Welcome to when playtime is over, our goal is to stimulate thought and conversation, not to convert your perspective. Any persuasion is solely at your discretion and deliberation. For your consideration, we would like to offer George Floyd Part 2 of 3– Logical Reasoning and as always for those who are easily offended, emotions will not be needed so please before entering check your feelings at the door.
Facts & Questions
Sometimes you must go backwards to retrace and unravel an incident then proceed forward to a place of clarity. A review or reenactment from the end of the critical incident that claimed Mr. George Floyd’s life analyzed in retrospect will reveal the points that were incriminating to all parties involved based on the visual evidence and factual inference of the application of the law.
An examination from the end to the beginning of the encounter is a very distinct way to isolate the mental state of mind, the Mens rea, or intent so that it can be legally established. The criminality, the mea culpa or fault, can be best demonstrated by everyone’s actual actions or inactions at critical times according to legal standards. Were these actions justifiable based upon what was known at the time, what should have been known at the time, or what was being observed throughout that time? Was it within the law and police procedure or a violation? Does the action’s justification rise to the level of its application to the circumstances? Was it legally necessary and permissible? The answers all serve as actual testimony to the facts.
According to the law, inaction can also be an action when there was a duty to act. If there was inaction, was there a duty to act? What action should have been taken and how could that action have affected the outcome? As a fluid evolving situation, the timing and chronological sequence matter greatly to the incident’s legality and outcome. A diligent analysis of the timing and sequence will reveal crucial determinations of criminality and culpability. Our method will be to state the facts as we believe them to be true and then ask the pertinent questions raised. In Part 3 we will examine the answers by deductive reasoning of the legal application of the law and police departmental policy and procedures analyzing along with suggesting the obvious logical resolutions and interpretations.
Facts: Mr. Floyd while in handcuffs was surrounded by four policemen and physically restrained by at least three of them at different times during the incident. He was removed from the scene by responding EMTs on a stretcher presumably lifeless by all appearances. He was then transported to the hospital by the EMT unit.
Questions: Who radioed in for medical assistance and at what point during the incident? How many policemen involved spoke with radio regarding medical aid, the reason for the request for EMT, and if requests were made to step up their arrival due to Mr. Floyd’s physical decline? When stating Mr. Floyd’s condition was there any mention of Chauvin on his neck restricting his breathing? Was that due to an omission or a concealment? What was said during the radio transmission? What do the dispatcher recordings and separate notes reflect?
When was a supervisor notified and by whom, did any of the policemen involved make notifications to advise command? Were there recorded specialized channels that more sensitive information was communicated over? Did that happen, by whom, and at what time? If such secure channel communications took place were they recorded and reviewed as they most likely should have been pursued by discovery or duces tecum?
What were EMT’s dispatched communications? At what point did the EMTs determine that Mr. Floyd had no vital signs indicating death? Was it before transport, during transport, or at the hospital by medical personnel? What life-saving steps did the EMT’s take and how did Mr. Floyd respond? Once at the hospital what life-saving steps were taken, for how long, and by who.
What was the information given by the EMTs, is their paperwork and interviews complete and consistent with this information, and when was Mr. Floyd’s actual pronouncement of death?
Were there real-time 911 calls from the public as the critical incident occurred and how many? What was the content of the policemen’s excited utterances as excited utterances by any party are generally admissible in court as evidence of knowledge or intent?
When was the location secured and treated as a crime scene with the Use of Deadly Force Team or Homicide Unit notified to respond on the scene? Was deadly force protocol initiated and maintained specifically the separation of policemen and prevention of collaboration of statements prior to interviews? Was witness identification and statements gathered?
Facts: The primary policeman at this point has later been identified as Chauvin, an 18-year veteran of the force and the senior officer on scene. Mr. Floyd was pinned to the ground by his neck by Chauvin’s left knee and left front shin area applied to the carotid nerve or artery area of the neck traversing the windpipe, trachea, and larynx.
The carotid artery is located on both sides of the neck. It does not matter which way Mr. Floyd’s head was turned it would still be exposed. The greater the torque or twist of the head the greater the vulnerability of this neck artery to causing unconsciousness or a fatal outcome. It restricts oxygen and blood flow simultaneously. This occurred for an estimated 8 minutes and 46 seconds of which approximately 2 minutes and 53 seconds Mr. Floyd was unresponsive presumably unconscious and probably deceased.
Despite public outcry, repeated warnings expressing concern from fellow officers, and Mr. Floyd’s very own plea Chauvin continued to apply pressure with his full body weight on Mr. Floyd’s neck. The force continuum scale governs police use of force and the justification for what type of force is permitted to be used. Code red is the highest level of threat and response category. Any neck restraint is classified as a code red on the force continuum scale which categorizes the severity of its use as deadly force.
With code red being the very highest threat level assessment, the resulting response can only be to preserve life or avoid serious bodily harm but not to gain compliance. Any neck restraint is considered deadly force whether used against a policeman or used by a policeman. Due to the deadly force used on Mr. Floyd which is understood to likely have caused or contributed to his death or inflicted serious physical harm upon him, the necessity or articulation for its use is a problematic violation from its initiation and certainly its continuation.
It must be reiterated that he was handcuffed hands behind his back prone on the ground with four policemen surrounding him already searched and determined to be free of weapons. These circumstances do not support a code red response and neck restraint regardless of however it was applied. It is not and cannot be justified according to the force continuum scale. There is however no dispute that Mr. Floyd’s death was caused on the scene before EMT arrived with Chauvin’s neck restraint a factor. Without Chauvin’s knee as a factor, it would suggest that whatever other factors that contributed Mr. Floyd would have succumbed to them at that very moment anyway without Chauvin’s use of excessive force.
It is the State which certifies the Police Academy and dictates the training criteria and curriculum which extensively covers the use of force. It is the City that swears in the cadets to become officers which have the ultimate legal liability and also covers the use of force extensively. The use of force technically can be shots fired down to as minor as placing someone in handcuffs without incident voluntarily and with their utmost cooperation.
The City gives the authority to arrest for misdemeanors and issue citations. The State gives the authority for deadly force and to arrest for felonies and that is why you go to County Court for State charges. Although the State gives you the authority to use deadly force, the City is responsible for that force and subsequent training once the police are sworn in. By all standards applied both state and city, force of any kind must be the minimal force necessary to effect an arrest and should be discontinued as resistance lessens or it is no longer necessary. But in this instance, it becomes clear it was not necessary to effect an arrest or gain compliance when Chauvin has in hand in his pocket and there was no need to even use his hands to control Mr. Floyd.
Questions: The question then becomes was the knee justified in the first place based on the criteria for its use? If at any point he had been a code red threat, what level of threat did he present once he was unresponsive and feared unconscious or deceased?
Once Chauvin’s knee was on his neck constituting deadly force at what point was Mr. Floyd, not a code red threat or actively resisting with the threat of death or serious bodily harm to anyone? Was there any discernable level of threat or fear of any kind with four officers present and Chauvin’s hands were in his pockets while his knee was on Mr. Floyd’s neck? Would the threat level seem under control and become suspect when policemen feel comfortable enough to turn their back and not be engage otherwise if any threat existed? Was Mr. Floyd’s given the opportunity to comply and were there verbal commands and instructions issued for compliance? Had compliance and control already effectively been achieved when basically three officers had only secondary participation?
Were Mr. Floyd pleadings, not an opportunity to ease the use of deadly force, issue orders to comply, a clear indication of his willingness to comply, as well as their responsibility and duty to discontinue or cause to be discontinued the use of force absent his resistance or the necessity? Despite all the concerns about Mr. Floyd’s medical condition expressed before Mr. Floyd laid lifeless, what threat to four policemen’s life or limb was Floyd with his hands cuffed behind his back prone on the ground on his stomach? If we are to believe their concern for Mr. Floyd’s medical condition then wouldn’t their actions be even more baffling?
With Chauvin on his neck, when did Chauvin order him to comply, or more importantly what chance did Chauvin give him to comply? Even unresponsive with no pulse the use of deadly force was not altered to the level of Mr. Floyd’s lack of ability to resist or actual resistance nor was there any possibly life-saving officer intervention.
Was a taser, pepper spray, verbal persuasion, or other compliance techniques or less-lethal option available? Why did Chauvin eventually take his knee off Mr. Floyd’s neck? Was it because Mr. Floyd was unresponsive or Chauvin had killed him? No, that is unlikely because that had already apparently happened minutes before and confirmed by no pulse being felt by another policeman. Was the EMT’s arrival the only thing that finally prompted him to remove himself off of Mr. Floyd’s neck?
Aren’t illegal orders and criminal actions to be disobeyed and certainly not participated in or furthered in addition to expectations to be prevented? Isn’t it understood and enforced in any military or quasi-military organization including the police? Is it not your vow and commitment to uphold the law and not break it? The movie A Few Good Men is a prime example, you should have done something and had a duty to stop it but did not. If you had intervened could maybe even after Mr. Floyd was unresponsive, could he have been still alive or potentially revived?
Would Mr. Floyd more likely have survived if not for his encounter with Chauvin’s knee? If we cannot say yes for sure that Chauvin was the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death, then we cannot say no either for sure? Can it be denied that the fact is three officers had a duty to step in and stop it but they did nothing? Instead of intervening at various life-saving points, did they not aid and abet in the murder by either actively assisting or providing protection and crowd neutralization as a deterrent to citizen intervention?
Facts: Mr. Floyd, is stretched out prone on the ground handcuffed with hands behind his back face down after being placed there. Prior to being placed on the ground, Mr. Floyd was resistant to being placed in the squad car.
Questions: Were the duration and events which occurred while placed face down on the ground the best course of action or option available, or an indication of indifference to unnecessary use of force?
Was standing him alongside the squad car or maintaining the position of him being partially in the squad car more preferable given his level of resistance?
What were all policemen’s roles in attempting to get him into the squad car and removing him placing him on the ground? Whose decision was it to place him prone and why if he was almost fully in the squad car?
At what point did they each participate in the chronological order of events and why? Was there a detectable amount of frustration or agitation from the policemen towards Mr. Floyd?
Was the reasonableness and level of force used lawful and necessary?
Facts: The foundation of the law is what was known or reasonably suspected at the time. It governs probable cause and reasonable suspicion from the Constitution and Bill of Rights down to municipal law enforcement and policemen conduct. The history of the policemen involved was not known at the time just as Mr. Floyd’s history presumably was not known at the time either. Their histories have no bearing on the consideration of the facts and motivations known at that time, not overriding the action which occurred then. The prevailing influence of histories is consistently demonstrating a propensity to act according to a previous pattern, a reluctance exhibited to refrain from an activity, or implied tendencies during an incident. Histories are indications of conduct consistency and by no means restrictive of any number of actions or responses both positive or negative demonstrated which are inconsistent with that history.
Mr. Floyd’s criminal history reveals no prior consistency of code red behavior towards police personnel. Also, after the fact consideration for the two rookie policemen’s lack of history bears no mitigating circumstances to avoid accountability but may be an indication of their experience but not their lack of knowledge regarding appropriate force. Histories are indicators but not always relevant implications that can be related to a current incident. It also has to be presumed that Chauvin’s alleged previous racial undertones must be considered equally as Mr. Floyd’s run-ins with the law if histories are to be a factor.
Questions: Why would Mr. Floyd’s history be unfavorable for him but the history of the four officers not be unfavorable for them if so revealed? So are we to assume, the history of the two veteran policemen should be disregarded, the history of the two rookie policemen should be taken into consideration for clemency, but Mr. Floyd’s history held against him?
How could the unknown history at the time somehow indicate that Mr. Floyd needed to be treated as a code red level threat in this incident? If Mr. Floyd’s history were unknown at the time of the encounter, what bearing could it have on the incident? If he were a priest what bearing would that have on the incident at the time if unknown, none? How could the incident not be a judgment on the actions of the participants at the time, which would render histories after the fact as irrelevancies?
Facts: The policemen walked Mr. Floyd across the street without incident and he seemed to have some minor passive resistance but not actively aggressive behavior. He was handcuffed with minimal resistance and without incident or struggle. Mr. Floyd’s action upon being removed from the vehicle would not constitute resisting arrest or being combative because it did not meet the physical standard or required warnings to cease and desist or be placed under arrest for resisting.
It appeared he was confused and more verbally resistant attempting to have explained to him what was going on and turning to talk but definitely not combative. Officers said that they noticed a concerning level of distress upon handcuffing Mr. Floyd.
Questions: Prior to being removed from the car was Mr. Floyd properly advised as to what the encounter was about? If at the point of handcuffing Mr. Floyd, he was showing signs of distress why was he even taken across the street at all? If Mr. Floyd was showing signs of distress why was he placed on the ground face down? If Mr. Floyd was showing signs of distress why did Chauvin place his knee on his neck further complicating his distress? What was observed and what conveyed physical signs and indications that were concerning? What, how, and when were the signs escalating indicating decline?
If Mr. Floyd was showing signs of distress at what point was this radioed in and with four officers present what assistance was he given? Is it prudent or customary to further restrict someone’s breathing if distress is suspected? Was there a belief that Chauvin’s weight on Mr. Floyd’s neck was in any way assisting him and a benefit to his distress? Was the delay in requesting medical attention from the initial time of suspicion before he was brought across the street justified or the whole distress story a fabrication to cover the cause of his death?
What should have been the policemen’s response? Was there any reason for any delay in offering assistance, requesting EMT, or removing Chauvin off the neck of what you have stated was an obviously medically distressed person? If Mr. Floyd was showing signs of distress what distress signs were radio notified of to better inform the EMT dispatcher of the progression of his symptoms other than a grown man being on his neck? Suppose if he were suspected of having a heart attack would you place him on his stomach with an over 200-pound man on his neck? Why was no aid rendered or attempted during his distress after he displayed no pulse? After displaying no pulse did the other officers feel it was a lawful and necessary use of force for Chauvin to remain on Mr. Floyd’s neck?
Facts: The policemen responded to a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill being passed at the store and received information that directed them to Mr. Floyd across the street. Almost immediately upon approach, the policeman escalates the situation by unnecessarily pulling his gun revealing his disposition that Mr. Floyd knew it was a counterfeit bill. His demeanor was to prevent an escape or assume a threat level fearful enough to pull his service weapon but why. You cannot just pull your gun on someone for a conversation. Was there a visible threat or what justified this approach?
Questions: Was the twenty-dollar bill marked and taken as evidence prior to approaching Mr. Floyd? Did they know the counterfeit protocol of notifying the Secret Service and recording the individual’s information to be forwarded in a report? Should they have known counterfeiting is a federal crime and is only arrestable by a federal agent or by prior federal authorization? Did they know that they lacked the authority to arrest him without providing he had knowledge that it was counterfeit?
Subsequently, was the counterfeit money found to have Mr. Floyd’s DNA or prints on it confirming after his death that had indeed possessed the fake? Could they or did they know if Mr. Floyd had knowledge that it was counterfeit or how he obtained it? Aren’t the Secret Service only interested in printing operations and patterns, not random twenty-dollar bills in which they cannot prove knowledge or intent? With authority to investigate but not arrest why was any force at all used? Is it common knowledge that counterfeit money is in public circulation and could conceivably fall into the unsuspecting hand of any law-abiding citizen unbeknownst to them?
Is there a point where the crime does not justify the force used or even handcuffing for a nonviolent cold stand or questioning? Can the actions leading to his death be justified compared to the nature of the crime, the public danger posed, or threats posed to policemen’s safety being endangered? Was Mr. Floyd’s race a factor in the handling of this incident? Were the other policemen in fear of Chauvin or his reputation? Would a conversation, patience, or verbal persuasion have been more suitable, and is it also taught as a tool for law enforcement?
Reverse engineering of the circumstance and events reveals the highest contrast in logical continuity between what actually happened and what is said to have happened. Many times when a fabrication is constructed it cannot stand the scrutiny of reverse analysis because it was constructed to make the pieces fit conceptually in a progression that only lends itself to conventional rationale. The contemplation of why would something be necessary if the previous assertion is true becomes an evident contradiction. If it were true it would be no need for the subsequent action.
For example, if they had truly thought Mr. Floyd was experiencing distress prior to his death why would Chauvin continue his behavior or they allow it. It stands more to reason that they had the need to conceal something and quickly falsified an implausible explain that contradicts their prior assertions, actions, and the chronological sequence of events. Their explanation leaves them exposed in too many areas lacking justification to be true and blatantly illuminates that if what they said were true then countermeasures would not have been necessary or otherwise their action would have been consistent with their initial assertion.
All indications are that their concern was for exposure from Chauvin’s reckless and willful misconduct which left them assessing what they were part and parcel of was improper. Mr. Floyd needing medical attention could only be exacerbated by the distress inflicted upon him by Chauvin and their inaction. Now that the illumination of contradictions have been identified by the questions raised then deductive conclusions of guilt can be examined and proven. Furthermore, did the punishment fit the crime or the tactics fit the situation? Keep in mind even self-defense only allows for the force that neutralizes a threat and not beyond the danger which is posed.
Thurston K. Atlas
Creating A Buzz