- A lawyer representing one of many 4 law enforcement officials implicated in George Floyd’s homicide says he was an ex-con who had a historical past of drug use.
- One other lawyer has advised the courtroom that Floyd is more likely to have died from drug abuse.
- Floyd died on 25 Might after a police officer pressed his knee towards his neck.
A lawyer for one of many 4 former Minneapolis law enforcement officials charged in George Floyd’s demise is highlighting the latter’s previous crimes and historical past of drug use, calling him an ex-con and “evident hazard to the neighborhood”.
One other is seizing on Floyd’s medical points and dependancy, saying he seemingly died from fentanyl, not a knee on his neck.
Some courtroom filings by defence legal professionals in latest months are taking a blame-the-victim method. It’s a widespread defence technique that authorized consultants say might be used to indicate officers acted moderately, and to counter broadly seen bystander video displaying a white police officer kneeling on Floyd’s neck for practically eight minutes.
Consultants say the technique could resonate with a possible jury pool, even when a lot of what’s stated now by no means comes up at a trial set for subsequent 12 months.
Don Lewis, a distinguished Twin Cities lawyer who will not be linked to this case, stated it’s standard for defence legal professionals to “feed the stereotype of the risks of a Black man” to a jury to indicate that any use of pressure by legislation enforcement is justified. He stated just one or two jurors have to have doubts.
Floyd, a Black man who was in handcuffs, died on 25 Might after Derek Chauvin pressed his knee towards Floyd’s neck as Floyd stated he couldn’t breathe, known as out for his mom and have become immobile.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree homicide, third-degree homicide and manslaughter.
Thomas Lane, J Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting each second-degree homicide and manslaughter.
Bystander video of Floyd’s arrest circulated around the globe, sparking protests and resulting in elevated help for the Black Lives Matter motion.
Mike Brandt, a defence lawyer not linked to the case, stated countering that video with Floyd’s previous is an efficient technique.
“You are attempting to push the pendulum again … from these damning movies of Chauvin together with his knee on Floyd’s neck,” he stated.
The previous officers are anticipated in courtroom on Friday for a listening to on a number of points, together with a prosecution request to attempt the boys collectively and defence requests to maneuver the trial away from Minneapolis. Defence requests to dismiss fees is not going to be addressed on the listening to.
In paperwork requesting dismissal, Lane’s lawyer, Earl Grey, wrote about Floyd’s prior fees of armed theft and drug possession in Texas. He known as Floyd an ex-con, a violent defendant, a liar, an addict, a drug distributor, and a hazard. “Mr Floyd was, because the Officers had suspected, an addict,” Grey wrote. “He was worse than that.”
Ben Crump, a lawyer for Floyd’s household, rejected that method.
“Every part it’s essential to know is on that horrific video,” Crump stated. “When police do inexcusable issues, the defence is at all times to kill the sufferer yet again by dredging up their historical past and assassinating their character.”
The Texas theft is unlikely to return up at trial as a result of it might not be related except the officers had prior data of it.
Kelly Keegan, one other lawyer not linked to the case, stated prior incidents can’t be introduced up in courtroom simply to smear folks, and a choose should weigh whether or not the knowledge will assist the jury discover info or simply depart a detrimental impression.
Earlier police interplay
One previous arrest that would come up at trial is a Might 2019 incident during which defence legal professionals say Floyd acted in the same method.
Physique-camera footage from the day Floyd died exhibits Lane and Kueng approaching a panicked Floyd, who says, “I am not a foul man!”and struggles, begging to not be put in a squad automobile. Grey wrote that the video exhibits Floyd had one thing in his mouth that seemed like a fentanyl capsule, which disappeared. Post-mortem studies present Floyd had fentanyl in his system.
Grey and Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, wrote that in a Might 2019 arrest, Floyd wouldn’t hearken to officers’ instructions, put one thing in his mouth, needed to be bodily faraway from a car, then started to cry. In that case, a number of opioid drugs have been discovered, together with cocaine, they wrote.
Nelson in contrast Floyd’s behaviour in each arrests, saying: “Clearly, Mr Floyd had a modus operandi in the best way he acted when approached by law enforcement officials whereas making an attempt to hide narcotics.”
Keegan stated even when the officers had no data of the 2019 arrest, defence legal professionals might argue Floyd had a behavior of swallowing medicine, performing scared, crying and struggling when approached by police.
Grey wrote that Floyd shares blame for his demise.
“All he needed to do is sit within the police automobile, like each different defendant who’s initially arrested,” Grey wrote. “Whereas making an attempt to keep away from his arrest, all by himself, Mr Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl. Given his intoxication degree, respiratory would have been troublesome at greatest. Mr Floyd’s intentional failure to obey instructions, coupled together with his overdosing, contributed to his personal demise.”
Nelson additionally honed in on Floyd’s previous drug use, writing that citing Floyd’s historical past of drug dependancy is “not an try and assail Mr Floyd’s character”. However, he stated, Floyd most probably died of “fentanyl or a mix of fentanyl and methamphetamine in live performance together with his underlying well being situations”.
The county medical expert categorized Floyd’s demise as a murder, together with his coronary heart stopping whereas he was restrained by police and his neck compressed. A abstract report listed fentanyl intoxication and up to date methamphetamine use underneath “different vital situations” however not underneath “reason behind demise”.
Based on prosecutors’ notes, Hennepin County Medical Examiner Andrew Baker advised prosecutors that absent different obvious causes of demise, it “might be acceptable” to rule the demise an overdose, based mostly on the extent of fentanyl in Floyd’s system.
A separate post-mortem commissioned for Floyd’s household concluded he died of asphyxiation as a consequence of neck and again compression.
Lewis and Keegan stated Floyd’s reason behind demise might be as much as a jury. They stated it might be powerful to remove all biases from a possible jury, and questions requested throughout jury choice might be vital.
Whereas a blame-the-victim method may appear questionable to some, Lewis stated a defence lawyer’s job “is to not foster racial concord or to additional prison justice reform. His job is solely to get his shopper acquitted.”
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