The State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin
March 30, 2021 7:50 AM   Subscribe

The State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin (PDF) It has been ten months since the world watched George Floyd die under the knee of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. The jury has been selected and seated. The trial began at the Hennepin County Courthouse in downtown Minneapolis on Monday, March 29th and is expected to last about a month. The trial for the other three officers is scheduled to take place later in the summer.

The courthouse is surrounded by security and barricades (PDF), rallies and protesters, and worldwide media (but not the Daily Mail). In a first for the state of Minnesota, the trial is being livestreamed. You can watch it here (MPR link on FB) or here (NYT).

Meanwhile, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2021 has passed the US House and has been delivered to the Senate, where it appears to be headed for a filibuster.
posted by Gray Duck (135 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
Bah. I neglected to put in the Unicorn Riot link for livestream inside and outside the courthouse.
posted by Gray Duck at 7:59 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


Mary Moriarty has been a great resource on Twitter.

There was a point this weekend where I did think to myself 'huh, I wonder if the police's spy airplane is messing with the wifi', so that's about how things are going locally. (It turned out to be a coincidence, the wifi was bad after the plane stopped circling, rebooting the router helped)
posted by dinty_moore at 8:13 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


Of all places yesterday I noticed on Public Enemy's Fakebook page comments from people about the upcoming trial saying that Floyd basically "had it coming" and that it was his own drug use that led to his death, not having a 200-lb gorilla kneeling on the poor guy's neck for almost 9 minutes.

I really don't know what to say to things anymore. But I shudder to think that there might be people like that on the jury and what could happen if they let Chauvin off.
posted by drstrangelove at 8:33 AM on March 30 [11 favorites]


From the Washington Post: The jurors who will decide Derek Chauvin’s fate. A few sentences on each juror. One man "told his wife: 'It could have been me.'" Another "was critical of professional athletes who knelt during the national anthem." As I read them, I found myself with relatively strong yet completely meaningless opinions on how they might decide.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 8:46 AM on March 30 [5 favorites]


as Twin Cities local I'll add the relevant Shaun King statement

https://www.thenorthstar.com/p/america-will-riot-if-derek-chauvin
posted by djseafood at 9:01 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


America will not riot. Half of America will riot. To say America will riot is giving half of America too much credit. Sadly, half of America will rejoice.

I am not a lawyer nor do I know the nuances of what it takes to convict on the various counts. What I am is a betting man. I am willing to put a 5% chance 20-1 that Chauvin gets off completely. I think the jury is well aware of the broader implications of the outcome. I think the worst case is murder 3 which would be a compromise from the guilty of everything faction of the jury and the few holdouts who say Chauvin was following police procedure or it was Floyd's fault for taking drugs, or Chauvin feared for his life or some such bullshit. George Floyd is not on trial, Derek Chauvin is. I do think it will be harder to convict the other officers later this summer.

I would normally follow this trial closely, but I have so little faith in the jury that it is too frustrating for me to watch. I can only hope they play the video hundreds of times. Show it to every witness and ask for their expert opinion. To watch the video is all you need to know. I am sure there are mitigating circumstances for why Chauvin initially put Floyd on the ground, but 9 minutes on his neck/throat? No. He was friggin handcuffed! But I waiver and say maybe I should have faith in my fellow "man" and the jury will do the right thing...maybe.
posted by AugustWest at 9:29 AM on March 30 [7 favorites]


To watch the video is all you need to know
that's what we thought about the rodney king video, then the defense counsel played it slowly, adducing leo testimony frame by frame to erase the vicious beating. not sure that'll help defendant in the present case, but not confident it won't.
posted by 20 year lurk at 9:36 AM on March 30 [16 favorites]


The trial for the other three officers is scheduled to take place later in the summer.

"Scheduled" as in "let's see how the big case ends up first" If Chauvin is acquitted, I suspect the other cases will be quietly dropped. 'Cause, if you can't get a conviction for a blatant, recorded murder, you're not getting conviction for anyone.

I so hate this timeline.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:38 AM on March 30 [18 favorites]


Among all the collateral damage around this situation we now have a nine-year-old witness having to testify.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 9:52 AM on March 30 [17 favorites]


Wow, that defense question about whether the viral video changed the life of the woman bystander who recorded it was MONUMENTALLY incompetent. They clearly didn't know what she was going to answer; she started crying and says it changed her whole life, it could have been her dad or brothers, and she stays up nights apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more to save his life.

You never ask a question you don't already know the answer to for basically exactly that reason, they undermined their own defense and made her a much more sympathetic and believable witness for the prosecution. WHYYYYYYYY would you do that.

(As I am obviously in sympathy with the prosecution, defense incompetence gives me hope.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:30 AM on March 30 [51 favorites]


Sadly, half of America will rejoice.

Even with the caveat that polls are not completely accurate, half is definitely an overstatement. "...65 percent of respondents in a Data for Progress poll said that Chauvin murdered Floyd; 25 percent of respondents said his death was partly a product of excessive force “but not murder,” and just 10 percent said it was a 'tragic accident.'" I am still shocked (but shouldn't be at this point) by the 10 percent.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:41 AM on March 30 [6 favorites]


For those not watching, the livestreams are not giving the names of the under-18 witnesses and they are only broadcasting their voices, not showing their faces.

The bystander who made the recording was 17 last year. She's been incredibly brave throughout the last year - an absolute hero. I hope that she is able to find peace. (A guilty verdict would go a long way towards that, IMHO.)
posted by Gray Duck at 10:42 AM on March 30 [4 favorites]


...except where they appear in exhibits and are prompted to identify themselves.
posted by 20 year lurk at 10:45 AM on March 30 [2 favorites]


NPR did an overview of the prosecution's and defense's opening arguments this morning. Part of the defense is actually going to lean on a version of the go-to cop excuse "in fear for my life" excuse for murder. Only, this time, they are going to blame the witnesses for making the cops fearful and, thus, distracting them from realizing Chauvin was killing Floyd.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:10 AM on March 30 [12 favorites]


I just saw this child's bright shining face in the exhibits they showed on the live stream. Poor kid.
posted by all about eevee at 12:41 PM on March 30


Part of the defense is actually going to lean on a version of the go-to cop excuse "in fear for my life" excuse for murder.

You are referring the SCOTUS case Graham v. Connor, and it's more the very foundation of policing over the last three decades plus, rather than just a "go-to excuse".

Here is a good Radiolab adjacent podcast about it.

The gist of the ruling is that the actual moment of the incident has to be used to judge if the force used by the police was unreasonable, not 20/20 hindsight. It's a pretty fucked up ruling in retrospect, but it's why "..and I feared for my life" are pretty much magic words.
posted by sideshow at 12:44 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


I have assiduously avoided watching any of the George Floyd videos until now because I felt my spectating would only serve to prolong the violence served on him. Now that the trial is underway, I feel compelled to witness.

Fuck, it is depressing to see the shittiness we visit upon each other.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:15 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


I'm actually pretty confident that Chauvin will be convicted on one of the more serious charges. Maybe Pollyanna-ish of me, but that's my prediction on this one, for what it's worth.
posted by holborne at 1:25 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Genevieve Hansen, the firefighter who called 911 because she couldn’t abide what she witnessed is testifying right now. I’m curious to know what sort of blowback she has/will receive for her testimony. Firefighters and police officers work closely with each other and typically have strong fraternal relationships.
posted by Big Al 8000 at 1:30 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]


Genevieve Hansen, the firefighter who called 911 because she couldn’t abide what she witnessed is testifying right now. I’m curious to know what sort of blowback she has/will receive for her testimony. Firefighters and police officers work closely with each other and typically have strong fraternal relationships.

Which, I hope, gives her testimony that she couldn't abide what she witnessed Chauvin doing to Floyd even more weight with the jury.
posted by Gelatin at 1:45 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


defense incompetence gives me hope

Let's hope they're "let Chauvin testify" levels of incompetent. At least then there's a chance of convicting this guy. More likely they've arranged a mind-numbing parade of experts on qualified immunity, police procedures, forensic pathology, and drug effects (including imaginary ones like "excited delirium") all saying Chauvin was doing what he trained to do and it's really Floyd's fault. You can't unsee that video though, so hopefully they convict him on at least one charge.
posted by netowl at 1:50 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


> as Twin Cities local I'll add the relevant Shaun King statement

Surely we can do better than Shaun King for information?
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:23 PM on March 30 [33 favorites]


America will not riot. Half of America will riot. To say America will riot is giving half of America too much credit. Sadly, half of America will rejoice.

10% of the country rioting may be close to unprecedented this century, would be a good showing. Pretty sure the civil war mobilized over 10% of the population. but if 10% riot, 5% will rejoice, 25% will be smug jerks about it, without friends around to remind them of ethics, the problem being that that 25% can vote in a majority of the Senate.

The rest of us will go back to work embittered, in resolve or despair.
After all, we are all in debt from our medical, housing, and education expenses.
posted by eustatic at 3:10 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


aneponysterical?
posted by 20 year lurk at 3:59 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


Chauvin was doing what he trained to do

One problem is - yes, this is what Chauvin was trained to do: to commit murder to protect himself from mild injury, or even inconvenience.

While I want to see Chauvin convicted, part of me constantly thinks that the systems that trained him and all of the other police officers are equally culpable in his death - and in Mike Brown's, Tamir Rice's, Breonna Taylor's -- too many. I want to see police forces, police training courses, police chiefs held criminally responsible.
posted by jb at 4:00 PM on March 30 [34 favorites]


Well, at least the defense wasn't stupid enough to cross examine the 9 year old girl who went to the store for snacks.
posted by mikelieman at 5:26 PM on March 30 [3 favorites]


"I'm actually pretty confident that Chauvin will be convicted on one of the more serious charges. Maybe Pollyanna-ish of me, but that's my prediction on this one, for what it's worth."

I feel similarly; I think the prosecution has a really good case. And I hear fourth- and fifth-hand scuttlebutt from Minneapolis-area lawyers via the Midwestern lawyer gossip network, that a lot of talented defense attorneys, some of whom happily defend cops on the regular, flatly refused to take this case because it's hot garbage and they don't want their names associated with it. (I don't know if Eric Nelson is a good or bad attorney and I very deeply believe that even terrible people deserve a competent and vigorous defense, and I admire attorneys who are willing to provide shitty people a talented defense. But I am hearing that a lot of lawyers found the case radioactive between its total indefensibility, its awful defendant, and its national prominence.)

Buuuuuuuuut predicting juries is a fool's game so I'll be sitting here clenching everything until we actually hear the verdict, no matter how good the prosecution's case is.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:31 PM on March 30 [16 favorites]


While I want to see Chauvin convicted, part of me constantly thinks that the systems that trained him and all of the other police officers are equally culpable in his death

Alternatively, we could remind the people who are police officers that there are consequences to their actions, and, by doing that, erode the power of the systems. Because the systems will never fall in one cataclysmic even, but in a thousand hard-won victories. Wishing for the perfect is great, but don’t let it distract you from today.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:51 PM on March 30 [13 favorites]


Buuuuuuuuut predicting juries is a fool's game

yup; it only takes one to hang a jury.
posted by tivalasvegas at 6:53 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]


The hung jury issue is going to be a really, really big problem going forward with the divide between the left and the right, particularly with the latter increasingly flat out denying reality.

As far as predicting the outcome of this trial, the white police officers who brutally beat African American uncover officer Luther Hall were just acquitted. And as ever, the tax payers were the ones left to foot the multimillion dollar settlement.
posted by Candleman at 7:33 PM on March 30 [7 favorites]


I was watching (well, reading via livetweets) the jury selection while it was going on, and it was interesting, if a harsh reminder of the number of different interpretations of the same event that can happen.

*Each potential juror was asked about how they felt about the security and barricades around the courthouse, and a good number of them described them as 'comforting' . . . which is not the reaction I had to seeing two concrete barriers, some concertina wire, and a barbed wire fence go up.

*They didn't weed out people who had seen the video (which seemed pretty impossible) - but they then just asked if they believed that they could still be impartial, which 90% of them seemed to answer yes. But they were also asked about their opinions of the video, and those who had a strong reaction to watching someone die were removed by the defense, often for cause.

*Everyone was asked what they thought of the protests - lots of talk about how the potential jurors disapproved of the looting, but the only one that mentioned the white supremacist actions in residential neighborhoods (and in North) was removed with a peremptory challenge by the defense because of some facebook posts.

*A few of the jurors have police officers in their family, but the guy who used to live near Cup Foods and admitted that he had a unfavorable opinon of the MPD because the police would blast 'Another One Bites the Dust' after black men were shot was dismissed for cause.

*The makeup of the jury is actually less white than Hennepin County as a whole.

In the middle of this, the City of Minneapolis announced their Civil Settlement, which was huge (27 million), made the news, and had a lot of people worried about a mistrial, or them trying to move the trial out of Hennepin County. It's hard to imagine that the city didn't know what they were doing.

The planes circling overhead are fairly new, but the helicopters were going from late September/October (right when they started talking about the police budget, I think), up through the end of January. We then got February off, but it restarted back in March. Official word only covers December and January, and it was to combat carjacking - except then they couldn't get any charges on any of the people they caught to stick. It's been real fun, let me tell you.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:52 PM on March 30 [14 favorites]


Apologies in advance if this is a bit of a derail but I think the way the media (and we ourselves) talk and write about these types of events is important.
“It has been ten months since the world watched George Floyd die under the knee of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.”
Been seeing this “former” used in this way everywhere and it is driving me bonkers. George Floyd died under the knee of a police officer. Not a former police officer. The person who we watched kill George Floyd was wearing a badge and was carrying a gun to back it up. We can accurately talk about the trial of former police officer Chauvin taking place now.
It it just me, or have others seen this framing in the news also? Am I nuts for being nuts about it?
(And this is absolutely not meant to call out the OP. I think we see this phrasing used and simply adopt it.)
posted by zoinks at 9:06 PM on March 30 [31 favorites]


zoinks, that kind of thing also bothers me. And the media does it all of the time.
posted by drstrangelove at 3:47 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


They could phrase is as "then-police officer" and both convey that Chauvin is no longer a police officer but was at the time.
posted by Gelatin at 4:40 AM on March 31 [18 favorites]




It it just me, or have others seen this framing in the news also? Am I nuts for being nuts about it?

This phrasing is fine. The passive voice the media constantly uses for these killings-by-cop infuriates me. At best most mainstream news sources are probably saying "George Floyd died in an altercation with police". It's disgusting when you start to notice it.
posted by graventy at 9:58 AM on March 31


Each potential juror was asked about how they felt about the security and barricades around the courthouse, and a good number of them described them as 'comforting' . . . which is not the reaction I had to seeing two concrete barriers, some concertina wire, and a barbed wire fence go up.

Well, remember, the barricades and wire are intended to keep the people inside the courthouse safe. That includes, of course, the jurors. So, them feeling comforted makes sense.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:23 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it also indicates that they weren't around the city in June, when it was extremely clear that the barricades around the presincts were used as a prop for escalation, and who that force was directed against (hint: not the people who were burning cars). Even if I was on the inside of that barrier, I can't imagine seeing them as a good thing.
posted by dinty_moore at 10:54 AM on March 31


As a visual reference, this article has what the barriers look like. They're surrounding the courthouse and all of the precincts.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:10 AM on March 31 [1 favorite]


One of the jurors has had a panic attack in the court room.
posted by all about eevee at 11:16 AM on March 31 [2 favorites]


One of the jurors has had a panic attack in the court room

Every time I read anything about any aspect of this horrific, horrific crime, I begin to feel like I can't breathe. If I had to watch the video(s) I'm not sure I could take it.
posted by exlotuseater at 11:28 AM on March 31


This testimony - from Mr. McMillan, a bystander who witnessed the whole thing - is just heartbreaking. He is so distraught that the judge called for a break.
posted by Gray Duck at 12:43 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


It's heartening to hear so many ordinary, decent Americans expressing in a court of law their disgust and horror at having to watch the police murder George Floyd.
posted by Gelatin at 12:52 PM on March 31 [14 favorites]


This phrasing is fine. The passive voice the media constantly uses for these killings-by-cop infuriates me. At best most mainstream news sources are probably saying "George Floyd died in an altercation with police". It's disgusting when you start to notice it.

Agree that the use of the passive voice is infuriating, but I can imagine the reasoning behind it. Perhaps media wish to avoid trouble for using active voice "police killed George Floyd" language, concerned folks will accuse of convicting in the news before a trial verdict etc. And despite that passive phrasing acting to minimize the culpability of police in a most infuriating way indeed, it is not technically untrue. George Floyd did die in an altercation with police. I don't think this passive voice phrasing is fine though, and I don't think the phrasing I'm talking about above is fine either. It's not even technically correct.
posted by zoinks at 1:05 PM on March 31


Every single one of the witnesses so far has cried on the stand. I don't blame them. My heart goes out to them.
posted by all about eevee at 1:43 PM on March 31 [6 favorites]


I can't bear to watch and think about the outcome of this trial.
posted by ichomp at 2:26 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


zoinks, it's similar to the way the media reports about the death of a cyclist or pedestrian. Usually they'll say something like "bicyclist dies after being hit by car." Perhaps I'm just being picky but the way that's phrased bugs me. It's as if the cyclist was hit by a meteorite, something that couldna been prevented, an act of nature. I suppose I wouldn't be so irritated if the body of the article didn't usually continue the theme. As long as the motorist wasn't drunk they don't put much more effort into the article apart from telling us that the driver was "wearing their seatbelt and did not suffer any injuries." It's as if they themselves were one of the hapless victims of Christine, trapped behind the wheel with no actual control over the operation of the vehicle.
posted by drstrangelove at 4:01 AM on April 1 [5 favorites]


zoinks: It it just me, or have others seen this framing in the news also? Am I nuts for being nuts about it?

I'm not prepared to call you "nuts", but I can say that I'm not particularly bothered by this phrasing. Chauvin is, currently, a former police officer. It's an accurate description of present circumstances, and news writing tends to assume the present as the normative tense.

I think what we're seeing in that construction is just one of the inevitable ambiguities of language, not an attempt to minimize the fact that Chauvin was an active police officer at the time of the murder.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 4:14 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


It's a bit reassuring to know that Chauvin was fired.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 6:19 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I think what we're seeing in that construction is just one of the inevitable ambiguities of language, not an attempt to minimize the fact that Chauvin was an active police officer at the time of the murder.

I don't know about intent to minimise, but meaning is affected by syntax/word choice. A former police officer did not kill George Floyd, because present Derek Chauvin did not kill George Floyd. At the time he killed George Floyd, Derek Chauvin was a current police officer. It is simply incorrect to say that George Floyd was killed by a former police officer. It would be easy to avoid the ambiguity/technical incorrectness by adding a few words, or replacing "former" with "now-former" or "since-terminated", or something. But the language being used (irrespective of intent) has the effect of obscuring the fact that Floyd was killed by an on-duty police officer (which has potentially different implications than a murder committed by a former police officer).

(It's important not to regard "the news" as a monolith, but, by way of analogy, I saw various sources at great pains to stress that the person suspected of murdering Sarah Everard was an off-duty cop. "Neutrality" would then seem to demand equal weight on the fact that Chauvin was on duty when he killed Floyd. Anyway, this comment is likely coloured by the fact that recent reporting where I am [about policing of protests partly related to the Everard case] is an utter wall of cop apologia dressed up in "neutrality" [to the point of uncritically repeating police statements quickly admitted by the police themselves to be false]. I'm disinclined to cut journalists much slack or assume good faith when it comes to reporting about the police.)
posted by busted_crayons at 6:55 AM on April 1 [13 favorites]


It's a bit reassuring to know that Chauvin was fired.

IIRC, it was the day after the murder, and the Jury isn't going to be let in on that little fact.
posted by mikelieman at 8:51 AM on April 1


A tiny note and reminder that not only is Unicorn Riot livecasting the entirety of the Derek Chauvin Trial and the surrounding uprisings, it's doing so at a great cost. They are a non-profit, worker-run collective, who doesn't take any money from advertising.

If you wish to support their work, please consider donating to them, so that they can continue their excellent work. A friend gave me some funds for TDoV last night; I turned around and gave it to Unicorn Riot.
posted by spinifex23 at 9:32 AM on April 1 [6 favorites]


Opinion: It is painfully clear that George Floyd wasn’t the only victim in his killing
By The Washington Post Editorial Board.

This is something I've been thinking a lot about during the trial. It's so obvious from his attitude that Chauvin's intent was not only to harm George Floyd, but also to scare and intimidate the bystanders.
At the same time, I actually believe it when the defense claims that Chauvin was himself scared. IMO, it just isn't a defence. It is ridiculous: how can an armed policeman who is with three colleagues be scared of a random group of suburban children, elder men and women? It makes no sense. I'm guessing everyone here knows the answer to that, but it makes it very clear that police training society needs to be radically changed.
posted by mumimor at 2:45 AM on April 2 [4 favorites]


The defense may be preparing a subtle two-step of claiming that Chauvin was afraid of the crowd, which justifies him killing Floyd, whom he had no reason to fear (other than being black, of course), as Floyd was handcuffed and compliant. I hope the prosecution is prepared for these insinuations and points out that Chauvin being afraid of witnesses, far from justifying his killing Floyd, actually shows knowledge of his guilt at the time.
posted by Gelatin at 4:59 AM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Well, the state choosing to put minors on the stand is doing two things: a) apparently the charge is worse if minors witness the crime, and b) from what the state has shown so far, Chauvin was scared of a crowd that was comprised mostly of teenagers, a 60 year-old man, and an emt. I'm sure racism could make any black people scary, but it's a lot harder of a task with these.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:25 AM on April 2 [5 favorites]


Well, the state choosing to put minors on the stand is doing two things: a) apparently the charge is worse if minors witness the crime,

I see it as asserting that it was obvious to everyone present, even to a nine year old, that Chauvin was murdering Floyd.
posted by Gelatin at 6:30 AM on April 2 [3 favorites]


The prosecution has current, senior Minneapolis cops testifying against Chauvin. This doesn't seem like the blue wall that some had feared. I'm tempted to be optimistic.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:54 AM on April 2 [7 favorites]


If he was so afraid of the crowd, why not draw your weapons and start killing them too? I mean, when a cop is afraid for his life, for even a nanosecond, that justifies lethal force under current law.
posted by benzenedream at 11:08 AM on April 2 [1 favorite]


Thanks for starting this thread. I was hoping for a Mefi discussion of this. Minneapolitan here. I’m hopeful, but not at all done worrying. I really think the prosecution is doing a fine job. And the top lieutenant’s commentary today is really damning, in the best way.
posted by sucre at 2:34 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


If he was so afraid of the crowd, why not draw your weapons and start killing them too? I mean, when a cop is afraid for his life, for even a nanosecond, that justifies lethal force under current law.

Chauvin wasn't afraid for his life.

Chauvin was afraid of witnesses.
posted by mikelieman at 5:19 PM on April 2 [5 favorites]


I see it as asserting that it was obvious to everyone present, even to a nine year old, that Chauvin was murdering Floyd

Though it was noteworthy that they didn't ask the nine year old to describe what she saw, just to identify herself (in the picture) and identify Chauvin - it seemed like a lot to put a kid through for very little payoff, but Moriarty addressed it in this tweet.

I don't want to get my hopes up, but I'm at least feeling better than I did earlier this week - my main source of fear (in terms of the apex of likelihood and miscarriage of justice) is still a mistrial. The report of a juror having panic attack and misinformation about three of them no longer watching the video exhibits really freaked me out.

Police cars seem to outnumber protesters downtown two to one. Definitely woke up to midnight plane circling at least once this week (later saw screenshots on Twitter confirming that was what happened). Talking to a friend in northeast and she was at least glad that they put the concrete barrier between the barbed wire and the sidewalk around this second precinct this time, as opposed to just leaving the barbed wire out halfway across the sidewalk for anyone (kids, dogs) to brush against like last summer.
posted by dinty_moore at 8:18 AM on April 3 [4 favorites]


OMG Chauvin's defense argues that saying "I can't breathe" while dying is resisting arrest.

ETA: while being murdered
posted by riverlife at 9:48 AM on April 7 [4 favorites]


Yesterday another black man was killed by a twin cities cop -- a shooting this time, not a protracted bodily crushing. There have been more protests, more riot cops, more national guard. The judge has decided not to sequester the jury.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:06 AM on April 12


Regarding the 11th day of the trial of Derek Chauvin for murdering George Floyd, Dr. Jonathan Rich's testimony was clear, concise, and damning. And destroyed the defenses' claims on cross and recross.
posted by mikelieman at 10:30 AM on April 12


Yesterday another black man was killed by a twin cities cop -- a shooting this time, not a protracted bodily crushing.
His name was Daunte Wright. Killed as the unintended consequence of a traffic stop, when he reportedly attempted to flee after being discovered to have outstanding warrants. What was the infraction that police pulled him over for? His mother, who was on the phone with him shortly before he was shot, says her son told her the reason the police gave for pulling him over was that he had air fresheners hanging from his rear-view mirror.

Meanwhile, today the Brooklyn Center Police Department are claiming that the officer who fatally shot him meant to use her taser but accidentally drew her gun instead.

I sure hope whoever participated in passing the air freshener law (seriously - could there be a more bullshit "safety" regulation to justify pretext stops?) are proud of themselves today.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:49 AM on April 12 [2 favorites]


The Berkeley City Council recently voted to significantly limit the reasons police can use to stop motorists: Berkeley City Council Passes Sweeping Reforms to Limit Police Traffic Stops
In an effort to end systemic racism, the California city will aim to reduce the number of police-involved traffic stops for expired registrations and other small violations.…

Berkeley police will no longer be able to stop drivers for only minor traffic violations like equipment violations, expired vehicle registration, or not wearing a seatbelt. Instead, police will be directed to conduct traffic stops only for violations that endanger public safety, such as excessive speeding, running a red light or stop sign, and driving under the influence.…

The policy package grew out of a working group [Mayor] Arreguín convened last year on fair and impartial policing, which formed after the release of a 2018 study by the Center for Policing Equity. The study found that Black and Hispanic people were more than six times more likely than white people to be stopped by the Berkeley Police Department while driving and more than four times more likely to be stopped while walking.

Between 2012 and 2016, Berkeley police also searched Black people at a rate nearly 20 times that of white people. Latinx people were searched more than four times as often as white people. Despite disproportionate stops and searches of people of color, police were significantly less likely to uncover contraband during those searches than during searches of white people, according to the study.
posted by Lexica at 12:04 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I sure hope whoever participated in passing the air freshener law (seriously - could there be a more bullshit "safety" regulation to justify pretext stops?)

Not that it makes it any less bullshit but having your vision obstructed by things hanging from the mirror has been illegal and a favourite cop harrassment vector everywhere in the US/Canada since the tickets were for fuzzy dice.
posted by Mitheral at 2:21 PM on April 12


Imagine the outrage if older white people with handicap-parking placards hanging in the same spot were pulled over with even a tenth of the regularity.

The outstanding warrant was for failing to appear, with the following details:
• it was a first appearance
• at a Zoom hearing
• for which he was mailed a summons
• on a misdemeanor matter.

Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Center police HQ is flying a thin blue line flag outside this fucking morning.
posted by bcd at 3:25 PM on April 12 [1 favorite]


I do wonder if Daunte Wright should get his own fpp, but I admittedly do not have the energy to do it.

Hennepin, Anoka, Dakota, and Ramsey counties are under curfew starting at 7pm. That's approximately 40% of the state's population. Not sure what all of the exemptions are, or if there are exemptions for folks getting vaccinated, pretty sure there's nothing for Ramadan. The governor is calling this the largest police mobilzation in Minnesota history to enforce curfew. This all looks familar (as a note, that is Uptown, in South Minneapolis, not anywhere near Brooklyn Center).

In Chauvin news, the Defense tried to have the jury sequestered, claiming that Wright's shooting news might affect the jury's decision. The Judge denied the claim, but my worries about this being ruled a mistrial are going up again as shit heats up. Which, uh, is not going to help the overall mood.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:33 PM on April 12 [2 favorites]


I do wonder if Daunte Wright should get his own fpp
...
In Chauvin news, the Defense tried to have the jury sequestered


Yeah, I only mentioned it in this thread because this has got to weigh on the jury. I didn't mean to turn this into a general our-country-is-fucked thread.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 3:41 PM on April 12


I sure hope whoever participated in passing the air freshener law (seriously - could there be a more bullshit "safety" regulation to justify pretext stops?) are proud of themselves today.
For what it's worth, subsequent reporting is now saying the reason for the traffic stop was expired plates and not air fresheners. I apologize for repeating misinformation based on the best information I could find at the time, but I won't go as far as withdrawing my criticism of the use of trivial infractions to justify pretext stops. Some jurisdictions are starting to voluntarily limit the infractions which can be used to justify a stop. I think that's a move in the right direction.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:42 PM on April 12


the parties have rested. closing arguments scheduled for monday, then to the jury. the state made a strong case with the eyewitnesses and a bevy of experts. the defense did not seem, to me, to conduct effective cross examinations or present much of a case itself. had consistent strong impression that defense counsel was dumb, but not certain he may not just have been competent counsel doing his best with a poor hand, his worst decision being only to have taken the case. i don't think he came close to raising a reasonable doubt as to the prosecution's case; he may have presented misinformation sufficient for a person already committed to an unreasonable doubt to justify that commitment to themself.
posted by 20 year lurk at 11:28 AM on April 15 [2 favorites]


Appears the jury instructions have been very positive for the state. That holds promise.

Mary Moriarty is live tweeting the closing arguments now.
posted by bcd at 7:51 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]


Nelson's closing arguments for the defense are using a lot of video, which amazes me. Seems like a terrible strategy. I hope it leads to a conviction.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:57 AM on April 19 [5 favorites]


I’m here in Minneapolis, picking up the 3rd grade child I nanny from school. A big gaggle of students just marched by with signs, chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, racism has got to go”. Trying not to cry. I’m hoping with every fiber of my damn being that this jury will do what is right.
posted by sucre at 11:49 AM on April 19 [4 favorites]


Nelson also mentioned being southern as a reason why the jury shouldn't trust one of the witnesses. Probably killed him that he couldn't say "he moved up here from Chicago".
posted by dinty_moore at 12:06 PM on April 19


Anyway, the national guard presence has me low key terrified (they're at the dog park! They're at a community garden! They're apparently stationed in front of every grocery store!, They're in front of the red dragon!, Weirdly enough there didn't seem to be any between 35w and Chicago avenue on lake street . . . ) we're doing our grocery shopping tomorrow and making sure we don't go under a half tank of gas. Trying not to be too paranoid but everyone is on edge. My main worry is still boogaloos, since they were the ones hitting residential areas last time.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:16 PM on April 19 [6 favorites]


The judge just interrupted the defense to break for lunch - defense closing arguments have lasted two and a half hours so far - it's also 2:15pm and the jury has to be unhappy.
posted by dinty_moore at 12:29 PM on April 19


Jury deliberations have begun. Nelson made a last minute attempt for a mistrial - I swear that his whole plan was to try and appeal or declare a mistrial. The judge denied, though not before being kind of shitty to Maxine Waters.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:39 PM on April 19


The jury has retired for the night. So they spent around 4 hours today in deliberation, from about 4-8pm central.
posted by sucre at 6:34 PM on April 19 [2 favorites]


Jury has resumed deliberations. The faint hope that they had already decided last night and it just wasn't being announced till this morning has passed.

Please get this right. Ugh, the waiting.
posted by bcd at 6:15 AM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Hell must have frozen over. Fox News headline:

Journalists beaten, pepper-sprayed, arrested as Minnesota police out of control at protests


posted by rdr at 7:35 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


The faint hope that they had already decided last night and it just wasn't being announced till this morning has passed.

That is extremely unlikely to happen in any trial. Particularly when the jury is sequestered. They want to go home ASAP once they have a verdict.
posted by tiny frying pan at 9:06 AM on April 20


I can’t focus on anything else today. Sending everyone who’s anxious a big hug. Hopefully the verdict will come soon.
posted by sucre at 10:59 AM on April 20 [3 favorites]


I'm at work in a building that will be closed down when the verdict is announced - before then, really. First they'll announce that there IS a verdict and then, an hour or so later, they will read the verdict. Everyone here is just stressed out and refreshing Twitter.

I also hate how it feels like we're in a occupied territory. I had to walk by a humvee and a fellow with a machine gun to enter the co-op this last weekend! When I left work early last Friday I got stuck in a convoy of military vehicles and paraded slowly through Minneapolis before finally breaking free to get home. The police-military presence has been strong and overbearing at legal protests and rallies. We have effin curfews again. I understand that Walz has clear memories of being caught off guard last year and is doing what he thinks is right but I struggle to see how this is helping?

*refreshes Twitter again* Nothing yet. Aaarrrghghghgh.
posted by Gray Duck at 11:52 AM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Jury deliberations are from 8am to 7pm so it could be a long day or days of refreshing twitter.

I couldn't google up much research beyond a law review article from 2009 but it did confirm my impression that convictions correlate with quick deliberations. There are of course many convictions that came after long deliberations.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 12:03 PM on April 20


Perhaps they are deliberating whether it was second or third degree murder.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:14 PM on April 20


VERDICT IS IN

"A verdict has been reached and will be read between 3:30-4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 20" (4:30-5:00 p.m. ET), according to the notice.

CNN
posted by Ahmad Khani at 12:33 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


cnn banner says verdict is in. also: "watch cnn"
posted by 20 year lurk at 12:35 PM on April 20


Agh holy crap
posted by Gray Duck at 12:38 PM on April 20


*and just like that, I'm pulled back in time to the reading of the verdict in the Rodney King beating*

Please don't let this be like that.
posted by hydra77 at 12:57 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


I have to say, I'm feeling very optimistic that a guilty verdict will soon be read.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:00 PM on April 20


Chauvin is facing three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. (Yahoo)

...The judge denied, though not before being kind of shitty to Maxine Waters. - posted by dinty_moore
Lot of that going around. McCarthy pushes for censure vote as Waters digs in over her remarks [CNN] Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will likely try to force a House vote Tuesday afternoon to censure Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters following her remarks over the weekend calling for protesters to "get more confrontational" if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted in the killing of George Floyd, House aides familiar with the matter tell CNN. Democrats, however, will likely move to table such an action.
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:09 PM on April 20


Democracy Now is streaming the verdict, as is Unicorn Riot.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 1:09 PM on April 20 [4 favorites]


> *and just like that, I'm pulled back in time to the reading of the verdict in the Rodney King beating*

Please don't let this be like that.


Same. And same.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:34 PM on April 20


Speaking to reporters at the White House on Tuesday, President Biden was asked about his phone call to the family of George Floyd as the jury deliberates the case against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with Floyd’s murder. [...] Philonise Floyd, George's brother, revealed on NBC's "Today" show that Biden had called his family Monday to say he was praying for them. [...]

"I wasn't going to say anything about it, but Philonise said it today on television," Biden explained. “They’re a good family, and they’re calling for peace and tranquility no matter what that verdict is,” the president said. “And I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict, which is — I think it’s overwhelming in my view.” (Yahoo)

President Biden will be watching the verdict from the West Wing, after abruptly rescheduling planned remarks for the American Jobs Plan, a White House official said. (CNN)
posted by Iris Gambol at 1:45 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Washington Post reporter says there were no jury questions during the deliberation. It seems like they didn't need to do any fine parsing.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 1:58 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


The MPR (NPR?) coverage mentioned in passing how many people would be at home alone, waiting for the verdict, and how that might be hard for some folks. I'm glad I'm here with you.
posted by zamboni at 2:02 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]


Thanks for saying that, Zamboni. Turns out we did not get to go home early so I am stuck at work, by myself. And feeling incredibly nervous.

EDIT: The judge is on the bench.
posted by Gray Duck at 2:04 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS
posted by Gray Duck at 2:07 PM on April 20 [19 favorites]


Guilty on all three counts
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 2:07 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Guilty. On all counts.
posted by andruwjones26 at 2:08 PM on April 20


On all three counts!
posted by bcd at 2:08 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


FUCK YES! Finally..a little bit of justice.
posted by The_Auditor at 2:08 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Thank God, thank God, thank God.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:11 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I can’t fucking believe it. I want to laugh and cry!
posted by sucre at 2:12 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I am so relieved.
posted by soelo at 2:13 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Thank heavens.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:14 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


And bail revoked and remanded into custody. Yes.
posted by armeowda at 2:14 PM on April 20 [7 favorites]


holy shit, I can breathe.

(it's been weirdly quiet for the past hour, I don't know how much of that is in my head and how much of it being 40 degrees, but usually when I check the mail there's some kids across the street and a few people on the their porches and some foot traffic, and there was nobody. now there's some horns in the distance)
posted by dinty_moore at 2:15 PM on April 20 [9 favorites]


Happy the right thing happened, frustrated that it was ever in doubt.
posted by nubs at 2:15 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


Please do keep us updated if you can, dinty_moore.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:16 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Watching video of that guilty POS marched out of the courtroom in handcuffs was deeply cathartic.
posted by vverse23 at 2:17 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


I didn't expect to be crying, but I am.
I'm sure there will be set-backs and bad things will happen again and again. But this is one glimpse of hope.
posted by mumimor at 2:20 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]


so relieved to see counselor nelson's dumb rationalizations and preposterous bad-faith arguments have failed.
posted by 20 year lurk at 2:21 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]


I got teary too, which Is pretty unusual for me regarding anything legal at all.
posted by holborne at 2:25 PM on April 20


Thank you to the 12 jurors.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 2:31 PM on April 20 [8 favorites]


If the Washington Post livestream says that George Floyd "lost his life" one more time, I'm going to explode.

GEORGE FLOYD WAS MURDERED. SAY IT. He didn't passively lose his life, it was taken from him.

Thank goodness for this verdict, and my gratitude to those 12 jurors willing to serve on this jury, of all juries.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:34 PM on April 20 [14 favorites]


And thank you to Darnella Frazier, the brave young woman who recorded the murder. I pessimistically don't think Chauvin would have even seen the inside of a courtroom if it hadn't been for her.
posted by Gray Duck at 2:35 PM on April 20 [30 favorites]


That is extremely unlikely to happen in any trial. Particularly when the jury is sequestered. They want to go home ASAP once they have a verdict.
posted by tiny frying pan


Happily no longer relevant, but in this case the judge said he wouldn't have the verdict announced after dark even if it was reached then. When the jury decided to continue till 8pm instead of the scheduled 7pm the former chief public defender for Hennepin County, Mary Moriarty, floated the thought that they might be holding the verdict till morning. So, once again, I'll pass on your targeted sniping. Let's stick to cautious relief that justice was done for once.
posted by bcd at 2:36 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]


Amanda Gorman on Twitter:
A reminder that victory would be George Floyd being alive. Every day Black Americans worry if they will be next is another day without justice.
posted by LooseFilter at 2:40 PM on April 20 [14 favorites]




Wow. Yes, a thousand times. Much better than my "cautious relief" and "for once". Amanda Gorman is such a national treasure.
posted by bcd at 2:45 PM on April 20




hat they might be holding the verdict till morning. So, once again, I'll pass on your targeted sniping

Holy hell dude I wasn't sniping. I work with the court system - thought I was sharing info. Please assume good faith here. I know it has been a tense day.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:47 PM on April 20 [8 favorites]


I'm shocked in this day and age that he was actually voted guilty on everything, even though it should be a slam dunk. I feel like maybe we are a wee bit recovering from the past on this one. I had learned to have no hopes at all and tell myself he's getting off a free man and don't read the trial stuff. But...just, yay.
posted by jenfullmoon at 2:49 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]


A few sentencing thoughts:
  • It will be 8 weeks before the judge rules on sentencing.
  • Chauvin waived the right to have the jury decide on aggravating factors, so the judge will make that call.
  • The guideline sentence for the top count and the second count are actually the same, despite their maximums being very different.
  • He'll only be sentenced for the top count.
  • The guideline sentence is 12.5 years, but the state has asked for more.
posted by bcd at 2:50 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


Video of Biden and Harris calling Floyd's family after the guilty verdict.
posted by Ahmad Khani at 3:04 PM on April 20 [4 favorites]


This thread from last week was helpful in understanding the relevant sentencing guidelines.

Also, under MN law, the jury is instructed not to consider the possible sentences when determining guilt and would not have been advised that the top two counts had the same guideline sentence. That means the conviction on the top count has moral weight even if it doesn't change the consequences in practice. Murder 2 more accurately describes the crime than Murder 3.

A shame Chauvin's history of police violence won't count to move him over several columns in the 'criminal history score' for guideline grid. It should.
posted by bcd at 3:05 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]


And a final thought from me - what is going to weigh even more on the overall crisis of police violence will be the verdicts on the other three cops involved.

Their legal obligation to stop Chauvin from murdering Floyd, and the consequences for their failure to uphold it, is the crux of whether there's any hope of reforming the system rather than abolishing it entirely.
posted by bcd at 3:20 PM on April 20 [10 favorites]


Today, a jury did the right thing. But true justice requires much more. Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, and we stand with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied. - Barack Obama on Twitter via Thread reader; a longer statement was attached. Statement by President Obama and Mrs. Obama:

Today, a jury in Minneapolis did the right thing.

For almost a year, George Floyd’s death under the knee of a police officer has reverberated around the world — inspiring murals and marches, sparking conversations in living rooms and new legislation. But a more basic question has always remained: would justice be done?

In this case, at least, we have our answer. But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial.

True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that Black Americans are treated differently, every day. It requires us to recognize that millions of our friends, family, and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last. And it requires us to do the sometimes thankless, often difficult, but always necessary work of making the America we know more like the America we believe in.

While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We cannot rest. We will need to follow through with the concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system. We will need to redouble efforts to expand economic opportunity for those communities that have been too long marginalized.

And as we continue the fight, we can draw strength from the millions of people — especially young people — who have marched and protested and spoken up over the last year, shining a light on inequity and calling for change. Justice is closer today not simply because of this verdict, but because of their work.

Michelle and I send our prayers to the Floyd family, in the hopes that they may find peace. And we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all those who are committed to guaranteeing every American the full measure of justice that George and so many others have been denied.

posted by Iris Gambol at 3:54 PM on April 20 [6 favorites]


I cannot help but recall the classic Doonesbury panel:

GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY!!
posted by tzikeh at 4:37 PM on April 20 [5 favorites]


Ha, tzikeh -- I found out about this verdict when my sibling texted that panel to me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:16 PM on April 20 [2 favorites]


It's a keeper.

And we have a 15-year-old Black girl shot dead by the cops in Columbus mere minutes after the verdict came in.

She called them for help.

ACAB.
posted by tzikeh at 5:18 PM on April 20 [3 favorites]




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