The actions of the Minneapolis medical examiner and police union after the killing of George Floyd unveil the layers of corruption embedded in Minnesota’s justice system from the top down.
On Monday the Hennepin County Medical Examiner was forced to acknowledge that George’s death while in the custody of a police officer on Memorial Day was a homicide by asphyxiation using neck and back compression after two independent forensic examiners hired by his family unveiled their conclusions.
The reversal, while significant, is still obfuscated by the county’s assessments of the 42-year-old victim’s health and toxicology, which the family disputes.
The family’s forensic examiners concluded that he had no underlying health conditions that may have contributed to his death and that former police officer Derek Chauvin, who was kneeling on Floyd’s neck, killed him.
They also found that the two officers who were pressing their weight onto Floyd’s back while he was on the ground were also culpable in his death.
They found nothing in the report that confirmed any drug or alcohol use, yet the press release from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner claimed that Floyd’s ‘recent methamphetamine use’ and ‘fentanyl intoxication’ — along with hypertension and coronary artery disease — were possible contributing factors to his death. Reports on intoxicants, and toxicology results can take weeks.
A video of the arrest showed Chauvin pinning down the handcuffed victim, who was laying on his stomach, by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes until he started crying out that he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd could be heard saying, “Please, I can’t breathe” repeatedly as bystanders at the scene begged Chauvin to stop and urged other officers to intervene.
Chauvin was arrested last Friday on charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter while the other officers continue to walk free.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, called Floyd a ‘violent criminal’ in a letter to union members. He also defended the four officers involved in Floyd’s death writing, “What is not being told is the violent criminal history of George Floyd. The media will not air this.”
“I’ve worked with the four defense attorneys that are representing each of our four terminated individuals under criminal investigation, in addition with our labor attorneys to fight for their jobs. They were terminated without due process.”
Mayor Jacob Frey said: “For a man who complains so frequently about a lack of community trust and support for the police department, Bob Kroll remains shockingly indifferent to his role in undermining that trust and support.” Frey also said Kroll’s opposition to reform and lack of empathy for the community has undermined trust in the police.
Although Floyd served time in prison for aggravated robbery, his record is irrelevant because he was not behaving violently towards the police, nor was he armed or suspected of a violent crime.
Floyd’s family is demanding first-degree murder charges against Chauvin.
The family’s lawyer, Benjamin Crump told NBC’s Today show Tuesday the three officers in the case will be charged. ‘That is what the family is hearing from the authorities,’ he said.
He also believes “it’s very likely the charges are going to be upgraded,” against Chauvin.
All parties must agree on the facts that took place on that fateful day and any official who fraudulently misrepresents what happened should be fired and must face serious consequences. Our justice system, the rule of law and peace in America must be based on the truth without fear or favor.