Is the mainstream narrative involving George Floyd’s death crumbling and collapsing? Is the Derek Chauvin murder trial edging closer and closer to an acquittal? Is Murder Two arguably gone? Are riots and BLM-esque fires on the horizon? And are the State’s witnesses doing more for the defense than prosecution?
The state has spent a fair amount of the trial addressing excessive use of force protocols, which in a real-time quickly escalating moment can clearly go awry.
It came to light this week that Chauvin could have used a taser or a hobble device, which exudes even more force but resolved on using his knee. Under question is also the amount of weight and pressure that Chauvin and the other officers placed on Floyd’s neck, back and shoulders before he became unresponsive.
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By showing different angles from body-cam footage, defense attorney Eric Nelson illustrated that in some instances, Chauvin’s knee was between Floyd’s shoulder blades — not exclusively on his neck — and that this is a maneuver that complies with department training.
Early on, the mainstream narrative quoted people saying, “You can see it with your own eyes. Just watch the video. It’s all there for the world to see.”
Perhaps not, when you consider the evidence left on the proverbial cutting room floor of 38th and Chicago Avenue.
How quick we forget about movie magic.
As the day moved forward, prosecution witnesses, and State witness testimony focused on the training Chauvin received, and forensic scientists who investigated the evidence.
Senior Special Agent James Reyerson
James Reyerson, who led the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) case, testified about his role in investigating Floyd’s death.
He and fellow agents met in Minneapolis, with one of them going to the scene, where evidence was being collected.
Reyerson went to City Hall, where he took a full-body photograph of Chauvin, which was shown to the jury.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Reyerson how much the officer weighed, and he said 140 pounds. Reyerson added that Chauvin’s duty belt that held his gun and most of his equipment weighs another 30 to 40 pounds.
Reyerson mentioned discrepancies in the timecodes from Cup Foods footage, which was approximately 40 seconds off, and the video from Dragon Wok which was 24 minutes ahead of the BWC video.
Frank had mentioned earlier on in the trial that timecodes didn’t match.
Dragon Wok did not initially comply with their requests for surveillance video, prompting BCA to file a search warrant to get it.
The jury was also shown pieces of evidence, including two $20 bills reportedly recovered at Cup Foods.
If you watch Alexander Kueng’s body-worn camera and forward it to the end, he goes into Cup Foods and retrieves a $20 bill under question. At what point do they collect the other one? There were some also found in the car, why didn’t anyone mention those?
Where did this second bill come from? And what happened to the bill that neither officer Alexander Kueng or Morries Lester Hall pay attention to on the pavement by the Mercedes?
The sergeant pointed out that “the handcuffs [on Floyd] were not double-locked; they can continue to ratchet tighter as the person moved.”
Does this mean the officers could have exercised more force than they chose to?
Reyerson also testified that the Benz SUV that Floyd was driving and squad car 320 at the scene were processed on May 27 by the BCA Crime Scene team.
The squad car was searched two days after the arrest without any suspected drugs being seized only for that evidence to be found during a defense-requested search seven months later by the agency.
Under cross-examination, Reyerson acknowledged the extensiveness of the investigation, involving 50 BCA agents, 25 FBI agents, 200 witnesses interviewed, and 450 reports. Although the squad car was searched early on in the investigation, a pill was not discovered inside until the defense asked to look at the police vehicle. Reyerson said under questioning that they did not suspect the defense of planting the pill or otherwise tampering.
Nelson also played a short clip of Floyd from Kueng’s body camera during which he was pleading with the officers.
“Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said ‘I ate too many drugs?'” Nelson asked.
“Yes, it did,” Reyerson said.
When Frank later played a longer version of the video in court, Reyerson changed his mind.
“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, ‘I ain’t do no drugs,'” the agent said.
This reminded me of the Yanny-Laurel where some people who listen to the audio file hear Yanny while others hear Laurel. Seemingly, Reyerson hears both.
Under questioning from Nelson, Reyerson also said it appeared that a stream of liquid caught on Darnella Frazier’s video thought to be Floyd’s urine is actually condensation from the car. Losing control of your bladder is not a good sign.
Chauvin’s knee went on the back of Floyd’s neck shortly after 8:19 p.m.
Floyd fell silent shortly before 8:24 p.m. and stopped moving about a minute later.
At that point, prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Reyerson, “does it appear that Officer Chauvin is using his weight to hold Mr. Floyd down?” The special agent replied, “Yes, it does.”
Chauvin’s weight was still on Floyd more than 2½ minutes later, when paramedics arrived, Reyerson confirmed.
Minnesota BCA scientist McKenzie Anderson testified that on May 27 she searched and documented items in Floyd’s SUV and the squad car but without being told by investigators to be alert for evidence of drugs. She said that no drug evidence was recovered.
The search led to no drug evidence being seized despite Anderson seeing a white spot on the rear passenger floor that appeared to be a pill.
A second BCA search of the SUV requested seventh months later in December by the state Attorney General’s Office led to two small white pills being recovered from the center console.
Also collected from the driver’s side floor was a box for Suboxone, “a prescription medication used for adults with an opioid addiction,” she said. An unopened packet of the drug was seized from the driver’s side seat.
A partial pill found in the back of a Minneapolis police squad at the intersection where Floyd died tested positive for fentanyl and methamphetamine along with Floyd’s DNA. There were markings for Oxycodone but they tested positive for meth and fentanyl.
Anderson said she didn’t seize that item because “at the time, I didn’t have any information that I was looking for a pill … I wasn’t sure what it was, or if it came off of somebody’s shoe, so at the time I didn’t give it any forensic significance based on the information that I had [and was] focusing on the blood that was on the back seat.”
The defense-initiated search by the BCA of the squad led to the discovery of what appeared to be most of a pill and pill remnants.
The DNA from one of the pills matched Floyd’s DNA, Anderson said.
The same DNA match was made with quite a few bloodstains that were located and tested, again having come from Floyd during the time he was resisting being put in the back of the squad. It was reported that Floyd started bleeding after he hit himself in the back of the squad car but that has not fully come to light. In other words, it was not from lack of oxygen.
Anderson stated no tampering had occurred despite the lag between the vehicle’s two searches.
There was no cross-examination.
Breahna Giles, a chemical forensic scientist for the BCA, also testified the pills found inside the SUV contained the addictive opioids methamphetamine and fentanyl.
They also discussed a glass pipe from the SUV that tested positive for THC.
Susan Neith, a forensic chemist at NMS labs in Pennsylvania, tested the two pills found in the SUV and the parts found in the squad. All three pills contained a fentanyl concentration of less than 1%, which she said is common. The pills contained a methamphetamine concentration of 1.9 to 2.9%, which she said was atypically low.
I called the independent lab to talk about procedures for toxicology reports. NMS labs. Did not want to talk to me.
— Maryam Henein/ #Shadowbanned (aka BeeLady) Sassy (@MaryamHenein) June 8, 2020
“The majority of the time I see 90 to 100% methamphetamine,” she said.
Testimony concluded about 4:45 p.m., with proceedings scheduled to resume Thursday morning.
You can read reports from past trial days at Maryam Henein’s article archive HERE.
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