As far as the corporate media narratives are concerned, we are only allowed to hold one of two possible opinions about the George Floyd killing in 2020.
On the one hand, there is the position that George Floyd was a saintly man who died as a result of a racism-inspired attack by police officer Derek Chauvin. Moreover, Chauvin deliberately killed Floyd, and is thus guilty of murder.
On the other side is the position that George Floyd was a monster who only died because he was a drug user. Chauvin, a saintly public servant, was merely trying to restrain a dangerous criminal—i.e., Floyd—who was in the process of stealing from a local merchant. Chauvin was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time since Floyd just happened to die while Chauvin was kneeling on this neck. This was bad luck for Chauvin who did absolutely nothing wrong.
Those are your two media-approved choices.
The first narrative, of course, is the standard leftwing position promoted by the likes of CNN pundits.
On the other side are FoxNews pundits like Tucker Carlson.
Neither narrative describes the actual situation, however.
This is important again because Carlson has recently taken to claiming that “the whole George Floyd story was a lie.”
This claim is based on Carlson’s theory that Floyd could not have been killed by Chauvin because Floyd had various illegal drugs in his system.
But is the whole George Floyd story a lie? Certainly some parts of the story are undeniably true. It is well established that Chauvin chose to use a neck restraint defined as “deadly force” by the police themselves. It is well established that Chauvin did this in spite of the fact that Floyd was already handcuffed and the police had no reason to interpret Floyd’s lack of cooperation as a threat to the police or the public. These facts were attested to by police personnel during Chauvin’s trial.
In other words, it is a fact that Chauvin saw fit to apply deadly force to a handcuffed man, and while using that deadly force, the subject died.
So, no, Carlson’s claim that the whole story is a “lie” is demonstrably false. Yes, parts of the story probably are lies.
The idea that Chauvin was animated primarily by racism appears to be completely made up.
The claim that Chauvin intended to murder Floyd is probably a total fabrication as well.
But the facts point strongly to the claim that Chauvin is indeed guilty of involuntary manslaughter. After all, manslaughter is generally defined—depending on what state you are in—as accidental homicide that occurs during the commission of some other illegal activity.
In Chauvin’s case, it was established during the trial that he applied deadly force to Floyd contrary to law, police policy, and Chauvin’s training. In other words, Chauvin was breaking the law by assaulting Floyd who was already restrained. While Chauvin was committing this assault, Floyd died.
There are, however, reasons to think Chauvin did not intend to kill Floyd.
Chauvin committed his assault right out in the open in front of at least a dozen witnesses. Because of his disregard for policy and common sense, Chauvin apparently believed his use of deadly force would not result in death. We also know that Chauvin is a generally incompetent person. He failed at every job he had in the private sector, and only managed to meet some level of success when he stumbled upon government jobs in which it was nearly impossible to be fired. Chauvin is the poster boy for people we might describe as “shiftless government employee.” It’s entirely plausible it didn’t occur to Chauvin—as it would occur to an intelligent or competent person—that kneeling on a handcuffed person’s neck for nine minutes might result in unfortunate consequences.
As Carlson points out, Floyd was in poor health due to drug use and hard living. Yet, this does not mean Chauvin is not guilty of manslaughter. After all, people go to jail regularly for manslaughter as a result of assaults that might seem unlikely to kill a healthy person. Lauren Pazienza can tell you all about it. Pazienza is now serving a prison sentence for manslaughter after shoving an 87-year-old woman who fell down, hit her dead, and died. The same shove would have likely brought no harm to a younger, healthier person. Pazienza now has eight years in prison to think about it.
This is why we don’t assault people unless that person poses a real risk to us. One can’t predict what might happen. Chauvin, however, who had a long record of dim-witted and aggressive behavior as a police officer, chose to use deadly force on a handcuffed subject. According to the medical examiner, this was a key factor in Floyd’s death. That is, Floyd’s death was ruled a “homicide” by reason of “law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” The use of the term “homicide” here doesn’t mean Chauvin committed deliberate murder. But it is fairly clear that Chauvin is guilty of manslaughter because Chauvin’s illegal actions brought about Floyd’s “cardiopulmonary arrest” that resulted in death.
Does Chauvin deserve decades in prison for this? Probably not, but he could have also easily avoided the entire situation, had he not thought himself above the law.