WASHINGTON: Most of us have seen at least some of the footage of a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed and compliant George Floyd. The video this writer watched lasted eight minutes. In the background, voices can be heard telling officers that they do not need to treat that man in that way. Meanwhile, Floyd is heard stating that he cannot breathe, his stomach hurts, his chest hurts, that he hurts all over.
Eventually, he is lifted into an ambulance and dies at the hospital. As soon as the video is posted online, the four white officers involved are summarily fired and are pending criminal charges. Most know these facts, they also know that his death has led to protests and rioting in several cities across the nation. Five have been shot and one has died as a result of these riots.
These two facts go to the heart of the political divide in this nation today.
Conservatives tend to base their opinions on facts and logic, while leftists tend to base theirs on emotion. The differences in the peaceful protest against unlawful COVID-19 orders, as opposed to the rioting and mayhem over the death of a black man at the hands of white officers, is proof of this.
Let us examine the facts known right now.
First, a white police officer used his knee to restrain a black forgery suspect. Secondly, we do not know if prior to handcuffing this suspect if he was aggressive toward officers.
Operator: 911 what’s the address of the emergency?
Caller: This is ah 3759 Chicago AV.
Operator: How can I help you?
Caller: Um someone comes our store and give us fake bills and we realize it before he left the store, and we ran back outside, they was sitting on their car. We tell them to give us their phone, put their (inaudible) thing back and everything and he was also drunk and everything and return to give us our cigarettes back and so he can, so he can go home but he doesn’t want to do that, and he’s sitting on his car cause he is awfully drunk and he’s not in control of himself.
Operator: Okay, what type of vehicle does he have?
Caller: And…. um he’s got a vehicle that is ah…ah he got a vehicle that is ah…one second let me see if I can see the license. The driver license is BRJ026.
Operator: Okay, what color is it?
Caller: It’s a blue color. It’s a blue van.
Operator: Blue van?
Caller: Yes, van.
Operator: Alright blue van, gotcha. Is it out front or is it on 38th ST?
Caller: Ah it’s on 38th ST.
Operator: On 38th ST. So, this guy gave a counterfeit bill, has your cigarettes, and he’s under the influence of something?
Caller: Something like that, yes. He is not acting right.
Operator: What’s he look like, what race?
Caller: Um, he’s a tall guy. He’s like tall and bald, about like 6…6‐1/2, and she’s not acting right so and she started to go, drive the car.
Operator: Okay so, female or a male?
Operator: Is it a girl or a boy?
Caller: (Talking to somebody else)—he’s asking (inaudible) one second. Hello?
Operator: Is it a girl or a boy that did this?
Caller: It is a man.
Operator: Okay. Is he white, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?
Caller: Something like that.
Operator: Which one? White, black, Native, Hispanic, Asian?
Caller: No, he’s a black guy.
Operator: Alright (sigh).
Caller: How is your day going?
Operator: Not too bad.
Caller: Had a long day, huh?
Operator: What’s your name?
Caller: My name is [Redacted].
Operator: Alright [Redacted], a phone number for you?
Operator: Alright, I’ve got help on the way. If that vehicle or that person leaves before we get there, just give us a call back, otherwise we’ll have squads out there shortly, okay?
Caller: No problem.
Operator: Thank you.
Most would say that it makes no difference, he was already in cuffs and then not a threat. Unreported is the fact that the Minneapolis Police standard operating procedures include using this method, knee on the neck and head, as a restraint for cuffed offenders.
According to Mylan Masson, a police officer for 20 years who ran police training for the state of Minnesota at Hennepin Technical College until 2016 (Police training expert speaks about fatal Minneapolis incident)
A neck restraint is listed as a “non-deadly force option” in the Minneapolis Police Department Policy & Procedure Manual, according to the police.
The Unconscious Neck Restraint shall only be applied in the following circumstances:
- On a subject who is exhibiting active aggression, or;
- For life-saving purposes, or;
- On a subject who is exhibiting active resistance in order to gain control of the subject; and if lesser attempts at control have been or would likely be ineffective.
- Neck restraints shall not be used against subjects who are passively resisting as defined by policy.
“It is a control technique, so you can make sure that if you control the head, you can control the rest of the body,” Masson explained. “But of course, there are parameters on that. We do a light pressure on there, just enough to stop the threat and we also make sure that, of course, the person isn’t going to be harmed in any way.”
Their training manual states that a chokehold is a lethal force while holding a suspect in place using the knee technique is non-lethal. So, unreported, that officer was following the Minneapolis P.D. standard operating procedure to restrain an offender who may have resisted arrest.
Three other officers, also briefly seen in the video, were also on the scene.
Two of them were also holding the suspect down. This is an indication that Floyd was not always cooperative.
The most damaging part of this video is when, for several minutes, Floyd states that he cannot breathe and officers simply remain in position on top of him.
As damming as that video is, reports are starting to trickle in that Floyd fought arrest for up to ten minutes, then sat in his car where officers were able to handcuff him. Those same reports state that once Floyd was in custody officers realized he was having some medical problems.
Officers, upon seeing his medical condition, immediately called for an ambulance. The video of them holding him in place was while waiting for the arrival of medical help. If that is the case, then Floyd stating that his stomach, chest, and everywhere hurts statements make medical sense.
Heroin and fetynal overdoses often hurt before death in much the same way.
That Floyd died at the hospital, and was not dead on arrival, also indicates that some event, other than a knee to the side of his head, may have been the cause of his death, and not police use of force.
We will not know until the results of an autopsy are provided. We know too little at this point to condemn those officers or to exonerate them. This is where logic and reason play its hand. Too many are condemning those officers with too little information to make their statements valid.
Even Rush Limbaugh, on his radio program on May 28, flatly stated the officers are wrong. Sadly, I believe he will regret saying those words. He, like many police chiefs who are going out on a limb and condemning those officers, have fallen into the left’s trap of accepting their premise on racism.
The riots over this black man’s death at the hands of white Minneapolis officers, believing the left’s racism premise, are nothing more than an excuse to steal and destroy property.
If they truly wished to protest illegal police actions they could behave as did the armed protesters in Michigan, where no property was damaged and no one was hurt or killed due to their actions. Yet, they made their point.
No matter the cause of George Floyd’s death, there is no excuse for the rioting taking place in Minneapolis enabled by leftist politicians who excuse rioters’ behavior. As long as they protect rioters, riots will continue.
In a few months, enough information will come out to either condemn or exonerate the officers involved. And just like Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, George Zimmerman in Florida, and Freddy Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, we will learn the truth.
Until then, this incident is nothing more than an extension of the culture wars being fought between left and right for the soul of our nation.
About the author:
Joseph Ragonese is a veteran of the United States Air Force, a retired police officer, has a degree in Criminal Justice, a businessman, journalist, editor, publisher, and fiction author.