Three minutes to prison
Here are some facts you may not have known. On May 25, 2020, Derek Chauvin and three other Minneapolis officers arrested George Floyd for trying to pass a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill at a small grocery store in South Minneapolis. The officers, all four of them, tried to place Mr. Floyd into a police car, but Floyd, a large, powerful man, resisted. Mr. Floyd complained during the encounter that he couldn't breathe. The officers, aware that breathing difficulties are a symptom of fentanyl overdose and that Floyd had overdosed on fentanyl a few months before, called an ambulance. Floyd fell to the ground and, at that point, was still thrashing around, so Chauvin and another officer restrained Floyd. Chauvin used a prescribed technique from the Minneapolis Police Department's training handbook: kneeling on the suspect's back and neck to control the suspect when "handcuffed subjects are combative and still pose a threat to themselves, officers or others, or could cause significant property damage if not properly restrained." The other officer held Floyd's legs.
Reporting from the Chauvin trial indicates that George Floyd died of a heart attack about two and a half minutes before the ambulance arrived. Had the ambulance arrived three minutes earlier, would Officer Chauvin have been charged with murder? Had Mr. Floyd not battled officers, even while handcuffed and on the ground, would his heart attack have happened three minutes later than it did?
Had Officer Chauvin not been distracted by the crowd who was taunting him, or by the two rookie officers who were observing, would Officer Chauvin have been more aware of how long he had been kneeling on Mr. Floyd and gotten up before Mr. Floyd expired? If Officer Chauvin had gotten off Mr. Floyd five minutes before he did, would Officer Chauvin still have been charged with murder?
In Minnesota, second-degree murder is unintentional death in the commission of a felony. What was Officer Chauvin's felony? The felony was kneeling too long on Mr. Floyd's back. The initial kneel was a prescribed tactic from the Minneapolis police handbook; when did it turn from a prescribed tactic into a felony? After one minute? After five minutes? After seven minutes and thirty seconds, when Mr. Floyd expired?
Officer Chauvin was a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis police force. To put that in perspective, he was an officer for approximately 2,280,000 minutes. He held George Floyd down for approximately three minutes too long. Expecting police officers to make exquisite timing decisions while trying to keep a muscular, combative suspect, who, by the way, was more than 80 pounds heavier than Officer Chauvin, subdued is asking a lot of ordinary humans.
Apparently, asking ordinary politicians not to exploit the situation for their own selfish political purposes is also asking a lot. Democrat Governor Walz and Minneapolis mayor Jacob Frey almost immediately poisoned the well by pronouncing Officer Chauvin guilty of the murder of Mr. Floyd. The Minneapolis City Council jumped in by awarding Mr. Floyd's family $27 million in a settlement while juror selection was ongoing. The prospective jurors entered the courthouse in roundabout ways, out of the public eye. It seems impossible to believe that the political pronouncements, the huge negative publicity and negative publicity stunts, and the impact of the entrance and exit procedures into and out of the courthouse didn't have a powerful effect on the jurors' objective assessment of the situation.
Hosea 8:7 reminds us that "they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." Just as it is impossible to believe that the entire jury pool wasn't tainted by the entire pre-trial situation, it is also impossible to believe the Minneapolis police force hasn't also been affected. Many officers have retired. The police force in Minneapolis is down approximately 200 positions, and candidates are not lining up to apply for the job openings. One can be certain that remaining Twin Cities officers will weigh the political consequences of any encounter they have with the public. They understand that in the current political climate, they, too, could make a three-minute mistake and wind up in prison as sacrificial lambs to advance the political careers of the Democrat hierarchy.
The whirlwind is coming.
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