I am watching the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd.
And I am afraid. Very afraid…on many fronts.
First, the videos being shown, which are incredibly chilling, will no doubt stir emotions more than the original video which has been widely shown and resulted in last summers’ riots.
Plainly put, the videos showing the actions not only of Chauvin, who held his knee on Floyd’s neck while the life drained out of him, pissed me off and will understandably send others, especially people of color, into uncontrollable rages. And rightfully so.
This person, I find it hard to call him a man or even a human being, totally ignored the pleas of bystanders who can be heard begging the officer to let Floyd up because it was obvious that Chauvin was killing him.
A few things, other than the obvious, really bothered me. As I write this, a Minneapolis firefighter/emergency medical technician is on the stand testifying that she was off duty that day and simply was out for a walk. She was attracted to the scene by the police activity and was surprised that a number of police officers would be putting their entire body weight on a man on the ground. “That was wrong,” she testified.
She also testified that she was concerned because Floyd, whom she didn’t know at the time, was “cuffed” and on the ground with a number of officers putting their weight on him, and it was “too much.”
Since she was not in uniform, she said, she identified herself as an emergency medical technician and offered to help. That offer was ignored.
All the details are out there, and I don’t have to go through all of them right now. But those details will inflame people and that has added to my fear.
I urge people to go back and listen to her testimony, and you will understand why I am so afraid of what will happen now.
I’m not only afraid of the violence that may ensue. I am also afraid that this is what police see as normal procedure. If it is, we are all in dire trouble.
The reason why I believe police believe this is normal procedure is that Chauvin wasn’t the only one committing murder in plain sight. The other officers involved not only did nothing to help Floyd, they abetted a capital crime.
One officer on the scene, now former officer Tou ThaoIf, ordered this firefighter/EMT, Genevieve Hansen, to stay on the sidewalk and away from Floyd, whom she desperately wanted to help. According to Hansen, Thaolf said “If you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better” than to interfere.
Hansen continued her testimony in tears as she described in detail how she knew based on her training that Floyd was in desperate shape and needed help. She has helped people in distress before and knew Floyd was in extreme distress.
She also described how she watched him die.
I cannot imagine what kind of defense Chauvin can put on to make his case. The frustration Hansen felt when the officers ignored her offers to help was obvious and heart-wrenching. She even recorded what she saw because “memories of witnesses are never as good as video,” she said.
There is I so much more I could say, but please, go back and watch it for yourself.
Not only was this incredibly damning testimony, but it could have a long-term effect on her career. Obviously, she didn’t consider that, which makes her a hero.
I will continue to watch this trial, but I really have to wonder given all the eyewitness testimony and new video that have been presented if the defense will continue.
The defense is now questioning her and is trying to denigrate her training and abilities. It is just incredible what the defense attorney is doing, and she is holding her own. I understand that it is the defense attorney’s job to discredit prosecution witnesses, it’s just so hard to watch, especially in a case like this.
Based on this and previous questioning, it is clear that the defense will try to say that the people at the scene, who were yelling at the officers and, in addition to demanding help for Floyd, calling them names, was a distraction to the police and that the cops were afraid.
I have no doubt this strategy will not work. I give the jury much more credit than that.
Hansen is doing a hell of a job and not just rolling over for the defense attorney.