Surprise facts in the Chauvin trial

Derek Chauvin is the first pop trial I have been able to watch wall to wall. Previously, I was working and saw snatches of trials at best.

Seeing it all allows me to judge which snippets the media chooses to focus on, but, more importantly, I am learning some things I did not know, some very surprising to me.

This is not an exhaustive list, just top of the mind moments.

Floyd and Ross (left) as a couple, and Ross on the stand

Courteney Ross was a believable and touching witness. She seemed so . . . Nice.

From the moment she started talking about Floyd — which is what she called him, despite the prosecutor’s light suggestion that he be referred to as “Mr. Floyd” — her face lit up. They had been together three years more or less, mostly more, and it is clear she loved him. 

She testified they both used prescription opioids, when they could get them, and street drugs when they could not.

But they did not use them daily, according to her testimony, there were times when they ceased use and later returned to them again.

This stopped me. Almost everything I have read in the media suggests that opioids are highly addictive, so very addictive almost no one can kick by themself. That’s why some say we need the misnamed (and now blocked in Philly) “safe injection sites.” Because they can’t kick them.

The argument is these people are hopelessly addicted. Ross and Floyd apparently were users — brought to drugs first by pain — but not hopelessly addicted.

George Floyd as security guard (Photo: ABC7)

The most jarring thing I heard, because I already knew of Chauvin’s actions, was that Floyd had one job, and maybe more, as a security guard.

Who hires a guy with a record as a security guard? Here is the record.

I mean, sure, he was a big guy and intimidating, but doesn’t anyone do a background check?

Do you hire a security guard with a conviction for aggravated assault?

That is the “other” side of Floyd, the one that balances the soft side testified to by his girlfriend.

Finally, the police testimony revealed the amazing number of cops it takes to secure a crime scene, and to canvass the neighborhood in search of witnesses. 

It seems to me Minneapolis has pretty good procedures, with higher ups to be notified of serious incidents and for tight control over a crime scene.

That brings us to Chauvin’s control over Floyd.

The guy who passed the counterfeit $20 did mildly resist arrest and had what seemed to be a real, if irrational, fear of being put in the rear of the police squad car.

No police witness — or paid analyst (such as former Philly PC Charles Ramsey) — had a problem with Floyd being cuffed and put on the ground. 

The trial will hinge on what happened next, the time — once 8 minutes and 46 seconds, but now longer(?) — Chauvin casually pressed his knee on the helpless and unresisting suspect’s neck.

I can’t slice and dice the intricacies of the three charges against Chauvin, and the jury is aware the whole world is watching. Total exoneration will result in riots, for sure.

That’s why the court should have allowed a change in venue, to a city not drowning in Floyd coverage. 

It takes only one juror to prevent a conviction, and that is what the defense is playing for, but how can the jury not agree that death is too high a penalty for counterfeiting, or for even resistsing arrest? 

14 thoughts on “Surprise facts in the Chauvin trial”

  1. Wow! Excellent column. I didn’t think it was possible but I think I agree with everything you’ve said here. I too am surprised that the venue was not changed. Perhaps they thought it wouldn’t matter because Floyd’s death had gotten so much National attention? The last line really tugs at the heart strings.

  2. No matter what you think about the circumstances, the defendant will not have a fair trial, even though he has an excellant lawyer. It seems as overkill by the State having fourteen prosecutors. .

  3. There are so many parts of this case that a novel probably in the works now can cover. I will stick with your column which does state facts that are on point The court should have allowed a change of venue and may lose the case on an appeal stating the hostile and guilt findings of most of those on the jury pool. The cities 27 million dollar settlement right before the court case was a statement of guilt by the very city the jurors live in. The saddest outcome of this is the perpetuation of Floyd to young black kids as some kind of hero is sad and the black hucksters and the media with their false narrative will be the cause of the flames ahead if he is found innocent. The defence has what I feel was overcharging a winnable case if just one juror finds him innocent. I agree with Shapiro on the charges.
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  4. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu,

    Its hard to see Floyd as a “hero,” as contrasted with his becoming a symbol and rallying point of the past Summer’s discontents.

    The facts of the case suggest manslaughter –a very serious charge. What I see is lack of concern for the effects of the stranglehold: a failure to pay attention to Floyd’s crying out in desperation. It was a shameless disconnect from responsibility for a man in public custody.

    H.G. Callaway

  5. HAPPY SUNDAY !!!
    HAPPY EASTER !!!
    Stu,
    I always give you credit for your work efforts. It is almost impossible to be neutral on any given subject, yet, there you are time and time again.
    George Floyd; The facts clearly speak for themselves. The liberal confused and distorted press just doesn’t believe in facts. The man is guilty of the crimes committed. He certainly didn’t deserve to die for those crimes. Few exceptions to taking a life. Excluding war, self protection and capital punishment, I can’t think of anything else.
    Derek Chauvin; I am not following this case. Rarely do I get so involved. From what I understand, is that Chauvin was a loose canon. I believe that the “choke hold” was a legal tool but has since been rescinded. What is he guilty of in the eyes of the law ? Probably the least offensive.
    I have to say this and I’m sure to make the hair stand up on some of our bloggers’ necks. In combat, two things are important. You stay alive – at all costs and you keep your people alive at the same conditions. Police work isn’t that much different. We ask our men and women to protect us, yet we tell them, ” don’t hurt anybody while doing that”. Never a better oxymoron ! If a short cop ( male or female ) meets a tall suspect, things will happen. The more serious the situation, the more the reason for restraint. I have to believe that few of your bloggers ever had physical confrontation. You can be as academic as you like, until you have confrontation. You are not going to talk down a person intent on hurting you unless you have the means to do so.
    This incident had all of the stars misaligned. Murphy’s laws were right there and anything else that you can think of. The best training for the best police still does not guaranty the best results.
    Tony

  6. What astonishes me is the fact every crime on the man’s rap sheet was committed in Texas, where ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ is the mantra of the most heavily armed populace in the USA. Texas bears some responsibility for allowing this bad guy to go loose. Now, I don’t know much about human physiology, but I do know kneeling on the side of a person’s neck does two things: (1) cuts off or impedes the blood flow to the brain, and (2) cuts off or severely impedes the flow of air to the lungs. One might think that information should be top of mind to police officers when subduing a bad person.

    1. HAPPY SUNDAY !!!
      HAPPY EASTER !!!
      YO VINNIE !
      Wut ! The Easter Bunny skip your house ? Ya wake up grumpy ?!?
      Take another look at Floyd’s rap sheet. If he committed those crimes here in Philly……and you know it…..”let ’em loose Larry” never woulda brought charges ! However. I do subscribe to the old ways philosophy. Do the crime, ya do the time. AND, if you’re unlucky to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – DEAD ! As many a policeman has said. If there’s only one version of a story to tell, then it’s more convincing.
      As for choke holds, strangle holds, knee usage. I believe in the use of force to stop any opposing force. The idea of the strangle hold is to quickly subdue the assailant. When you cut off the oxygen, people tend to quit the fight a lot sooner. It also works on drug induced criminals, although it will take longer. Again, those of you that have never seen PCP working its way through a body……..
      The other item that may be overlooked is adrenalin flowing through the cop. Chauvin, a bad example but it’s the one we have, is possibly fighting for his life. This is why cops need to be partnered up. Hopefully, your buddy has your 6 and you won’t be put in a predicament such as this. Again, back to what I said earlier. The best training with the best people does not guaranty the outcome.
      Tony

      1. Not grumpy, just consistently puzzled by how easily the bad guys seem to avoid jail time. So far as choke holds and other means of handling perps, why don’t more cops use tasers on the bad guys? 50,000 volts really does slow them down. Happy Easter! .

  7. Wow! Vilify the victim the big black man whose PAST history becomes the focus. As for moving the trial doesn’t make sense in this case because this horrific Lynching by knee was viewed globally. One of your fans commented 14 prosecutors was overkill I say it’s absolutely necessary to make sure everything is presented to convict the man who demonstrated not an ounce of HUMANITY! White police officers have killed our men, women and children and have been acquitted of the crimes many times. The murderer chose not to respond to the repeated pleas of a dying man in addition to those who implored him to get off his neck and check his pulse. Lastly the commissioner said under testimony “they generally would not arrest a person who passes a counterfeit bill” so the question begs to answer WHY was a gun put in his face? Oh I forgot he’s the big black scary man who’s last words “mama”.

    1. If you think I vilified George Floyd, you really have stuck your head where the sun don’t shine.
      And I am responsible only for MY comments. My idea of freedom of expression is allowing that I disagree with — like some of theirs, and yours, inasmuch as you have suggested I am a racist.

        1. Your remarks — or the characterization of MY remarks — seemed that way, but I accept you at your word. If you go back and read the last paragraph, you will see how I feel.

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