Following the Chauvin trial opinion from Paul Craig Roberts, here’s the other side of the story via Further. Yes, balance and objectivity, shock, horror! MH
In more damning testimony on the fifth day of Derek Chauvin’s trial for murdering George Floyd, Minneapolis’ most senior police officer condemned Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd as “totally unnecessary.” Lt. Richard Zimmerman, head of the police department’s homicide unit and 36-year veteran of the force, added, “Pulling him to the ground facedown and putting the knee on the neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for.” Zimmerman, who helped secure the scene after Floyd had been taken away, also outlined the Department’s use of force policy and the multiple ways Chauvin et al flouted it. “I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger if that’s what they felt, and that’s what they would have to have felt to use that kind of force,” he said, adding their actions would “absolutely” be considered “deadly force.” He also detailed to prosecutor Matthew Frank the urgency of taking a person handcuffed behind their back out of the prone position, where their muscles are constricted and their ability to breathe is hampered, “as soon as possible.” “Once a person is cuffed, you need to turn a person on the side or sit them up,” he said. “If your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them.” While a suspect could remain combative once handcuffed, he said, the threat level is very low: “They’re cuffed – how can they really hurt you?” And once cuffs are on, “That person is yours,” said Zimmerman. “He is your responsibility. His safety is your responsibility. His well-being is your responsibility.”
Zimmerman’s denouncement of Chauvin’s actions was echoed by several other witnesses. According to body camera audio from recently retired supervisory Sgt. David Pleoger, who spoke to Chauvin by phone that night, Chauvin said he “had to hold the guy down” after Floyd “became combative” and then “suffered a medical emergency”; he mentioned no knee on a neck. Asked whether Chauvin’s use of force was appropriate, Pleoger said, “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint.” Also testifying were two paramedics and a fire captain who responded to the scene. Paramedic Derek Smith checked Floyd’s carotid pulse and pupils as he lay still under Chauvin’s knee: “I looked to my partner. I told him, ‘I think he’s dead.'” He chose to move Floyd into the ambulance and continue working on him. “He’s a human being,” Smith said. “I was trying to give him a second chance at life.” Fire Capt. Jeremy Norton said he met up with the ambulance at an intersection, where he saw Floyd being treated: “He was an unresponsive body on a cot.” Despite the day’s harrowing testimony, it paled before newly released bodycam footage of Floyd’s final moments as he cried, struggled, seemed deeply baffled why he was about to die for an alleged $20 crime, and repeatedly, heartrendingly pleaded, “I’m not a bad guy.” Viewing the video – here and here – several jurors broke down in tears. Understandly: It’s almost unwatchable. Our job is to not look away. And to acknowledge how astounding it is black people haven’t burned this country to the ground.