Sunday, September 20, 2020
Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Speedy and Public Trial Necessary in Minnesota

Your Content is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates abuses of power. Sign up to receive our biggest stories as soon as they’re published.

It will take work to assure that Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane receive fair trials. The four Minneapolis police officers are accused of crimes in the death of George Floyd. It will be a rare juror who has not formed an opinion of some sort before the trial.

But the standard for selecting a juror is not ignorance. The standard is whether a person can fairly and impartially consider the evidence, and, in cases such as these, the highest of high-profile cases, whether potential jurors can put aside whatever they have heard and decide the case based solely on the evidence.

- Advertisement -

Sitting a jury in a high-profile case is difficult, but not impossible. Most jurors try to do the right thing for the right reasons.

Minneapolis Killer Cops ARRESTED for the EXECUTION of George Floyd
📸: Derek Chauvin is seen in his mugshot. He received an additional second degree murder charge.

As tried in a court of law, the case most assuredly will not be a broad inquiry into the history of race relations in the United States. Jurors will hear neither the hyperventilated claims of an “epidemic” of police violence against people of color, nor the more pedestrian truth, that a handful of unarmed men, black and white, are killed by police each year. Rather, the case will be focused on the State’s burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt the elements of the crimes charged.

There’s a pretty good chance that three of the four officers charged will be acquitted. The fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, just might get an acquittal if prosecutors try their case to the television cameras rather than the jury.

How could Chauvin be acquitted?

- Advertisement -

The state has charged him with murder in the second degree. Under Minnesota law that means Chauvin intended to kill Floyd, or that he caused is death during the course of committing another felony.

I’ve not seen all of the videos surrounding the arrest of Floyd. What I’ve seen is disturbing. Chauvin has his been on the shoulder or upper back area of Floyd as Floyd complains he cannot breathe. That’s a pretty awkward way to kill someone, especially in broad day light. If I was intending to kill, I can think of a lot quicker and more efficient ways of doing so.

Minneapolis Killer Cops ARRESTED for the EXECUTION of George Floyd

The medical reports thus far submitted are confusing on the cause of death. Initial reports from the state indicate no evidence of death by strangulation or asphyxia. An autopsy by Floyd’s family concludes that strangulation/asphyxia was the cause of death. Evidence of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions and whether he was intoxicated will have a bearing on what a jury decides as to cause of death.

It’s possible that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death without engaging in a crime.

Oddly, Minnesota decided to make its case more difficult to prove just days after first filing the charges. Chauvin was initially charged with murder in the third degree. That did not require proof of intent to kill; it merely required proof of something akin to recklessness – Chauvin was aware his conduct created a risk of death, but just didn’t care. That’s easier to prove than the intent to kill.

Minneapolis Killer Cops ARRESTED for the EXECUTION of George Floyd
📸: Tou Thao is pictured in this mugshot.

BUT public pressure to bring more serious charges forced the state’s hand. It substituted the more serious and difficult charge for the less serious charge. That was a crowd-pleasing move that could backfire. The defense will be wise to try to keep the state focused on murder in the second degree. If the defense can keep the judge from charging the lesser offense of murder in the third degree to the jury, Chauvin very well could walk out the door.

The aiding and abetting charges against Chauvin’s fellow officers don’t make a lot of sense. Under Minnesota law, aiding and abetting requires proof that a defendant “intentionally aids, advises, hires, counsels, or conspires with or otherwise procures the other to commit the crime.” Failing to intervene to prevent another from doing something unlawful is not aiding and abetting. There’s a pretty good chance the case against the three fellow officers will fail without even being presented to a jury.

Minneapolis Killer Cops ARRESTED for the EXECUTION of George Floyd
📸: J.A. Kueng is pictured.

Much has been made of Chauvin’s disciplinary history. Odds are, a jury will hear little or nothing about this. Mere complaints prove nothing. The public is always free to complain. A street officer doing his job year in and year out is expected to attract complaints. Few of these complaints ever result in findings of misconduct. That’s because most complaints are unfounded. Folks are never happy to be arrested; many are quick to complain about every perceived slight. Policing is rough and tumble work. It always has been.

Due process requires that the state prove each and every element of the crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt. So-called propensity evidence, evidence of unrelated misconduct, is rarely admissible, and, when it is, it is strictly limited. Chauvin’s jury will hear little or nothing of the history of complaints against him. It’s the same rule of law that benefits civilians accused of a crime: delinquencies in child support can’t be used to prove a bank robbery.

Minneapolis Killer Cops ARRESTED for the EXECUTION of George Floyd
📸: Thomas Lane is pictured in this mugshot.

These cases should be tried quickly, and soon. Urban legend, mass hysteria and political pandering are using isolated bits of data to make political narratives out of what little we know about the case. Present the full case, and soon.

When it’s done, I suspect there will be more acquittals than most folks suspect.

Stay with Your Content for the latest updates. Have a story or news tip? Contact our 24/7 newsroom at 833.336.8013.

Protect Independent Journalism

Your Content is a nonprofit newsroom that produces nonpartisan, evidence-based journalism to expose injustice, corruption and wrongdoing.

Spearheading the news revolution for Americans across the nation, Your Content has brought a voice to those the media failed to acknowledge.

This story you’ve just finished was funded by our readers and we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Your Content so that we can publish more reports like this one that holds people in power to account and produces real change.

Your donation will help us ensure that we can continue this critical work. We are busier than ever covering stories you won’t see anywhere else.

Jenna Ortega and Selena Gomez Cast for Scream 5, Pre-Production Complete with Filming ‘Imminent’

Jenna Ortega will be in the fifth ‘Scream’ installment with Selena Gomez and sources claim the pre-production phase of the project is complete.

President Trump Eyes Up Notre Dame Alum Hon. Amy Coney Barrett to Replace Justice Ginsberg

Despite desperate calls by Democrats to stall the replacement of our beloved Justice Ruth Gader Ginsburg.

Gloria Allred Reacts to Death of Justice Ruth Ginsburg: ‘She Was The Greatest Justice Ever for Women’

Famed women's rights attorney Gloria Allred is grieving the death of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Pa. Judge Throws Book at THIRTEEN Antifa Rioters, $1 MILLION Bail EACH for Lancaster Riot

13 people who are accused of committing crimes while participating in a civil disturbance in Lancaster, and Your Content has all their mugshots.

Black Man with CLOWN MASK Kills Black Man for ‘Dissing Him’ at Indiana Mall: Shooter At-Large: Source

An Indiana gunman donning a clown mask is on the prowl after opening fire at a mall Saturday afternoon when a man 'dissed' him.

Suburban Philly Town in Delco to Target and IMPOUND Trump Signs on 9/11

While residents remember the horrific Sept. 11 attacks, Marple Township intends to ‘impound’ Trump campaign signs.

Husband of Disgraced Delco Rep. Davidson to File for Divorce, Lawmaker Flees to Philly

Disgraced Delaware County State Representative has been left broke and alone after her husband ditched her after a rocky marriage.

President Trump Says He Can Now Fix Portland Riot Situation in Just 15 MINUTES: ‘We’re Ready’

The president said 'it will take approximately 15 minutes' for the federal government to end the Portland lawlessness.

Stay Informed & Get Your Content, Daily.

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

Your Content is a 501(c)(3) non-profit national American media organization of artists and journalists headquartered in Pennsylvania.