Posted on June 1, 2020

How Did George Floyd Die?

Jared Taylor, American Renaissance, June 1, 2020

We are in the midst of widespread race riots unlike anything since the 1960s. They started because a white policeman, Derek Chauvin, appears to have killed a black suspect, George Floyd. Who are these two men and what happened between them?

Officer Chauvin, 44, was a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department. He had no fewer than 18 conduct complaints filed against him over his career, but anyone can file a complaint, valid or not. Two resulted in reprimands. Officer Chauvin also received two departmental medals of valor, one in 2008 and another in 2010. He also worked as a bouncer in a club.

George Floyd, 46, was originally from Houston, where he was a star football player. In 2007, he was charged with armed robbery in a home invasion, and in 2009 was sentenced to five years on prison. After he got out, he moved to Minneapolis, where he worked as a bouncer in the same club where Officer Chauvin also worked on a security detail. The two might have known each other, but the owner of the building that housed the club says one worked outdoors and the other indoors, and does not think they were acquainted.

We know a lot about what happened when these two men met, thanks to surveillance and bystander video, as well as the criminal complaint filed against Officer Chauvin. All officers had their body cameras turned on the whole time, so although the footage has not been made public, it is the basis for a lot of what is in the complaint.

On May 25, police got a call from Cup Foods in Minneapolis about a customer who tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. When Officers Thomas Lane and J.A. Keung answered the call, the store owner pointed them to a parked car around the corner. Officers noted that besides Floyd there were “a known adult male” and “a known adult female” in the car. This is cop-talk for people with known criminal records. That is probably why Officer Lane drew his gun and pointed it at Floyd, who was in the driver’s seat, and told him show his hands. When Floyd did so, the officer holstered his gun.

Officer Lane then pulled Floyd out of the car and handcuffed him. The report notes that Floyd “actively resisted” arrest but later cooperated while officers explained the charges. There is surveillance video that corroborates this. As press reported, in the video, “6-foot-6 and with an athletic build, Floyd — who worked as a bouncer and a truck driver — towers over the officers.” When Floyd approaches the camera, you can see how muscular he is.

Afterwards, as the two officers tried to walk Floyd to a squad car to take him in for booking, the complaint says he “stiffened up, fell to the ground, and told the officers he was claustrophobic.” This is when Officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thoa drove up in their own car. Three officers tried to get Floyd into a car, but he struggled and resisted, saying he would not get in. Floyd said several times, while he was standing outside the squad car, that he could not breathe. Here is more video of the arrest.

Because the three officers could not get Floyd into the car, they put him on the pavement on his stomach, still handcuffed. Officer Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck and another was holding his legs and back.. Officer Lane said, “Shall we roll him on his side?” Officer Chauvin said, “No staying put where we got him.” Officer Lane said, “I am worried about excited delirium or whatever.” Officer Chauvin said, “That’s why we have him on his stomach.” It is not clear what this exchange means, and the complaint offers no explanation.

According to the bodycam footage that has not been released, Floyd continued to resist for five minutes and said, several times, “I can’t breathe.” Officer Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck. Two minutes later, according to the video, Floyd appears to stop breathing. Officer Lane says, “Want to roll him on his side.” Officer Keung checks for pulse and says, “I can’t find one.” For two more minutes, Officer Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck. Only then, as the ambulance arrives, did he release him. By that time Floyd may have been dead. As the rescue report noted, medics arrived to find an “unresponsive, pulseless male.”

Based on time markers on the bodycam footage, the complaint notes, “The defendant [Officer Chauvin] had his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total. Two minutes and 53 seconds of this was after Mr. Floyd was non-responsive.”

It is hard to understand why an officer would do this. However, the fact that he and everyone else were wearing bodycams, and that he must have seen bystanders videoing him suggest that he had no sense of wrongdoing. What could have been going on in his mind?

We get an indirect hint from the preliminary autopsy results:

The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death.

Toxicology reports can take weeks, so it may be some time before we know if Floyd was on drugs. In any case, Officer Chauvin must have had no subjective sense that he was doing something that could kill a man.

The same was unquestionably true of Officer Daniel Pantaleo of Brooklyn, who put Eric Garner in a neck hold in 2014 when Garner resisted arrest. That hold, with which Officer Pantaleo took Garner to the ground, may have lead to his death, but Garner had asthma and heart disease, was obese, and reportedly could not walk a city block without gasping for air. The police autopsy found no damage to Garner’s windpipe or neck bones, but some hemorrhaging in his neck muscles. Despite repeated media claims that he died of strangulation, Garner died in the ambulance, later, of a heart attack.

Although it is hard to understand Officer Chauvin’s actions — as well as those of the other officers who were present who did not intervene — it is almost impossible to imagine that he had any intention of injuring or killing Floyd. Nor is there any reason to think he would have acted differently if Floyd had been white.

There is one more crucial similarity in the cases of both Garner and Floyd: They would not have died if they had not resisted arrest.

From all appearances, Officer Chauvin unwittingly killed Floyd. He was immediately fired from the force, along with the three other officers present. He has now been arrested and charged with two felonies: (1) Murder in the third degree, which means “perpetrating eminently dangerous act and evincing depraved mind.” The maximum sentence is 25 years. (2) Manslaughter in the second degree, which means “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk.” The maximum sentence is 10 years and/or a $20,000 fine.

There is every reason to believe that the criminal justice system will not be lenient with Officer Chauvin. If found guilty, he is sure to face strict sentencing, and now that the country has gone up in flames, he is sure to be locked up for a long time. Justice of some sort will be done.

These riots are therefore not about “justice for George Floyd.” They reflect irreconcilable differences between blacks and whites. These differences are largely inherent, but have been dangerously inflamed by media and intellectuals who have, wittingly or not, encouraged blacks to hate the police, to hate whites, and to hate the United States.