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Derek Chauvin trial. Murder of George Floyd. Convictions now appealed.


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Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third degree murder, and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Motions for change of venue was denied - the trial is in Minneapolis.

The city of Minneapolis settled a civil sui for wrongful death with the family of George Floyd for $27 million.

First question for the lawyers (or anyone): Thoughts on Chauvin being possibly charged with second AND third degree murder charges?

 

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  • NorvilleBarnes changed the title to Unofficial Derek Chauvin trial thread. Death of George Floyd.
11 hours ago, NorvilleBarnes said:

 

First question for the lawyers (or anyone): Thoughts on Chauvin being possibly charged with second AND third degree murder charges?

I don’t do any criminal law but I think this is pretty common, right?  Give the jury a fallback if they don’t think all the elements of the more serious charge have been met.

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48 minutes ago, glvsav37 said:

 I need to meet the person who has not heard about this case yet. 

That's not what they're looking for. They're asking about what the potential juror already knows and what opinions they're already formed.

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4 hours ago, fatguyinalittlecoat said:

I don’t do any criminal law but I think this is pretty common, right?  Give the jury a fallback if they don’t think all the elements of the more serious charge have been met.

Yeah, it's common.  What you said, if the prosecution can't prove 2nd because of some element, they may still have enough for 3rd.  

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4 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I can't comment on the relative appropriateness of second vs. third degree murder, but if this guy doesn't go to prison I don't know why we even bother to pretend any more.

You only need one juror.  There is a saying that you are told in law school about the legal process.  "It is better to let a guilty man go free than to convict an innocent man." (or something to that effect).  The law is meant to be tough on the prosecution because you need to be certain of the persons guilt.  Like that rocket mortgage commercial.  

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I think the coroners report will show Floyd died of drugs and drug use with what the officers did as contributing but the core reason Floyd died was the drugs and resisting officers

and the officers will be aquitted

and cities will burn, dozens will die, hundreds of millions in damages will result 

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16 minutes ago, Stealthycat said:

I think the coroners report will show Floyd died of drugs and drug use with what the officers did as contributing but the core reason Floyd died was the drugs and resisting officers

and the officers will be aquitted

and cities will burn, dozens will die, hundreds of millions in damages will result 

Gosh, just convict the guy to avoid this.     

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5 hours ago, IvanKaramazov said:

I can't comment on the relative appropriateness of second vs. third degree murder, but if this guy doesn't go to prison I don't know why we even bother to pretend any more.

I'm assuming there is a near zero percent chance he'll be convicted of either murder degree.

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1 hour ago, Stealthycat said:

I think the coroners report will show Floyd died of drugs and drug use with what the officers did as contributing but the core reason Floyd died was the drugs and resisting officers

and the officers will be aquitted

and cities will burn, dozens will die, hundreds of millions in damages will result 

The coroner's report has already been published.  You think that they're going to try to change the cause of death? 

The coroner determined the cause of death to be "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."   An independent examiner hired by the family identified the cause of death as "asphyxiation from sustained pressure."

Although Floyd had drugs in his system, nobody credible has pointed to that as a cause of death.   He also recently tested positive for Covid 19, had heart disease, sickle-cell traits and hypertension.   Nobody credible attributes his death to any of those either.   

Edited by -fish-
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2 hours ago, Stealthycat said:

I think the coroners report will show Floyd died of drugs and drug use with what the officers did as contributing but the core reason Floyd died was the drugs and resisting officers

and the officers will be aquitted

and cities will burn, dozens will die, hundreds of millions in damages will result 

Ahem....we call those "mostly peaceful protests".  Get on the same page, please.  ;)

 

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just throwing this out there, but this may not be a crime based on racism.  Floyd & the cop worked at the same nightclub as bouncers so they do have some history together.  doesn't alter or lesson  the fact that Floyd is dead. 

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I originally said at the time, 3rd degree was a slam dunk. 

"Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years."

When they changed it to 2nd degree because of the blood lust of the mob, I had a feeling that this would lead to an aquittal due to lack of evidence. Time will tell but one things for sure, there will be riots.

"2.Unintentional murders. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting; or

(2) causes the death of a human being without intent to effect the death of any person, while intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm upon the victim, when the perpetrator is restrained under an order for protection and the victim is a person designated to receive protection under the order. As used in this clause, "order for protection" includes an order for protection issued under chapter 518B; a harassment restraining order issued under section 609.748; a court order setting conditions of pretrial release or conditions of a criminal sentence or juvenile court disposition; a restraining order issued in a marriage dissolution action; and any order issued by a court of another state or of the United States that is similar to any of these orders."

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19 hours ago, kodycutter said:

Gosh, just convict the guy to avoid this.     

would that be your suggestion in any cases ?  convict a guy to avoid public outcry / response ? 

kinda destroys the entire judicial system doesn't it ? 

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18 hours ago, -fish- said:

The coroner's report has already been published.  You think that they're going to try to change the cause of death? 

The coroner determined the cause of death to be "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."   An independent examiner hired by the family identified the cause of death as "asphyxiation from sustained pressure."

Although Floyd had drugs in his system, nobody credible has pointed to that as a cause of death.   He also recently tested positive for Covid 19, had heart disease, sickle-cell traits and hypertension.   Nobody credible attributes his death to any of those either.   

https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/george-floyd/new-court-docs-say-george-floyd-had-fatal-level-of-fentanyl-in-his-system/89-ed69d09d-a9ec-481c-90fe-7acd4ead3d04

"If he were found dead at home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD. Deaths have been certified with levels of 3," Baker told investigators.

In another new document, Baker said, "That is a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances."

But then Baker added, "I am not saying this killed him."

Defense attorneys for the officers have signaled they will argue Floyd died from the drugs and pre-existing health conditions.

The new documents say Floyd had a "heavy heart" and "at least one artery was approximately 75% blocked."

 

 

 

 

I'm saying that's what the defense is going to key in on and a jury is going to have to 100% believe that Floyd's lifestyle and choices didn't directly impact his death.

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20 hours ago, Stealthycat said:

I think the coroners report will show Floyd died of drugs and drug use with what the officers did as contributing but the core reason Floyd died was the drugs and resisting officers

and the officers will be aquitted

and cities will burn, dozens will die, hundreds of millions in damages will result 

Good lord.  We all saw what happened and don't need a coroners report to tell us how he died.

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1 hour ago, Stealthycat said:

would that be your suggestion in any cases ?  convict a guy to avoid public outcry / response ? 

kinda destroys the entire judicial system doesn't it ? 

my comment was tongue in cheek.          don't look forward to rodney king riots x1000 if somehow he isn't convicted.

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50 minutes ago, kodycutter said:

my comment was tongue in cheek.          don't look forward to rodney king riots x1000 if somehow he isn't convicted.

my bad

 

its rare a police officer is convicted - and to have a fair trial isn't a reality ...... but you are not incorrect when assuming the massive damages done to cities if he's acquitted won't be factored in :(

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On 3/8/2021 at 8:22 PM, NorvilleBarnes said:

Interested in hearing opinions on the events of the trial as they unfold. Especially interested in hearing from all the lawyers.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Jury selection was paused today as prosecutors weighed more charges. They may add a charge or third-degree murder.

First question for the lawyers (or anyone): Thoughts on Chauvin being possibly charged with second AND third degree murder charges?

 

This is common. It's called "lesser included" offenses. The idea is that evidence may be presented as to the most serious charge that may meet most of the elements of the crime charged but not all of them. However, the elements proven may satisfy all of the elements of a less serious charge. 

An example from my state would be theft. In my state the "intent" element for theft is essentially the same across all theft charges (i.e. knowingly deprive another of his property without legal authorization) but the different levels are then associated with the alleged dollar values of what was stolen. So, let's say the allegation is that defendant stole 100k from the victim. This likely is charged as a class 2 felony. However, either at trial or beforehand, the state alleges the lesser counts (e.g. basic theft as a misdemeanor where no particular value needs to be proven; >$2500; >$10k, etc.). Let's say than at trial based on the evidence the jury concludes that the state proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant stole the victim's money but let's say they only find beyond a reasonable doubt that the state proved the defendant stole $15k or some such. The multiple charges then give the jury the option to find the defendant not guilty of the most serious charge but still convict on the lesser charges. I assume this makes sense to most and seems fair. 

I would note there's some strategy to the above in requesting and/or arguing for the inclusion of lesser includeds or not from either the prosecution or the defense. For example, in many of my drug sales trials I requested the lesser include offense of possession of the drug so I could strategically argue to the jury that my client while my client possessed the drygs he didn't intend to sell them. This is oftentimes a worthwhile strategy because it proffers a jury a "compromise verdict" and, in my experience, makes my presentation of evidenence and argument both very reasonable and simple/focused. And, since the jury can't know or shouldn't consider the possible punishments, it's a "win" for my client if I get him acquitted on the class 2 sales charge (where prison is mandatory) in lieu of a conviction on the possession charge(s) (which may result in prison and little to no jail time). 

Ultimately though the decision to include lesser includeds is up to the judge, very common (especially in homicide cases where the mens rea elements vary), and totally appropriate in this sort of case.  

Edited by Zow
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16 minutes ago, Stealthycat said:

my bad

 

its rare a police officer is convicted - and to have a fair trial isn't a reality ...... but you are not incorrect when assuming the massive damages done to cities if he's acquitted won't be factored in :(

Why do you say the bold? There was likely be an indepth and lengthy jury selection process to ensure jurors are picked that either haven't heard of the situation or, upon extensive questioning, do not appear predisposed or biased by the media coverage. 

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1 hour ago, kodycutter said:

my comment was tongue in cheek.          don't look forward to rodney king riots x1000 if somehow he isn't convicted.

They're going to riot either way. The precedent has already been set. 

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17 hours ago, Summer Wheat said:

Why have a trial?  Chauvin should plead guilty to second degree and call it a day.  Save everyone the trouble and save a bunch of people all the time of going to the courthouse everyday.

Because it's his constitutional right?

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2 hours ago, Stealthycat said:

https://www.kare11.com/article/news/local/george-floyd/new-court-docs-say-george-floyd-had-fatal-level-of-fentanyl-in-his-system/89-ed69d09d-a9ec-481c-90fe-7acd4ead3d04

"If he were found dead at home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD. Deaths have been certified with levels of 3," Baker told investigators.

In another new document, Baker said, "That is a fatal level of fentanyl under normal circumstances."

But then Baker added, "I am not saying this killed him."

Defense attorneys for the officers have signaled they will argue Floyd died from the drugs and pre-existing health conditions.

The new documents say Floyd had a "heavy heart" and "at least one artery was approximately 75% blocked."

 

 

 

 

I'm saying that's what the defense is going to key in on and a jury is going to have to 100% believe that Floyd's lifestyle and choices didn't directly impact his death.

The bold isn't the standard. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt isn't the same as 100% believing (as much as I may sometimes with that were the case). Further, there is a principle in criminal law known as the egg-shell doctrine whereby - and this was true in MN at least when I went to law school there in the late 2000s - a defendant essentially has to take a victim as he is in terms of health and it's not a defense that the defendant had some pre-condition. For example, it's likely still manslaughter for a defendant to shove a victim off some concrete steps and the victim dies because he smacked his head on concrete due to the fall and he had a condition where is skull was abnormally thin. 

 

I think it's probably fair game at trial for the defense to argue - or at least question the medical examiner/coroner - about the potential impact of the fetanyl. But, it's very likely the report's cause of death (in contrast to "manner of death" which is likely inadmissible) will come in. 

I do not anticipate the defense being able to go very far into the defendant's "lifestyle" and, assuming the defendant officer didn't know about it, the victim's criminal history is very likely irrelevant/inadmissible. 

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5 minutes ago, Summer Wheat said:

Even if he pleads guilty?

He could plead guilty but it'd be incredibly stupid to do that without the benefit of a plea agreement where his sentencing ranges would presumably be improved upon.

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5 minutes ago, Zow said:

He could plead guilty but it'd be incredibly stupid to do that without the benefit of a plea agreement where his sentencing ranges would presumably be improved upon.

That is what I meant that he pleads guilty and they determine the sentence and everything is agreed upon before can a trial be avoided?   The trial will be a circus of protesting and unless he gets a death penalty it will not be enough for those outside the courthouse.

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Just now, Summer Wheat said:

That is what I meant that he pleads guilty and they determine the sentence and everything is agreed upon before can a trial be avoided?   The trial will be a circus of protesting and unless he gets a death penalty it will not be enough for those outside the courthouse.

It sounds like you're describing the normal plea bargaining process. I would bet a lot of money a plea was offered and/or plea negotiations took place, but what we'll likely never know if what was specifically offered or counteroffered. 

Again, the state does not have to make a plea offer and a defendant has every right to reject a plea offer and demand his trial. 

 

Whether a trial would be a "circus" or whether public sentiment demands a punishment that the law doesn't even offer should be irrelevant. 

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40 minutes ago, Zow said:

Why do you say the bold? There was likely be an indepth and lengthy jury selection process to ensure jurors are picked that either haven't heard of the situation or, upon extensive questioning, do not appear predisposed or biased by the media coverage. 

in today's media world ... I just think fair trials are rare

add the racial and police injustice of this one .... I don't think it'll be fair I just don't

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On 3/8/2021 at 10:22 PM, NorvilleBarnes said:

Interested in hearing opinions on the events of the trial as they unfold. Especially interested in hearing from all the lawyers.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. Jury selection was paused today as prosecutors weighed more charges. They may add a charge or third-degree murder.

First question for the lawyers (or anyone): Thoughts on Chauvin being possibly charged with second AND third degree murder charges?

 

Suprised you scooped Squis and Tim on starting the thread.  This one is right up their alley. 😉

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1 minute ago, Stealthycat said:

in today's media world ... I just think fair trials are rare

add the racial and police injustice of this one .... I don't think it'll be fair I just don't

You are most certainly entitled to your thoughts. Please do consider though that, from my perspective as somebody regularly working in this particular subsection of our world, that the criminal justice system really does try to put safeguards in place to ensure a fair trial and I do think most trials are fair. 

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19 hours ago, Insein said:

I originally said at the time, 3rd degree was a slam dunk. 

"Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years."

When they changed it to 2nd degree because of the blood lust of the mob, I had a feeling that this would lead to an aquittal due to lack of evidence. Time will tell but one things for sure, there will be riots.

"2.Unintentional murders. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting; or

(2) causes the death of a human being without intent to effect the death of any person, while intentionally inflicting or attempting to inflict bodily harm upon the victim, when the perpetrator is restrained under an order for protection and the victim is a person designated to receive protection under the order. As used in this clause, "order for protection" includes an order for protection issued under chapter 518B; a harassment restraining order issued under section 609.748; a court order setting conditions of pretrial release or conditions of a criminal sentence or juvenile court disposition; a restraining order issued in a marriage dissolution action; and any order issued by a court of another state or of the United States that is similar to any of these orders."

They didn't change it to 2nd degree due to the blood lust of the mob.  Good discussion of why it was changed in this article:

https://legalinsurrection.com/2021/03/chauvin-pre-trial-day-1-3d-degree-murder-throws-wrench-into-jury-selection-process/

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2 hours ago, Zow said:

You are most certainly entitled to your thoughts. Please do consider though that, from my perspective as somebody regularly working in this particular subsection of our world, that the criminal justice system really does try to put safeguards in place to ensure a fair trial and I do think most trials are fair. 

I know they do but reality is reality- every juror is going to know an acquittal means rioting, looting and killing

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6 hours ago, Stealthycat said:

my bad

 

its rare a police officer is convicted - and to have a fair trial isn't a reality ...... but you are not incorrect when assuming the massive damages done to cities if he's acquitted won't be factored in :(

If juries factored in the post-verdict protests/rioting, wouldn't that make it more common to convict officers?  You can't have it both ways.   Either they're getting fair trials (from their perspective) and getting acquitted or they're not getting fair trials due to your fictional bias argument and they're getting convicted. 

But they most definitely aren't getting convicted.

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I just heard on the news that George Floyd had 3x the amount of fentanyl in his system that would kill an average sized person.  Maybe I’ve been grossly uninformed but how is this not common knowledge?

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OK second question for the lawyers (or anyone): but concerning the potential 3rd degree murder charge. If A) Judge Cahill permits the charge and the MN Supreme Court overturns the Noor decision, or B) Cahill denies the charge and then the MN SC upholds Noor, what happens to Chauvin?

I'm probably not asking this right.  It seems like Cahill can't guess what the SC will do and has to rule now (or soon) on the 3rd degree charge. 

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53 minutes ago, ekbeats said:

I just heard on the news that George Floyd had 3x the amount of fentanyl in his system that would kill an average sized person.  Maybe I’ve been grossly uninformed but how is this not common knowledge?

Just one of a dozen things that contributed to his death that takes away from bad racist cop. 

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On 3/9/2021 at 2:16 PM, -fish- said:

The coroner's report has already been published.  You think that they're going to try to change the cause of death? 

The coroner determined the cause of death to be "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."   An independent examiner hired by the family identified the cause of death as "asphyxiation from sustained pressure."

Although Floyd had drugs in his system, nobody credible has pointed to that as a cause of death.   He also recently tested positive for Covid 19, had heart disease, sickle-cell traits and hypertension.   Nobody credible attributes his death to any of those either.   

This. NPR talking how Fox’s Tucker Carlson is still pushing the false claim drugs caused the  death of Floyd. Well stated “ nobody credible.”

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12 hours ago, ekbeats said:

I just heard on the news that George Floyd had 3x the amount of fentanyl in his system that would kill an average sized person.  Maybe I’ve been grossly uninformed but how is this not common knowledge?

It has been widely reported. He was an addict. That amount of fentanyl was not lethal to him.

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It’s going to be interesting to see how Chauvin’s defense team is going to convince a jury that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for 8:46 had absolutely nothing to do with Floyd dying at the end of those 8:46.

However, I won’t be surprised when they do because we have seen it happen before.

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14 hours ago, -fish- said:

If juries factored in the post-verdict protests/rioting, wouldn't that make it more common to convict officers?  You can't have it both ways.   Either they're getting fair trials (from their perspective) and getting acquitted or they're not getting fair trials due to your fictional bias argument and they're getting convicted. 

But they most definitely aren't getting convicted.

maybe because they are not killing people without cause and are innocent of what they're charged with  ?

https://www.foxnews.com/us/oklahoma-city-officers-charged-manslaughter-shooting-15-year-old-boy

most people didn't see this one - wasn't a black man involved ..... but the victim? brandishing a gun .... those officers will not be convicted IMO

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13 hours ago, ekbeats said:

I just heard on the news that George Floyd had 3x the amount of fentanyl in his system that would kill an average sized person.  Maybe I’ve been grossly uninformed but how is this not common knowledge?

 

12 hours ago, NorvilleBarnes said:

"The lethal dose of fentanyl is generally stated to be 2 milligrams. "  LINK

Lethal to Joe Public, or lethal to an addict his size?   

Just gross that this is getting spun that this was the cause of death, not the knee on his neck for 8mins.   I mean, I get his lawyer claiming that, but not media talking heads.  

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3 minutes ago, KarmaPolice said:

 

Lethal to Joe Public, or lethal to an addict his size?   

Just gross that this is getting spun that this was the cause of death, not the knee on his neck for 8mins.   I mean, I get his lawyer claiming that, but not media talking heads.  

I agree on both. I think his lawyer will take that position and I don't think the media will.

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I am no lawyer or doctor but I've seen multiple videos and it looks pretty darn clear to me that Floyd died of asphyxiation from having a policeman kneel on his neck for 8+ minutes.  You can plainly hear Floyd saying that he could not breathe for heaven's sake.  

I know it only takes one bullheaded juror but if Chauvin walks after killing this man it will be a travesty of justice.

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  • NorvilleBarnes changed the title to Derek Chauvin trial. Murder of George Floyd. Convictions now appealed.

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