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If there is one thing that we all know, it is that, on 25 May, Derek Chauvin of the Minneapolis Police Department killed George Floyd. This is what the newspapers say, and this is what we are told on television news. The only thing that seems to be in question is whether Chauvin is guilty of second- or third-degree murder.
Ordinarily, in the past, journalists took care to distinguish allegations from facts, but not in this case. They stuck to their claim that Chauvin had killed Floyd even when the medical examiner of Hennepin County issued a preliminary coroner’s report indicating that the latter had died of “cardiopulmonary arrest” – which is to say, a heart attack – and not asphyxiation; that he suffered “arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease”; that he was at the time of death hopped up on fentanyl; and that he had recently used methamphetamines. On National Review Online, on 4 June, the LAPD veteran who writes under the name of Jack Dunphy pointed out the obvious implications, but no one in the mainstream media bothered to note that drugs of this sort can cause shortness of breath and cardiac arrest and that Floyd may have died of a drug overdose.
We now know more – thanks to a fuller coroner’s report and thanks to footage from the body cams worn by two of the officers involved in Floyd’s arrest. We know that he had consumed more than twice the dose of fentanyl apt to be fatal, and we know that he had the Wuhan coronavirus. We also know that Floyd, who was 6’ 4” and weighed in at 220 pounds, resisted arrest; that the four officers involved had a difficult time subduing him; that they recognized that he was hopped up on something; and that they called an ambulance and urged that it come as quickly as possible. On 3 August, John Hinderaker laid out the evidence on the website Powerline. But, to date, no one in the mainstream media has addressed the implications.
There is no reason to think Chauvin guilty of second or third-degree murder. Indeed, there is every reason to suspect that he is not in any way legally or morally responsible for George Floyd’s death. It is, moreover, possible that he and his colleagues did everything by the book. Eventually, if and when there is a trial, we may learn the whole story. In the meantime, I doubt that we can expect any help from America’s professional journalists.Published in