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The day American justice died A year after George Floyd's death, the powerless have been abandoned

A liquor store in flames after a protest in Minneapolis (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)

A liquor store in flames after a protest in Minneapolis (Photo by KEREM YUCEL/AFP via Getty Images)


May 24, 2021   7 mins

While the repercussions of George Floyd’s death have echoed across the world, its most profound significance has been felt inside America — albeit for an entirely un-American reason.

It will have been a year tomorrow, May 25, since Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on the neck of 46-year-old Floyd — and, in doing so, changed the course of history. Our natural human tendency on such an anniversary is to reflect with generosity on the life lost and to resist, for the moment at least, the equally human instinct to obsess on the forces that deprived that person of life.

But in this case we cannot afford that luxury, nor would it be possible if we tried. George Floyd was just a man. The facts of his life are indeed tragic, but they are also mundane. Yet he has been so valourised in death, and the events of his demise so mythologised, that meaningful attempts to reflect on his life by people who only became aware of his existence after he was gone are futile. He is, like the falling man of 9/11, confined to the reality and context of his exit.

Much of the same can also be said of Derek Chauvin. He was just a cop, ordinary by every measure, involved in an arrest that went wrong — also not uncommon. In fact, the event would not have come to the world’s attention were it not for the colour of Floyd’s skin, and the racially charged historical moment in which the event took place.

In this era of racial hyper-awareness, bystanders who saw a white police officer kneeling on the neck of a black man made every effort to document the injustice they believed they were witnessing, as well they should have. We now use cameras worn by officers to disincentivise both police misconduct and false claims of it. More camera footage can only increase our understanding of an interaction; so these citizens, even if they could not save George Floyd, were potentially in a position to help others down the line.

But in this case, the extra cameras didn’t add information. Rather, in an odd way, they seem to have had the opposite effect. The citizen-cameras began filming late in the sequence of events, effectively editing out context that only later emerged in the officers’ body-cam footage — long after the bystanders’ videos had been broadcast to the world, and to an American public primed to see anti-black police violence. The full context of what happened that day — every exculpatory fact — faced an uphill battle to overcome the public’s overwhelming sense that they had been witnesses to a racially motivated murder.

Keep in mind that this was utterly unanticipated by the structure of the American legal system. Our founders, brilliant and perceptive as they were, could not have imagined a scenario in which hundreds of millions of Americans genuinely believed that they had seen a notorious crime that, for most of them, took place hundreds of miles away. Nor could they have anticipated the effect of a nation coming to such a conclusion on Twitter and Facebook, with Google’s search algorithm acting as Deus Ex Machina.

Yes, they could and did fear deranged mobs — but surely imagined nothing on the scale of the protests and riots that unfolded in the wake of George Floyd’s death, with a global pandemic serving as the backdrop. Every American with access to a television or the internet had an opinion on Floyd’s death, as well as plenty of reason to fear what would erupt if Chauvin was, to any significant degree, exonerated. The trial, therefore, should have been moved, but there is no place in the United States — almost no place left on Earth — where the trial could have been held that would have freed it from the mass rush to judgement that had already taken place.

In some sense, of course, the public were witnesses to something, and it could have been a racially charged murder. Yet we must never proceed from such assumptions. For no matter how obvious a person’s guilt may seem, we must demand that the state be ready to go through the formal exercise of publicly proving guilt, to reasonable people with no stake in the matter, so that no substantial doubts remain. It seems to me that, in this case, we failed in our obligation; we collectively leapt to a conclusion based on an incomplete review of evidence. From then on, we allowed ourselves to presume we knew the truth.

This may all seem like a minor quibble. If, after all the evidence has been aired, I can still say that Chauvin might be guilty of the crimes for which he has been convicted, then why dwell on such technicalities as the presumption of innocence and the burden and standard of proof?

The answer is straightforward: because that presumption, burden and standard are woven into the fabric of America, and because they have been among our most important exports. If we surrender the principle that these structures guard, if we tear down the tremendous obstacles our founders built to protect citizens from the state, where does it leave the rest of us?

Derek Chauvin is not a textbook case of an innocent man falsely accused of a crime he did not commit. It was him; his actions are not in dispute. But though his role in the events is well-known, his impact on the functioning of George Floyd’s heart is much less clear, and his deepest motivations remain a mystery. It seems to me, therefore, a textbook case of reasonable doubt. Not only are there reasons to question Chauvin’s guilt, but it is hard to imagine how an impartial jury, following standard instructions, could have escaped that conclusion.

Derek Chauvin may have caused George Floyd’s death, but the established medical facts alone would seem to preclude certainty. According to the coroner’s report, Floyd suffered from “cardiopulmonary arrest”; he had “severe arteriosclerotic heart disease” and “hypertensive heart disease”, and had recently recovered from Covid-19, a destructive cardiovascular condition (even in asymptomatic patients).

He had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, a potentially lethal combination. He was obviously agitated; he physically struggled with police with enough determination to prevent them from putting him in the back of a vehicle. During a prior and very similar arrest he was hospitalised, leading to concerns about the possibility that his agitation would cause him to have a spontaneous heart attack. He complained of an inability to breathe before he was ever put on the ground.

So why did the jury convict on all counts? And how did they arrive at their decision so quickly? The probable answer is disturbing, and has deep implications for justice in America.

Chauvin, it seems, was pre-judged — exactly the thing our system of jurisprudence was designed to prevent. And I don’t mean this in abstract terms: the jury’s unusual rush to judgement was also manifest in almost every conversation I had about Floyd’s death with people who would normally have retained the formality of saying Chauvin was “accused of”, “suspected of” or “charged with” murder. In this case, however, people simply insisted that Chauvin was guilty of murder.

Perhaps even more unsettling was how this sense of prejudgment was mirrored in the many claims of victory by protestors, rioters and their prominent supporters who, following the verdict, were quick to take credit for forcing the outcome. In other words, they sought to influence the jury’s verdict, and were sure that they had.

Until recently in America, it was understood that, even when the facts made a person’s guilt seem inescapable, the accused was formally innocent right up until the moment that they were convicted by an impartial jury of their peers. And conviction in America was no small formality. Our founders bent over backwards to give the accused the absolute benefit of even a single, reasonable doubt.

That counterintuitive structure of our legal system, burdening the state and arming the defence, exists for a crucial reason: to protect citizens from the vast power of the state and its frightening capacity to usurp liberty. But America allowed itself to skip the formalities when it came to Derek Chauvin; we all knew, thanks to a shocking video, what had happened before any of the considerable exculpatory context was known.

Stacking the deck in favour of the accused is not a perfect solution. It doesn’t always work, and when it does the results can be decidedly unjust. But that strong preference for freeing the guilty over incarcerating the innocent is arguably the most civilised thing about us. The fact that it actually structures the proceedings in all our criminal courts, and that it has for two and a half centuries, is proof of our conviction in the lofty promises of our founding documents. It is the principle on which we must agree, and to which we must aspire. Indeed, to surrender it would lead us quickly backward, to a much more primitive and brutal society.

And here with this trial we seem to have taken the first step. We, collectively, have relaxed the most fundamental rule. Today, if the mob is convinced and motivated enough, their cause becomes the righteous one. Whether jurors accede to this out of fear for their own safety, or out of fear of the damage that may be done to innocent people if their verdict reignites violence, or because they are convinced by the mob that there is some higher principle whose value exceeds their duty to the accused, it must not stand. The will of the mob has no place in court. Likewise, no conviction that emerges from a mob-influenced court can be legitimate.

For as hard and uncomfortable as it may be to accept, the best chance that men like George Floyd have is a justice system so impartial and robust that it can protect people like Derek Chauvin. That is what is now in jeopardy.

Liberty is precious. It is not a privilege granted by the state; it is a right of every citizen, and the power to deprive a person of it carries with it an immense moral burden to ensure that their guilt is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. That is our Founding Fathers’ brilliant insight; that is the wisdom we now find endangered.

And so the conviction of Derek Chauvin sets a disturbing precedent. Today, when people are angry enough to demand something — when they are willing to march and burn and disrupt and intimidate — their understanding of events becomes gospel, and a trial is just one more tool at their disposal. The right to a fair trial is suddenly turned into a mere privilege — something that is only guaranteed so long as the mob isn’t against you.

America’s founders were a living paradox: though upstanding statesmen of wealth and privilege, they were obsessed with the rights that protect the powerless. And it is the powerless — the downtrodden, oppressed and marginalised — who will suffer most if we renounce these protections. If we allow exceptions to our once-universal commitment to the rights of the accused, if we agree that prejudice has a legitimate role inside our courts, the greatest burden is sure to fall on populations that face the most prejudice outside our courts. In America, at least, it is safe to assume that the lives that will be worst-harmed will be black lives.

A year on from Floyd’s death, it is not the frightening tyranny of the state to which we have surrendered, nor is it the mob’s terrifying thirst for vengeance. Rather, it is a combination of the two: the desperation that justice would be delivered to a man whom they believed so depraved that he was willing to rob another of his life while the world watched on.


Bret Weinstein is an evolutionary biologist, host of the DarkHorse Podcast, and co-author of the best-selling book A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon.

BretWeinstein

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Vikram Sharma
Vikram Sharma
3 years ago

Justice is blind for a reason. It is blind to emotions, hurt, victimhood, personal convictions, ideologies and beliefs. It weighs evidence, starting with a presumption of innocence and demands that in criminal cases, the state proves guilt beyond reasonable doubt. Justice remains objective and impartial.
In George Floyd case, justice was wide-eyed and overwhelmed.
When I saw British cops taking the knee at BLM protests, I knew that Justice as an ideal had lost and the mob had won.

Rocky Rhode
Rocky Rhode
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

It’s a worrying situation. The policewoman who will apparently go unpunished for joining in with the “Free, free Palestine” chants is further evidence of the slippery slope on which we find ourselves.
Further evidence of the compromising of impartial justice in the US is the fact that almost all the rioters, looters and arsonists who spent all last summer terrorising American cities including Portland, Minneapolis, LA, New York and DC have been released, mostly without charge, while 400 of the Republican supporters who trespassed at the White House on January 6th are still in prison, many held in solitary confinement 23 hours a day.
The US is in deep, deep trouble as Weinstein’s excellent article implies.
The only criticism I make is that he might have spent more time talking about the role of the news media in America which is becoming a “clear and present danger” in its determination to sow division and hatred through the promulgation of false narratives.
An impartial, responsible news media without an agenda would have responded to the aftermath of the George Floyd killing by pointing out that blacks in America are no more likely to be killed by cops than white people (in fact they are slightly less likely).
But CNNs and MSNBC and their ilk were more interested in undermining Trump and the Republicans than in reporting the news.

Ana Cronin
Ana Cronin
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

Yes the media treatment of Nicholas Sandmann the Covington Catholic High School student and the video of his encounter with Native American activist Nathan Phillips was a confirmation, a frightening one for Nicholas, of how ‘pictures’ can lie by omission. There needs to be an unbiased (and brave) ‘audience’ to ensure all sides of an event are known. Also the members of an American jury should not be known to the public and they certainty should not be on tv after a trial giving their opinion and why the jury voted as it did. No jury member under such as system can be free from influence whether they acknowledge it to themselves or not. Imagine being the one hold on the Derek Chauvin jury arguing for a lesser charge?

Pete Kreff
Pete Kreff
3 years ago
Reply to  Ana Cronin

Well said re the Covington affair. The kid was viciously mistreated and appallingly prejudged.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

Well said.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  John Nutkins

Inviting the Floyd family to a day at the white house is a strange thing to do as its usually reserved for some act of bravery. Nothing against his relatives but as Edmund Burke said ‘Among a people generally corrupt, liberty cannot long exist’-looking at the reactions of the political participants there, who celebrated one year from the death of ‘ martyr’ george , leaves little room to expect justice for either the appeal or the other upcoming cases.

kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Much as the Floyd family obviously loved him & now miss him ( I don’t think he had any contact with his daughter) with all the money & attention they have now gained they must think ‘Nothing in his life became him as the leaving of it’ Macbeth.

Jerry Jay Carroll
Jerry Jay Carroll
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

$24 million buys a lot of bling.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

You mean the Capitol, and, yes, if you attack the symbols of the powerful in the US the response will be far harsher than if you just make trouble on Main Street. As for the rioters, the Established Order has long since crushed the Left, but the Right, although scattered, is still in the field, so they remain active targets.

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Please explain what you mean by “crushed the left”.

It’s all about perspective. Mine is that the judiciary, media, law enforcement and politicians have given the blm/antifa rioters free rein to burn, destroy and in some cases actually set up their own no-go areas. In the rare occasions where arrests occur the individuals are generally back on the street within hours thanks to bail funds donated in $millions by Established Order (as you put it) bien pensants. If that’s what being crushed looks like 




Last edited 3 years ago by John Lewis
Rocky Rhode
Rocky Rhode
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

Thanks for the correction re White House/Capitol.
I was getting muddled up with the Leftist agitators who attacked the White House during the BLM protests in the US.
Given that the White House is also a ‘symbol of the powerful’ one would assume that, by your logic, those ‘protestors’ were treated with the same harshness as those who trespassed at the Capitol.
Perhaps hundreds of them are currently locked up in solitary confinement?
In fact all the BLM rioters who tried to tear down the fences around the White House and assaulted police officers are going about their lives untroubled by the justice system.
There is great disparity in the treatment of left and right in the Democrat-run cities (with their politically compromised judges and DAs).
The United States will not hold together when people are treated differently based on their political affiliations.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

At least one of the protestors who trespassed at the Capitol, who video evidence clearly demonstrate were invited in by police, was shot dead. Is that not harsh enough for you? Others have been arrested, and charged, and imprisoned.

Rocky Rhode
Rocky Rhode
3 years ago
Reply to  Dominic S

I fear you have misunderstood my comment.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

They trespassed the Capitol. The policeman who supposedly died, wasn’t injured by the crowd as most of the US media reported, but was ok and died of an unrelated stroke in a hospital in the evening. Only many months afterwards the left wing media had to admit, that they were wrong. Seems also nobody reported about the circumstances why a young unarmed female veteran was shot by un undercover cop.

Bianca Davies
Bianca Davies
3 years ago

“Supposedly died”?

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago
Reply to  Bianca Davies

Supposedly died as a direct result of the incursion.

Last edited 3 years ago by Dominic S
Irene Polikoff
Irene Polikoff
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

Actually, proportionate to the population size, blacks are more likely to be killed by police than whites. Proportionate to the number of police encounters, blacks are less likely to be killed by police than whites. A black person is more likely to have police encounters in a context of a crime in progress. More encounters create a larger chance that something will go wrong in the law enforcement escalation.
By the way, the number of unarmed people killed by police is very small for both races. And yes, ideally, we would want it to be zero, but we are all human and accidents happen so zero is not likely. Perhaps, there is a way to lower it even more through better training, etc. Ultimately, however, the way to bring the second number down is to bring the crime rate down and, thus, to bring down the police encounters. This requires complex socio-economic changes that BLM supporters don’t want to talk about.
My friends who are BLM supporters, focus on the first number only (% of the population). When I bring up the second number, they say that it should not matter – they want to see equity relative to the population size. And, yes, mass media takes the same view.

Last edited 3 years ago by Irene Polikoff
alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago
Reply to  Irene Polikoff

Yes, I’ve seen the same data. It is surprising to me the number of Blacks who don’t obey the orders of police in a tense situation. This explains the greater number being killed by police.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Irene Polikoff

I’m glad your BLM supporting friends are (presumably) still your friends, even after you’ve challenged their views with actual facts. Many friendships and even family relationships seem to have been severed over this issue.
One fact you didn’t mention, but presumably are also aware of, is that UNARMED (as in not with any weapon, firearm, knife, etc) black people who are not fighting with the police or resisting arrest are statisically no less likely to be killed by police than are any other group.
That should really be the statistic anyone is concerned about. And the vast majority of police shootings in the US are of armed suspects. Here in Canada (where all police – urban, regional, provincial or federal – are also armed) it seems to be more widely understood that messing in that way with an armed police force is suicidal. You can resent the fact that they’re armed all you want, but still, if you don’t want to die you do as they tell you, and complain later.

Peter Kriens
Peter Kriens
3 years ago
Reply to  Irene Polikoff

Ask your friends next time what they think of prison where 95% are males. Should that become 50-50 male/female?

David Pritchard
David Pritchard
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

Excellent point regarding the media who now apparently consider themselves so important that they have taken the role of prosecutor and censor at the same time.

Franz Von Peppercorn
Franz Von Peppercorn
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

If she was off duty I see no problem with that.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago

She wasn’t off duty. She was in full uniform, and was policing the event.

arthur.shehla17
arthur.shehla17
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

Thanks for the information, Rocky. I have been astounded by the various relatives and an American FB friend’s vitriol and demands for justice regarding the January 6th event whilst at the same time dismissing my points about the level of destruction that came out of the George Floyd riots. The impact of it goes on in western cultures with Critical Race Theory gaining ground and influence in a number of spheres. In the UK, there have been a number of cases where white people have been precluded from having a say regarding issues of race; their voices have been effectively silenced. Demands for the ending of control of those perceived to be of in places of privilege (mostly white men, and particularly the ‘ruling’ classes but also the proletariat) and have been ongoing and vociferous. As it relates to male violence against women, a recent example has been the demand by Baroness Jenny Jones, member of the Green Party, who has called for a curfew on men after 6pm following the recent disappearance of Sarah Evarard. The Greens would make it a permanent solution and, incredibly, the British authorities are considering it as a temporary solution but one that is, thankfully, way down the list. In one sense, it is an understandable solution, but it is not the answer to a society that is sick and needs to redress the contradictory way it portrays women. But this indicative of a much wider and more pernicious problem – a culture that essentially is losing its way to and kowtowing to those who shout loudest and longest.

arthur.shehla17
arthur.shehla17
3 years ago
Reply to  Rocky Rhode

Hello again, Rocky, I was disturbed by what you wrote in regards to the lack of charges laid against the summer rioters but the incarceration and solitary confinement of 400 Republican supporters. What I don’t understand though is why 400 have been imprisoned when only a handful broke into the Whitehouse itself?

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Last edited 3 years ago by Claire D
Bianca Davies
Bianca Davies
3 years ago
Reply to  Vikram Sharma

Take a knee or not. It’s everyone’s individual right to demonstrate or express themselves. Either way, respect their choice.

Simon Baggley
Simon Baggley
3 years ago
Reply to  Bianca Davies

Not the Police while they are on duty

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baggley

I agree; when they’re in uniform they represent the police force, not themselves as individuals. How are people at a synagogue threatened by a “Free Palestine” terrorist supposed to trust such a biased police force to protect them?

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago

They don’t represent the police, they represent the Queen, and by extension they represent the rule of law.

Robin Lambert
Robin Lambert
3 years ago
Reply to  Dominic S

Police have been Politicised by Paid Police &crime Commissioners ..& Media Spokemen..Not Good..see 1984 ……

David Zersen
David Zersen
3 years ago
Reply to  Bianca Davies

Not in my face! If I pay to watch a sports event, I don’t use my money to allow someone to express a political, religious, economic, etc. view. It’s the same with a religious service. If the preacher rants on a political view, I’m out of there. Many of us for the same reason now ignore the “games”.

Al Giacomucci
Al Giacomucci
3 years ago

If George Floyd was white, Derek Chauvin would still be going to work every day. There wouldn’t have been a case. No charges would have been brought. We know that because there are parallel examples. Welcome to the new racial justice!

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Giacomucci

The more so if Derek were black. Nevertheless, if George were a rich white man, I think the police would be facing a suit.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

How many rich white men would have

had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, a potentially lethal combination

or have been

obviously agitated; he physically struggled with police with enough determination to prevent them from putting him in the back of a vehicle

Of how many could it be said that

During a prior and very similar arrest he was hospitalised

I’d say none. The only way this could have happened to a “rich white man” would be if he somehow had behaved like a career criminal black member of the underclass.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

one rich man – OJ Simpson – did worse than having some drugs in his system. He killed two people and was found not guilty. Hardly anyone thinks Simpson was innocent, but he was wealthy and his team was quick to brand the LAPD as racist.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

If he was found not guilty, then he didn’t kill two people, did he?
The likelihood is that his son did it and he was protecting him.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

It only means the jury voted to acquit, a verdict that had more to do with retribution for Rodney King and the hostility between the LAPD and the city’s black community than with two dead people.
Absolutely no one has ever pursued “the likelihood” of his son doing anything. It wasn’t OJ’s son who had previously beaten Nicole, nor was it his son who was hiding the back of the Bronco threatening suicide. The man got away with murder and even members of the jury have suggested as much. Perhaps you’ve noticed that OJ has been a pariah for most of his post-acquittal life.

M H Lazlo T. Son
M H Lazlo T. Son
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Indeed a civil jury ruled he was responsible for the 2 deaths and required to pay millions in damages, after which he declared bankruptcy.

Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago

But this was after the trial and media circus surrounding the alleged guilty man being set free. It is as perverse a verdict in its way as setting free those who admit their guilt for criminal damage.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It was his son who had been arrested four times previously including for assault with a deadly weapon, who had violently assaulted two girlfriends including one with a knife, had been sectioned, was on drugs for clinical anger issues, owned a cap with dog hairs on it that was found at the site, and owned a knife identical to the one that caused the injuries. He had no alibi and his father hired a defense team for him even though nobody had accused him of anything – why?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

They should both have been hanged if only to “encourage the others”.

john dann
john dann
3 years ago

Now, that’s justice!!

Karl Schuldes
Karl Schuldes
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Did he have a motive? Does the overwhelming physical evidence OJ left everywhere have no significance? Do you think the moon landing was faked?

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  Karl Schuldes

He was mentally ill and with a history of violence against women.
OJ left physical evidence because he had lived there. His son didn’t.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Yes; didn’t he go to prison for several years for taking part in an armed robbery? And in the wrongful death civil case against him, over the murder of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown, he was found guilty, because there is less burden of proof in civil cases. So he had to pay out a huge sum to Goldman’s and Brown’s families over the murders.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kathy Prendergast
Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

OJ was pronounced guilty in a private suit against him, but never paid up.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

What a strange comment! You draw attention to the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ point – we must never ever assume his guilt, despite the families winning multi-million lawsuits in civil court – then make a fatuous claim without any evidence whatsoever that, ‘the likelihood is that his son did it’ ! Amazingly wrong-headed.

Last edited 3 years ago by Allie McBeth
alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

He was found guilty at a civil trial where the burden of proof is not as onerous. So, yes, he was guilty.

Jon Redman
Jon Redman
3 years ago
Reply to  alex bachel

It’s also therefore less persuasive.

john dann
john dann
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

That he was found not guilty has nothing to do with him doing it or not. However the son angle is certainly possible. Certainly, if his look could kill… much anger in that man.

Last edited 3 years ago by john dann
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

The whole point of this article is to highlight the importance of presumption of innocence and reasonable doubt. Yet you seem to imply Simpson should have been tried by the court of public opinion.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

He was tried in a court of law and got a verdict very few people believe is accurate. My response was to the comment about a “rich white man” would have fared in a Floyd type of case. A rich black man fared quite well. The common thread is not race, it’s rich.

Allie McBeth
Allie McBeth
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think if OJ had been a rich white man that, based on the evidence, he would certainly have been found guilty.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

It is almost universally recognized that the Jury made their decision as a response to the recent Rodney King story, knowing OJ was guilty but letting him go for their political purposes.

john dann
john dann
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

I think it was Alan Dershowitz, one of OJ’s defence team, who said something like “we did not win the case, the prosecution lost it.”

Warren T
Warren T
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

And how many rich white men would have attempted to pawn off a fake $20 bill to begin with?

Rocky Rhode
Rocky Rhode
3 years ago
Reply to  Jon Redman

Hunter Biden?

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

Did you read Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities”?

Stewart B
Stewart B
3 years ago

A work of fiction…

alex bachel
alex bachel
3 years ago
Reply to  J StJohn

The city had already paid damages of $25 million to Floyd’s family BEFORE the trial of Chauvin.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Giacomucci

I’m not sure about that – look up the case of Justine Damond, white Australian shot dead by a black Minneapolis officer in 2017.
He was prosecuted successfully for 3rd degree murder and is in prison (appeals are ongoing). No riots anywhere, of course.

Bella OConnell
Bella OConnell
3 years ago

Justice done right here. R.I.P my friend Justine, who was in the street in her Pajamas reporting a suspected rape.

John McKee
John McKee
1 year ago

The facts of that incident are shocking. The cop fired across his partner at a person whom he had no reason to believe was armed.

Bianca Davies
Bianca Davies
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Giacomucci

Rubbish. The Aussie woman’s killer cop found guilty and is in prison.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Bianca Davies

I think the point is, there were no nation-wide violent riots after her death.

john dann
john dann
3 years ago
Reply to  Al Giacomucci

Had Floyd less melanin, making his skin white, HE would be alive today.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  john dann

Then why did Tony Timpa, a white man, die in exactly the same situation, a year before Floyd did? In fact, in that case (unlike that of Floyd), there was clear evidence that the police had asphyxiated him.

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago

Pro-Trump demonstrators face decades of imprisonments for walking past unconcerned Capitol Guards and having the temerity to sit in Pelosi’s chair. The never to be named person who executed the unarmed Ashli Babbit faces no consequence for his action. Brian Sicknick lies in state due to a blatant and incendiary lie about how he met his death. US justice has crossed the Rubicon.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Lewis
Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

Yes, as the Horowitz guy said on the Rubin Report the other day, the US is evolving into a fascist state. The Democrats have weaponized 6 January in the same that Hitler weaponized the Reichstag fire. Meanwhile, BLM/Antifa mobs who have burned, looted and killed are allowed to run free after being repeatedly arrested then released.

Richard Starkey
Richard Starkey
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Yes, that’s one of the most disturbing things about Portland. Antifa thugs are consistently arrested and then released without charge. History will not judge Portland’s mayor (and police commissioner), Ted Wheeler, kindly. He’s a disgraceful enabler of appalling thuggery and violence.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard Starkey
kathleen carr
kathleen carr
3 years ago

Because BLM money went straight to the present government, so obviously they returned the favour . Just before the trial the Floyd family received $27 million-& thats on top of celebrity money to Floyd’s children-which clearly showed they expected a guilty verdict, endorsed by the President and other politicians. It was a show trial to pretend that America still has justice. He who pays the piper calls the tune

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  kathleen carr

Biden did all but canonize him, and Pelosi did that.

David Jory
David Jory
3 years ago

Partly as a result of this several counties have recently voted to leave Oregon and become part of Idaho. Whether or not that goes ahead remains to be seen, but it is quite an indication of popular discontent.

rawshark65
rawshark65
3 years ago

Depends who writes the history doesn’t it? I believe this is called “controlling the narrative”?

John Lewis
John Lewis
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

I believe that the turning point was James Comey inexplicably deciding not to act on the Hilary Clinton email impropriety.

Statist politicians, media, judiciary and law enforcement looked at each other and said “Wow, from now on we and our allies can do whatever we like without fear of being held to account. And as for our enemies



”.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Lewis
mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

Ironically according to the many protest singers from Woody Guthrie to Jello Biafra USA has been a fascist state since day 1. TBH i think a state can be violently authoritarian and mired in crime without being in any way fascist.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

My positive response to your post ‘Awaiting for approval’ because I was careless enough to refer to certain historical figures and events.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

A recent post of mine went for moderation because I mentioned ‘a c0ck tail of meds’. Took me a while to figure out which word was offensive in the long post.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago

I had a comment of mine refused for H0m0 sapiens!

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago
Reply to  Trishia A

So much for AI being smarter than us. Maybe we should change it to he/hermo sapiens, then it would likely pass.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

All the more likely that a “coalition of law abiding states” develops in response. Whether they can right the ship of state or whether they’ll have to secede is the question.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  John Lewis

Well said indeed Sir!
When the supposed guarantor of the Free World behaves like common barbarian thug, what hope is there?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

Excellent Article. After your talk with Freddy I had gotten a strong feel – maybe the San Francisco, Portland thing – that you were one of the Arch-Liberals, and am glad to hear what I have been saying since the verdict – that it was outrageous. Chauvin was innocent of the charge of murder under the jury obligations, and the burden of proof.

Looking at the evidence it is absolutely impossible to not have a reasonable doubt (the requirement for this verdict) that this was murder. Then the the jury was unanimous? How could every one of them go with that – my guess is they were in Physical FEAR for their lives if they dared to vote wrong. A gun was held to their heads essentially.. Exactly similar to how the Mafia in Italy terrorize the courts to achieve their desired outcome. The refusing reasonable doubt, and the the unanimity of the 12, that shows it was purely a jury violating their instructions. Justice did not die because it was pure wishing not to be killed making the 12 strong jury vote as it did – and one can not expect them to have voted differently under those conditions, but it showed how Liberals are slowly killing justice as they killed decency, and unless they stop, it will be finished one day.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Bret is traditionally liberal, but he is not woke/progressive.

Mark Preston
Mark Preston
3 years ago

The idea of innocent until proved guilty is being done away with – #MeToo has shown that a simple accusation with no court case can be enough to lose men their job, their reputation and in some case their life – anyone remember the Welsh politician who took his life after an accusation?

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
3 years ago
Reply to  Mark Preston

Innocent until proven guilty was done away with by UK Govt years ago. Unexplained Wealth seizures etc. Accusations going on your criminal record. So many cases where the Govt says we believe this and you will have to sue us to prove your innocence and/or get your money/life back. Same in US with huge amounts of asset seizure by police just on suspicion of wrongdoing.
Needs huge reform to get us back to previous fairness.

Gail Young
Gail Young
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

Also “hate crimes”. No proof/evidence of offence required whatsoever. Provided the accusation is from a member of a protected, minority group…

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
3 years ago

And who can forget the president of the US going on TV, hoping for the ‘right’ verdict before the verdict was out.

Brian Dorsley
Brian Dorsley
3 years ago

Indeed. Totally abhorrent.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago

Yes. Very not good. Shocking, really. And imagine if the brassy Orange Man from Queens had done such a thing …

David George
David George
3 years ago

Yes, good point. Perhaps the ultimate result of unrestrained liberalism is the tyranny of bad ideas run amok. The “fetish of equality” becomes “all ideas are equal”?

CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago

”But though his role in the events is well-known, his impact on the functioning of George Floyd’s heart is much less clear, and his deepest motivations remain a mystery. It seems to me, therefore, a textbook case of reasonable doubt. Not only are there reasons to question Chauvin’s guilt, but it is hard to imagine how an impartial jury, following standard instructions, could have escaped that conclusion”
The only correct conclusion possible.
Yet, the president of the USA concluded after the trail:
“It was a murder in full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see, for so many, it feels like it took all of that for the judicial system to deliver just basic accountability.”
Makes one wonder where the real evil of today resides, in a jail or an oval office somewhere in the USA.

Rick Sharona
Rick Sharona
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

The subject of race was never brought up in the trial, so in effect the mob did not get what they wanted. The guilty verdict did not prove the “crime” was racially motivated, much less that the PD was steeped in “systemic racism”.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

There really is nothing new about the Chauvin case. Juries have always prejudged to some extent. For a long time in America, that prejudgment was racial — hence our term “prejudice”. Yes, the global video coverage is new, but the basic problem of people knowing the story of a high-profile case before going into the jury box is as old as the Republic. Do you really think Aaron Burr would have gotten a fair trial? Or John Wilkes Booth?

Winston Churchill famously lamented democracy as the “worst system invented… except for all the others.” Similarly, being tried by 12 people who were too dumb or lazy to escape jury duty is far from ideal — it’s just the least bad option.

I wonder if Chauvin would have been better off waiving his jury trial rights and allowing the case to be tried by a judge?

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago

“There really is nothing new about the Chauvin case. Juries have always prejudged to some extent. For a long time in America, that prejudgment was racial”

Here you go…. the same old, same old. Have you been on a Jury? It is a very solemn obligation from my experience. Even idiots feel the burden of making a fair verdict. You must never have sat on one – to say what you say.
I would ask the posters here who have served on a jury if their experience was like mine, where EVERY member felt a huge obligation to be Just in their verdict, even if they wished to go the other way. The reason they work is this mysterious and powerful feel you get when sitting in that chair up there. The system has evolved to make it so, and those jurors are almost always going to do their best. That is why I say the Jury were in fear for their life, for every one of them to vote guilty. Really – when you sit in the jury chair, it is a very serious feel indeed – , you cheapen the whole thing with your cynicism.

Susie E
Susie E
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Well said. Have a look at one of the jurors, Brandon Mitchell, who has admitted to lying about his political views in order to get on the jury.

Stephen T
Stephen T
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I once sat on a jury and after that experience decided if I ever faced a court charge I would want to be tried by a judge. Not a jury.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen T

That’s an interesting perspective, Stephen. Thanks. I have never served on a jury. I’ve only been empaneled for a drug case once, and since I believe in drug legalization and jury nullification, they weren’t interested in me. Faced with a courtroom I might make the same decision. The law says I have a “right” to a jury trial — it doesn’t say I’m required to exercise it.

I doubt Chauvin would have gotten convicted on all counts from a judge, but judges are elected in Minnesota, so the judge finding innocent across the board is almost inconceivable.

Last edited 3 years ago by Brian Villanueva
Brian Ginnity
Brian Ginnity
3 years ago
Reply to  Stephen T

Jury if you were guilty, judge if you were innocent?

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

That may very well be, but the jury in this case was so intimidated, so fearful for the lives of their families, so anxious about their neighbourhoods, that they returned a verdict which didn’t make sense, and they did it in very quick time. They found the accused guilty of both manslaughter and murder at the same time and on the same occasion. In other words they panicked and said guilty to all three charges put in front of them because they dared not return a single verdict of not guilty.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

You clearly don’t understand what the charges mean if you think he couldn’t be guilty of both and I’m not saying he was guilty.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

It was one of, if the not the greatest miscarriage of justice in US History.

A most fiercely competitive field it must be said.

William Murphy
William Murphy
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The late great Evan Whitton had a catalogue of riotously funny Australian jury stories ( many out in the Web). My favourite was the jury whose banker foreman encouraged them to a speedy “not guilty” verdict so that he could play golf on the Friday afternoon. No wonder Evan was in favour of the European inquisitorial system of justice.

Not that British jury stories inspire any greater confidence. There was the occasion when a double murder case crashed and burnt after it was revealed that the jury had tried to contact the deceased via a ouija board.

The two massive problems are the secrecy of the deliberations and the lack of a requirement for the jurors to give reasons for their verdict. So not even serious academic research is possible.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  William Murphy

“The two massive problems are the secrecy of the deliberations and the lack of a requirement for the jurors to give reasons for their verdict. So not even serious academic research is possible.”

This is a plus, in my view. We can see you’re the kind of person who trusts in the benevolence of the State and the taken-for-granted ‘intelligence’ of academics, so you’re beyond hope.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

I think it can be a plus and also a problem.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I have done jury service in the UK and was honoured to be selected as foreman. I was interested to do it and proud to take such an important role in the working of our justice system. There was a varying degree of dedication to the decision but all seemed interested enough to take it seriously. Still believe that we made the right decision.

Barrie Clements
Barrie Clements
3 years ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

I to have done Jury service but with a different experience. A majority wanted a quick decision so they could get back to their normal life and 3 of my fellow jurors must have been listening to completely different evidence and statements to the rest of us judging by their contribution. We also had one juror who stated that he would never believe anything said by a member of the police force. Majority verdict with one juror saying she would go with the majority.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

I have done jury duty too, and for a first degree murder trial at that. We took quite a long time to reach the guilty verdict, mostly because one of our members was unfortunately dumber than a bag of rocks. The plaintiff in qustion was accused of being the middle-man for a hired killing of his friend’s ex-wife. That juror had a very hard time getting his head around the fact that, under Canadian law, if you pay for or arrange a planned and deliberate murder, you are as guilty under the law as the person who actually committed the act. We finally had to get the judge to talk to him directly and explain it to him.

Simon Baseley
Simon Baseley
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Goodness. I wonder where that solemn obligation you describe was when the jurors found OJ Simpson not guilty? In all the millions of words written about that case there has never been any suggestion that they felt their lives to be at risk.

Trishia A
Trishia A
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Baseley

Times were very different!

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

I’ve been on a grand jury. The jurors saw evidence pertaining to more than 80 cases involving violent crimes. We even got to pose questions to witnesses. Yes, we the jurors would get a chance to ask questions.
We did take our job seriously. I was pleased with that. But things are different in the court room. I’ve seen prejudices at work in the court room.
I’ve also spent 20 years in law enforcement, although my work involved civil litigation 99.2% of the time. It did not involve violent crimes. But even that experience demonstrated how noisy the legal process can be — how ineluctably noisy. Most of the time my colleagues and I would have to make our cases not to a jury but to a judge. Think Russian Roulette. You never know what crazy judge you might get stuck with. It matters.
There was also a matter of Russian Roulette when it came to investigating a matter. The matter falls one person’s desk; a recommendation obtains. The matter falls on another person’s desk. A different recommendation may obtain. The process is noisy.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago

I have not served on a grand jury, but I know 2 people who have. When they described it to me, it struck me that the process seemed both far more interested in getting at the truth, and far more prone to running away politically.

Jurors are spectators today, being presented a set of competing plays (the judge serving as script editor). Allowing juries to ask questions directly would re-center the courtroom back to the jury. Whether that would be good or bod, I’m not sure.

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“I would ask the posters here who have served on a jury if their experience was like mine, where EVERY member felt a huge obligation to be Just in their verdict,”

I have served in the UK three times, but only once got into court (pleas changed, etc.) I concur with your remark.

Last edited 3 years ago by Arnold Grutt
David Purchase
David Purchase
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Yes, I have been on a Jury. Just one period of service, and two cases (I think and hope that I am now too old to be called again). In both cases the jury reached the wrong verdict, although in neither case was it very important. The first should never have come to the Crown Court (a serious offence was the charge, whereas the actual offence was minor and could have been dealt with by a magistrate: fortunately the judge recognised this). In the second case the jury was convinced that the complainant was just trying to get compensation under the victim support scheme.
Rather disturbingly, half-way through the first case, at the end of the day I passed within 2 metres of the defendant (who seemed to be treating the whole thing as a joke)..
So I agree with Stephen T. If I were up before a court I would want to be tried by a judge. Judges are trained to assess evidence (including its relevance), and have long experience of doing so. Juries do not.

J A Thompson
J A Thompson
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Not me but my partner who was horrified by the lack of attention and understanding demonstrated by those on the jury with her. The prosecution evidence was ineptly presented, the jury, when they were listening, only gave credence to the last person to testify and, during the deliberations, one member was concerned only with the fact that it had started to rain and they had left washing hanging out.
I hasten to add, this was a long time ago and she did not discuss any aspect of the case with me at the time.

Last edited 3 years ago by J A Thompson
Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Sanford, you are correct, I have been called once and recused for my political views. I’m glad your jury took it seriously, and I think most do (hence my “least bad” comment above.) However, juries are populated by the “general public”, not by unHerd commenters. While the average man means well, the average man is… well, average. Your jury of peers will not be like your college roomates, but more like the D+ to C students in your high school.

You’re taking that person and demanding they understand subtle differences of law and to assemble a coherent story from very detailed testimony, all while he’s worried about who’s picking up his kids from school and how he will pay his bills with missing 4 days of work this month. The system is structured to run roughshod over jurors — not surprising since the system was designed by lawyers.

There may not be a better system (utopias are almost illusions), but we deceive ourselves if we believe the current one is ideal.

Last edited 3 years ago by Brian Villanueva
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Even in the 50’s (in the UK) for those sitting on a Jury in a Capital Trial it was obvious that something was very wrong.

The idea that a guilty verdict would send the defendant to the gallows in just over three weeks was just too much for some.
Thus Justice failed purely on grounds of squeamishness! And the guilty survived.

Kathy Prendergast
Kathy Prendergast
3 years ago

When I was required to do jury duty for a first degree murder trial, fortunately it was in Canada in the 1980s and we had abolished the death penalty (for everything other than treason; I think that’s still on the books, as it is also in the UK) in the 1960s, so I didn’t have that on my conscience. As it was, when we found the suspect guilty he got the automatic 25-to-life sentence. Which means, if he’s still alive (he was in his late 40s at the time of th trial) he could well be out on parole by now. It was still a tough decision to make, knowing it meant locking someone up for at least 25 years, but it didn’t trouble my conscience much, considering what he’d done.
I imagine it must have been pretty horrific to be in a coutroom back in the day when death sentences would be pronounced, much less be on the jury. Mnd you, there are always going to be some murderers who just need to be killed and over whom it would be impossible to feel any guilt. But probably the majority of condemed people weren’t really the epitome of evil, just damaged people who made a lot of very bad choices.

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
3 years ago

A typically thoughtful piece from Bret, with which I concur. I would encourage everyone to listen to the Dark Horse podcasts he does with his partner Heather Heying every week. I watch them on Sunday morning, not least because their calm and soothing reason helps me to recover from the night before.

Last edited 3 years ago by Fraser Bailey
Simon Coulthard
Simon Coulthard
3 years ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

The dark horse podcast is amazing – someone please introduce me to a better one!

Simon Phillips
Simon Phillips
3 years ago

There was much discussion about this case before the trial. Everyone had an opinion and the TV news programmes and the internet were full of such chat.
That doesn’t happen in the same way here in the UK. Has anyone heard any detailed discussion of the individual accused of the murder of Sarah Everard? You won’t until after the trial is concluded.
It always amazes me how the US don’t seem to respect this simple principle. Don’t talk about the case while it is sub judice. That is how cases like Chauvin’s beome skewed and a fair trial becomes harder to achieve.
I don’t know if the verdicts were justified as I didn’t follow the detail of the trials but it is clear Chauvin had much less of a chance of a fair trial than he would if were being prosecuted in the UK.
So when the author says “presumption, burden and standard are woven into the fabric of America, and because they have been among our most important exports”, he is spinning a line.

Last edited 3 years ago by Simon Phillips
CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago
Reply to  Simon Phillips

“That doesn’t happen in the same way here in the UK”.
Dream on, dreamer. In the UK you can rot away in a prison cell without any trial at all.

Last edited 3 years ago by CL van Beek
Fred Dibnah
Fred Dibnah
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

Mr Phillips was refering to the fact that in the uk yuo can be prosecuted for broadcasting or printing information that will prejudice a trial. And people have been prosecuted for this.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

The technical term is “On Remand”.
How very quaint.

CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago

That is 777 days on remand this day, 25 may.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  CL van Beek

More than two years!
What on earth for?

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago

Chauvin has the right of appeal, and his defense team has several things to work with: members of Congress AND a president pretty much demanding a certain verdict, a juror with activist ties who should have never been seated, an alternate juror who afterward admitting the verdict was in no small part out of fear of retribution. The jury pulled the unusual trick of convicting Chauvin for an intentional act AND an unintentional act.
No, George Floyd should not have died that day. He should not have put himself in that position, either. The videotape shows “I can’t breathe” was said while Floyd was still in the car. The audio includes multiple people telling Floyd to quit resisting. In the meantime, anti-police fervor has led to crime spikes in virtually every major city.

Last edited 3 years ago by Alex Lekas
Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Obviously you don’t understand what the charges mean, second degree murder can be caused by an unintentional act.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

Second-degree murder differs from first in not being pre-meditated. Otherwise, it carries the intent to harm another person. Manslaughter is more heat of the moment.
Chauvin either intended to cause grave harm, including death, or he didn’t. It can’t be both. But, please; lecture me some more.

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

Ok since you asked. You can be found guilty of second degree murder if the act showed extreme indifference to the value of human life, which in this case the act did,
there doesn’t have to be the intent to cause harm. What is in dispute is whether the act caused Floyd’s death.

Last edited 3 years ago by Jim Jones
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

The definition of second-degree murder clearly states an intent to cause harm. That’s not a gray area. You believe that Chauvin’s action showed indifference. Okay, but that’s not part of what defines manslaughter. All I’ve said is he cannot be guilty of both.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Jones

How utterly ridiculous! Which cretin thought that up?
He or she should have strangled at birth. as we used to say.

David Pritchard
David Pritchard
3 years ago

I would question that this was the day justice died in the USA, I would argue there are several cases, not the least of which being OJ Simpson but that is for another day.
This was a case of mob rule, and the mob included the president of the USA, former president Obama and multiple politicians who should have some sense of the position they occupy and act apart from the mob instead of joining in. The very fact that the verdict was given so quickly and apparently from a jury who were aware that their names would be known is a real deriliction of justice.
Of course the very fact that you have written this article is good enough for the mob to pronounce judgement on you as a racist. This is the world of BLM and mob facism we live in. The unfortunate aspect of BLM is that for those of us who consider ourselves relatively impartial we have been pushed to a very partial state of mind now, and I for one certainly have no unconscious bias of how I feel towards the devotees of BLM.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago

I can’t disagree with the author’s points. Derek Chauvin most certainly did not get a fair trial. However, he does seem to have a rather idealised idea of how justice works in America. The prisons in that country are full of innocent people, many convicted with a death sentence, on the flimsiest of evidence, because they are too poor to hire a decent lawyer.

Last edited 3 years ago by Nick Wade
AC Harper
AC Harper
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I’ve read that Chauvin was represented by a single attorney but the State fielded 12 attorneys – who swamped Chauvin’s attorney with masses of information.

rosie mackenzie
rosie mackenzie
3 years ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The witnesses too, police and medical, piled in on the prosecution side. No-one dared give evidence for Chauvin. But even so, if you followed the trial, looked at all the footage, not just that taken from the other side of the road for a short time, listened to the arguments, and took in what the coroner said, you could not but conclude the charges of murder were unjustified and the charge of manslaughter was open to reasonable doubt.
But by then you also knew there was absolutely no chance of the logical verdict being given. At the very least, the judge should have suspended the trial.

Last edited 3 years ago by rosie mackenzie
John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago

Quite right.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

I appreciate your point. Bret does lay out the ideal. Implementing and securing the ideal is another matter. The legal process is noisy. Always has been; always will be. But is the system more compromised these days? As opposed to when? Maybe it is. How could we measure and evaluate competing hypotheses? Hmm …

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Nick Wade

The prisons in that country are full of innocent people, many convicted with a death sentence, on the flimsiest of evidence,  Speak of evidence, where is yours on these claims? The overwhelming bulk of the prison population got there the old-fashion way – by earning it. Might some be innocent? Probably. But some is nowhere “full” and very, very few people get death sentences, even for murder in which guilt is proven beyond any doubt. Your fantasized version of America does not comport with reality.

Nick Wade
Nick Wade
3 years ago
Reply to  Alex Lekas

For every 9 people executed, one person on death row has been exonerated, but I’m sure it’s a really fair system.

Claire D
Claire D
3 years ago

Sadly, I think there is no question that we are being led “backwards to a more primitive and brutal society”.
We are already on the way. Whether we can stop it now I don’t know.

Jeff Mason
Jeff Mason
3 years ago

Chauvin was railroaded. You have an activist who, by his own admissions, clearly lied to get on the jury. Other jury members admit they voted to convict because they feared rioting if they didn’t. You had a black Congresswoman agitating for a guilty verdict and promising dire consequences if she didn’t get it. Chauvin did not receive a fair trial and it should have been moved to another jurisdiction. Floyd had a myriad of documented health issues, not the least of which was consuming his stash of fentanyl to avoid being busted with it. Opioids suppress respiratory function so it’s no surprise he could not breathe. Chauvin and America deserved to have jurors with enough spine to make a fair decision – regardless of the social outcome.

CL van Beek
CL van Beek
3 years ago

“Today, when people are angry enough to demand something — when they are willing to march and burn and disrupt and intimidate — their understanding of events becomes gospel, and a trial is just one more tool at their disposal”.
This conclusion is incorrect, because it highly depends on the mobs political color. Only if you are of purpose to managerial elites you will get a free pass.

vince porter
vince porter
3 years ago

And, the mob, in the pursuit of their version of justice, cannot be prosecuted for the destruction to life and property. A world turned upside down.

John Nutkins
John Nutkins
3 years ago

An eloquent and succinct commentary. Not mentioned was the award of 27 million dollars by Minnesota to Floyd’s family during the trial of Chauvin. I know nothing about the legal process in the USA but surely that act was a gross and contemptible interference in the pursuance of a fair trial for him, already severely prejudiced by the factsoutlined in the article.

Michael Collins
Michael Collins
3 years ago

This is well worth reading. Well done.
It’s always the rare among us that stand against the crowd.
Rare, but not unique, and there are more who merely need the motivation to act on their thoughts who can stem the tide and change the world view.
Justice must be blind, and the fight has to be for greater impartiality, not less.
I wish those with the courage to stand up the greatest of good fortune and fortitude. We’ll all need it.
I am Legion, for we are many – just not as visible as the sheep.

Richard Turpin
Richard Turpin
3 years ago

An excellent read and another brilliant example of why I subscribe to Unherd.
I believe the trial was designed to be over as quickly as possible and to nail the white cop to the post, knowing anything but, would’ve resulted in the LA riots MK11x Infinity.
The trial was a kangeroo court and had the full picture and key evidence been held under greater scrutiny then I suspect, the defence team would’ve been able to have robustly argued as to the exact cause of death.
The defence team should’ve had the opportunity to discuss Floyd’s past with impunity including his drug habit and the crime that plagued his life. The fact the President of the United States said he was guilty before they reached their verdict absolutely insured he didn’t receive a fair trial. The way identity politics is plaguing the U.S. it would take an extremley brave and commmitted person to stand up and defend a white policeman and the way he was unfairly treated in court during the current climate of hate and fear. It would end their career overnight.
To look at what O.J Simpson got away with becuase of the colour of his skin was appalling and to a degree, the cop, albeit not a particular nice one, was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Whether we like or not, what he did was/is standard practice in the U.S when detaining a suspect who is resisting arrest.

Last edited 3 years ago by Richard Turpin
bisrael1
bisrael1
3 years ago

This is probably the clearest article on the Floyd death I have read. The actual evidence of the case begs for a verdict of not guilty , meaning not proved. The police body cam videos showed that Chauvin was not kneeling on Floyd’s neck , and the autopsy showed that Floyd did not die due to airflow restriction.With the drugs involved and Floyd’s medical history , there really is no proof that Chauvin killed him.The mob ruled in this case.

John Jimenez
John Jimenez
3 years ago

well said about the role of the media and mob justice. Poor Floyd most likely was obligated by his drug dealer friend to pass fake bills, then when the police came, be the bag man to hold the drugs and take the blame, and so swallowed the fentanyl, which caused his delerium, out of control behavior, and even a little bit of fentanyl often causes death, in his case, he had three times the amount that generally causes death. Chauvin did not look like he was intentionally trying to hurt Floyd, or restrict his breathing, he was trying to hold him in place until the ambulance arrived. Chauvin could not have known that Floyd had taken any fentanyl, all he saw was out of control behavior, and followed proper procedure, with patience, before getting Floyd on the ground. Society often puts police in the middle of problems that are almost impossible to solve, and then blame them when things go wrong. In short, Chauvin is a scapegoat for many of society’s ills.

Alyona Song
Alyona Song
3 years ago

There was no presumption of innocence, not a chance of reasonable doubt. Indeed, the verdict was manifestly pre-judged.

Chauncey Gardiner
Chauncey Gardiner
3 years ago

Evryone: Thanks for your comments out here.
I appreciate UnHerd, and I appreciate the UnHerd readers.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago

Where, if I may ask, is “out here”?

Cycle Calves
Cycle Calves
3 years ago

Chauncey is sitting on the lanai…

steve horsley
steve horsley
3 years ago

surely any half competent lawyer could get chauvin out on appeal. he could never get a fair trial once the online lynch mob were on his case so why did it go ahead?yes,he used excessive force but once again,the dead man was resisting arrest and was high on drugs.i m surprised that anyone wants to be a cop in america nowadays.the black people hate you,the liberal whites hate you so where does that leave you?one thing is for sure,chauvin didn t get a fair trial and at this moment shouldn t be in gaol.

Michael L
Michael L
3 years ago

Welcome to the postmodern legal system. Truth and law are matters of narrative.

Last edited 3 years ago by Michael L
Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago
Reply to  Michael L

Succinctly put.

We had it here with our top judges labelled ‘enemies of the people’ by media outlets that ought to have known better.

Judges ought to be far removed from the political context in which complex matters are investigated and resolved. Juries should be afforded the same protection – not for their good but for the collective good.

You may get the result you want from trial by media, or the mob, or Twitter, or whatever the platform du jour may be, but next time the result may go against you when a more powerful lobby gains the ascendancy. No use crying ‘foul’ then, is it, if your prior actions have undermined the basis on which you might expect to see reasoned judgement prevail?

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
3 years ago

This is hardly new. The criminal prosecution of OJ Simpson failed because the jury could see no crime in the killing of a white woman by a black man.

Stewart B
Stewart B
3 years ago

At least on the basis of the highest profile cases (Chauvin, O. J. Simpson) one could argue that the system is biased towards rather than against black people.

Iliya Kuryakin
Iliya Kuryakin
3 years ago

The article covers everything except one obvious, but largely missed, point. There’s no evidence that Chauvin was motivated by racial animus against George Floyd or that he ever displayed any racial prejudice. That’s probably why the prosecution never raised the matter.

John Riordan
John Riordan
3 years ago

Superb article, but it leaves out one crucial element that needs answering if the civilised values described herein are to be protected. It’s basically the observations about justice historically that are summed-up in Bob Dylan’s song, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, in which William Zanzinger, a white man, killed Hattie Carroll, a black woman, and was given a six month sentence for manslaughter.

This was not an isolated incident, it was something Dylan wrote a song about because it was just one example of a harsh fact of life for black Americans that persisted way further into modern life than it ever ought to have: justice was NOT blind, and the presumption of innocence was something liable to benefit white people a great deal more than black people, because that presumption must not only exist for everyone equally, it must also be overcome with a due process for establishing guilt that is equally applied for everyone, and that simply hasn’t always been the case.
In saying all this, I do not believe that this is the case now, and it it clearly has not been the case for many years at this stage. But there is a historic sense of injustice that informs attitudes and opinions now, and that is not easily overcome with appeals to high principle or reference to dry statistics that prove, no matter how persuasively, that everyone can trust the system equally now. Don’t get me wrong: I do not support those who reject the facts and traditions that support the view expressed in the article: I believe the writer is correct here. I am just saying that it’s going to take more to persuade people of the values in question, that’s all.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Riordan
Mulvya Chand
Mulvya Chand
3 years ago

A tangential correction. The article says,

had recently recovered from Covid-19, a destructive cardiovascular condition (even in asymptomatic patients).

Not the case. See Prospective Case-Control Study of Cardiovascular Abnormalities 6 Months Following Mild COVID-19 in Healthcare Workers which found no damage among mild cases, whether symptomatic or not.

Last edited 3 years ago by Mulvya Chand
Walter Lantz
Walter Lantz
3 years ago

“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” 
Perhaps it’s idealistic or naive but I believe that there is a majority out there of reasonable, law-abiding people – of all colours – that would generally agree with the opinion that although it seems unacceptable that Floyd died during this altercation, there is also no evidence to conclude he was intentionally murdered.
The problem is that divide and conquer identity politics has effectively silenced those voices. People who once saw themselves as reasonable and decent have been summarily declared neither and are simply dismissed as racist if they’re white, or ‘Uncle Tom’ if they’re black. Since it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever have any interaction with the justice system outside of a traffic ticket the “good men” have either engaged in guilt-ridden self-flagellation or simply learned to keep shtum and disengage entirely.
So “good men” do nothing?
Well no wonder- haven’t you read the papers? There are no “good men”.

Paul Booth
Paul Booth
3 years ago

A lucid, cogent and very necessary analysis, Dr Weinstein. Thanks. It is odd that the US legal system allows prejudgement through the mass media – that is bound to make a fair trial much more difficult, you would think. However, in England, where the Common Law originated, the ‘presumption of innocence’ has been weakened in the last few years. Jurors are now no longer asked if they are sure ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that the accused is guilty of the criminal offence of which they’ve been charged, but only if ‘they’re sure’. This was done on the basis that the ordinary juror would not understand the phrase ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ – completely spurious in my opinion. Having served on a criminal jury some years ago, my fellow jurors clearly thought – because they told me so – that ‘are you sure?’ implied a lesser standard of proof. It was all about getting more criminal convictions.

John Lamble
John Lamble
3 years ago

A lot of Brits look on the American ‘justice’ system with horror, not least because it seems so pleased with itself, as exampled by the number of television imports to which we are exposed. ‘Bought and paid for…’ seems to sum it up. The irony is not lost on us that, apparently, a wealthy black sportsman can get away with murder in the U.S.A. whereas a modestly resourced white policeman can’t escape being fitted up for murder when there’s reasonable doubt galore. Sick!

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

Would you react the same way if one of your favourite politicians got shot (no names)?

What a vile comment.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Wow imagine having a favourite politician? Bands, football teams, food sure but favourite politicians? Its like having a favourite cancer. “Least worst” is probably as good as politicians get. People who incite violence and murder deserve the same. People who want to murder others because of their skin colour, shape of their noses, choice of deity etc deserve the same x10. Many years ago the National Front decided to open a bookshop in our city, strangely sited in a hippy/squatter area. It was burned down within a week. I am sure the arsonists could’ve checked the building to see if the staff were there but apparently decided not to. As with the bod who shot the Oxford Uni racist i’d buy those arsonists a drink, or a “baggy” of their chosen poison whichi i suspect they’d prefer.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  mike otter

Further when i found out how many German soldiers my dad and his mates killed in 1944-5 i felt more, not less grateful for their efforts.

Kremlington Swan
Kremlington Swan
3 years ago

I was perplexed for a while. It seemed most probable to me that the police officer was guilty – if he was guilty of anything – of manslaughter. I could not see how he could be guilty of murder, at least as we understand the term in the UK.
Murder implies an intent to kill, and since the event was so widely witnessed there cannot possibly have been an intent to kill by the police officer. He would have to be the most flamboyant, unhinged psychopath to murder in cold blood in front of witnesses. And he must also have wanted to spend the rest of his life, or the best part of it, behind bars. So how could it have been murder?
But then I figured the US has a different system of category for this, and that the crime for which he was convicted was an equivalent to the one of manslaughter.

I take the point about the mob, though. My guess is, if the verdict was one of murder as we understand it, that fear of the mob ruled the court proceedings. I think the authorities dared not risk the explosion of civil unrest that would have resulted from an acquittal, or even conviction on a lesser charge.

For that reason I doubt the verdict will be overturned, and I doubt any re-trial will result in a different verdict. Fear of the mob will cause him to be left to rot.
I’m just glad it didn’t happen here, not after what happened after the shooting of a violent gangster a few years ago, when city after city went up in flames.

Last edited 3 years ago by Kremlington Swan
rrostrom
rrostrom
3 years ago

Minnesota law has a peculiar definition of “murder”, which includes act that elsewhere would be considered “manslaughter”.

ninoscalamandre
ninoscalamandre
3 years ago

The Liberal lynch mob mentality is very scary indeed. I used to consider the far Right more dangerous, but not any more. The Left’s maniacal fringe has moved straight and center.

gregdan86
gregdan86
3 years ago

What’s ironic is that black protesters seem to be pushing for mob justice- the same thing that resulted in many black lynchings back in the day.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter
3 years ago

To those who claim a society is systemic racist simply because “(Blacks) are killed more than whites in proportion to their percentages in the population”
There’s a simple and straightforward explanation for it: the blacks in America just commit more crimes, for various social economic reasons.
On the other hand, the Eastern-Asian are robbed by blacks and Latinos on a daily basis ij America and are most discriminated against in college admissions, yet they still have lowest crime rate, highest achievement in education and highest average median incomes. Doesn’t this explains something?
You have to admit the problem, rather than blaming someone else, before you can to solve it.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago

A lot of the victims of police shootings can be explained – people were armed (or thought to be), resisting arrest, the police is unavoidably nervous in a country where everybody carries weapons. But Floyd? I can share your worries about pressure on the justice system. But I cannot find a way to explain how it could be reasonable, or legal, for four policemen to kneel on the neck of a single, unarmed man for nine minutes while he is dying – whatever the exact causes of death turn out to be. Being conservative and all I would prefer to trust the police, so if someone has an explanation I’d love to hear it.

J StJohn
J StJohn
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Weren’t 3 officers protecting the 4th from the surrounding crowd, while 1 knelt on Floyd’s neck? It’s not simply the crowd’s fault, but in my heart I believe that, had there been no onlookers, Floyd would probably be alive today; his arrest could’ve been easily effected by 4 unencumbered officers. I wasn’t there, I can’t know. I’m glad It wasn’t me having to arrest him.

AC Harper
AC Harper
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

I’ve read that the coroner found no bruising on Floyd’s neck supporting reasonable doubt about the degree of force used.
Perhaps there will be an appeal and more balanced consideration of the facts will be drawn out?

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

You are going by the “citizen” film content. Watch it all (the leaving the shop/getting in car videos etc. Look at ALL the evidence i.e. coroner’s report etc. Regularly use restraint technique with large drugged guy very known to police. The 9 minutes was because of the actual situation. No crowd, no extended time, possibly no death but the guy’s health was so poor and he was set to pop, the policeman couldn’t have known that..

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

Hmmm. So are you saying that this is the expected, OK result, and that the next similar situation people should expect, and accept, would have the same outcome? Or do you think something should be done to avoid that?

David Owsley
David Owsley
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Not at all. Just saying that a long series of circumstances led to GF’s death, NOT the policeman kneeling on his neck (a technique that has been used long before AND since).

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
3 years ago
Reply to  David Owsley

There is always a long series of circumstances no matter what you are looking at. Again: what do you think shoud be done differently to avoid a repeat? Or do you think that this is just one of those things – and we should learn to live with it?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

One (1) kneeling policeman with the normal issue of two (2) knees, had one (1) knee on Floyds neck while attempted to summon help. The other one (1) knee was on the ground.
You or I have no way of knowing how much weight was on each knee but there’s no reason to assume that there was any more on his neck than was required to restrain him while the officer needed both hands free.

Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
Elaine Giedrys-Leeper
3 years ago

I was taught at the age of 11 in a judo / self defence class how to render someone unconscious with a neck compression inside 20 seconds without compression of the larynx or producing any bruising.
The technique involves compressing the carotid arteries and / or the jugular veins around the carotid sinus. This causes the vagus nerve to fire and to produce a reflex slowing of the heart and a massive peripheral vasodilatation so that the victim’s blood pressure drops through the floor.
The beauty of this technique is that it requires very little force – about 4 lbs to compress the jugular veins and about 11 lbs to effectively compress the carotid arteries. (A good technique for self deliverance as demonstrated by Dr. Shipman)
When I first saw the video footage of Mr Chauvin and his knee I thought “what perfect positioning to render this guy unconscious in double quick time”. Theoretically you can allow the victim to revive by releasing the pressure a bit and then re-applying it if they are unco-operative. Clearly a risky procedure in someone with a compromised cardio vascular system.
Mr. Floyd’s toxicology report is viewable online. Doesn’t look to me as though he was in overdose territory – 19 nanograms/mL of Methamphetamine and 11 nanograms/mL of Fentanyl in a big muscly bloke. Fentanyl is used as an adjunct to general anaesthesia or as a straight anaesthetic agent partly because it preserves cardiac stability.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
3 years ago

At what point with this 20 second judo technique does your victim become unable to speak?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

He, Floyd was a 6’ 4”, heavily built colossus, with a violent past and a criminal record to prove it.

Perhaps they should have asked him if he wanted a cup of tea*?

(* The panacea for all British crises.)

Jim Jones
Jim Jones
3 years ago

Go cry some more about Ashli Babbitt

Johnny Kay
Johnny Kay
3 years ago

An excellent counterpoint to the official narrative of the George Floyd affair is the article “Some things you may not know about the Derek Chauvin Trial” by Miles Mathis.

Last edited 3 years ago by Johnny Kay
Francis MacGabhann
Francis MacGabhann
3 years ago

What interests me is how, when we look at old courtroom movies, we’re completely willing to believe our grandparents were willing to ignore evidence and reason to convict a black/Jewish/native American defendant because they were all such bigots, but of course, that never happens nowadays because OUR generation is so evolved and educated. Aren’t we?

Michael McVeigh
Michael McVeigh
3 years ago

Bret is correct, the trial was like “To Kill a Mocking Bird” gone wrong.

Sidney Mysterious
Sidney Mysterious
3 years ago

So many words, so little progress.
As long as each life is not valued, no life is. Examples abound, from startlingly obvious of China, Russia, Iran… to the subtle European Union to the virtue signalers, open Border/Sanctuary puppets in our congress..

John Dowling
John Dowling
3 years ago

No evidence was entered that there was any element of racial prejudice in the arrest of Mr Floyd, the arrest team were two withe officers, one black and one Asian. The whole scenario was based on racial prejudice against the white police officer to feed the BLM mantra

John Aronsson
John Aronsson
3 years ago

I fear Bret has an overly romantic impression of the Anglo-American legal system. Neither prosecutors, juries nor judges are, or ever been, impartial. Jury verdicts always reflect the sense of the community at any given moment.
The error in the Chauvin case was by the judge who did not allow a change of venue or declare a mis-trial when it appeared jurors names addresses were known and jurors likely to be targeted by those who wanted a conviction at all costs.

Last edited 3 years ago by John Aronsson
Steve Craddock
Steve Craddock
3 years ago

Nothing good ever comes when the state is either a coward or complicit when mob violence erupts.

David Brown
David Brown
3 years ago

Even if we accept Chauvin’s guilt, I have seen no evidence whatsoever to show that the motive was racial, circumstances suggest that it may well have been a mixture of the personal and a little disease that policemen can, at times be prone to. No, not racism, but Manicheanism, which can allow a copper to see any means he employs as justified by the ends of keeping the peace.

Roger Jones
Roger Jones
3 years ago

Good at least that it is still possible to publish such an article. Perhaps the people of the USA might still pull back from the brink of madness.

B David
B David
3 years ago

The Brooklyn Center City manager has been FIRED for maintaining that Kimberly Potter, the ex-officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, should receive “due process.”
Not questioned. Not placed under review. Not even suspended. FIRED.
That due process cannot even be discussed any more, so much has already been lost.

Last edited 3 years ago by B David
Venkatraman Anantha Nageswaran
Venkatraman Anantha Nageswaran
3 years ago

It takes a certain moral courage to write a piece like this in these times. Clearly, Prof. Bret Weinstein has it. May his tribe grow stronger. A minor quibble: I didn’t quite understand the last paragraph. Clarity and the intended meaning elude me in that paragraph in an otherwise deeply perceptive piece of writing that one has come to associate with Prof. Bret Weinstein.

Starry Gordon
Starry Gordon
3 years ago

What’s the alternative to equality?

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

When we are talking about voting, there is no alternative. When we are talking about ideas and influence, the best alternative is an aristocracy of the good.

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

“Nothing is more unequal than equality itself.”

Pliny the Younger, a long time ago.

(*Letters of Pliny, Book IX, Letter 5.)

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
3 years ago
Reply to  Starry Gordon

“What’s the alternative to equality?” Reality.

Sean L
Sean L
3 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

In this context: separation. Which in England is officially condoned already, and has been for decades now, with numerous public buildings named after Jamaican folk hero Marcus’Back to Africa’ Garvey.

There are also numerous separatist groups e.g. Nation of Islam who operate unhindered by law enforcement, whereas natives who dare to resist their own displacement suffer not only relentless Police harassment under terrorist legislation but even have bank accounts cancelled.

What is happening in England already meets UN definition of genocide. Even without further influx native births will be a minority of births by 2030; British schoolchildren an ethnic minority in British schools by 2035 – those figures are based on birth rates using Department of Education figures.

Interracial rape ratio in US is officially 30,000 to 1. The real figure is supposed to be much higher as this only represents reported crimes which it’s argued are a minority of the actual total.

Even so, the Uk figure is likely to be an order of magnitude greater owing to official complicity in mass rape of hundreds of thousands of native girls over decades. The facts are well documented and undisputed: Peter McLaughlin’s ‘Easy Meat’ is the definitive work: the title is a quote from former Home Secretary Jack Straw alluding to how native girls were regarded by a section of his constituents.

Christian Filli
Christian Filli
3 years ago

Thank you, Bret, for being so courageous in approaching these difficult topics. However, and with all due respect, I wonder if it isn’t too big of a leap to conclude that it is the ‘powerless’ who will suffer the most as result of the mishandling of this notorious case. I’m not even sure you explained this clearly, or maybe I just don’t get your point. The much, much bigger worry, at least for me, is that we are now immersed in a deeply toxic environment that incentivizes politics of resentment and retaliation, combined with a media establishment that does nothing but amplify stories that are far removed from the problems that affect the average citizen. For instance, enacting the anti-Asian hate crime bill is a priority but investigating the origins of Covid isn’t … How does this make any sense? And the more aggressive one side gets with, say BLM, CRT and DEI, the more aggressive the other side gets with anti-abortion laws. “stop the steal” conspiracy theories and personality cults. Where does this end? In the meantime, the exhausted majority in America, who just wants to get on with their lives, continues to be pushed into submission by the extreme views and policies of those who simply scream the loudest. Again, to me, this is really the big crisis we have on our hands.

Harry Potter
Harry Potter
3 years ago

admit it, the American masses are just stupid. They are blindly brainwashed by the ideology themselves are selling. They are so inflammable and shallow that the United States could easily entered into a de facto state of the cultural revolution, something that can only be born in China at the instigation of the dictator Mao.
Democracy is not a panacea, it can’t solve anything real problem except providing some feeling of legitimacy. Democracy does not spontaneously bring freedom, nor does it bring justice, nor reason.
On the contrary, a democratic society, ruled by a tyrannical majority, could be a society without freedom. A democracy made up of mostly ignorant people can offer less justice and freedom than a society ruled by a few intelligent dictators.
That’s why the American Founding Fathers had the institutional set-up of the separation of powers. It is also why justices are appointed for life, why juries need the protection of anonymity, and why elected representatives are not allowed to interfere with trials in any means. It is both a limitation on the state leviathan and a preventive design for mob politics.
Now we have witnessed the absurdness that everyone outspokenly called an accidental death, which apparently caused by multiple factors, a murder and even publicly threatened the justice system that If the outcome of the trial is not to their liking, they will unleash more self-inflicted destruction before the trial. Radical activists who self-claim to be “liberals” use the Marxist terminology “reactionary” openly and unashamedly to describe dogged intellectuals who refused bowing to left-wing populism and refuted their fallacious arguments.
If society in America, as a whole, is systematically discriminates against blacks rather than whites, then why no main-stream media, mega-companies and celebrities dare or willing to speak the following obvious facts: 1) Floyd refused to cooperate with the police, 2) he died from both drug overdose and police brutality (Keep in mind that drug use itself is punishable by extremely high sentences in most non-west countries and the U.S. is prevalent with guns and gang violence thanks to the Urban Hollowing), 3) the cop had no motive whatsoever to kill him. Not to mention the absurdity of blatantly committing a murder while being openly filmed by passersby.
How dare you brag in front of China that you are a country with an independent judiciary and rule of law?

Last edited 3 years ago by Harry Potter
Dominic S
Dominic S
3 years ago

“…we collectively leapt to a conclusion based on an incomplete review of evidence. From then on, we allowed ourselves to presume we knew the truth.”
This is very much the way of the modern lynch-mob, whether online, in person, or however it is done. There was certainly clear reason for doubt about this situation, and yet that doubt was not allowed to affect the decision reached. Having said this, in the UK we had the criminal damagers being let free by a jury when there was no doubt at all about their guilt, which they admitted, and they had been directed to find them guilty. The mob justice we now have is no justice at all.

jonathan carter-meggs
jonathan carter-meggs
3 years ago

It is not a surprise to anyone today that the “narrative” determines the outcome. When you creative a “truth” you are hoping to determine the outcome NOT reporting the facts. The world has put social media posts in the hands of billionaires and a relatively small vocal group of posters. The narrative is now controlled by them and the loudest voice wins.

Andrew Lale
Andrew Lale
3 years ago

Derek Chauvin was found guilty, and OJ Simpson was found innocent. I guess there is race-based bias in the American judicial system.

Kristof K
Kristof K
3 years ago

All it needed was for president Biden to display real leadership and declare that Mr Chauvin must be presumed innocent un till and unless found guilty through a fair trial. He could have highlighted the patent parallels between mobs that lynched black people and the protesters calling for Mr Chauvin to be found guilty.

Certainly the exculpatory evidence raised doubts in my mind. But to me they did not seem reasonable, especially in view of the specific definition of 2nd degree murder in the state of Minnesota which, as I understand it, requires the prosecution to prove that Mr Chauvin’s actions amounted to a substantial cause of Mr Floyd’s death.

Even though I think this way, I can see that justice could end up being more rightly done if he is ultimately cleared of the murder charge due to the all too real possibility of external influences on the jury during the period of the trial.

Ver Edge
Ver Edge
3 years ago

Great article.

Christopher Gelber
Christopher Gelber
3 years ago

This might just be the most important article in the world right now, if there can be said to be such a thing. That the Chauvin jury deliberated for about 7 hours says all we really need to know – they did not thoroughly review the evidence (the video footage alone amounted to hundreds of hours). I don’t even blame them – their children would have been threatened and their homes burned if they hadn’t convicted on all counts. As Weinstein correctly observes, it isn’t clear Chauvin could have been tried anywhere and had a fair trial. That should be a terrifying thought for us all.

kyonvor
kyonvor
3 years ago

After much prevarication – they had actually got Floyd, momentarily into the Squad vehicle, but for some unclear reason, he lunged forward and fell out of the vehicle through the opposite open door towards Chauvin, whence Chauvin pinned him to the ground. Although I don’t remember what happened there ever being discussed at trial or in the media. The video also showed him saying ‘I CAN’T BREATHE’, as he stands there stubbornly uncoperative with the request to get in the police car.
I think there’s a justified charge that leaving your knee on a neck for nine minutes was reckless endangerment. Although I have seen plenty of prone restraint arrests at London derby games that weren’t much differently executed than this.
The conviction I didn’t get was the murder one. Why when you knew you were being filmed from multiple angles, and being watched by numerous witnesseess, would you deliberately act so as to bring about a man’s death? How stupid that would be! Believing Chauvin killed with malice aforethought can only be sustained if you take to be gospel the idea that White Cops and their ‘community’ at large think that a black man can be killed with impunity.
Racism was never brought up in the trial, but the only way Chauvin would’ve done what he did with the culpable mens rea is if he arrogantly thought he could execute a black man with no blow-back. Unfortunately for him with regards to his chance of an aquittal many millions of people around the world angrily believe this contestable assumption to be the whole truth of the matter.

zudans
zudans
3 years ago

Kind of reminds me of an inverted O.J. Simpson trial.

Harlan
Harlan
3 years ago

Justice started to die when the officers involved in the Rodney King beating were found not guilty by a jury of their piers, and then tried again for the same offence by a federal court.
Sadly it was a Republican administration who legalized double jeopardy, and a wrong minded supreme court who upheld it.

Last edited 3 years ago by Harlan
mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago
Reply to  Harlan

Maybe its time for the end of the pier show! I agree re Rodney King and the double jeopardy problem, but reckon US justice system has always had a vengeful, biased and often corrupt way of doing the job. Maybe its because we were born out of a war and have been fighting pretty much non stop since: British, Indians, Confederacy, Indians again, Mexicans, Commies, Islamists etc etc.

rrostrom
rrostrom
3 years ago
Reply to  Harlan

The question of distinct federal and state jurisdictions over the same crimial action was raised a long time ago, and the Supreme Court ruled on it then.
The issue was that corrupt state authorities would acquit flagrantly guilty parties in sham trials. (And I think you know where and when.) Without federal intervention, this practice would go unchecked, leaving the victims helpless.

mike otter
mike otter
3 years ago

I commented on this earlier and it got removed because i went in with both feet, so here’s the same comment in more temporate language: Whilst truly blind justice is probably not achievable its still something we should aim for. Meanwhile fair outcomes often happen by chance or despite the inadequacies of judicial systems. Chauvin and Floyd chose to live their lives with violent disregard for the rights of others. It is therefore apposite that they had bad outcomes. I think Floyd probably got more than he deserved but maybe the pregnant woman he threatened with a gun in 2007 feels differently. People who carry out or call for violence and murder on racial or religious grounds need to remember what goes around comes around. Chauvin got his lesson a few weeks back and Sasha Johnson got her’s at the weekend.

lou perrotta
lou perrotta
3 years ago

As ever a courageous and intelligent analysis by Mr Weinstein…..

B David
B David
3 years ago

I havent any doubt Chauvin was properly convicted of manslaughter. Though that he was convicted on all 3 counts–3 out of 3– raises profound questions about his most serious conviction, that for murder. Dershowitz argues that it was improper to even charge him with murder considering the text of their murder statue.

Ryan Oneglia
Ryan Oneglia
3 years ago

While I fully agree that there are disturbing trends in America, Chauvin is not the best example. The police chief said kneeling on a neck was not an acceptable means of restraint. I believe the ER doc testified that he thought Floyd died of asphyxiation. Was the police chief lying? Was the doctor misrepresenting the facts? Maybe, but if I was on the jury I would probably have believed them.

rrostrom
rrostrom
3 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Oneglia

The knee on the neck technigue was described in Minneapolis PD training material, though apparently not included in training. It was deleted after the Floyd incident. The MPD chief’s testimony was a strenuous effort to deny this. Like nearly all big-city chiefs, he is a political appointee with minimal front-line experience.
The medical examiner ruled that Floyd died of “positional asphyxiation” – that somehow being held on the ground prevented him from breathing, even though there was no evidence of any forcible constriction of the airway. The ME also stated that the above fatal-overdose level of fentanyl in Floyd’s blood did not cause Floyd’s death; though he admitted that he would normally rule death by overdose, when such a level was found.

Fred Dibnah
Fred Dibnah
3 years ago

Interesting that the author believes the jury is incompetent. Presumably because he disagrees with the verdict. But he did not sit through the evidence as the jury did. Perhaps a jury looking at the evidence in a court, came to the correct decision given the evidence presented to them.

I have sat on a jury. The jurors took it very seriously. I was impressed. May be a difference between English and American juries.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
3 years ago
Reply to  Fred Dibnah

The jury managed to convict Chauvin of killing Floyd intentionally AND unintentionally. How is that even possible? And multiple members have spoken of intimidation. Our president pretty much demanded a specific verdict. A member of Congress was on the ground to whip up the mob, to the point that even the judge noticed that Maxine Waters’ presence and mouth created grounds for appeal. The jury worked inside those conditions.