On CNN Wednesday, criminal defense attorney Joey Jackson walked through why the Minneapolis police officer responsible for George Floyd's suffocation death must be prosecuted.
"Bottom line, question here from looking at this, should the officer face charges?" asked host Erin Burnett.
"Erin, I don't think there is any question about that, and I think if you look at it, under any reasonable measure there needs to be a prosecution," said Jackson. "You know, when you look at issues of excessive force — and I know this comes with a lot of emotion, and it should because of the blatant nature of what occurred. But if you even look at it legally and forget about the emotion, you look and you see, was there an imminent fear that the officer was facing when he had his knee in the neck of Mr. Floyd? And the answer is resoundingly no. You look at the force he used, that is the officer, and you say is it proportionate to whatever threat was posed? The answer is no, you don't see any threat. You see a person detained and really not resisting at all."
"And then you get to the third question, Erin, that's the reasonability of the officer's actions," said Jackson. "There are split-second decisions. I don't see anything split-second. A lot of times you don't see federal prosecutions. It's called willful behavior. You have to establish it was a willful violation. I don't know anything more willful than putting your knee on someone's neck for several minutes until they die, so I do think there should be a prosecution here and very thorough."
"The police report that was filed, they said that Floyd — their words — physically resisted officers after he got out of the car," said Burnett. "So then you can look at surveillance video, which we have obtained from a nearby restaurant, and it shows an officer escorting Floyd out of the car in handcuffs, Floyd sitting on the sidewalk. So obviously there's no physical resistance in this video whatsoever. I mean, what do you make of that discrepancy? We just don't see what they put on the report."
"I make of it that it's not true," said Jackson. "Call it what it is. Oftentimes we say we don't want to rush to any judgments, we want to let the investigation unfold, yada yada, that's true. I know as a person who stands in court for people all the time we want the facts to come out. But we have a videotape which is clearly evidencing a criminal act. You have bystanders, Erin, saying remove your knee from his neck. He can't breathe. He's saying he can't breathe. The people are pleading with the officers and it's almost as if they're just so indifferent or at least the individual was."
"I think based on that discrepancy, based on the failure of the other officers to act, based upon his misconduct, there needs to be a prosecution here," concluded Jackson. "And I think, based upon what I see here, it would be a very successful prosecution at that."