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October 24, 2023

The Scapegoating of Derek Chauvin

George Floyd may have been the perfect victim for the riots that followed his death, but the trial of Officer Chauvin was remarkably imperfect.

“What happens when the actual evidence doesn’t match up with the public narrative that everyone’s already decided on?”

That’s a good question under any circumstances, but it’s an especially good one when it concerns the fate of a man who’s been sentenced to prison for the next couple of decades, a man who might not live that long anyway if the guards can’t protect him from a fellow inmate eager to make a name for himself.

We’re speaking of Derek Chauvin, the once-unknown and now-infamous former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted in 2021 of a weird combination of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of a non-compliant six-foot, six-inch career criminal and drug addict named George Floyd.

Shortly after Floyd’s death, we wondered whether he was a worthy martyr, and concluded, decidedly not. Yet his funeral capped a full six days of mourning in three cities, and his golden casket was taken by hearse and transferred to a glass-sided carriage, which was then drawn to the cemetery by a pair of white horses.

As for Officer Chauvin, he didn’t merit such royal treatment. After all, his knee-on-the-neck treatment of Floyd set off a year-long orgy of burning, looting, and wanton destruction, the wrecking of race relations and the shaking-down of corporate America by a small band of money-grubbing Marxists, and the surging of violent crime and murder all across our nation’s urban centers due to the Left’s ensuing war on cops. According to the Biden and his leftist cadres, all was justified in the name of “systemic racism

That unleashed a surge of violence nationwide, which persists to this day. And the resulting “new standard” for lawlessness, including the “permissiveness” for shoplifting within our nation’s big-city Democrat strongholds has also taken its toll — not only in closed department stores but also in shuttered drug stores. This instance of “reparations by other means” has, in turn, created “pharmacy deserts” for millions of inner-city blacks. Talk about your unintended consequences.

If you wondered whether Chauvin could possibly get a fair trial in that hyper-charged environment, you weren’t alone. As our Nate Jackson wrote at the time of his conviction, “It’s understandable that the former Minneapolis police officer was found guilty of second-degree manslaughter, but it also reeks of political pressure and mob rule that the jurors so quickly convicted him on the more serious but questionable charges of third-degree murder and even second-degree murder.”

And now we’re learning that Derek might’ve been railroaded.

The cross-examination of chief medical examiner Andrew Baker by Chauvin’s lawyer told us as much, but no one bothered to give it the attention it deserved — not with justice just waiting there to be served upon the killer cop. As columnist Matt Walsh recounts:

Over the course of more than an hour, Chauvin’s lawyer got Baker to admit a series of facts that, taken together, undermined the prosecution’s entire theory of the case. For one thing, Baker admitted that just days after Floyd’s death, he told prosecutors that Floyd had a lethal level of fentanyl in his system under normal circumstances. Baker also acknowledged that Floyd had a severely enlarged heart, and that the autopsy showed no physical signs of neck injury or strangulation. The medical examiner went on to admit that, if Floyd had been found alone in an apartment building, his death would be certified as an overdose without a second thought. …

The entire narrative surrounding the death of George Floyd, up to this point, was that Chauvin’s knee blocked Floyd’s airway. That was supposedly why he ran out of oxygen and stopped breathing. Now, an expert witness — a prosecution witness, for that matter — was admitting under oath that Chauvin’s knee was not affecting Floyd’s airway at all.

Only now, thanks to a separate lawsuit filed by a former Minneapolis prosecutor named Amy Sweasy, is Baker’s testimony being revisited. As Minnesota-based Alpha News reported recently, and as Tucker Carlson reported on his X-cast this past Friday, Sweasy claims that Baker told her that there were “no medical indications of asphyxia or strangulation” in George Floyd’s death. According to Sweasy: “He called me later in the day on that Tuesday, and he told me that there were no medical findings that showed any injury to the vital structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck. There were no medical indications of asphyxia or strangulation.”

Let that sink in. And now consider Derek Chauvin’s 22.5-year sentence.

As Alpha News reports: “Chauvin’s new legal team has filed a petition asking the nation’s highest court to hear his case. The official U.S. Supreme Court filing comes after the Minnesota Supreme Court declined to hear the case in July. The 47-page petition points to a heavily fortified Hennepin County Courthouse during Chauvin’s trial, violent threats, jury intimidation, and a local press that ‘glorified Mr. Floyd’ as reasons the country’s top court should grant him a new trial.

William Mohrman, Chauvin’s attorney, acknowledges that the odds of the Supreme Court picking up his client’s case are long, given that it hears only 100 or so appeals of the 7,000 cases it’s asked to review each year.

Still, as Mohrman told Alpha News: "Specifically, we argued the Minnesota Courts violated Mr. Chauvin’s right to a fair trial under the Sixth Amendment by refusing to transfer his trial to a location in Minnesota which was not affected by the George Floyd riots. … If the jurors acquitted Mr. Chauvin, they would have been bracing for a resumption of riots in their own community and possible threats to their own personal safety — which virtually all the jurors expressed when questioned by the attorneys prior to trial.”

It’s been more than three years since all of us were transfixed by the video footage of the white cop with his knee on the black guy’s neck for that interminable length of time.

But what if everyone got the story all wrong? What if, instead of focusing on who killed George Floyd, we’d focused on what killed him?

The question we asked at the outset — what happens when the evidence doesn’t support the prevailing narrative? — was asked privately by medical examiner Andrew Baker. It demands a public hearing.

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