With Apologies To David Letterman (Back When He Was Funny)

The Top Ten Things you Never, Ever Hear in Real Life.

10. “Hey, hand me that piano”.

9. “Gosh, the Star Tribune does a great job of balanced coverage on divisive issues”

8. “You know what I could use right now? A plate of “Scrod” from Embers”

7. “The fact that the Vikings, T-Wolves, Wild and usually the Twins disappoint me terribly is a sign that my priorities in life are terribliy out of whack”.

6. “See how much clearer and more fluid writing is when you arbitrarily and mindlessly adhere to the ‘Oxford Comma?'”

5. “The ‘zipper merge’ has made my life better”

4. “I got a call back from Alice Hausman’s office!”s

3. “That Mike McNeil on AM950 is appointment listening for me!”

2. “I always feel healthy and safe riding the Green Line after 6PM!”

And the #1 thing you never, ever hear in real life:

Number 1: “Oh, good. Al Sharpton is in town. Our racial divide and social crisis is going to get better”.

I’m No Lawyer

As such, I have no idea if the City of Minneapolis is trying to find ways to throw the Chauvin trial, or to create grounds for endless appeals, each of them a potential spark for more riots and, of course, more springboards for more political grandstanding.

But if it were…:

Cahill’s decision followed a defense request to delay or move the trial in the wake of last week’s $27 million wrongful death settlement announced between Minneapolis and the family of George Floyd.

Chauvin’s attorneys argued that the massive settlement and the notoriety around it might taint the jury pool.

Cahill, who’s expressed his unhappiness over Minneapolis publicizing the settlement during jury selection for Chauvin’s criminal trial, acknowledged Friday that the high-profile nature of this case would be inescapable no matter if it were postponed or moved.

“I don’t think there’s any place in the state of Minnesota that has not been subjected to extreme amounts of publicity on this case,“ Cahill told the court, explaining his decision to keep the trial in Minneapolis.

…I’d be at a loss for what they’d be doing differently.

Send In The Kangaroos

City of Minneapolis reaches an independent settlment with the Floyd family…

…just in time to jeopardize the Chauvin trial.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called it a milestone. The city council unanimously approved the settlement.

Announcing the settlement in the middle of jury selection for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin confused legal experts.

“It was absolutely terrible timing, I would say for both sides,” said Mary Moriarty, the former chief public defender in Hennepin County.

Prospective jurors in the trial can still be questioned about their thoughts on the settlement, but Moriarty says no one knows how the news will affect the seven already seated.

“Most jurors I think would perceive [the settlement] as the city’s belief that Chauvin did murder George Floyd and that they are liable,” Moriarty said.

It’s assumed that it’d be very difficult to insulate any jury from hearing about the settlement.

Given the Minneapolis City Council’s performance over the past year, it’s hard to guess whether it was incompetence, malice or arrogance.

I say “Its the Minneapolis City Council. Why choose?”

Death Spiral

Joe Soucheray on the Chauvin Trial and Minneapolis:

Yes, the trial, and the attendant protests, could be the end of Minneapolis. There is no political strength in place to save it. The council even exudes a vibe that suggests they are more concerned about the safety and convenience of protesters than their own citizenry.

The council cannot open an intersection because of their apparent fealty to those who occupy it. What are they going to do if rioters decide that they are going to take over six or seven square blocks of downtown, maybe the Nicollet Mall? This city let a police station burn. This is a city that called for help too late back in May 2020.

Minneapolis city council president Lisa Bender famously said that expecting public safety is a “privilege” – to which every taxpayer in that city should be saying “Yes. It Is. A ‘privilege’ I, whatever my race, creed or belief, pay through the nose for. Now provide it, stat, or get out of office and quite wasting our time”.

But they don’t ,and they won’t, and when Lisa Bender leaves the Council she, like Frey and even Alondra Cano, will be replaced by someone worse. That’s cynicism talking – well, not just cynicism. It’s the way Minneapolis politics is set up. It’s the way politics go wherever a small minority, committed to getting power at whatever cost, get their way. It’s the apotheosis of Urban Progressive Privilege.

Not even a complete apocalypse is going to change that.

Digging In

A friend of the blog emails:

As you can see you today more fencing and wire went up around the 4th Precinct in North Minneapolis.

Many traffic barriers are also set internal inside the fence in the police parking lot.

So where will all the rioters go?

It’s a rhetorical question.

UPDATE: Compare and contrast with when this shot was first taken, a couple weeks ago:

Currying Favor

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails

Here’s the team of lawyers volunteering their time to prosecute a Minneapolis police officer in the biggest racial lynching the city has ever seen. 

They must all be gunning for judge, hoping to impress Tim Walz with their sterling Liberal credentials so he appoints them to the bench.  Thank God I don’t live in Hennepin County.

Joe Doakes

Same. Although let’s not pretend for a moment that if this had happened in Saint Paul, the Ramco Attorney’s office wouldn’t be just as bad.

The Darkness Before More, Darker Darkness

The news is full of stories about the preparations for Monday’s opening of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Signally, all those preparations seem to involve fortifying government buildings.

That includes Minneapolis City Hall, where taxpayers are paying a lot of money to fortify a building wherein most of the City Council members believe the expectation of public safety is a privilege.

As to protecting the small businesspeople? Residents?

Additionally, Sasha Cotton, the director for the city’s new Office of Violence Prevention, said her department is working with the city’s Neighborhood and Community Relations Department on a preparedness toolkit—which includes safety tips and best practices, among other information—to help neighborhoods and residents.

A “preparedness kit”.

In other words, smoke ’em if you got ’em. You’re on your own.

Again. Government has its priorities. Government is government’s priority.

But it’s OK – because city officials are pointing out the precedent they’re concerned about.

January 6.

Not May 25.

“Never Waste a Crisis!”

A city’s agony is just another excuse to feed into the blood libel that there is a massive wave of “white supremacist right wing violence that’ll dwarf 9/11” waiting out there, any day now.

Plans

A friend of the blog emails:

The people of Portland and Seattle might get a break seeing so many will be in Minneapolis.

Super Bowl, Basketball Final Four, and Chauvin trial, come to Minneapolis.

We used to call them “professional protesters”. And they most certainly do exist.

But I think we also have a class of “riot tourists”.

And it looks like the Twin CIties are a destination.

The Darkness Before The Darkness

A longtime friend of the blog emails:

With the impending Derek Chauvin trial, the fortification of the 4th Precinct has begun this morning.

A wall of cement traffic barricades are being set around the perimeter. Back last summer it was reinforced with razor wire.

I am so deeply saddened by what has happened to my city.

Sad. And disgusted.

Kevin Williamson was right. This isn’t decay. This is municipal suicide.

Bombshell

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails

On May 31, prosecutors learned Floyd died of an overdose. On August 25, they admitted it in court.

Charges against the officers still have not been dismissed. One remains in jail, in super-max prison, in Oak Park Heights. 

I seem to recall someone in the comments lecturing me on the ethical duties of a prosecutor as explanation why he was confident the state would win a conviction.  Yeah?  Not when your own medical examiner concedes it was an overdose. 

I’m ready for my apology.  I bet Chauvin is, too.  I wonder if the Lawyer’s Board of Professional Responsibility is taking complaints in person these days, or on-line only.  Because sitting on exculpatory evidence for three months, publicly branding a man you know to be innocent as a murder, encouraging people to riot to protest a crime that never occured . . . those acts seem to violate the Rules of Professional Conduct, particularly Rules 3.8 (a), (d) and (f).

Joe Doakes

Part of my enduring pessimism about politics in Minnesota is that, between the media, the irregularities in the election system, and the mass of brainwashed droogs that would vote DFL if Josef Mengele came back from the dead and got the DFL endorsement by standing on his head while chanting “Black Cadavers Matter” and give him 70% of the vote anyway, is that accountability – at least, the accountability not manifested by people voting with their feet – always evades them.

If it doesn’t happen soon – in some form other than “Minneapolis turning into a cold Flint” – I’m not sure that it’ll matter anymore.

Shot In The Dark: Today’s News, Months Ago

Someone in the press leaked the body cam video of the George Floyd arrest. Taking nothing away from the tragedy or the anger that went along with it – “knee on the throat” isn’t a good look – but seeing this, I’m thinking Keith Ellison would need Vasily Ulrikh on the bench to get a Murder conviction.

I have little to add, except that this piece from two months ago is looking better and better.

Oh, yeah – strap in. Officer Chauvin will be acquitted of “Unintentional Second Degree Murder”, and the other three will get away with lesser included charges. It’s going to make the last week in May look like a kindergarten full of kids who broke into the Koolaid.

Rounds Two And…Three?

Like a lot of Twin Cities residents, I’m eyeing next spring – sometime after the scheduled March opening of the Derek Chauvin trial – nervously, remembering that the LA riots (at least the ones everyone remembers) began not with the pummeling of Rodney King, but with the acquittal of the four officers involved.

And here’s a fearless prediction (one I’ve already made): Chauvin will be acquitted of Second Degree Unintentional Murder – not because of any legal cop-fu, but because while I’m not a lawyer, I don’t think you need to be a lawyer to see why it’s going to be very hard to show that Chauvin was – check the emphasis, taken from the statute for 2nd Degree Unintentional Murder…:

(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting; or

Is a cop responding to a call “the commission of a felony?” I can see Alondra Cano believing that – but Ellison? Someone who’s ostensibly been to law school?

Unless there’s some bodacious lawyer-fu in store, or the Attorney General’s office plans on tampering with the entire witness pool, I’m just not seeing it.

But does the concept of qualified immunity mean there could be yet a third adverse verdict for George Floyd’s supporters and the Twin CIties’ far left’s many professional and amateur hooligans?

Was it “clearly established” on May 25 that kneeling on a prone, handcuffed arrestee’s neck for nearly nine minutes violated his Fourth Amendment rights? The issue is surprisingly unsettled in the 8th Circuit, which includes Minnesota.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit blocked civil rights claims in two recent cases with broadly similar facts: handcuffed detainees who died after being restrained face down by several officers. Unlike those detainees, Floyd was not actively resisting at the time of his death, except to repeatedly complain that he could not breathe.

While that distinction could make a difference in the constitutional analysis, we can’t be sure. Even if the 8th Circuit concluded that Chauvin’s actions were unconstitutional, it could still decide the law on that point was not clear enough at the time of Floyd’s arrest, meaning Chauvin would receive qualified immunity.

The 8th Circuit could even reach the latter conclusion without resolving the constitutional question, as courts have commonly done since 2009, when the Supreme Court began allowing that shortcut. To defeat qualified immunity in this case, says UCLA law professor Joanna Schwartz, a leading critic of the doctrine, Floyd’s family “would have to find cases in which earlier defendants were found to have violated the law in precisely the same way.”

The whole piece is worth a read – and the whole concept of seriously reforming qualified immunity is something conservatives need to take an enlightened lead on.

Because it’s for damn sure the other side won’t.

I’m No Lawyer…

…and I’ll leave plenty of room for those of you who are.

But as re Keith Ellison taking over the prosecution of the officers involved in the George Floyd case, I can’t help but think the following:

Hot Potato: Mike Freeman just got the most controversial case in his misbegotten career off his plate. He can’t help but be relieved to get this “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” monstrosity off his docket.

Priorities For starters, Ellison’s not trying the case personally – the head of his trials division is.

On the other hand, the MN Attorney General’s office, under a fifty-year-long series of DFL occupants (Ellison, Lori Swanson, Mike Hatch, Skip Humphrey and Warren Spannaus), has basically turned into a Better Business Bureau with guns, and a 1-800-ASK-GARY for political non-profits looking to harass businesses into compliance with their pet policies. I’m not gonna say the MNAGO doesnt have the expertise to prosecute a shoplifter caught on camera – but it’s not exactly been their front foot for the last, oh, couple generations or so.

I’m gonna guess the state’ll be paying a lot for “consultants” on this case.

A Charge Or Two Too Far: So let’s take a look – via my admittedly non-lawyer perspective – at the three charges. I’ll add emphasis to what I – again, a non-lawyer – think the “beef” is.

Murder in the Second Degree:

Whoever does either of the following is guilty of murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being with intent to effect the death of that person or another, but without premeditation

[(2) relates to drive-by shootings – clearly not applicable]

Subd. 2. Unintentional Murders. Whoever does either of the following is guilty of unintentional murder in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 40 years:

(1) causes the death of a human being, without intent to effect the death of any person, while committing or attempting to commit a felony offense other than criminal sexual conduct in the first or second degree with force or violence or a drive-by shooting; or
[(2) relates to killing people who’ve taken out restraining orders]

Now, let’s look at Murder in the Third Degree

(a) Whoever, without intent to effect the death of any person, causes the death of another by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life, is guilty of murder in the third degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 25 years.

[(b) relates to selling drugs to someone who dies of an overdose – not applicable here – Ed]

Here’s Manslaughter in the Second Degree.

 A person who causes the death of another by any of the following means is guilty of manslaughter in the second degree and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than ten years or to payment of a fine of not more than $20,000, or both:

(1) by the person’s culpable negligence whereby the person creates an unreasonable risk, and consciously takes chances of causing death or great bodily harm to another; or [several sections related to actions that don’t apply – the statute is linked, holler if you disagree – Ed]

So – knowing what we know now, what do you think is going to fly beyond a reasonable doubt?

That:

  1. The officers intended to kill Floyd while committing a felony offense – which would involve proving that “doing their jobs” was a felony? Or
  2. Unintentionally killed Floyd while committing an eminently dangerous act? You could say kneeling on someone’s neck might be eminently dangerous, and I might agree 100%, but qualified immunity – the doctrine that if one government employee gets away with something, they all get away with it – and the tactic is not completely outlandish, if discouraged, in police circles, might be a problem, here.
  3. The officers were culpably negligent and created an unreasonable (i.e., would fail to convince a jiury) risk.

The usual caveats apply: case law colors how statues are applied, and I’m not a lawyer.

But given that it appears to this non-lawyer that charging Chauvin with Second Degree murder was a) done to placate the crowd and b) find charges for the other three officers and c) looks like a very long shot, I have to wonder if they aren’t banking on, in effect, making a political statement and not bothering with justice.

Politics First: Being entirely a puppet of “progressives” with deep pockets, you knew Ellison was going to have to bump up the charges to…well, whatever he could get away with. The party he answers to needs to have a ritual stoning, or some other red meat to throw its constituents and, ideally, beat Republicans over the head with in the fall…

…without actually having negative consequences for the November elections.

Ellison, himself as graceful and fluid in his deflections as a German jazz band, telegraphed this during his initial presser, saying a trial would take “months”. Meaning – it’ll stay in the realm of political mud-throwing until after November, giving the DFL PR machine plenty of time to repair damage from the inevitable disturbances that erupt after Chauvin is acquitted for Second Degree murder (and, I can’t help but think, delaying that verdict until the depth of a Minnesota winter, deterring a lot of rioting).

The Fifth Killer

Police and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) deal with a lot of people in crisis – including various medical crises, exacerbated or caused by drugs, alcohol, mental illness, or physical pathologies.

Combining the stress of a contact with police, the medical episode and other contributing factors can cause all sorts of problems, some of them potentially fatal:

  • Excited Delirium – a physical condition involving, essentially, the brain and body speeding out of control. It sounds fun – I thought I was in an excited delirium when I met the Bangles. But no, it’s deadly serious.
  • Positional Asphyxia – where someone is in, or is being restrained in, a position where they can’t breathe – frequently because their chest is constrained from moving. When combined with the other effects of high stress, the blood becomes “acidotic“, which can quickly lead to cardiac arrest.

A standard method of dealing with Excited Delirium and Positional Asphyxia, while detaining and maintaining physical control over someone, is to turn them on their side. It’s easy enough, relatively, to maintain physical control – but their chest can expand, their diaphragm can expand and contract the lungs which, with someone in crisis, helps bring down the blood acids that lead to Acidosis, lowering the risk of cardiac arrest.

Or at least, that was what the Minneapolis Police Department was taught by Hennepin EMS, the paramedic service for Hennepin County, which helped train Minneapolis cops in basic first aid and other medical techniques used to stabilize people in crisis, even when they needed to be detained an controlled.

And for cases where more intervention is needed, some paramedics use a drug called ketamine. it’s a sedative, used in operating rooms for starting general anaesthesia – but it works just fine for sedating someone in a crisis, letting them breathe and recover while de-stressing, physically as well as mentally. Hennepin EMS was the first paramedic agency in the country to use Ketamin to sedate people in medical emergencied, along with about a third of all EMS agencies in the US. It’s a “very safe drug that works quicker [in his experience] than anything else”, says my source.

But – says my source – the article, the inevitable raft of subsequent lawsuits and regulatory investigations resulted, in my source’s words, in some EMS medics “…being spooked. As an agency, we were less likely to administer optimal treatments.”

It’s also a component in some “date rape” drugs – which we’ll come back to.

Hennepin EMS trained Minneapolis cops – and used Ketamine to de-escalate medical crises.

That is, until just about two years ago.

That’s when a story came out in the Star Tribune, by Andy Mannix, entitled “At urging of Minneapolis police, Hennepin EMS workers subdued dozens with a powerful sedative“.

A source formerly located in Hennepin EMS, speaking on condition of anonymity, tells me the Mannix article got pretty much every substantive fact about the use of Ketamine wrong (“He spelled Hennepin right”, my source quipped).

But the damage was…well, not done. It began. Minneapolis broke its training arrangement with Hennepin EMS, and stopped the use of ketamine.

Breathing: Fast forward to Memorial Day, 2020, and the infamous encounter outside Cup Foods in South Minneaoplis.

The New York Times put together what my source calls an excellent video on the killing – including some camera angles and audio I hadn’t encountered before. My source says the Times did an “outstanding job”.

It’s distressing, but worth a watch.

And as you do, notice – Floyd was clearly having a medical emergency. He was a big guy, so having his wrists cuffed already restricted his breathing. His claustrophobia was self-stated – but as a 6’5 guy (Floyd was 6’6) the thought of being wedged into one of those passive-aggressively cramped little police cruisers makes me a little panicky all by itself. Stress on top of medical crisis – strikes one and two.

And then officers Chauvin and Moua arrived, pulled Lloyd out of the back of the car, and commenced kneeling on his neck and back – seriously impairing his breathing.

Some wannabe social media doctors have missed the point, borrowing lessons from Heimlich Maneuver training and claiming that since Floyd could say “I can’t breathe”, he could breathe.

But, my source relates, it wouldn’t matter, if the killer symptom – acidosis, which Floyd was unable to ventilate – was leading to a cardiac arrest.

One of the officers figured it out, asking Officer Chauvin if they might roll Floyd onto his side – which Chauvin rejected, keeping Floyd under his knee until EMS arrived.

By which point Floyd was well past mere “crisis” – unresponsive, apparently acidotic, sliding toward the cardiac arrest that was reported by the EMS when they reached 36th and Park – mere blocks from Cup Foods.

Did a sloppy news story and a subsequent frenzy of litigation and regulation take a vital tool out of paramedics’ toolkits? One that might have prevented George Floyd’s death, and the orgy of misery that it led to?