Quantcast
Connect with us

Big hints lie in the official complaint against Derek Chauvin — and surprising details are left out: ex-prosecutor

Published

on

In a column for CNN, former federal prosecutor Elie Honig reviewed the criminal complaint filed against ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin and said it gives clues as to the direction prosecutors are likely to follow to convict the alleged killer of George Floyd — but it also leaves out  key elements of the case that should be brought before a jury.

ADVERTISEMENT

As Honig wrote, the case against Chauvin is strong but may not go far enough.

Explaining, “A complaint is, essentially, a preliminary summary of evidence that prosecutors use to lodge a criminal charge and make an arrest. It is a crucial legal document but it is not final or definitive. The complaint does not necessarily set forth everything that prosecutors know now, or will learn as the investigation progresses,” he went on to add, “… the lead charge itself — third-degree murder — is light, given the facts. Third-degree murder carries a maximum penalty of 25 years, and requires proof that the defendant committed an act ’eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.’ In other words, prosecutors must show that Chauvin acted recklessly and dangerously, without necessarily intending to kill Floyd.”

According to the former prosecutor, it is entirely possible that the charges could be upgraded in severity.

“Prosecutors could have charged (and still could eventually charge) Chauvin with more serious second-degree murder, which carries a potential 40-year sentence and requires proof that the defendant intentionally killed the victim, without premeditation. The evidence seems sufficient to support such a charge — particularly given the astonishing length of time that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck,” he explained. “Overall, the complaint lays out a devastating case against Chauvin — though it adds little to the cellphone video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. The most compelling part of the complaint is the timeline. It notes that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Even more damning, the complaint notes that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for three full minutes after Floyd stopped moving and nearly two minutes after he apparently “ceas[ed] to breathe or speak.” Another officer even checked Floyd’s wrist for a pulse and said he couldn’t find one — and yet Chauvin still did not immediately move. Those facts alone could establish the intentional conduct necessary for a second-degree murder charge.”

That brought Honig to one curious omission.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The complaint notes that, as Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, Floyd stated ‘I can’t breathe,’ ‘mama,’ and ‘please.’ Yet the prosecutors inexplicably omit some of the most important lines Floyd uttered in the video: ‘Don’t kill me,’ and ‘I’m about to die,'” he explained. “Floyd’s statements are particularly crucial because they unequivocally put Chauvin on notice that Floyd was in mortal danger — yet Chauvin continued kneeling on his neck. Why would prosecutors leave out the clearest and most legally pivotal statements made by Floyd?”

Honig went on to note, “The complaint states that the autopsy ‘revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.’ This notation seems baffling at first glance, given the crystal-clear video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. But the lack of ‘physical findings’ by no means rules out the possibility that the victim died of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. In other words, a person can die of asphyxiation with or without ‘physical findings.’ The complaint is based on ‘preliminary findings’ from the autopsy, so we await the full report, which should follow soon.”

“The complaint notes that ‘the combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,'” he explained. “‘Restrained’ is a charitable way to describe what Chauvin did to Floyd on video; most would call that something closer to ‘crushed’ or at least ‘pinned down.'”

ADVERTISEMENT

“In my 14 years as a prosecutor (or my 45 years of life), I’ve never heard of a ‘potential intoxicant,'” he pointed out. “Did Floyd have intoxicants in his system or not? A basic toxicology test should answer that question conclusively, and there is no excuse for prosecutors to not know the answer, or to state it ambiguously, four days after Floyd’s death. In any event, even if intoxicants and health conditions somehow contributed to Floyd’s death, it does not matter legally. So long as Chauvin’s actions were even a contributory cause of Floyd’s death, then Chauvin is legally responsible. If Floyd would be alive if not for Chauvin’s actions, then Chauvin can be convicted.”

You can read more here.

ADVERTISEMENT

 

 

 


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

These 7 details from the damning Sharpiegate report show it was a dark omen of Trump’s destructive potential

Published

on

While it was dismissed by some as an overhyped media obsession, the presidential scandal that has come to be known as "Sharpiegate" was, in fact, an early warning sign of the truly catastrophic potential of Donald Trump.

The story arose out of Hurricane Dorian, which began its deliberate march up toward the East Coast of the United States in late August and early September of 2019. It ravaged the Bahamas, and officials feared the damage it could inflict stateside. But then came a Trump tweet on Sept. 1, and later comments to reporters, in which he warned that Alabama was in the storm's path. He said it was among the states "most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Florida governor finally releases the true numbers of people hospitalized with coronavirus

Published

on

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finally caved in to pressure to release the actual numbers of coronavirus cases in the state's hospitals.

Until Friday, DeSantis had refused to reveal the true numbers, leaving many in the state unaware of just how bad the cases were. According to the Orlando Sentinel, a whopping 7,000 Floridians are in hospitals hoping they survive the virus.

"The data, which for the first time breaks down the number of people in the hospital with coronavirus, was promised by the state two weeks ago," the report explained.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace asks why Bill Barr is trying to ‘erase Robert Mueller’s investigation’ before November

Published

on

MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace returned to television Friday night to address what she called outright corruption in the Trump White House after another example of the president trying to escape the consequences of the law.

Wallace began by calling Attorney General William Barr nothing more than Trump's "bouncer."

"He has been intellectually overestimated from day one. He is not a mastermind of anything," said Wallace. "He is Donald Trump's body man."

She cited "well-sourced spin" coming from the White House Friday evening, because there were people that she said were "enlisted" with trying to talk Trump out of commuting Roger Stone's sentence. She anticipated that Barr and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone may huff and puff about the act, but that they won't quit over it. "And we should remember their names forever. They are all accomplices in the greatest corruption of one of the most sacred powers."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image