From Just Like That, Gun Control Support and COVID-19 Died This Week, focusing on the least significant element in the politics of Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd.
The Purported Trigger: The Death of George Floyd
George Floyd was arrested in Minneapolis for passing a counterfeit bill. He was a big man with a record of assaults and drug use. A video of his arrest shows he was handcuffed and seems to have resisted being placed in the squad car. We see him being pinned down on the ground by Officer Chauvin’s knee. He seems to be wrestling about on the ground and talking. Soon after he stops moving an emergency medical van appears and he is removed from the scene. He was reportedly dead by the time they arrived. At least one report says the officers called for medical assistance early in the arrest when Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Is the video the best evidence of what occurred? No. The best evidence is the footage taken from the body cams worn by the four officers on the scene; evidence Minneapolis authorities have failed to disclose. If your impression from the video or Dr. Biden’s interview (the examiner hired by the Floyd family) is that Floyd was asphyxiated, the only forensic evidence shows that he was not. The medical examiner, who was the only person to have conducted an autopsy, indicates Floyd was not asphyxiated. Here are the key findings in his report.
1. Arteriosclerotic heart disease, multifocal, severe
2. Cardiomegaly (540 g) with mild biventricular dilatation
3. Clinical history of hypertension
“No injuries of anterior muscles of neck or laryngeal structures” and “No facial, oral, mucosal, or conjunctival petechiae” (These are tiny red marks that are important signs of asphyxia caused by airway obstruction. If there had been any, it might indicate death by strangulation, hanging or smothering. )
He also tested positive for COVID-19.
Even more striking are the autopsy toxicology findings. In his system they found:
1.Fentanyl 11 ng/mL.
2.Norfentanyl 5.6 ng/mL
3.4-ANPP 0.65 ng/mL
4. Methamphetamine 19 ng/mL
5. 11-Hydroxy Delta-9 THC 1.2 ng/ml
6. Cotinine positive
7. Caffeine positive
In sum, he was high on drugs at the time of his death. The fentanyl itself was four times the level known to cause fatalities, reports Paul Sperry, and on top of that he had speed and marijuana in his system. The arresting officer said he was foaming at the mouth and a close look at the video indicates this was so. Interestingly, none of the charges against any of the officers claim Floyd’s death was intentionally inflicted.
Interesting, of course, but politically irrelevant. Here’s just a bit more:
Given the huge drug load in Floyd’s system, we might also look at what is called “excited delirium” about which Officer Chauvin expressed concern when he restrained Floyd. Mark Wauck explains:
The Western Journal of Emergency Medicine says that
“Excited delirium is characterized by agitation, aggression, acute distress and sudden death, often in the pre-hospital care setting. It is typically associated with the use of drugs. Subjects typically die from a heart attack and the majority of the patients die before hospital arrival.”
“All accounts describe almost the exact same sequence of events: delirium with agitation (fear, panic, shouting, violence and hyperactivity), sudden cessation of struggle, respiratory arrest and death.”
Once again, the body camera footage showing the initial encounter, discussions among officers and the call to paramedics about the issue of excited delirium will be a major factor in this case.
I don’t relate these things for you to judge what happened. That’s why we have trials and why we don’t, like ancient Romans, condemn men based on their performance in the coliseum (now replaced by the media circuses). That’s the very point of our legal system. People demanding instant retribution are simply modern-day advocates for lynching. Pundits right and left calling his death “murder” might take some time to look at the autopsy report and wait for the body cam footage. These things will certainly be evidence at trial, a long time after the perfervid reporting and the response to it.
And what difference does any of this make to anyone? But now go to the link and read it all.