The Minneapolis police officers accused of murdering George Floyd are being railroaded and are likely to be exonerated once the full evidence is presented. This does not mean that I approve of or endorse how the Minneapolis cops handled the situation. But the video that has enraged so many people is very misleading.
If you are part of the mob ready to lynch Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the “murder” of George Floyd, you may have to put your rope away. I think Chauvin will be able to prove in court that his use of his knee on the side of the neck of Floyd was a technique he had been trained to use by the Minneapolis Police Department. It is in the training manual and has been on the books for more than eight years. Don’t take my word for it, read it yourself:
5-311 USE OF NECK RESTRAINTS AND CHOKE HOLDS (10/16/02) (08/17/07) (10/01/10) (04/16/12)
Choke Hold: Deadly force option. Defined as applying direct pressure on a person’s trachea or airway (front of the neck), blocking or obstructing the airway (04/16/12)
Neck Restraint: Non-deadly force option. Defined as compressing one or both sides of a person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck). Only sworn employees who have received training from the MPD Training Unit are authorized to use neck restraints. The MPD authorizes two types of neck restraints: Conscious Neck Restraint and Unconscious Neck Restraint. (04/16/12)
Conscious Neck Restraint: The subject is placed in a neck restraint with intent to control, and not to render the subject unconscious, by only applying light to moderate pressure. (04/16/12)
Unconscious Neck Restraint: The subject is placed in a neck restraint with the intention of rendering the person unconscious by applying adequate pressure. (04/16/12)
The Conscious Neck Restraint may be used against a subject who is actively resisting. (04/16/12)
The Unconscious Neck Restraint shall only be applied in the following circumstances: (04/16/12)
On a subject who is exhibiting active aggression, or;
For life saving purposes, or;
On a subject who is exhibiting active resistance in order to gain control of the subject; and if lesser attempts at control have been or would likely be ineffective.
Neck restraints shall not be used against subjects who are passively resisting as defined by policy. (04/16/12)
After Care Guidelines (04/16/12)
After a neck restraint or choke hold has been used on a subject, sworn MPD employees shall keep them under close observation until they are released to medical or other law enforcement personnel.
An officer who has used a neck restraint or choke hold shall inform individuals accepting custody of the subject, that the technique was used on the subject.
The crucial question will be whether George Floyd “exhibited active aggression.” The video record of the incident is incomplete. New footage has emerged that shows Floyd in the vehicle and he is not sitting passively. The new video shows evidence of a struggle aka “active aggression.”
I am not defending the use of this type of restraint. But I am pretty certain that evidence will emerge showing that Chauvin was trained to use the knee to the neck as a means of “non-violent” restraint. The key questions Chauvin’s lawyer will be asking regarding this training will include the following:
- Did the training manual specify a maximum amount of time that a knee could be applied to a suspect’s neck?
- Did the training manual carry a clear warning that use of this technique could cause the death of a suspect?
If the answers to those two questions are “NO”, then Officer Chauvin’s defense is quite clear.
Then there is the matter of George Floyd’s drug intoxication. He was Speedballing. (See here for a full description of Speedballing.) When you mix Methamphetamine with Fentanyl, that is “Speedballing”. You are mixing an upper with a downer.
George Floyd is not unique. He is part of a growing trend in the drug combinations people are using. The Partnership For Drug Free Kids reported in January:
A growing number of people in the United States are using methamphetamine and fentanyl, often together, according to a new analysis of urine drug tests.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. Fentanyl is a depressant. According to the American Addiction Centers, combining stimulants like meth with depressants (like Fentanyl) can mask overdose symptoms until it’s too late to get help.
LaFuente, a Hollywood Drug Treatment center, reports that:
many people who are taking meth and fentanyl together do not realize they are doing so. Often, individuals who take meth or cocaine laced with fentanyl have a low tolerance for opioids and are at risk of overdose (NIDA). Essentially, these are two of the most dangerous drugs one could take alone but especially in combination when it comes to overdose.
The Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association reports that, “Respiratory failure is particularly likely with speedballs because the effects of stimulants wear off far more quickly than the effects of opioids.”
Another effect is that the user who has ingested this kind of Speedball can be hit with an urgent need to urinate or vomit.
It also is very possible that George Floyd did not realize he had ingested Fentanyl. Many drug users going for the Meth high take hits without realizing they are getting a Fentanyl laced Speedball.
The part of the video that is missing (and the story that still needs to be told) is how Floyd reacted when he was put into the police car. The video that has emerged indicates there was some commotion inside the car. That commotion will explain why Floyd was taken out of the car, put on the ground and restrained in accordance with Minneapolis Police Department procedures.
This part of the story is being largely ignored. Yet, just last night, the Minneapolis City Council admitted this was a practice by banning its use going forward:
All 12 members of the city council voted to make “quick changes” as the investigation progresses, ultimately resulting in a consent decree from the courts that will require change, said Lucero, who was appointed to the position in January 2019 by Gov. Tim Walz, a Democrat.
The following reforms are to be implemented immediately:
— Chokeholds and other neck restraints are banned.
The mere fact that these “restraints” are now banned is a clear admission that they were approved methods under the rules and procedures of the Minneapolis Police Department. Oh yeah, one last thing, the Chief of Police of the Minneapolis Police Department is black. Are we supposed to believe he was unaware of this practice? Bullshit. He came up through the ranks and his training record will show that he not only was trained in the method used by Officer Chauvin. He also probably used it once or twice during his rise to the top of the force.
A Minneapolis Police Department officer wears a body camera while responding to a call on October 25, 2019.