October 16, 2021, 06:42:50 AM

Author Topic: R.I.P George Floyd  (Read 3698 times)

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Offline Flex

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #30 on: March 02, 2021, 02:52:00 AM »
Minneapolis scraps plans to pay social media influencers to spread information during Chauvin trial
CATHERINE THORBECKE
ABC NEWS


Minneapolis has scrapped plans to pay social media influencers to share information during the upcoming trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd.

In an email sent to city elected officials and obtained by ABC News, Minneapolis' Director of Communications Greta Bergstrom and Director of Neighborhood and Community Relations David Rubedor confirmed plans to cancel the initiative.

"We would like to take a moment to address the recommendation to use social media 'influencers' as part of the Joint Information System information sharing strategies," the email stated. The initiative, according to the email, came about because "we have heard repeatedly that many residents are not connected to the city's traditional routes of sharing information."

"While we believe in and support the intention of this recommendation, we have seen the impact has caused harm. We are sorry and acknowledge that we will have to work to repair the harm that has been caused," the email added. "At this point, we will NOT move forward with this strategy."

The initial plans were for Minneapolis to have paid partnerships with "community members who are considered trusted messengers and have large social media presence to share City generated and approved messages," according to the city's website.

The proposal was first reported by the local outlet the Minnesota Reformer last Friday, which stated that the budget for this project was $12,000, with $2,000 paid to each influencer to share information during the trials, citing a city spokeswoman.

The embattled plans immediately courted controversy from many residents of Minneapolis, who questioned the move and the city's motives.

“If you go through lengths and measures to buy a narrative, what does that say about the leadership and trust that has been eroded in the past few years?” Toussaint Morrison, a community activist in Minneapolis, told ABC Minneapolis affiliate KTSP-TV.

"You buy people to tell you that your emotions aren't valid, or that you should stay home and not protest, or that certain things are more important than justice," Morrison added. "So I really feel that them trying to buy the narrative from social media influencers is really disappointing."

The trial of Chauvin, which is set to begin on March 8 with jury selection, looms large over Minneapolis.

The white police officer, who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for almost eight minutes in a video that horrified the nation -- as well as galvanized communities across the country to demand change -- faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

Minneapolis scraps plans to pay social media influencers to spread information during Chauvin trial originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2021, 06:54:38 PM »
Prosecutors: Officer was on Floyd's neck for about 9 minutes
AMY FORLITI
Yahoo News


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — As the trial approaches for a white Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, prosecutors are putting the time Derek Chauvin’s knee was on the Black man's neck at about nine minutes.

The time has fluctuated before. It was recorded as 8 minutes, 46 seconds in an initial criminal complaint — a figure that became symbolic to many in the weeks after Floyd’s death — before a math error was corrected to make it 7:46. But filings since then, citing time-stamped police body-camera video, now make it at least nine minutes.

The fact that the figure has evolved probably won't matter at Chauvin’s trial, which begins Monday with jury selection. One former prosecutor says it’s common for such details to be fine-tuned as prosecutors build a case. A support group for victims of police violence says the discrepancies won't have any impact.

“He was obviously on there enough time to think about what he was doing. He heard the man pleading that he couldn’t breathe,” said Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence. “If it was two minutes or if it was five minutes or if it was 10 minutes, he was fully aware … Once he said, ‘I cannot breathe’ … he was supposed to remove his knee.”

Floyd died May 25. He had been handcuffed and was pleading that he couldn't breathe, but Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck even after he stopped moving and speaking.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter and are scheduled for trial in August.

The narrative in the initial complaint filed May 29 by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds. But the time stamps cited in that charging document indicate it was actually 7 minutes, 46 seconds.

The Associated Press began asking about the error the day after the initial charges were filed, but prosecutors repeatedly declined to address it. The 8:46 detail was repeated in an amended complaint filed days later by the Attorney General’s Office.

In the weeks that followed Floyd’s death, some demonstrators staged “die-ins” that lasted 8 minutes, 46 seconds, some lawmakers knelt for that amount of time in the U.S. Senate, and mourners at a memorial service for Floyd stood in silence for 8:46 to reflect on the final moments of his life.

In mid-June, prosecutors acknowledged the one-minute error, but said it would have no impact on the case.

Documents filed by prosecutors in September and October changed the timing yet again. These documents contain the most detailed picture of what happened, citing time stamps from Lane, Keung and Thao's body camera videos.

The documents don’t list an exact time for when Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd, but instead provide a narrative for when Floyd was first pressed to the ground. Time stamps on video from Lane’s body camera — recorded in 24-hour-clock format — show that began at some point from 20:19:14 to 20:19:45, meaning from 14 to 45 seconds after 8:19 p.m.

But the documents cite a clear moment when Chauvin removed his knee, when a stretcher was ready to take Floyd away. Lane’s body camera time-stamp read 20:28:45.

This means Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for at least nine minutes flat, but possibly for as long as 9 minutes, 31 seconds. Documents filed by prosecutors characterize the timing as “approximately nine minutes,” though in at least one document it is characterized as “more than nine minutes and twenty seconds.”

John Stiles, the spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the length of time of Chauvin’s restraint will be evidence presented at trial. He declined further comment.

Tom Heffelfinger, a former U.S. attorney for Minnesota who is not connected to this case, said it’s normal for prosecutors to fine-tune details as they build a case and that the length of Chauvin’s restraint won’t become essential until a prosecutor presents it to the jury.

But at trial, he said, the timing will become extremely relevant as both sides argue about Floyd’s cause of death. Heffelfinger also said it points to Chauvin’s state of mind and can be used by prosecutors to show willfulness, and that Chauvin had Floyd under his control and held his position for too long.

“You can see from the bystander video, Chauvin had Floyd under control for that entire period,” Heffelfinger said. “He didn’t need to have his knee to the neck in order to maintain that … control.”

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2021, 05:27:07 PM »
3rd-degree murder count could be reinstated in Floyd's death
STEVE KARNOWSKI (AP)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Friday ordered a judge to reconsider adding a third-degree murder charge against a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death, handing a potential victory to prosecutors, but setting up a possible delay to a trial set to start next week.

A three-judge panel said Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill erred last fall when he rejected a prosecution motion to reinstate the third-degree murder charge against Derek Chauvin. The panel said Cahill should have followed the precedent set by the appeals court last month when it affirmed the third-degree murder conviction of former officer Mohamed Noor in the 2017 shooting death of Justine Ruszczyk Damond. The unarmed Australian woman had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

The appeals court sent the case back to Cahill for a ruling consistent with its ruling in the Noor case, giving the judge some leeway to consider other arguments that the defense might make against reinstating the charge.

"This court’s precedential opinion in Noor became binding authority on the date it was filed. The district court therefore erred by concluding that it was not bound by the principles of law set forth in Noor and by denying the state’s motion to reinstate the charge of third-degree murder on that basis," the appeals court wrote.

It was not immediately clear if Friday's ruling would force a delay in jury selection for Chauvin’s case, which is due to start Monday. He's currently charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Prosecutors did not immediately return a message seeking comment on whether they would seek a delay. Chauvin’s attorney had no comment.

Chauvin has the option of appealing the ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which would force Cahill to delay the trial, said Ted Sampsell-Jones, a criminal law expert at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law. But if Chauvin decides not to appeal, the professor added, “then Judge Cahill will almost certainly reinstate the third-degree charge.”

And if Chauvin decides not to appeal, Sampsell-Jones said, Cahill could still begin jury selection Monday, then decide in the next three weeks — before opening arguments — whether to reinstate the charge.

A reinstated third-degree murder count could increase the prosecution’s odds of getting a murder conviction.

“We believe the Court of Appeals decided this matter correctly," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement. "We believe the charge of 3rd-degree murder, in addition to manslaughter and felony murder, reflects the gravity of the allegations against Mr. Chauvin. Adding this charge is an important step forward in the path toward justice. We look forward to presenting all charges to the jury in Hennepin County.”

Floyd, who was Black, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe. In the wake of his death, civil unrest spiraled into violence locally. Protests spread worldwide and forced a painful reckoning on racial justice in the U.S.

With tensions growing over the looming trial, authorities have already surrounded the courthouse and nearby buildings in downtown Minneapolis with tall barriers of chain-link fencing and razor wire in case protests anticipated before, during and after the trial turn violent.

Cahill ruled last October that third-degree murder under Minnesota law requires proof that someone’s conduct was “eminently dangerous to others,” plural, not just to Floyd. Cahill said there was no evidence that Chauvin endangered anyone else and threw out the charge. But the Court of Appeals rejected similar legal reasoning in Noor’s case, ruling that a third-degree murder conviction can be sustained even if the action that caused a victim’s death was directed at just one person.

The appeals court rejected the argument by Chauvin's attorney that the Noor ruling shouldn't have the force of law unless and until it’s affirmed by the Minnesota Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments in Noor’s appeal in June. Cahill used similar reasoning last month when he rejected the state's initial motion to restore the third-degree murder count, prompting prosecutors to ask the Court of Appeals to intervene.

Three other former officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. They’re scheduled for trial in August. Prosecutors want to add charges of aiding and abetting third-degree murder against them, but that question will be resolved later.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #33 on: March 11, 2021, 02:40:11 AM »
Minnesota Supreme Court rejects Derek Chauvin appeal, opening door for another murder charge in George Floyd's death
By Tami Abdollah, USA TODAY


The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected an appeal by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Wednesday, which could result in him facing an additional murder charge in the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin, 44, is accused of killing George Floyd, 46, by pressing his knee against Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as he was handcuffed and pinned face-down on the street last May.

The former cop is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other former officers, charged with aiding and abetting, are to be tried in August.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill announced the ruling during jury selection Wednesday. Cahill said he would consider the ramifications of the ruling Thursday morning before selection continues. Five jurors have been chosen.

Wednesday's ruling means Cahill may reinstate a third-degree murder charge. Legal observers said that would give the jury more options as it considers Chauvin's culpability in Floyd's death.

"Cahill almost certainly will reinstate the (third-degree) charge," said Ted Sampsell-Jones, a professor for Mitchell Hamline School of Law in nearby St. Paul.

The unusual, expedited decision by the state’s high court enables jury selection to continue with just a hiccup in the proceedings rather than a delay of weeks or months while it considered an appeal.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is prosecuting Chauvin, praised Wednesday's decision in a written statement. "We believe the charge of third-degree murder is fair and appropriate," he said. "We look forward to putting it before the jury" along with the other charges.

Benjamin Crump, an attorney who represents the Floyd family, said they are gratified that the court has "cleared the way for the trial to proceed and for Chauvin to face this additional charge."

Crump added: "The trial is very painful and the family needs closure. We’re hopeful that the trial will move forward expeditiously and that every possible criminal charge will be presented to the jury."

Friday, an appeals court ruled that Cahill should not have thrown out the third-degree murder charge last fall. The ruling delayed the start of jury selection Monday because the defense and prosecution disagreed over how that would affect the trial.

"It's very rare for the parties and the judge, frankly, not to know what the charges are when you are scheduled to start your trial," said Mary Moriarty, former Hennepin County chief public defender.

Ruling in separate case affects Chauvin charges
According to Minnesota law, third-degree murder involves "perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind."

Last fall, Cahill ruled that charge didn't fit the circumstances of Chauvin's case because his actions were focused on Floyd and no one else. That is consistent with how the law has been interpreted in other cases.

But in February, an appeals court upheld the third-degree murder conviction of ex-Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk Damond in 2017. Noor's actions were focused only on Damond.

Based on the ruling in the Noor case, prosecutors in Chauvin's case asked Cahill to bring back the third-degree murder charge. He refused.

Prosecutors went to the Minnesota Court of Appeals to ask it to uphold its interpretation of the law and reinstate the additional charge.

Friday, the appeals court said Cahill should not have tossed out the third-degree murder charge because the Noor ruling, which upheld it, was the precedent.The appeals court said Cahill can hear other arguments from Chauvin's defense attorney about reinstating the charge, but his decision must be consistent with the Noor precedent.

The state Supreme Court agreed to review the Noor case in June. If Chauvin is convicted of only the third-degree murder charge and the court overturns Noor, then Chauvin could go free, Moriarty said.

"The problem for Chauvin," she said, "is that if he gets convicted of it, he can appeal, but he would probably be sitting in jail until that happens."

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #34 on: March 16, 2021, 12:16:58 AM »
Derek Chauvin’s Lawyer Requests Delay of Trial After Announcement of $27 Million Settlement Awarded to George Floyd's Family
Ishena Robinson (The Root)


The murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is gearing up to be quite a protracted one. In other words—the process of winning criminal accountability for the heinous killing of 46-year-old Floyd, whose neck Chauvin knelt on for nearly nine minutes last May, is unlikely to be smooth or simple, but did we expect it to be?

Following Friday’s announcement that the Minneapolis City Council voted unanimously to award Floyd’s family a record $27 million to settle their wrongful death civil lawsuit, Chauvin’s defense lawyer Eric Nelson is now asking that the cop’s trial be delayed due to what he described as the “suspicious timing” of the settlement, reports the Washington Post.

Nelson has also requested that the court call back jurors who have already been selected for the trial to see if they heard news of the settlement and whether this has impacted their ability to be impartial. The judge presiding over the trial says he will grant this request from the defense.

From CNN:

In a hearing Monday, Nelson said he is “gravely concerned” by the announcement, calling it “incredibly prejudicial.”

“It’s amazing to me, they had a press conference on Friday, where the mayor of Minneapolis, on stage with city council, and they’re using very, what I would say, very well-designed terminology. ‘The unanimous decision of the city council,’ for example. It just goes straight to the heart of the dangers of pretrial publicity,” Nelson said.

The defense said a delay of the trial or more questioning of jurors would be among the appropriate remedies.

The prosecution acknowledged that the timing of the settlement was “unfortunate” but pushed back against the defense’s proposed remedies.

Judge Peter Cahill, who is overseeing the trial, said he would call the seven jurors already selected in the case back and question them about the settlement. He said he would take the defense motion for a delay under advisement.


Nelson is also asking that the trial be moved out of Hennepin County, Minnesota, an option that the presiding judge had floated last year when he warned attorneys in the case to refrain from making public comments that could prejudice a jury. Cahill has yet to rule on this request.

Cahill did say he wished the city hadn’t announced the $27 million settlement while jury selection in Chauvin’s trial is underway but added that he doesn’t sense “any evil intent in the timing.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey joined the Floyd family and their attorney Ben Crump at a press conference on Friday to announce the historic settlement from the city. The $27 million is the largest payout for police misconduct Minneapolis has ever made. According to the Post, the $20 million settlement from the city to the family of Justine Damond—a woman who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in 2017—was not announced until 2019, after the cop had been convicted.

The Root has reached out to Crump for a comment on the charge that the announcement may taint the jury pool for Chauvin’s trial, which could ultimately make it harder for a fair case to be tried against the former officer in the pursuit of criminal justice for Floyd’s death.

During jury selection on Monday, Cahill excused one potential juror for cause after she admitted to hearing about the settlement and said that she could not be impartial in light of the city’s choice to settle.

Seven jurors have already been seated in the trial, which is set to begin with opening statements on March 29. However, since Cahill has agreed to call back jurors and question them about their views on the settlement, the start of arguments in the trial may very well end up being delayed anyway.

Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in the death of Floyd. The trial of three other former Minneapolis officers—J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas K. Lane and Tou Thao—for their role in Floyd’s death, is scheduled to take place in August.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2021, 12:43:34 PM »
2 jurors dropped from Chauvin trial after $27M settlement
STEVE KARNOWSKI and AMY FORLITI - AP


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A judge on Wednesday dismissed two jurors who had been seated for the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer accused in George Floyd’s death over concerns they had been tainted by the city’s announcement of a $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill recalled seven jurors who were seated before the settlement was announced last week, and questioned each about what they knew of the settlement and whether it would affect their ability to serve. Former officer Derek Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, had requested the recall.

The dismissal of only two jurors suggested the impact of the settlement on the jury pool was less than feared, likely reducing the chance of Cahill granting a defense request to delay the trial.

Cahill was careful to ask jurors if they had heard the news of the settlement without giving details, saying only that there had been “extensive media coverage about developments in a civil suit between the city of Minneapolis and the family of George Floyd” and asking if they were exposed to it.

The first dismissed juror, a white man in his 30s, said he had heard about the settlement. “I think it will be hard to be impartial,” he said.

“That sticker price obviously shocked me,” the second juror dismissed said. The Hispanic man in his 20s said he thought he could set the news aside, but wasn’t sure, and after a long pause, Cahill dismissed him.

Cahill retained five other jurors, including a Black man in his 30s who told Cahill he heard about the settlement on the radio Friday evening but could put it aside and decide the case only on evidence presented in the courtroom.

“It hasn’t affected me at all because I don’t know the details,” he said.

Jury selection had been proceeding faster than expected, with opening statements tentatively expected March 29 at the earliest, but the two dismissals could imperil that start date. Nine people had been selected for the jury before Wednesday’s dismissals; 14 are needed.

Nelson called the timing of the announcement in the middle of jury selection “profoundly disturbing" and “not fair.”

Seven jurors remain, including four men and three women. Four are white, one is multiracial and two are Black, and their ages range from 20s to 50s. Fourteen people, including two alternates, are needed.

As questioning of potential jurors resumed Wednesday morning, two were excused: A man who said he would tend to believe a police officer’s version of events over that of a citizen, and a Black man who expressed negative views about the Minneapolis Police Department.

He said Floyd was an example of another Black man “killed” or “murdered” by police. He said he used to live in the area near Floyd’s arrest and had seen Minneapolis police sometimes ride through the area and antagonize residents if someone had been shot or jailed.

On the possibility of serving on the jury, he said: “Me, as a Black man, you see a lot of Black people get killed and no one is held accountable for it, and you wonder why. … So with this, maybe I’ll be in the room to know why.”

Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in the May 25 death of Floyd, a Black man who was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against his neck for about nine minutes. Floyd’s death, captured on a widely seen bystander video, set off weeks of sometimes-violent protests across the country and led to a national reckoning on racial justice.

The judge said he will rule Friday on Nelson's request to delay or move the trial and another to admit evidence of Floyd's 2019 arrest in Minneapolis. Cahill previously rejected that request, but said he would reconsider after Nelson argued that new evidence makes it admissible: Drugs were found in December that year during a second search of the car Floyd was in, and were found in a January 2020 search of the squad car into which the four officers attempted to put Floyd.

During the first arrest, several opioid pills and cocaine were found. An autopsy showed Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system when he died.

Prosecutor Matthew Frank argued that evidence from the 2019 arrest was prejudicial and an attempt to smear Floyd's character.

Three other former officers face an August trial in Floyd’s death on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.

The judge opened court Wednesday by threatening to remove a media pool and shut down a media center over some reporting on the case. Cahill was visibly angry as he described a pool report that included a reporter’s attempts to read notepads at the defense and prosecution tables, as well as describing security on the courthouse floor where the trial is taking place.

Cahill said any media that have posted details about security on the floor should take them down, and that failure to do so could result in them being kicked out of the media center. He did not name any reporters or media organizations.

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #36 on: March 19, 2021, 05:49:18 PM »
EXPLAINER: Chauvin's lawyer is outnumbered, but has help
AP


As trial approaches for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death, the early proceedings suggest it’s not exactly a fair fight. No fewer than four attorneys have appeared for the prosecution so far, compared to a single attorney to defend Derek Chauvin. Many other lawyers are working for the prosecution behind the scenes.

It’s an apparent mismatch that results from the state’s takeover of the prosecution, but defense attorney Eric Nelson is getting some help.

WHO ARE THE KEY PLAYERS FOR THE PROSECUTION?

Floyd, who was Black, was declared dead May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe. Days later, amid massive protests over Floyd's death, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz directed Attorney General Keith Ellison to take the case.

Ellison, Minnesota’s first African American elected attorney general, is in court but Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank is leading the prosecution. Frank heads the state's criminal division.

The prosecution is bolstered by outside attorneys working for free. They include former U.S. acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal; former federal prosecutor Steven Schleicher; and Jerry Blackwell, who last year won a posthumous pardon for a man wrongly convicted of rape in connection with the Duluth lynchings of 1920, and is a founder of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.

In addition to Katyal, the prosecution has received court approval for at least six other out-of-state attorneys to serve as co-counsels, according to court records.

DOES THE PROSECUTION HAVE DEEPER POCKETS?

Almost certainly. This is one of the most significant court cases in recent history and it is clear the state will spare no expense. That point was driven home by Ellison as soon as he took over, when he vowed to “bring to bear all the resources necessary to achieve justice in this case.”

Conversely, the defense is funded through the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association's legal defense fund. The MPPOA is a police advocacy organization made up of local police unions from across the state. Though he was fired soon after Floyd's death, Chauvin earned the right to representation through his years as a member of his local union, the Minneapolis Police Federation.

MPPOA Executive Director Brian Peters said supporters of Chauvin have asked to donate to his defense, but no donations are accepted. Instead, those people are directed to the National Center for Police Defense. Donations to the center aren't used for legal purposes, Peters said, but rather for living expenses for Chauvin and the three other officers accused in Floyd's death, all of whom lost their jobs. Peters said he did not know how much has been donated on behalf of the officers.

HOW WAS NELSON SELECTED AS CHAUVIN’S ATTORNEY?

Peters said the MPPOA works with a group of 12 defense attorneys who take turns handling cases as they come up. Originally, Chauvin’s defense was assigned to attorney Tom Kelly, but Kelly retired and Nelson replaced him.

WHAT IS NELSON'S BACKGROUND?

Nelson is an attorney with the Minneapolis firm Halberg Criminal Defense. His biography on the firm’s website says his experience includes cases involving “homicide, sex offenses, drug offenses, assaults and hundreds of DWI and alcohol-related traffic offenses." He's enough of an expert on driving while intoxicated that he frequently lectures on the topic and often contributes to a DWI sourcebook for Minnesota attorneys, his biography says.

“I saw a couple of reports of, ‘The MPPOA selected a DWI lawyer to represent Chauvin,'" Peters said. ”To be on our panel of attorneys is not very easy. You are vetted very aggressively, we’ll just say. That’s why we have 12 of the best defense attorneys on our panel.”

One of his most prominent cases involved Amy Senser, the wife of former Minnesota Vikings tight end Joe Senser, who was convicted in the 2011 hit-and-run death of a Minneapolis chef. Though Nelson argued for probation, Senser received a sentence of 41 months in prison.

He's had success in previous murder cases. He helped win an acquittal for a Minnesota man who was charged with fatally shooting his unarmed neighbor in 2017. He also won an acquittal for a Wisconsin man who testified that he feared for his safety when he fatally stabbed a man who confronted him in 2015.

IS NELSON WORKING ALONE?

Only on the surface, Peters said.

Different attorneys were assigned to each of the four officers. Those four attorneys have worked together behind the scenes from the outset, Peters said, and Nelson continues to consult with them.

Nelson also has access to the other eight attorneys who are part of the MPPOA's 12-attorney rotation.

The MPPOA also provides consultants on topics such as use-of-force and medical issues, “and Eric has been working very closely with those consultants,” Peters said. Expert witnesses also are available if Nelson chooses to use them.

“It may appear that it's just Eric, but that is very far from the truth,” Peters said.

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2021, 07:00:22 PM »
Derek Chauvin's attorney says the murder trial 'is not about race.' His own line of questioning suggests otherwise.
N'dea Yancey-Bragg and Grace Hauck
USA Today


MINNEAPOLIS – In his effort to find an impartial jury, the lead defense attorney in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police Derek Chauvin has spent the past two weeks questioning potential jurors about their views on racism, discrimination, policing of communities of color and Black Lives Matter.

But on Thursday, Eric Nelson told a prospective juror that the trial is "not about race."

The response to George Floyd's death suggests many people believe otherwise. For weeks, thousands of people in all 50 states protested systemic racism and police brutality, spurred by the sight of a Black man dying under the knee of a white police officer after centuries of white supremacist violence against Black people.

"We’re at an interesting point in society where people are telling us what is and what is not about race. I’m not sure that the defense attorney in this case gets to make that decision," said Samuel R. Sommers, a social psychology professor at Tufts University who studies the effect of race on the legal system. "It's a tragedy, but it's become a racially charged instance as well because of what else is going on our society."

Chauvin is not charged with crimes related to racial bias. But experts say race is at play not only in Floyd's death but in the courtroom during jury selection. And it will likely have an influence on deliberations and the verdict.

"Nothing magical happens to individuals who show up for jury duty that makes them somehow immune to racial biases," Sommers said.

Jurors who believe race affects the legal system are 'absolutely right'
Nelson's comment bears similarities to previous law enforcement denials that systemic racism is a factor in recent high-profile police killings of Black people.

In October, Louisville Police Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, one of the officers who fired weapons in a failed drug raid that took the life of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black medical worker in Kentucky, said the incident was “not a race thing like people try to make it to be.”

When asked why a 17-year-old white teenager accused of killing two protesters and injuring a third in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was arrested but Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot several times in the back, former Attorney General William Barr told CNN in September that he doesn't believe there are "two justice systems."

"I think the narrative that the police are on some, you know, epidemic of shooting unarmed Black men is simply a false narrative and also the narrative that that's based on race," Barr told CNN. "The fact of the matter is very rare for an unarmed African American to be shot by a white police officer."

And on Tuesday, after eight people, including six women of Asian descent, were killed in three shootings at Atlanta-area spas before police arrested and charged a white man, officials investigating the case said it was too soon to call the incident a hate crime. "We are just not there as of yet," Atlanta Police Chief Rodney Bryant said in a news conference.

Many people of color and others disagreed, viewing it as a crescendo of a year-long wave of racist violence – particularly after a recent spike in anti-Asian violence that began during the COVID-19 pandemic and that many believe was fomented by the rhetoric of the Trump administration.

Multiple studies and the lived experience of many Black people, in particular, suggest systemic racism is a factor in police killings.

An analysis of data from The Washington Post published in 2019 found that while Black Americans comprise just 13% of the U.S. population, they account for 36% of unarmed police shooting victims. Black Americans are 3.23 times more likely than white Americans to be killed by police, according to a study of nearly 5,500 police-related deaths between 2013 and 2017 published by Harvard researchers in June 2020.

"The data are very clear. Any prospective juror who says 'Yes, I believe race has the potential to influence how individuals are treated' is absolutely right," Sommers said. "If that’s going to be grounds for removing someone from the jury, that's a problem."

The jury's racial makeup will likely will be more varied than Minnesota
Thirteen jurors, five men and eight women, have been selected so far for Chauvin's trial. Seven of the jurors identify as white, two as multiracial and four as Black, according to the court. The court plans to seat at least one more juror.

The racial makeup of the jury probably will be more varied than the Minnesota as a whole, Hennepin County or Minneapolis. According to mid-2019 U.S. Census data, Hennepin County is 74.2% white, Minneapolis is 63.6% white and Minnesota is 83.8% white.

Months ago, the court sent a 13-page questionnaire to people in the jury pool asking their opinions on various subjects, including whether police officers are more likely to use force against people of color, whether people of color receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system, whether police in their community make them feel safe, and how they feel about the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements.

Attorneys for the defense and prosecution have prodded potential jurors to expand on their answers and explain their reasoning. That has spurred some lengthy conversations about their experiences with police and discrimination.

On Thursday afternoon, one man said he didn’t believe Black and white people are treated equally in the criminal justice system. Nelson asked if the man believed an incident in which police stop a person of color is more likely to end "tragically." The man said yes.

He also said he would not believe a police officer's testimony. The judge excused him from the jury.

Another juror, executive director of a youth organization, wrote in his questionnaire that he “somewhat disagreed” that police treat Black people and white people equally and that he “strongly agreed” media reports on police brutality against racial minorities are only the tip of the iceberg.

He said he thought he could still serve as an impartial juror. The defense used a peremptory challenge against him.

If attorneys want to eliminate a juror, the judge must approve their reason, or lawyers can use what’s known as a “peremptory challenge” to cut someone without providing a reason.

A veteran who appeared to be Black told the court he experiences racism on a daily basis. On his questionnaire, he “strongly agreed” Black people and white people aren’t equally treated by the criminal justice system and “strongly agreed” the Minneapolis Police Department is more likely to use force against Black people.

He told the court the fairness of the criminal justice system “depends on your colors.”

“If you’re Black ... we get the things where you have to go to jail,” he said.

He said he could set aside his opinions to serve on the jury. The defense used a peremptory strike against him.

Andrew Gordon, deputy director for community legal services at the Legal Rights Center in Minnesota, said the experiences juror described are inextricably connected to him being a Black man. "To strike him for those reasons is tantamount to striking him because he is Black," he said.

"You are eliminating opportunities to have individuals on that jury who have an appreciation of race and law enforcement interactions with race that could help inform truth-seeking," Gordon said.

Jurors who react strongly to George Floyd video are 'systematically struck'
Most, if not all, of the potential jurors who told the court they had a strong, emotional reaction to seeing the video of Floyd's death were not seated on the jury, and most were dismissed by the judge because they said they couldn't be impartial or because it would cause them trauma. Most people seated on the jury said they had seen at least portions of a video of the incident but could remain impartial.

One juror who appeared to be a young Black woman, a single mother, told the court she “cried hearing him call for his mother during his last moments of life.”

“I can’t unsee the video, so I’m not able to set that part aside,” she said. “It’s still going to be traumatizing to me.”

She said she could not remain impartial, and the judge dismissed her.

Another woman, who appeared to be a person of color, said she had a strong emotional response to the video of Floyd's death and struggled to speak in the courtroom Friday morning. She said the incident was "so close to home."

"I think it’s too much," she said. She said she could not remain impartial, and the judge dismissed her.

The video of Floyd's death is upsetting for almost everyone who watches, but it is acutely traumatic for people of color – Black people in particular – because of the cumulative nature of trauma resulting from racism, said Monnica Williams, a clinical psychologist and professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada, who studies African American mental health.

"You already have a layer of stress built into your genetic makeup," she said. "The more of these sorts of things that we’re exposed to the more likely a person is to have a traumatic reaction or full-blown PTSD."

Gordon said people who had a strong reaction to Floyd's death are among those being "systematically struck." That perpetuates the idea that jurors who identify with the fact that Floyd was killed by a white police officer because of their own racial identity can't determine truth.

"Our common sense tells us we are able as human beings to decipher truth even in the presence of bias," he said. "That legal fiction reinforces a lot of the stereotypes, reinforces a lot of the racial animus, reinforces a lot of the indifference that you see built into the legal system."

At least one juror who had a strong emotional reaction to the video, however, was seated on the jury. A white woman in her 50s who works in health care told the court she couldn’t watch the video in its entirety because it was disturbing.

“I think they could have handled it differently,” she wrote on the questionnaire.

The woman told the judge she could set her previous opinions aside to serve as an impartial juror, and she was seated on the jury.

'Do you want people on your jury that don’t think Black lives matter?'
In questioning, lawyers for the defense and prosecution often asked potential jurors to offer their thoughts on Black Lives Matter as an organization, the greater movement and the notion that Black lives matter in general.

One potential juror, a former musician who identifies as Hispanic, told the court he has a favorable view of the Black Lives Matter movement because it “continues on the tradition of the civil rights movement.”

The man said he thought he could still be impartial, but the defense used a peremptory challenge against him. The state followed with a Batson challenge, which claims a potential juror has been eliminated on the basis of sex, race, ethnicity or religion. The judge denied the challenge, saying there was a non-race-based rational for striking the juror, including the fact that his wife attended a protest in the wake of Floyd's death.

Experts said it's fairly easy to come up with a race-neutral answer to a Batson challenge, even if the strike is motivated in part by race.

"That’s pretty hard to enforce," Sommers said. "It's a problem the legal system has wrestled with for very long time and continues to wrestle with."

Another juror, a white woman in her 50s who works at a nonprofit and has interacted with the Minnesota attorney general, wrote on the questionnaire that she is “somewhat favorable” of Black Lives Matter.

“Excessive force against Blacks must stop, but not everyone working in the system is bad,” she told the court. “I think there’s inherent bias in the system.”

She was seated on the jury.

One juror, a Black woman in her 60s who used to work in marketing and has grandchildren, said that she was not very familiar with Black Lives Matter as an organization but that she supports the idea that Black lives matter.

“I am Black and my life matters,” she said. She was also seated on the jury.

Attorneys for both sides and the judge asked all potential jurors if they could put their opinions aside and impartially judge the case based solely on the evidence presented in court. Sommers said the key question becomes whether the judge believes them and why.

"When is it that the judge is willing to take their statement at face value and when is the judge not willing?" Sommers asked.

The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.

Offline Flex

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Re: R.I.P George Floyd
« Reply #38 on: May 01, 2021, 06:09:40 PM »
'Treated with particular cruelty': Minnesota attorney general requests severe sentence for Derek Chauvin in George Floyd killing
Michael James, USA TODAY


Minnesota's attorney general filed paperwork Friday asking that Derek Chauvin be given a more severe prison sentence in the killing of George Floyd, arguing that the former Minneapolis police officer inflicted torturous deadly methods as Floyd pleaded for his life.

Chauvin, who is scheduled to be sentenced in June for second-degree murder and other charges, abused his power as a police officer in full view of the public and while Floyd was handcuffed and crying out for his mother, state Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a legal brief filed in Minnesota's Hennepin County District Court.

“Mr. Floyd was treated with particular cruelty . . . Defendant continued to maintain his position atop Mr. Floyd even as Mr. Floyd cried out that he was in pain, even as Mr. Floyd exclaimed 27 times that he could not breathe, and even as Mr. Floyd said that Defendant’s actions were killing him,” Ellison said. He added that Chauvin stayed in position as Floyd cried out for his mother, stopped speaking and lost consciousness.

Prosecutors also wrote that Chauvin's actions "inflicted gratuitous pain" and psychological distress not just on Floyd, but the civilian bystanders who they argued will be haunted by the memory of what they saw.

Four of the people in the crowd watching Floyd die were minors, the court filing said.

“Defendant thus did not just inflict physical pain. He caused Mr. Floyd psychological distress during the final moments of his life, leaving Mr. Floyd helpless as he squeezed the last vestiges of life out of Mr. Floyd’s body,” the filing says.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson is opposing a tougher sentence, saying the state has failed to prove that those aggravating factors, among others, existed when Chauvin arrested Floyd on May 25.

Nelson also said Floyd was not treated with particular cruelty, saying that there is no evidence that the assault perpetrated by Chauvin involved gratuitous pain that’s not usually associated with second-degree murder.

“The assault of Mr. Floyd occurred in the course of a very short time, involved no threats or taunting, such as putting a gun to his head and pulling the trigger … and ended when EMS finally responded to officers’ calls,” Nelson wrote.

Chauvin, who is white, was convicted last week of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for 91/2 minutes as the Black man said he couldn’t breathe and went motionless.

Even though he was found guilty of three counts, under Minnesota statutes he’ll only be sentenced on the most serious one – second-degree murder. While that count carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, experts say he won’t get that much.

Prosecutors did not specify how much time they would seek for Chauvin.

Under Minnesota sentencing guidelines, the presumptive sentence for second-degree unintentional murder for someone with no criminal record like Chauvin would be 12 and a half years. Judges can sentence someone to as little as 10 years and eight months or as much as 15 years and still be within the advisory guideline range. To go above that, Judge Peter Cahill would have to find that there were “aggravating factors,” and even if those are found, legal experts have said Chauvin would likely not face more than 30 years.

Prosecutors said Friday that an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines is warranted because there are multiple aggravating factors in the case.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 06:11:16 PM by Flex »
The real measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.