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The “Trial” of Chauvin for the Death of George Floyd

Summary:
Having watched a few hours of the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd I have been convinced that no fair trial could find him guilty of murder.  He clearly had no intention to murder and the drug taking and heart condition of Floyd mean that Chauvin's actions are unlikely to have been the sole cause of death.The most surprising aspect of the trial is that Floyd was saying "I can't breathe" from almost the first moment that he met the police and continued this chant during about a quarter of an hour of struggle with the police and for a subsequent 8 or 9 minutes while he was pinned to the ground.It turns out that "I can't breathe" is a chant used by some black people upon arrest.  It began after the death of Eric Garner in 2014.  If the police are regularly confronted with

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Having watched a few hours of the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd I have been convinced that no fair trial could find him guilty of murder.  He clearly had no intention to murder and the drug taking and heart condition of Floyd mean that Chauvin's actions are unlikely to have been the sole cause of death.

The most surprising aspect of the trial is that Floyd was saying "I can't breathe" from almost the first moment that he met the police and continued this chant during about a quarter of an hour of struggle with the police and for a subsequent 8 or 9 minutes while he was pinned to the ground.

It turns out that "I can't breathe" is a chant used by some black people upon arrest.  It began after the death of Eric Garner in 2014.  If the police are regularly confronted with "I can't breathe" when they arrest a black man they are very likely to ignore it.  It is ironic that Floyd's use of this political chant may have caused his death. (See also The Linguistic Power of the Protest Phrase "I can't breathe" from 2014). It was notable that this point was entirely omitted from the trial.

In the light of the fact that "I can't breathe" is a political chant used by black men during arrest the treatment of Floyd by the police was entirely reasonable.  How could they possibly know whether or not Floyd could breathe?

Notice that Floyd is claiming claustrophobia when he had been sitting, relaxed in a car only a couple of minutes before these events.  Any cop looking at this footage would recognise a cynical, shamming, professional criminal performing for the body cams.  Any member of the public looking at the final minute of Floyd's life would see a poor black man being murdered as he pleads that he cannot breathe.

The coverage of the Floyd death by the media has been entirely reprehensible.  They always show the view of Floyd from the pavement during the last minute or so before he died so that we cannot see what is really happening.  They show this view despite the fact that there is a large amount of video covering the previous struggle.  From the pavement we cannot really see whether Chauvin's knee is on Floyd's upper back or neck, however, the media coverage always includes a voice over to convince us that Floyd is being asphyxiated even though he turns his head several times during the last few minutes and there is no direct pressure on the front of his neck. The media have turned the events of Floyd's death into political theatre.

The trial of Derek Chauvin is like the show trials of communist states.  He had been found guilty by the media before the trial began, jurors have been allowed to return home and watch the news to acquire bias*  and prominent politicians such as Maxine Waters and even President Biden have effectively demanded a guilty verdict for murder.

The strangest aspect of all this is the way that the UK broadcast media have covered the case.  Especially the "unbiased" BBC. They could easily have mentioned that "I can't breathe" is a chant sometimes heard when black people are arrested in the USA, that Floyd had advanced coronary heart disease, that he had taken a fentanyl-methamphetamine cocktail which would exacerbate his heart condition prior to death, that he struggled with the police for a quarter of an hour before being restrained in the prone position, all the time saying "I can't breathe", and that the police were awaiting an ambulance because they were uneasy about Floyd's apparent delirium.  Floyd died because the ambulance was late.  Instead of covering the truth the UK broadcasters have turned Floyd's death into a political circus by omitting and suppressing the truth. In doing this they have not served the interests of UK.


Truth is the first victim of the BBC.

20/4/2021 

Postscript: No-one should be surprised that Chauvin was found guilty on all counts.  This was clearly a show trial.  In two or three years Chauvin will probably be released on appeal.

Was this the best political way forward for the USA?  That depends on whether the Republicans are repulsed by the show trial.

Was the reporting of the case good for the UK? The reporting was shocking and provides yet more evidence that there is something deeply wrong with the BBC in particular.  There was no need for UK reporters to follow the American line on this issue.

*Jurors were sequestered for their deliberations but not during the trial.

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