I’m neither a legal scholar nor a blind conservative apologist for Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck for over seven minutes before he died.
There are numerous aspects of Chauvin’s upcoming trial that I feel most of us are unqualified to pass judgment upon. At least in my case, one of them is not whether the death of George Floyd can reasonably be compared to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
I’ve read the Gospels in a few translations, running the gamut from the King James Version to the teen-friendly Good News Bible. (You may safely skip the latter.) I know the details and interpretations of the events of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The general consensus is this: Jesus was crucified under Pontus Pilate for the sins of mankind under the pretense of treason and blasphemy. To borrow liberally from the Apostles’ Creed, he suffered, died and was buried. On the third day, he rose again. He ascended into Heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father.
Thus, I can safely say that however any expert for the prosecution was willing to use this comparison in the Chauvin trial, it would be decidedly out of place:
Now — one of the most “interesting” motions — one of the state’s witnesses apparently mentioned something about George Floyd’s death likened to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which prompted Nelson to file the motion. pic.twitter.com/BGUNggvRRF
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) March 8, 2021
Eric Nelson, a lawyer for Chauvin, filed the motion seeking to ban such comparisons, prompting Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to ask what we all were thinking during Monday’s hearing:
Court grants motion on precluding any expert from “likening the death of #GeorgeFloyd to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.”
Judge Cahill first said “I have to ask, how did this even become a motion?”
Apparently a state witness has said it before, in the context of asphyxiation.
— Julia Jenaé (@JuliaCourtTV) March 8, 2021
For whatever it’s worth (and it’s worth very little), one physical cause of death from crucifixion can be asphyxiation. The details aren’t worth going into, because George Floyd wasn’t crucified, neither for the sins of all mankind nor for allegedly trying to pass a forged banknote and then struggling with police.
At the very least, this won’t end up being a bone of contention:
Judge and prosecution agree on this motion, no comparisons to Jesus: “The Defendant moves the Court for an Order precluding any expert from likening the death of George Floyd to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the ground that such analogy is prejudicial.” (21)
— Jon Collins (@JonSCollins) March 8, 2021
Yes, one might say it is “prejudicial.” In fact, the judge was even more specific, according to KARE-TV’s Lou Raguse: “Tell your witness that analogy will not even come close to being admitted.”
Judge Cahill says, “tell your witness that analogy will not even come close to being admitted.”
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) March 8, 2021
There’s a wider issue here regarding fairness inasmuch as the Chauvin trial is, rather fittingly, the first flash-point criminal trial in the new woke America that has arisen, however permanently, in the wake of Floyd’s death — and a circus-like show trial would be an unpleasant augury for what the rule of law will look like in criminal court when the activist public believes there’s only one correct verdict, facts be damned.
We’ve all seen the strong case against Derek Chauvin for something; most Americans have seen the video, after all. The question is whether that something is second-degree murder — or murder at all.
As George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley noted in an opinion piece published this week in The Hill, an autopsy of Floyd said he died of “cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).” That autopsy’s preliminary findings “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease.”
Furthermore, the case is complicated by the high level of fentanyl in Floyd’s bloodstream at the time of his death; Hennepin County’s chief medical examiner reportedly said in the autopsy: “Fentanyl at 11 ng/ml — this is higher than (a) chronic pain patient. If he were found dead at home alone & no other apparent cause, this could be acceptable to call an OD [overdose]. Deaths have been certified w/levels of 3.”
Chauvin can be convicted on second- or third-degree murder charges, or manslaughter — but, as The Associated Press pointed out, conviction on the most serious charge requires prosecutors to prove that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death through the commission of a felony, in this instance third-degree assault. Turley noted, however, that a likely defense will be that Floyd’s death was from a fentanyl overdose and underlying health conditions, and the form of restraint he used was part of Minneapolis police training protocol.
The point is that second-degree murder isn’t quite the fait accompli watching the video might lead one to believe. However, an individual who watches the video and goes no further will likely demand Chauvin’s summary conviction on the most serious charge possible — and this sentiment has been aided and abetted by the establishment media, which is why barbed wire isn’t a difficult thing to trip across on the streets of Minneapolis at present.
If you’re the prosecution, what’s the easiest way to get the desired verdict? It’s a lot easier when you’re waving a harrowing video about and comparing George Floyd to Jesus Christ than, say, dealing with those controversial facts head-on. This is the most emotional criminal case in recent American memory. No prosecutor would fail to take advantage of it, sadly, no matter how much it cheapens justice and sours an already curdled cultural atmosphere.
At the very least, however, the prosecutor won’t be able to compare George Floyd’s death to that of the Savior on Calvary two millennia ago. Thank heavens for small victories.
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