Murder in the First

The second autopsy of George Floyd requested by his family determined the cause of death as asphyxiation by means of lack of blood supply to the brain.  The previous autopsy performed by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner also listed asphyxiation as the cause of death but that he (Floyd) had possible underlying health conditions and intoxicants in his body that may have contributed to his death.  The second autopsy was performed by Dr. Michael Baden who has performed numerous high-profile autopsies in the past.  Dr. Baden contradicted the prior suggestion that any other medical conditions or intoxicants could have contributed to Floyd’s death.  Initially former officer Derek Chauvin was charged with third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.  Dr. Baden feels that his findings justify a charge of first degree murder for Chauvin.  First degree murder is defined as an unlawful killing that is both willful and premeditated.  Baden reasoned that once Chauvin ignored Floyd’s pleas that was unable to breathe, Chauvin’s intent was to kill Floyd.  Since the incident we have learned that the officer and the victim knew each other and had worked at the same location at one time.  Perhaps there was “bad blood” between them and once Chauvin realized who they were arresting he decided to act upon their dislike for each other.  It certainly looks as if Chauvin may have been trying to kill Floyd when he continued the neck pressure for several minutes after Floyd became unresponsive.  Chauvin’s behavior was a total disregard for a human life, regardless of the color of the victim.  I’m not a prosecutor but it appears to me this latest information suggests a first degree murder charge is justified.  As for the other officers they should be charged with accessory to first degree murder and receive stiff sentences as well.  When we see injustice and don’t act to stop that injustice we are equally guilty.  The same goes for the peaceful protests that have been hijacked and turned into riots and looting.

Legal experts are concerned that the conflicting results of the two autopsies could confuse a jury.  The defense attorneys will likely focus on these differences and say that the experts can’t even correctly identify the cause of death.  There are numerous vital structures in the neck and the type of restraint used in this situation should NEVER be employed by police or anyone. When I saw the video I was more concerned that compression of the carotid artery (and possibly vertebrobasilar artery) would cut blood flow to the brain.  The brain is very sensitive to lack of oxygen, blood or glucose (sugar) and anything that interferes with any of these reaching the brain will result in a loss of consciousness.  All of America is disgusted by the actions of this individual and it does not represent the attitude and behavior of all police.  We must have a well-trained police force; the absence of police is anarchy, exactly what we have seen in our cities for the past week.  America isn’t perfect but if we work together we can certainly make it better than it is today.  I often quote the champion of racial justice, The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  He once said, “When faced with the choice between love and hate, I choose love.  Hate is too big a burden.”  Hate hurts the person harboring that hatred more than the individual it is directed against.  We have a lot of rebuilding to do both physically and emotionally.  We’ve done it before and can do it again!

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