and win their case.
I sincerely hope I am never jammed up.
I didn’t find him obnoxious. I found him to be a doctor with a hammer seeing everything else as a nail. I think if you brought an orthopedist onto the stand, you’d find that he’d decry the use of joint locks as a restraint techniques because they have the potential to cause bone damage.
I knew a radiologist who would become visibly enraged whenever someone brought up the topic of a motorcycle, because he viewed them as exorbitantly risky and unnecessary, having run into numerous fatalities and preventable injuries from people who were riding the things.
If anything, I thought the way that he handwaved “extremely rigorous science and calculations” to explain his findings was a bit much, but he was admitted as an expert witness and speaking under oath, so I think we have to consider the probability that those calculations actually exist.
I can make all sorts of formulas and calculation. I can use correct formulas, but if my input data for variables are wrong, so is the output. Witness could not possibly known the things he claims to have know simply by looking a photos and videos. The variable inputs, even if formula is correct and relevant, is garbage. Therefore, any output is also garbage. Garbage witness. But will the jury buy the snake oil? Disturbing some here thought it compelling.
Hey! According to my Doc, motorcycle riders are prime candidates for my new kidney when it’s time for a transplant….
Suggested cross for Irish guy:
1) Would fluid in the lungs impede pulmonary function, lowering blood oxygen level?
2) Could fast breathing rate from heart condition, expected to be on 40 range, be slowed down by Fentanyl 40% to about 24, or even 22?
Andrew Branca, can you summarize what happened with the last state witness and is the state calling back a new witness before the day is over or what?
Wow another freak. Haircut is awesome.
Is that hairpiece made out of rubber?
Maybe he’s using money gleaned from testifying to afford additional hair plugs.
LOL, yeah that comb-over alone destroys his credibility for me. Anybody who can look in the mirror and not recognize how silly that looks obviously has perceptual problems that impair his judgment!
Live blog is back! (for those who haven’t scrolled up.)
Live blog posts appear to be duplicated – two copies of each.
If you have two sessions of the LI thread open in browser tabs/windows, the live feed will double.
Tobin: Drugs are no big deal.
Does he teach these symptoms to police officers in his classes? (I’m probably getting ahead of the testimony.)
I.e. symptoms of excited delirium.
He’s breathing too slow to be suffering from excited delirium. He’s breathing too fast to be suffering form fentanyl ingestion. What about a combination?
Please contact Hannity because he is hanging this police officer everyday on his shows!
Hannity is controlled opposition; he says what he’s paid to say.
Doesn’t matter he has a huge audience he’s just trying to cover his butt.
I think Andrew should contact him, send his write ups and appear on his radio show or TV!
Why bother? Hannity will just interrupt him endlessly.
I know a squealer when I see one.
Floyd was not wearing a shirt–was he overheated?
Most cases of excited delirium have taken meth or cocaine but stimulant opioid combos can have some similar features to the agitation/fighting/delirium. I would say he did not actually have it but in the heat of the moment it could be construed as excited delirium, and the manner of dying in custody was very similar. As the trainer said, it has a wide variation.
Is the State not going to call the actual M.E. who preformed the autopsy on Floyd, or are they just going to call every Tom, Dick, and Sally who they farmed the testing and opinion out to?
I am a physician expert. Tobin’s testimony was an absolute disgrace, and was a twisting of notions to fit the State’s narrative. Unfortunately, Nelson did not have the background to refute. Here are my issues:
1. His statement that “fentanyl increases breathing rate”. This is absolutely false. Fentanyl is a strong respiratory depressant. It can most definitely reduce if not stop respirations. Even Wikipedia lists this as a serious adverse effect. There is a reason we intubate patients receiving this type of anesthesia. Also, excessive fentanyl can cause PEA. i have seen this.
2. If the knee was the cause of the breathing difficulty, why did GF say he can’t breath BEFORE GF was even on the ground? This is something that should have been nailed in cross.
2. The autopsy report demonstrated “pulmonary edema”. There could be several causes to this:  a failing heart, causing a back up of fluid in the lungs.  primary lung problem (viral infection, like COVID),  rigid chest wall syndrome (From fentanyl), causing negative thoracic pressure causing edema. GF could have had all three!
3. The graphs and modeling Tobin showed did not take into account pulmonary edema, which changes lung compliance significantly, which changes those graphs. Those graphs and curves he made, estimating the force on the neck vs. effort to breath is a complete crock.
4. Autopsy did not demonstrate ANY evidence of hypoxic evidence to the brain. None. The brain, is in fact very sensitive to lack of oxygen, but there was no evidence on autopsy.
5. Compressing the hypopharynx is very hard to do, because you have to get through a lot of soft tissue in the neck to achieve compression. That would cause a lot of soft tissue damage. There was NONE on the autopsy report.
6. It should be noted that there were likely multifactorial events here unrelated to the knee. The fact that he couldn’t breath before being on the ground suggests pulmonary edema, and inability to oxygenate. Fentanyl reduced respiratory rate and drive. Blood CO2 (arterial or venous) will increase with hypoventilation and pulmonary edema. All of this without physical damage to the neck or pharynx, and NO evidence of brain hypoxia.
7. Why is this expert doing hundreds of hours of work pro-bono? Perhaps he has a political agenda. You don’t need to be a medical expert to arrive at this conclusion.
And there is so much more. I have been impressed by Nelson so far, but I think he dropped the ball here. I hope Nelson has a real medical advisor on board who can easily poke holes in this. I hope Nelson reads this site!
I am clearly not a medical expert – though Several statements came across as obviously bogus
The most outrageous statement I saw from Tobin: “Sure, I saw he had heart disease, but that’s completely irrelevant”. Backs up his complete lack of interest in any aspect of the case other than the physics of respiration.
Nelson is probably exhausted, but he’ll be able to make these points more effectively when he puts on the defense case and has his own medical experts testify. Both of the state’s medical experts today ignored the pulmonary edema, which was one of the autopsy findings, and seems to be the most likely reason why Floyd was repeatedly complaining of not being able to breathe, both before and after he was put on the ground. I expect that the defense medical experts will be pointing out that discrepancy repeatedly, because it pretty much blows a giant hole in the state’s theory of how Floyd died.
If Floyd was only experiencing “air hunger” because of the pressure from the cops holding him down and not because of the fentanyl/meth overdose, then how does the doctor explain the fact that Floyd was complaining repeatedly of not being able to breathe while he was still on his feet?
If the “air hunger” on the ground was only because of what the cops were doing, and had nothing to do with all the drugs, then how could Floyd have been experiencing “air hunger” while still standing up?
Is the state’s theory that Floyd was lying about not being able to breathe when he said that 7 times before the cops put him on the ground? And if he was lying then, then how were the cops supposed to know that he was not still lying when he said the same thing on the ground? Were the cops supposed to read Floyd’s mind?
You hit on the key element of the case, that I’m surprised he hasn’t sprung out. Perhaps waiting for the right time.
1. Do you believe George Floyd? He said he had a hard time breathing before being put on the ground, and before a knee or body weight was applied. If you believe George Floyd, then you know his health status (difficulty breathing) was a contributor to death, at a minimum.
2. If you don’t believe George Floyd, then at what point should the officers have started to believe him?
Smock is trying real hard to hold onto his answers but Nelson is forcing him to answer, “Can”, “Maybe”, etc.
The opioid narcotics, of which Fentanyl is one, depress the respiratory centers in the brain, purely and simply. You know that feeling you got, trying to catch your breath just after running the 100 yard dash back in school. Fentanyl and the other opioids eliminate that
[“The respiratory center is located in the medulla oblongata and pons, in the brainstem. The respiratory center is made up of three major respiratory groups of neurons, two in the medulla and one in the pons. In the medulla they are the dorsal respiratory group, and the ventral respiratory group. In the pons, the pontine respiratory group includes two areas known as the pneumotaxic centre and the apneustic centre.
The respiratory centre is responsible for generating and maintaining the rhythm of respiration,..”}
What are the differences between fentanyl, street fentanyl, and norfentanyl?
I’ve heard stories about the dangers of street fentanyl or fentanyl coming across the Mexican border. Touching this type of fentanyl can be fatal. Police would call a hazmat team to enter a property with unidentified white powder or pills that could be fentanyl.
Also, vets use fentanyl to treat animals under critical care.
fentanyl is fentanyl. Street or prescription, if it is actually fentanyl the chemical makeup is the same. That said, the pills pressed on the street vs for commercial use (do they even make fent pills??) are worlds apart. Street fent, one pill might be one dose, the next 10x the dose. Norfentanyl on the other hand is what fentanyl metab0lizes into. Think of it as digested fentanyl that has been processed by the body.
Special Prosecutor Blackwell is also a beekeeper.
Forensic toxicologist: “I review 8000 cases per year”. 52 weeks per year, that’s 154 per 50 hour workweek. That’s 3 per hour, or a total of 20 minutes spent per case.
Any reductions from 52 weeks per year and 50 hours per week (either of which is unrealistically high) also reduces the time spent per case he reviews.
(ie. his work is to review the work done by reporting scientists, not to do the work for himself).
Also, isn’t NMS labs the same lab from which hailed Meith, from yesterday?
I think the jury may like Dr. Smock’s delivery, How he answers in simple terms and appears to be directing his answers directly to the jury. Marcus Welby.
Another day has passed and the State has at best shown that yes, GF did die while in custody and Chauvin’s knee was on him. In other words, still NOTHING.
They are really banking on winning this because the jury is afraid of what will happen if they don’t convict.
I disagree. This was a bad day for the defense, because they systematically attacked a number of the defense’s places to insert reasonable doubt (fentanyl, meth, can sitting on a neck actually cause hypoxia, by what means would hypoxia cause heart failure, is an 11mg/mL dose actually fatal, etc).
I think at this point, I’m more likely than not to conclude that the restraint of Mr. Floyd was at minimum a contributing factor to his death, which is apparently what is required for the charges.
That said, this is the prosecution’s case and it took them 9 days to get to this point, and we haven’t heard anything from defense witnesses as of yet. Also, we were hearing from experts, not cops who are trained in particular modes of restraint, whether or not those ways happen to be optimal, and the cop training/use of force witnesses we’ve heard over the last couple days were unconvincing, in particular Mercil.
So, as of the present moment- yes, caused death, but bystanders were wrong and should have been ignored, and training was mistaken (justifying the 27MM settlement from city to Floyd’s family), so not guilty of crimes.
And besides that, Dr. Tobin to the contrary, Mr. Floyd had a metric ton of comorbidities, so I don’t think I can make it past my reasonable doubt that the death was his fault. Just… I think more likely than not (preponderance of evidence).
ng/mL not mg/mL
At this point, a bad day for the defense is the State’s witnesses not testifying 100% for the defense while throwing the State under the bus.
The State can put its hand up a muppet’s ass and make it say what it wants, BUT that don’t make it so and it doesn’t make it believable for the jury. Granted, I’m just reading the Branca’s transcript and not hearing the skill in delivery, but logically they did not make an effective case that it was Chauvin’s actions and NOT the comorbitities and drugs that were the cause of death.
Branca’s notes are missing the forensic toxicologist (Isenweld?) who brought in a lot of data on people arrested with DWI’s for either fentanyl or meth. Floyd’s dose was about normal for a DWI on fentanyl. Meth levels way below the normal DWI levels seen for meth (95% of DWIs on meth were higher than Floyd’s). Now, it’s possible that defense witnesses will make a solid case out of how dangerous the cocktail of meth+fent is, since that wasn’t addressed by the toxicologist (and state, like always, overplayed their hand by presenting “Deaths while under influence of [drug]” as a separate statistic, while not actually representing that the deaths were CAUSED by the drugs), but the Driving While Impaired numbers were somewhat compelling for me, and bolstered Smock’s later testimony.
Nelson’s attempts to introduce doubt into the medical experts were relatively feeble, as well.
Assuming that the experts weren’t openly lying, which I think the jury will be forced to assume as well, it really reinforced that the case here is not, in fact, in the medical reality, but rather in the practical reality, training and policy sides of the debate.
We’ll see how things go when defense brings in anatomy and medicine experts, but I’m just giving my opinion for now that the meat of the case is in the delay of the paramedics to cup foods and again to the hospital from cup foods, and in the training of officers possibly being faulty (“Can speak, can breathe”) which, according to Tobin, even physicians occasionally get mixed up on, and so what could you expect from a non-medical-professional?
The state can totally get a witness to say- meth / fet / heart disease did not cause a death that happened while all that was in place, but that instead it was an act of Chauvin that caused it. The problem for the state is that so many of their witnesses have crashed and burned, there’s a good chance the jury is not going to believe their witnesses anymore. Especially given that the prosecution has taken the approach to continually use a very narrow window for questioning only to have the defense rip it wide open.
I agree this was not the state’s weakest day, but that doesn’t make it a strong one.
They just have to find people from out of state who never actually touched Floyd or had anything to do with the case until the State asked them to come up with something.
Nelson should have objected when Smock was asked when CPR should have been started. He is medical expert but not expert on police procedures. Question needed to be rephrased as “from a medical standpoint, when should CPR ideally have been started?”
@Andrew Branca: The 24liveblog morning session is the same as the afternoon session on my browsers (Safari and Firefox) on a couple of different computers. Would you please check the link?
I really appreciate your live stream and perspectives on this case. Also followed you on the Zimmerman trial. Great work and thank you!
After watching this Bush League I gotta have some Quaaludes and Cream ice cream.
It’s not easy to keep up with the medical testimony but it appears the State is predominantly on the defensive. “Is there any evidence he died of a meth overdose? Of a fentanyl overdose?” Etc.
Here is the correct link for the morning session for those who are having the same issue I am that the morning session is displaying the same content as the afternoon session:
I agree with the expert here; juries are dangerous and unpredictable. But I wouldn’t read too much into the fact that blacks are over-represented on the jury compared to the percentage of Hennepin county that is black.
I am reminded of some research I did a few decades ago into juries in rape cases. As it turned out, what you wanted if you were falsely accused of rape, particularly date rape cases on college campii are juries with as many women as possible. Preferably women at least in their forties.
You didn’t want men because they’d hear the prosecutions opening statement and stop listening. Then just glare at the defendant, think of their wives/mothers/grandmothers and daughters if they were fathers and just stew about how they’d love to have five minutes alone with the already-convicted-in-their-minds rapist in a locked room.
The women will listen to the defense side of things as well as the “victim” and pick her apart. “That little slut is lying.”
” already-convicted-in-their-minds rapist in a locked room.
The women will listen to the defense side of things as well as the “victim” and pick her apart. “That little slut is lying.”
I was on a jury for a sexual assault/battery case and that was the dynamic in the jury room. The two women, an attorney and a college student, and I voted against conviction and all of the men were ready to hang the guy.
Today was the strongest day by far for the State.
Mr. Nelson seems like he is getting worn down or possibly has a cold. Made his cross much more difficult.
Dr. Tobin appeared to make many outlandish statements. His calculations had many assumptions (half of Chauvin’s body weight being on one knee).
Dr. Smock was more convincing in my opinion, but Nelson was able to fairly effectively cross him.
I’m still struggling to understand exactly what the State’s case is about how positional asphyxia occurred?
-No one seems to agree with theory by MMA Williams about a blood choke (wasn’t bilateral sides of neck, paramedics could check pulse, etc)
-Was it pressure on the neck obstructing his airway (seemed to be what Dr. Smock was suggesting) -but then use of force experts said the knee was at the base of the neck
-Was it pressure on the chest causing inability to take deep breaths (seemed to be what Dr. Tobin was suggesting)
These two theories seem contradictory? Someone help me out…
I went back and watched Dr. Tobin’s testimony. He seems to be suggesting both neck compression and chest compression.
But it’s all based on hypothetical calculations…
Nelson is clearly getting sick. Poor guy.
Did Smock and Tobin both support the notion that asphyxiation performed properly is undetectable by an ME? I thought Smock was working to reduce the frequency of homicide by asphyxiation, not trying to advocate for its effectiveness.
Something that stood out to me was that the last state witness, Dr. Smock, testified that he was the “police surgeon” for the Louisville, KY Police Department and often accompanied SWAT teams on assignment/responded to police-involved shootings… which made me think of the Breonna Taylor case from Louisville… in which Benjamin Crump was also the family/civil attorney. Does anyone know if/is it possible Dr. Smock was brought onto the Chauvin case via connections to Crump?