WASHINGTON: Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who was seen in the viral video kneeling on the neck and face of the handcuffed arrestee, George Floyd, has had his charges upgraded from third-degree murder to second degree. Had they not been charged, they would have been back on the street. Real police reform is needed and it is being demanded by protestors (not rioters)
Fellow officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao, who stood by while on the scene, were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The charges come as the result of an independent autopsy by Dr. Michael Baden and conducted on behalf of Floyd’s family.
George Floyd autopsy results
Dr. Michael Baden, who previously conducted an independent autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein, conducted the autopsy after the family took Floyd’s body back from the state. The family autopsy stated “asphyxiation from sustained pressure was the cause,” of Floyd’s death.
Dr. Michael Baden and Dr. Allecia Wilson performed the autopsy and said there was “neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain. Baden continued, “What we found is consistent with what people saw [in the video.]”
However, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s preliminary autopsy found “no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” according to the document.
This suggests Floyd’s existing health conditions, coronary artery disease, and hypertensive heart disease, combined with his restraint by police and any “potential intoxicants in his system,” all contributed to his death.
Baden, during a June 2 interview with Sean Hannity on his radio show, stated that Fentanyl was found in Floyd’s blood. He quickly brushed off the possibility that the Fentanyl could have caused, or contributed to Floyd’s death.
In any upcoming trial, that assertion could come under close examination.
A series of events probably led to Floyd’s death
Fentanyl is the leading cause of drug overdose deaths in America today, and display symptoms much like what Floyd suffered. Those symptoms may well have been exacerbated by the force used against Floyd after his arrest.
Baden went on to say that Floyd was dead on the scene, contradicting reports that he died while in the hospital. Baden then stated that along with the two officers holding Floyd’s body down, two of the three not additionally charged also contributed to the death.
He said that the combination of the knee on the neck and the diaphragm compression occurring while holding Floyd on his back would not allow oxygen to flow into and out of his lungs.
The officer did use unnecessary force and Floyd died. We cannot know what was in the minds of Derek Chauvin and the others when, for over eight minutes, they held Floyd prostrate on the ground. Even after he told them that he could not breathe. The notion that if a person can talk, he can breathe, is being debunked.
But now we have forensic evidence showing at least culpability on their part in the death.
Minnesota AG Keith Ellison takes action
Enough so that Minnesota Attorney General, Keith Ellison, pressed county prosecutors to formally charge the officers. There is little chance that Chauvin, Lane, Kueng, and Thao will not go to prison for their inhuman act during Floyd’s arrest.
That said, the riots now taking place, including the deaths and injury across this nation of police and citizens alike, will not fix the problem of police brutality.
Do not confuse peaceful protest against police brutality with the rioting taking place. The two are not connected. The peaceful protest is for an end to excessive use of force by police. A problem that needs fixing.
The only cure for it is ridding our police departments of civil service and union protections. Only then can cities fire bad, brutal and unfit officers without recourse. Because, had authorities not filed charges against Chauvin for felony murder, he would have been reinstated on his department. Despite multiple excessive force complaints, and his actions that led to the death of Floyd.
Chauvin’s firing would have not stood up because of Union and civil service protections.
It may have taken several years for reinstatement, but he would have been. It is why too many unfit and brutal officers remain on police forces across the land. Chauvin himself is an example, with many brutality complaints in his file, yet he was the officer in charge of that arrest due to his seniority. Not his ability.
Making police at-will employees, as most of us are, will make them more responsive to their communities’ wishes. Getting rid of the rotten eggs is imperative. In the past, federal oversight of police has been used in place of real reform.
All that did was punish the 99% of the good officers, and the people they serve. It created an atmosphere of lax policing. As a result, crime rose to the detriment of citizens but did not address the problem. In the wake of George Floyd’s arrest, any police reform must start with revamping civil service and Union-led protection of bad cops.
Only then will George Floyd’s death not be in vain.
— Headline image: George Floyd: The alleged beginning of a tragic series of events.
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.