Considering how much interest this case has generated, there has been surprisingly little interest in viewing the full bodycam video of George Floyd’s arrest. This Internet Archive upload had been viewed only 39 times by April 21 since August 4 last year. Other uploads have been viewed even less.
Floyd cuts a rather pathetic figure as he is arrested in the usual American fashion, handcuffed behind his back; he appears to be in genuine distress, although he could be putting it on, perhaps a little, but were the police supposed to comply with his wishes just because he claimed he was claustrophobic? After all, he had been sitting in a similarly sized vehicle. Nevertheless, they did.
At around eight and a half minutes, an onlooker, a black dude, shouts to him that he can’t win. As he is forced into the police vehicle, he is protesting that he can’t breathe; this is important.
The police take him out of the vehicle – at his request; they put him on the ground – at his request; and Floyd continues to claim he can’t breathe. Chauvin kneels on his neck, and continues to do so. This is where the public enter the frame, in particular Darnella Frazier videos the incident on her phone. She and other witnesses believed they were witnessing a murder.
Consider this scenario, a young child watches a video of surgeons performing open heart surgery. He might well believe he is witnessing a murder, and if the patient dies…Now consider Chauvin an inept surgeon who ends up killing the patient. Did he really intend to kill Floyd? The crowd thought so and continues to think so, but there is little doubt he was acting in good faith, which is why he ignored them.
If one accepts the above, then clearly he should not have been found guilty of murder; some might argue that even a manslaughter conviction was dubious, but at some point even ineptitude is inexcusable. In short, he knelt on Floyd’s neck for far too long.
There followed the de rigueur cover up, as in the 2009 case in London of Ian Tomlinson, but likewise, thanks to mobile phone footage, it didn’t work.
Prior to the release of the bodycam, the world and his dog thought this was a straightforward case of murder by depraved indifference if not outright malice. Had it been released earlier, the riots, looting, outrages and murders worldwide might not have happened. Blame Keith Ellison for that.
Chauvin’s lawyers should have put him on the stand. They were obviously afraid to because of his disciplinary record; he has several blots on his record dating back to 1999, but if they had put him on the stand, he could have made it clear he was concerned for Floyd’s welfare, which was why he took him out of the vehicle: “Why would I have done that if I wanted to kill the guy?”
Why indeed, when leaving him inside the vehicle would have caused him more distress? Chauvin has yet to be sentenced, but he can expect heavy jail time. Consider these cases though:
Amber Guyger – shot a man dead in his own apartment believing it to be hers. Far, far more reckless than anything Chauvin did. She was sentenced to a mere ten years.
Michael Slager – in a totally unambiguous and indefensible scenario, shot dead Walter Scott, then staged the crime scene. Incredibly the first trial resulted in a hung jury. Slager would eventually be sentenced to twenty years following a plea agreement.
Betty Shelby – shot and killed Terence Crutcher as he was walking away from her. Many cops on the scene. Tried only for manslaughter, and acquitted. To add insult to injury, she was later rehired as an instructor.
Philip Brailsford – murdered Daniel Shaver – a white man – in cold blood; the shooting was videoed. Tried only for second degree murder, and acquitted. To add insult to injury, he was rehired to permit him to claim a pension.
Bron Cruz – murdered Dillon Taylor – a white man. Taylor was shot in the back for ignoring an order to stop. He was wearing headphones at the time. The murderer wasn’t even charged.
Compared with all the above, just how bad a dude is Derek Chauvin?
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.