Twitter and YouTube Manipulation in Trial of Derek Chauvin for the Death of George Floyd?

Due to the hour and the terrible general state of search, I can’t prove a negative, but I sure don’t like what I am not seeing regarding the trial of Derek Chavin on Twitter. And I’m not clear on how much of what I am not seeing is due to the US press or our tech overlords.

By sheer happenstance, when looking for something to watch while doing one of the few forms of lower body exercise open to me (standing on a whole body vibration plate), I turned on Court TV. Court TV has gavel to gavel coverage. You can also find YouTube videos of the full day of each day of the trial posted by NBC, the Washington Post, and other media outlets. So I am not asserting that some key material is absent from the Internet, but that particularly important bits are not being showcased.

What I saw in the mere five minutes that Court TV excepted, at about 3 AM, was a discussion with several policemen of new evidence introduced on Wednesday, police body cam footage. The three cops all agreed, two more strongly than the third, that the approach and arrest of Floyd, as shown on the body cams, was botched. It’s not clear if they had a reasonable basis for arresting him based just on one suspect $20. They treated him as a physical threat when the audio sure didn’t suggest that, and what you could infer from the video was way less than dispositive. All the former policemen agreed Chavin escalated way too quickly. And his and his partner’s priority should have been to search the car for more bills…which never happened.

That quickly segued to the next bit of new footage, that of Floyd crying out, “Mama” repeatedly and then “I’m gonna die” as the police were subduing him. The prosecution presented this part while they had bystander Charles McMillan on the stand. There were many clips on Twitter and YouTube of the dignified-looking McMillan breaking down in tears after watching Floyd crying out. Court TV showed the body cam image of Floyd as he was calling “Mama” repeatedly on a full screen, as presumably McMillan did in court. I started tearing up when I saw it and I’m not very sentimental. It was very distressing to watch.

Yet when I put in “Floyd mama” on Twitter, I didn’t find a single clip of this moment but many agitated tweets by viewers who had seen the sequence. BBC did have a YouTube clip with the part I wanted to see when I tried finding the new body cam footage (I forget exactly what search sequence I used then). But you’ll see it relegated the distressing Floyd segment to 1/4 screen:

After doing quite a bit of hunting on Twitter, using “McMillan,” I found this excerpt, but again with Floyd begging reduced to 1/4 screen. Confirming the difficulty of finding this tweet, note that it has only 100 retweets despite being released early in the news cycle:

The prosecution has done a very effective job by having the various witnesses recall what they saw and felt. And as the various commentators on the trial have hammered home, they are all traumatized. Two more widely-shown sequences:

It was also not good at all to see Twitter pull the same stunt it did with Donald Williams that I saw a few days ago when I went looking for clips of Bernie Sanders speaking at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. I searched on “Sanders Bessemer” and the first tweet was from Sanders’ account, featuring Killer Mike. I watched it, went to grab the embed code, and before I could, the thread refreshed. The Killer Mike tweet was nowhere to be found, and despite the search terms staying the same, nor were there any clips of Sanders. When I went to search field and put in “Bernie Sanders” I didn’t get the customary dropdown of Twitter account names. I actually had to look at search results for Bernie Sanders to find a tweet from his account, and then go to that to find the Killer Mike mini-segment.

Here, I had figured out that Donald Williams was the mixed martial artist who had given damaging testimony about Chauvin using a “blood choke”. I also saw there was a #DonaldWilliams hashtag. I clicked on that.

On the first view, the clip I featured above came up in the first few tweets with video footage. But after I viewed it, the feed refreshed, and it was suddenly full of the defense interrogation of Donald Williams seeking to discredit him, such as:

As with the Killer Mike clip, I had to go to considerable effort (in this case, scrolling past well over 30 clips similar to the one above or still shots with quotes, and that omits the text-only tweets, which I ignored) to find any of the prosecution testimony from Donald Williams. WTF?

And if you think these bits are hard to watch, imagine what it’s like getting the full dose. From Fox on Day 3 (yesterday):

Around 10:30 a.m., Judge Peter Cahill spoke with the woman, referred to as Juror 44, to determine what happened. Juror 44 is a white woman in her 50s who works in for a nonprofit. The rest of the jury was not present during this questioning.

When Cahill asked her if her apparent illness was a “stress-related reaction,” she agreed.

The juror explained she has had trouble sleeping and has been awake since 2 a.m.

It may prove that the TV news coverage, which does tend towards being sanitized, still gets enough of the dramatic parts on air that Twitter and YouTube games won’t matter much. But it’s still revealing to see it happening.

Mind you, I’m bothered to be giving such superficial coverage. But one reason why is I have yet to see any trial commentary from the trustworthy internet pubs I follow. Maybe they feel they can’t if they haven’t watched the trial in full.

Despite what looks like media efforts to put the most troubling parts of the testimony in soft focus, the full coverage is there for anyone who wants to see it, in real time or on YouTube. Please let me know if you have seen any signs, as I have, of the tech platforms trying to blunt the content of this trial.

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  1. Pelham

    Hmm. If anything, you’d think that mainstream and social media would be playing up or at least laying out in full the prosecution’s case, as it serves their readers and viewers. This seems to gravitate in the other direction.

    1. blep

      Mainstream news is like water for a goldfish. I would say the news by-and-large, while trying to have some respect for non-peaceful protest and appeasing the people of color who watch, their actual choice in how they cover things shows that they are largely pro-police. You can easily google “copaganda” examples from local news and you’ll see a deluge of stories on soccer leagues, ice cream cones, and cats stuck in trees like that was the primary purpose of a police’s jobs. They do not look into things like clearance rate or look into the quality of police work, nor do they ask a police commissioner if a rise in crime, if there even is one, is because of their policing; they take it as face-value that more funding for the police is needed. As a macrostructure, this makes sense. The police are the arm of the state and the media acts as propaganda arms for different parts of the state. And wouldn’t you know, both Democrats and Republicans both by-and-large like the police, so their donor base that funds the media believes the same.

      1. James Simpson

        Same here in the UK. The Freeview listings are dominated by pro-police, anti-migrant, anti-poor people programmes on most channels, but especially Channel 5 (owned by Viacom CBS). None of the TV broadcasters, including the BBC, challenges the police line on anything. Politically, the Labour party has throughout its history since the early 20th century been a largely uncritical supporter of the police: the leftwing MPs who deviate from that line get punished.

        1. Richard Kirby

          You say that but the BBC Line of Duty drama is all about corrupt cops. Then the last series of the Unforgotten ITV drama was about just graduated police who ended up covering up a murder by one of their number 30 years in the past on the night of their passing out parade. One of the offenders was about to be made chief of police or some such role, and the other was an asian detective who kept playing the “your complaint about my behaviour is because you are a racist” card.

          OTOH there was a recent series about OCGs in Manchester and 2 cases the police there followed. It mentioned a historical case of 2 policewomen who were lured to an address and then cold-bloodily murdered (including having 1 or more hand grenades thrown at them) by an individual gang member, subsequently jailed. Remember, in Britain, only specialised Police carry guns.

          Still I was quite disturbed that the Labour party went along with the bill absolving undercover police from any prosecution over their behaviour when undercover (including fathering children for example).

  2. Cocomaan

    I was listening to some of the coverage on NPR yesterday and it’s interesting how few audio clips of the trial they’d pulled now that you mention it. Maybe they had trouble finding it too.

    I know it’s public proceedings but court Court TV or another outlet be DMCA’ing any of this?

    Twitter is quickly making itself obsolete. I guess they figure they can rely on their obsessive fan base.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      As indicated in the post, Court TV is showing the trial gavel to gavel live, and many media outlets are posting the full video from each day of the trial on YouTube. But you have to watch or skip through. 7-9 hours a day is a lot to process and most people can’t do that, hence the importance of what gets hoisted for the general public.

  3. Bobby Gladd

    I’ve watched all of it thus far, mostly carried on C-SPAN (not sure if I will continue). Haven’t really given much thought to how the press and social media are recounting it.

    By the end of all that surveillance cam and bodycam footage yesterday, I had a fleeting urge to reconsider my recent decision to quit drinking.

  4. Wilbur Nelson

    Dunno, Yves — Floyd was clearly having some sort of emotional meltdown, clearly resisting arrest. With a heart condition and a lethal dose of fentanyl in his system. Chavin picked the wrong day to be too much of a cop, clearly; didn’t follow procedure after Floyd stopped resisting and so on. Seems to me those three/four issues came together for a perfect storm. Excessive force, but Floyd was almost certainly a dead man, regardless.

    1. Halcyon

      Would be interested in the source for the information regarding a “lethal dose of fentanyl”.

      1. CoryP

        Especially considering a normal dose of fentanyl for an opioid addict could be lethal to the opioid-naive. So what scale are we using?

        1. Matthew G. Saroff

          Especially because most of the Fentanyl in his system had already been metabolized into norfentanyl.

          If he had a lethal dose, he would already have been dead by the time police arrived.

        2. Halcyon

          WaPo digs into these claims quite a bit here:

          As far as I can make out (albeit not having exhaustively researched), we have several facts in evidence:

          1) Fentanyl found in his system (which some have suggested was consistent with longer-term addictive use, which puts him amongst thousands of others in the US, right?)
          2) Cops say he was acting like he was on drugs
          3) Another statement from a cop saying they saw him take fentanyl

          Then some less reputable news outlets have hilariously claimed that “cops saw him take 2mg of fentanyl” (which happens to be the exact dose that comes up when you Google fentanyl lethal dose: begs the question, assuming someone saw this, of how the police could possibly know how much he took). This before we get into the idea that if the fentanyl overdose story was true, he would not have been resisting arrest, and any first responders should’ve helped him. It’s mighty convenient for those who want to defend this cop for political reasons.

          But more broadly all of this just feels like a smear. We all saw what we saw. Whether you take drugs or have a criminal record or whatever is not really relevant to whether the police are allowed to arbitrarily kill you.

          1. Bob

            Every time anyone is arrested the police have go to charges that they invariably resort to i.e. obstruction, resisting, failure to obey orders and so on. When you hear these claims realize that the claims are often invented and justified on the thinnest of the evidence.

            As far as drug use, drug paraphernalia, drug tests, blood alcohol level, wait for a real verified, certified test. Especially remember that low doses can be very hard to accurately determine.

            These tactics are commonly used by the police to smear the defendant or to cover up abuse.

            1. juno mas

              Yes. Other techniques used by some police is to yell “stop resisting” when the arrestee is not resisting. Or, “he had what appeared to be a gun”, when in fact it was clearly a cell phone So, fearing for my life, I shot him 12 times, in the chest.

              Giving high school graduates guns and “reasonable” immunity will one day kill someone YOU love.

        3. footnote 4

          I thought his girlfriend testified he had been clean for several months. From what I understand it is not uncommon for a former regular user to misjudge their tolerance when they start up again.

          In the old days I would have expected some dispassionate discussion of the science involved…

          After this year, I no longer expect that in any arena.

      2. PeterfromGeorgia

        It’s from Floyd’s forensic/toxicology report (see below). He had Fentanyl 11 ng/mL, as well as methamphetamine and hydrocodone doses in his system. As an aside, IIRC he had an arrest, no charges, from approximately a year prior to his death in which he allegedly “ate his stash” so I suspect the deceased did “shoot the works” to avoid the drug charge only for it to end up killing him. Furthermore, with his record for multiple armed robbery convictions he would not have gotten bond.

        Fatal Fentanyl dosages (11ng/mL is definitely a fatal dose).

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          He wasn’t being arrested for his past offenses. He was stopped because he allegedly passed a fake $20 bill in the convenience store, the “fakeness” of which he may or may not have been aware of. I saw the CCTV footage from the store’s outside camera back right after he was killed, and he did NOT resist, he did NOT put up any sort of resistance at any point, and he obediently went with the police when they hauled him off.

          I don’t care how much of whatever he had in his system. The above is what happened. Period. Anything else is nothing but character assassination. And yes, even violent felons can have their character’s assassinated.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Gunna have to disagree here. They could have put the cuffs on him and thrown his a** in the back of a cruiser or called for a paddy wagon. Either way it was game over. Instead those cops knelt on him for nearly ten minutes because, uuhhhh, because…Come to think of it, why did they do that? This method. Was this part of all that training that American police have been receiving from Israel in how to deal with their Palestinians? Because that method taught to them sure came from somewhere and the only place I have seen it done was from a foto taken of Israeli soldiers doing that to a Palestinian.

      1. Anon1

        They did try to cuff him and throw him in the “paddy wagon”. He fought and resisted arrest, screamed he couldn’t breathe and wiggled and kicked his way out of the back of the police car.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Nope. They put him in the car, and then they dragged him back out. It was on the CCTV footage recorded by the store’s camera. Has that been introduced in evidence yet? And, if not, why not?

      2. Bobby Gladd

        He had cuffs put on right as they extracted him from his vehicle (clear from the bodycam videos), long before the lethal struggle the officers allowed to ensue.

      3. JohnMc

        “Come to think of it, why did they do that? This method. ”

        it’s my understanding that this restraint is contained in the minnesota police department manual for use on a suspect exhibiting excited delirium. maybe this needs to be revised, maybe it’s use was inappropriate in this situation, maybe it was performed incorrectly/too long, but the technique itself is part of their training. some discussion here:

        and here:

        1. sj

          Per the Washington Post:

          … excited delirium is pseudoscience. It’s not a concept recognized by the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association. It isn’t a valid diagnosis; it’s a misappropriation of medical terminology, and it doesn’t justify police violence.

    3. Peter L.

      I must admit I’m fascinated by this line: ” . . . but Floyd was almost certainly a dead man, regardless.” I’ve seen lots of people repeating this on social media. Is it invented by each person anew, or is it trending in a way? How do people figure out how to say this absurdity?

      On the one hand, a fentanyl overdose is entirely inconsistent with resisting arrest. The symptoms of fentanyl overdose render people incapacitated.

      On the other hand, if someone was suffering from a fentanyl overdose then the police have a responsibility to save that person’s life. Did the police have access to naloxone, by the way? If Floyd was as sick as apologists claim, then far from being a “dead man,” his life should have been saved.

      The psychopathic cruelty of the police in this case is unbelievable. Perhaps this is why people must make up stories to explain away Mr. Floyd’s murder.

      1. Objective Ace

        This has nothing to do with whether the police officer was justified to kneel on his neck for 9 minutes or not. Literally no one is saying Floyd is a hero.

        Take your ad hominem strawman elsewhere

    4. Randy

      Pretty resilient of Floyd to go and buy stuff at the convenience store after popping a lethal dose of fentanyl. I conked out taking the smallest dose possible of Percocet after a surgery. No wonder the cops has no choice but to kneel on him for almost 10 minutes while telling people who wanted to render aid to go screw.

      1. Ben Dalton

        I read somewhere that he took the pills after coming out of the store and getting into the car. And the pills were not actually Percocet but speedball. But still, it was rotten behavior on part of the cops to kneel on a guy who was already handcuffed. Disproportionate violence has become the first course of action for many things inn this country, and the cops are the worst in that.

        1. PeterfromGeorgia

          That’s the point I think people need to remember – I really believe the guy was scum, unless you think adults that shove guns in pregnant women’s belly’s to strong arm entry in a home invasion robbery and stand by while your partner pistol whips said woman until she miscarries are alright – and he most likely ate those drugs when he realized the cops were on the way which led to his OD in custody.

          But you’ve no reason to put a knee on his neck for 9 minutes.

          Jocko Willink is right, cops need MORE training, not less. Four days on, one day off for training (or three weeks on, one week for training) in deescalation, physical fitness, book work, etc. would greatly improve the outcomes of future engagements.

          1. njbr

            Sometimes what you think is wrong….

            Snpes….According to police officers’ probable-cause statement, which is often the basis of prosecutors’ case against suspects, the incident (on Aug. 9, 2007) unfolded like this: Two adults, Aracely Henriquez and Angel Negrete, and a toddler were in a home when they heard a knock at the front door. When Henriquez looked out the window, she saw a man “dressed in a blue uniform” who said “he was with the water department.” But when she opened the door, she realized the man was telling a lie and she tried shutting him out. Then, the statement reads:

            However, this male held the door open and prevented her from doing so. At this time, a black Ford Explorer pulled up in front of the Complainants’ residence and five other black males exited this vehicle and proceeded to the front door. The largest of these suspects forced his way into the residence, placed a pistol against the complainant’s abdomen, and forced her into the living room area of the residence. This large suspect then proceeded to search the residence while another armed suspect guarded the complainant, who was struck in the head and side areas by this second armed suspect with his pistol after she screamed for help. As the suspects looked through the residence, they demanded to know where the drugs and money were and Complaint Henriquez advised them that there were no such things in the residence. The suspects then took some jewelry along with the complainant’s cell phone before they fled the scene in the black Ford Explorer.

            About three months later, investigators in the Houston Police Department narcotics unit “came across this vehicle during one of the their respective investigations and identified the following subjects as occupants of this vehicle at the time of their investigation: George Floyd (Driver)…,” the statement reads.

            At 6-foot-7, Floyd was identified as the “the largest” of the six suspects who arrived at the home in the Ford Explorer and had pushed a pistol against Henriquez’ abdomen before looking for items to steal. (Nothing in the court documents suggests she was pregnant at the time of the robbery, contrary to what memes and Owens later claimed.) He pleaded guilty in 2009 and was sentenced to five years in prison. He was paroled in January 2013, when he was almost 40 years old.

    5. Patrick

      All three autopsies, including the official one by the Hennepin County M.E. list the cause of death as homicide. The only question now from a legal perspective is whether it was manslaughter or murder. The last sentence of your comment is wrong. I found and read one article that corroborates that false statement, but it’s an opinion piece that’s full of faulty information, twisted facts and absurd reasoning. The author actually points out that the police officers called the EMT’s and allowed them to treat George Floyd, then questions why they would do so if their intent had been to kill him. It wasn’t a perfect storm, it wasn’t happenstance or bad luck and it was not a fatal drug overdose.

    6. Sam

      Whether he was going to die anyway isn’t the question. You can still murder someone who is going to die without your intervention. See, e.g., Dr. Kevorkian.

      If he was going to die anyway, the question becomes whether Chauvin’s actions hastened his death. If Chauvin’s actions caused him to die sooner than he otherwise would have, then it’s murder or manslaughter.

    7. Frank Little

      “Too much of a cop”, “didn’t follow procedure”

      Amazing the lengths that people will go to defend indefensible behavior from cops who repeatedly demonstrate they do not deserve the benefit of the doubt that some seem determined to give them.

      Just weeks before his encounter with Floyd, Chauvin and two of the other officers on the scene did practically the same thing to another black man. From the Star Tribune:

      The video from May 3, 2020, obtained by the Star Tribune, bears striking similarities to footage showing three of the same officers — Chauvin, Lane and Kueng — aggressively detaining Floyd. As the officers handcuffed Adrian, bystanders begged them to show mercy. As with Floyd, the officers ignored the pleas. A few weeks later, Chauvin, Lane and Kueng would be fired and criminally charged in Floyd’s death, bringing an abrupt end to Chauvin’s history of rough encounters with civilians.

      Adrian Drakeford was no hostage taker. The 27-year-old had no connection to the 911 call, other than living across the hall from where the woman said she was being held.

      The policemen never found the 911 caller or determined whether she was still in danger. Instead, they detained Adrian and arrested one of his brothers, Terrance, who arrived on the scene and protested their treatment of Adrian. Lee — the one recording — ran away when they tried to detain him, too.

      Both Adrian and Terrance were later released with no charges, and again they never even investigated the hostage situation that brought them there in the first place. The only way someone would accept people like this having the legal power to detain and in some cases kill other people is if they are certain they will never be on the receiving end.

      Also worth remembering that Chauvin had been claiming Florida residency and did not file Minnesota income tax for 2016-2018. I’m not a tax lawyer but I don’t think you need to be one to know it’s probably not okay to do so, but I guess laws are for lesser beings than cops.

  5. Michael Hudson

    Democracy Now has had good coverage. Even ABC news has SOME; but NOT public TV (which is as bad as NPR).
    But you’re right: Nothing compares to the live coverage, which is mesmerizing.

  6. Mark Gisleson

    I gave up on cable news decades ago because of its content.

    I gave up on Facebook because it kept trying to control which content I saw.

    I gave up on Twitter this year because of the content they won’t let me see.

    I’m probably relying on this site for my news far too much, but am thankful for your links and analysis and because you aren’t afraid to include content you disagree with.

  7. Aaron

    I think they are trying to keep the public attention away from the trial because there is a good chance Derek Chauvin may be acquitted. I remember reading somewhere that the conviction of the other three officers are built upon Chauvin getting convicted. If he is acquitted, the entire case could collapse. The public reaction to that would be very bad. TPTB liked riding the unrest last year to election victory last year. But now it is not “someone else’s problem” anymore. So they want to head off trouble. It is quite in characters, where BLM/Antifa supporters are being arrested using Jan 6 riots as a pretense.

    The logic is as follows:
    1. Floyd had enough fentanyl and meth in his system, and a heart condition that might have led to him ODing, rather than being choked to death.
    2. Autopsy found no evidence of choking, despite Chauvin kneeling on his back.
    3. The neck restraint was an established procedure in Minneapolis PD.
    4. The state charged him with second degree murder, in a crime where manslaughter would be easier to prove. (I am fuzzy on the legal aspects. Also, Chauvin offered to plead guilty for manslaughter, but the state refused.)
    I read the defense opening statement, where they hammered on “reasonable doubt”. The Jury might decide to acquit on reasonable doubt for second degree murder.

    Here are a couple of articles on this I found. While the articles’ provenance is doubtful, they seem to be on the right track, now that this is happening.

    So they are limiting media coverage to keep down the inevitable outrage that will explode if there is an acquittal, or even a lighter sentence.

    1. Randy

      ??? He is being charged with manslaughter along with second degree murder. The jury can reject the murder charges and still find the manslaughter charge.

      1. Aaron

        There is also a manslaughter charge? Sorry, I missed that. But I stand by my point. A lesser crime will carry a lesser sentence. Will the BLM/Antifa protestors be happy with that, when what they really want is death? (which MN doesn’t have, btw)

        1. Jason

          There is also a manslaughter charge? Sorry, I missed that.

          That’s a big miss Aaron. Particularly given the numbered schema of logic you took the time to present us with. Your point seemed to be much more that Chauvin will be acquitted than that “a lesser crime will carry a lesser sentence” – even though the latter point was firmly established in both the articles you linked to.

          Will the BLM/Antifa protestors be happy with that, when what they really want is death?

          So, the BLM/Antifa protestors are a monolith who all want “death” for these cops. This is insightful commentary Aaron. Please enlighten us more.

    2. WJ

      I agree with this. If I recall correctly, they had to charge Chauvin with second degree in order to charge the other officers as accessories; but to be guilty of second degree murder you need to be shown to have *intended* (but without premeditation) to kill the victim. Is there any doubt in our minds whether Chauvin intended to kill Floyd? If so, we must find him not guilty of second degree murder.

      1. Aaron

        Manslaughter charge would have easily stuck, but the State seems to have decided to perform for the public, rather that get a slam-dunk conviction. Now they are going to come out of this looking pathetic.

        1. WJ

          Yes. That is true. But then none of the other officers can be found guilty of anything, and the sentencing for manslaughter is likely to be found unsatisfactory by many. Everything in our justice system is broken.

          1. Jason

            I’m one of the many who will find it unsatisfactory and I agree that our justice system is broken. Plainly, our entire system is broken.

      2. Basil Pesto

        who is this ‘we’ you speak of? Are you one of the jurors in the trial? If so, I’m not sure you should be posting in the comments section of blogs!!

      3. Elizabeth Burton

        Kneeling on someone’s neck for the better part of 9 minutes, when said person isn’t doing anything to warrant that level of restraint and there are four other people there to assist you should assistance be needed doesn’t suggest intent?

    3. cocomaan

      I have also heard that he was Covid positive in the autopsy, which goes to 1,2,3 etc. But haven’t seen any more about the positive test

  8. Comboman

    Back in the days before video on the internet, I seem to remember the OJ Simpson trial getting live daily coverage on all the major networks. Maybe my memory is fuzzy, but at the very least, the announcing of the verdict was carried live because I remember a coworker brought in a portable TV so we could watch in the lunch room.

    1. petal

      I remember it was live because our lab class in college was out in the hallway watching the announcement on the little cafe TV before class started. We all just kind of hung there watching in suspense, including our TA. Then we went into lab.

    2. cocomaan

      I remember being in school and a girl named Jennifer said, “Oh my god, he’s innocent!” and put her hand to her mouth. I asked, “Who is?” and someone explained that the verdict had just come in.

    3. megrim

      I was in high school at the time, and the entire school dropped everything and we all watched the verdict together.

  9. Randy

    I suspect the muted response online is BECAUSE of how heart wrenching it is. A video of a man crying for his mama as he’s being murdered is not really retweet material like a cat video is.

    1. Caveat Pan

      He called for his Mama, said they were going to kill him, and said he couldn’t breath the whole time the were trying to get him into the back seat of the squad care. How do the cops know that anything he is saying is true at any particular time. I think they shouldn’t have had him on the ground and put any body weight on him *when he was no longer resisting*. They should have a bar in the back of the car that they can extend out and shackle him to it, shackle his feet, and call for a paddy wagon.

      1. juno mas

        That is what the police do to the truly wildly, flailing suspects in my town. Just recently, I watched them subdue a not large man that was screaming at beach goers and intermittently running into traffic. They used a thrown Bolo type device to wrap-up his legs which caused him to fall to the ground (temporarily immobilized). Several officers pinned him to the ground while affixing leg shackles. He was lifted into a padded van and attended to by both an EMT and mental health personnel.

        All very efficient. Don’t want the tourists to see what town is like mid-week.

    1. Ben Dalton

      I fear he might get off lightly, are even walk. Between the drugs in Floyd’s system, his heart condition and that he was covid positive, there is enough muck to create a “reasonable doubt” that he was murdered. Also, the jury has Six Whites and Six blacks as main jurors, plus three Whites as alternate jurors. Oh, and two of them have a friend/relative in the Police. A verdict has to be unanimous.

      1. Pat

        Sorry I have only caught part of the video coverage, but to continue kneeling on someone, back or neck, Who is clearly restrained as they are repeatedly gasping they can’t breathe…well whoever claims reasonable doubt under those circumstances is pulling that “doubt” out of their ass. There are ways of restraining people that do NOT involve restricting their oxygen intake.
        Try turning that so-called reasonable doubt around, I might not survive stage 4 cancer, but cutting off my oxygen guarantees I won’t. So I guess my questionable health means you can sit on my chest with all your weight because I am supposedly thrashing about and have no part in my death. Reasonable doubt and all.

        If any of that jury buys that bull, the defense deserve the fee. Because not guilty is not about his actions or doubt.

    2. calltoaccount

      And what of the element that Chauvin had a beef with Floyd from their working security at the same club? The guy who first said so retracted his statement, but that might have been after being “talked to.”
      “Man who claimed George Floyd and Derek Chauvin knew each…
      Search domain
      Floyd and Chauvin both worked as security at the same club, but it’s unclear if the two knew each other. A man who worked at a Minneapolis nightclub where George Floyd and Derek Chauvin both worked security is retracting a claim the two had a history of not getting along.”
      It may not be asserted at trial because of difficulty of proof, but may still be a factor in why Chauvin came on too strong.

  10. Dave in Austin

    I have not watched the trial; any of it. But here are a few comments:

    1) The “lethal dose of fentanyl” is a direct reference to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s autopsy report When I looked at it I saw the fentanyl levels, but was not sure what they meant. So I did a quick web search, read some doctors’ blogs, and discovered that the levels were roughly 4 times the lethal dose. I wanted confirmation (the web is often wrong) so I talked to one medical researcher and one doctor. Both agreed that this was likely a lethal dose. The doctor’s comment was: “Dead man walking”. If the cops had been able to do an instant blood test- which was impossible- and gotten him immediately to a hospital he had a small chance of surviving… but that was all.

    2) The police on the scene (including the Black one) treated the struggling victim as if he was potentially a Covid carrier; he was. Also, if I remember correctly (no cite on this one) he was HIV positive. Police people here in Austin tell me this is a constant problem for them. They are desperate to both restrain the struggling victim (who in the case of fentynal can overheat and die from the struggling) and avoid intimate contact (breathing exhaled air and especially aerosols). If you are exposed in a struggle and there is no blood test to see is the victim is either Covid or HIV positive, most policemen (and for this sort of “NFL lineman work” they are all men) must self-isolate from their wives and children. Thus the “four holding him down” and the “keep away from his head” we saw in this case. In Austin this sort of routine exposure leads to a constant turnover as experienced cops leave for the nice, safe suburban counties north-and-south of the city.

    3) Why has the very emotional trial testimony been, as Yves noted, almost absent from the coverage?

    At the end of WW II the intense (and understandable) hatred of the Japanese was a problem for the American government. On the other hand, American soldiers rarely hated the Germans and in surveys done by the American military as many as 20% of the airmen and infantrymen who had fought in Europe said “The war was a waste of time; none of our business”.

    So the war crimes trials in the Pacific were soft-pedaled; the American public heard little from the press about the worst atrocities which would increase the hatred- the nurse rapes in the Philippines; the biological warfare that killed more than half a million Chinese civilians; the use of British and American white POWs as experimental subjects in biological warfare studies; the living dissection of Black POWs without any anesthesia during medical lectures. All this really happened. The little island near Iwo Jima where George Bush was shot down in 1945- and rescued by an American submarine- had another terrifying example. The Japanese officers killed young American pilots like George and had a ritual dinner of the livers. The leaders were tried and executed after the war. But pumping up hatred was both unnecessary and counterproductive.

    On the other hand the German camps- both the labor camps and the death factories like Auschwitz were, to put it bluntly, a God-send; the perfect post-hoc justification for why we fought the war in Europe. The Nuremberg trials were heavily covered; all of the pictures of victims were released and published in major American papers and magazines. The PR campaign ended when public opinion polls in Germany began to show pronounced support for the left- meaning Germany might be driven into the Soviet camp. The post-1946 trials in Eastern Europe and Germany were ignored by the American press. A surprisingly large number of real war criminals got short sentences with no outrage from the American press.

    To me the soft coverage is probably in response to BLM; Black anger and rage is already at a high, “proper” level. This is beginning to look awfully familiar to me: OJ. It is hard enough to get Blacks on the streets as policemen and women. The White officers will quietly say “OK, let them kill each other”. Many young male Blacks will die; a few innocent Black bystanders will be accidentally killed; the wave of well-to-do big-city northern liberals moving to places like Austin,TX, Ashville, NC and Marysville, TN will continue; they will keep voting Liberal; their children will probably drive oversized pickup trucks and drift to the right. And so it goes…

    1. njbr

      Try to find better sources…

      Notes from a meeting, which were submitted as evidence, show that Andrew Baker, the county’s chief medical examiner, told prosecutors that Floyd’s fentanyl use was higher than what a chronic pain patient would be on. “If he were found dead at home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD,” Baker said, per the notes.

      Baker added: “I am not saying this killed him.”

      Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued on the first day of Chauvin’s trial that Floyd’s health issues and drug use combined with “the adrenaline flowing through his body” to make his “already compromised” heart fail. The defense previously made the same case in court documents.

      But several experts in toxicology, cardiology and drug use told the Washington Post ahead of Chauvin’s trial that death by fentanyl overdose was unlikely or impossible.

      “From my review of the video and the autopsy report, I see nothing that makes me think he died of an opioid overdose,” Kavita Babu, chief opioid officer and chief of the Division of Medical Toxicology at UMass Memorial Health Care in Worcester, Mass., told the Post.

      Our ruling
      A Facebook post said, “Toxicology report was made public by the MN prosecution revealing the cause of George Floyd’s death was a fentanyl overdose.”

      That’s not what the county medical examiner’s autopsy revealed. The report indicated that relatively high levels of fentanyl were found in Floyd’s system, but it ruled the manner of death a homicide and said the cause of his death was “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law-enforcement subdual restraint, and neck compression.”

      An independent autopsy ordered by Floyd’s family also ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, and it said the cause was asphyxiation.

      We rate this Facebook post False.

    2. CCZ

      Full transcript of police body cameras.

      Regarding the drug fentanyl, on page 7:

      Lane to Floyd: What, are you on something right now?
      Floyd: No, nothing.
      Kueng: Because you are acting a little erratic.
      Lane: Let’s go. Let’s go.
      Floyd: I’m scared, man.
      Lane: Let’s go.
      Kueng: You got foam around your mouth, too?
      Floyd: Yes, I was just hooping earlier.

      The officers clearly suspect that Floyd was “high” or intoxicated and specifically note that [Kueng says to Floyd ] “You got foam around your mouth, too?” It is not clear whether Kueng knew it, but foaming at the mouth is a well-known symptom of a fentanyl overdose.

      From fentanyl overdose characteristics:
      “The researchers asked the respondents to describe what happened during a suspected fentanyl overdose. The most common characteristic, described in 20 percent of the cases, was that the person’s lips immediately turned blue, followed by gurgling sounds with breathing (16 percent of the cases), stiffening of the body or seizure-like activity (13 percent), foaming at the mouth (6 percent) and confusion or strange behavior before the person became unresponsive (6 percent), according to the report.

      And what is hooping? – inserting fentanyl, ecstasy, crystal, or other drugs into the rectum and having the drug absorbed anally.

      Severe adverse effects of hooping:
      Risk of becoming unconscious in a vulnerable state (depending on the drug used)
      You will absorb more of the drug, faster
      Your rectum is unable to regulate the amount of alcohol/drug that goes into it (unlike when you swallow and your body can vomit if you’ve had too much)
      Rips, tears, and damage to the rectum (which is sensitive and easily damaged)
      Increased risk of infection


    3. Yves Smith Post author

      You keep putting up bogus information. This is the third time in the last month.

      As other readers have said, a fatal or near fatal dose of fentanyl would have knocked Floyd out. There would have been no struggle. So at most, the drug made him easier to kill, as if he had had a heart condition. Yet it still took close to nine full minutes to accomplish that.

      Your point about Covid positive is nonsense. The EMT on the stand said how she pressed and begged to assist, how she would have assisted, and noted how what she would have done (chest compressions) because Covid.

      And why should his HIV status matter unless they planned to cut him and had open wounds themselves? HIV isn’t cooties. It’s hard to transmit despite the consequences being so horrific. I had two different HIV positive guys regularly doing tech work in my apartment in NYC back in the day. And you probably don’t want to know this much, but my HIV positive guys report they have HIV negative tricks who insist on “barebacking” them despite knowing their HIV positive status because the transmission risk is to the sperm recipient. They tell me their tricks believe their odds of getting HIV as the “top” are 1 in 10,000. Of course that makes assumptions about the rest of what happens that may not play out in practice….

    4. juno mas

      Umm, these complications obscure the arrest was for using a counterfeit $20 bill. Why do the police arrest Black folks and in the interim conjure the need to kill them, when many times they can be readily located if they flee? Because some of them want to inflict pain. In this case, Death.

    5. NK

      “The “lethal dose of fentanyl” is a direct reference to the Hennepin County medical examiner’s autopsy report When I looked at it I saw the fentanyl levels, but was not sure what they meant. So I did a quick web search, read some doctors’ blogs, and discovered that the levels were roughly 4 times the lethal dose. I wanted confirmation (the web is often wrong) so I talked to one medical researcher and one doctor. Both agreed that this was likely a lethal dose. The doctor’s comment was: “Dead man walking”. If the cops had been able to do an instant blood test- which was impossible- and gotten him immediately to a hospital he had a small chance of surviving… but that was all.”

      Your doctors are idiots. people become wholly tolerant to the lethal as well as the rewarding effects of opioids at a given dose, to the point they can survive doses that would kill nontolerant people 99-100 times over and walk around. Also if you overdose on opioids you pass out then and there, at best you realize something is wrong and might be able to get help, you don’t go to the store. We have no idea what the lethal dose of fentanyl for George Floyd would be because we have no idea how tolerant he was to fentanyl. Hope this helps

  11. Tom Stone

    Yes, I am seeing clear evidence of censorship by Twitter and others, that camel has more than its nose under the tent.
    I didn’t watch the videos again, once was enough.
    As to Derek Chauvin, there’s been some good reporting on his years as a cop, his behavior in murdering George Floyd was consistent with years of his documented conduct as a cop .
    Floyd died, that others that others did not when treated with the same casual brutality by Chauvin in the past did not is a matter of luck.
    And every major Police Department in the USA has cops like Chauvin, or worse.
    Power corrupts and we grant Police a great deal of power in the USA.
    More than a ton of hard drugs disappeared from the NYPD evidence room at one point, including all of the “French Connection” Heroin.
    A FISA judge described the FBI as having ” An institutionalized lack of Candor”.
    The LA County Sherriff’s Department has had a “Gang Problem” for decades,
    There’s the good old Chicago PD, Baltimore PD….
    these are ancient and,corrupt Bureaucracies with immense power.
    Yup, these are the folks who are going to enforce the domestic terrorism laws with the help of patriotic corporations working through Fusion Centers.

  12. ArvidMartensen

    Re the sanitisation of public tweets, posts and searches. In a similar vein I have seen the wholesale sanitisation of the Covid pandemic in the USA.

    I first started watching a couple of US bros, commentators who had worked in China and still links to doctors in China. They had obtained footage and commentary from Wuhan in mid January, and from this I realised that this was one big effing deal. Mainly because of the chaotic hospital corridors containing the dead and dying, and from the terrified reactions of suited up Chinese police dealing with the public and from the images of people falling and dying in the street.

    And when the same things started to happen in the US? Where were the videos, the stills, the commentary from ordinary people? Nowhere. Nothing. Zip.
    From FB and uTube and the press you could be forgiven for thinking that nobody was dying at all in the US, and if a few did, it was a clinical process with maybe a few ambulances and refrigerated trucks but nothing of note. Nothing to see here.
    And that is why, imho, legions of Trump voters were persuaded that the virus was a figment of the imagination, another ploy by the socialist billionaire cabal to take over the world.

    Everything we are allowed to see now is curated and massaged into the correct message, and anything we are not allowed to see disappears. But then, what would you expect from rapacious, psychopathic companies with vampire squid links to the NSA, FBI and CIA.

  13. TheCatSaid

    There is more to this story than what we are being shown.

    It seems impossible to discuss in more detail without being considered by some to be conspiratorial–even when the evidence supports this (including the issue Yves raises about the way media is covering/covering up).

    On the one hand, noticing the media manipulation means we are waking up a little bit in that we’re questioning what we’re been shown. Surely it’s good to continue challenging whatever we believe or believed about this event and how it’s portrayed.

    On the other hand, skimming on the surface of the story and the media coverage means we’ve effectively fallen into the trap–allowing our minds and emotions to be manipulated, taking one side or another in some cases, and distracting our attention in a way that ensures we will not look deeper or consider bigger agendas.

    1. dummy

      one good place to start is to watch the full uninterrupted bodycam video of the police officer published by daily mail, its long but very instructive.

  14. Debra D.

    I think neck compression for 9+ minutes is contraindicated for persons who officers believe may suffer cardiac arrest due to a drug overdose. The officers offered no medical assistance to George Floyd at all. There was an off-duty firefighter pleading to be allowed to provide medical assistance to him before the ambulance arrived. The police refused to let her do that. She called 911 at the scene.

    I have been watching ABC’s live streaming of the trial. The analysts that provide commentary during breaks from testimony are decent.

  15. chuck roast

    I don’t tweet/face and have no clue. And no regular TV. My wife gives me the dope…she watches live. Her description is garbled by her emotion, but I’m getting the pathos, regret, sadness and revulsion. This is the first major TV trial since OJ. Everybody glued to the screen. Weird, but the otherwise sedentary roast was in LA when OJ was cruising the freeways with his bud in the Ford Bronco. There we are watching live on TV in some forgetable motel, and I walk out on the patio at around six stories like I can actually see these knuckleheads tooling down the highway. Maybe an errant glove will turn up at this trial.

  16. Sharron

    I have watched 80% of the trial live on CNN. The prosecution is putting forth a very strong case against Chauvin. There was video tape of Floyd in the store where he passed the twenty and he was behaving very normally. The cashier said Floyd seems to be reacting slowly, seemed high but was very pleasant.

    After the police apprehended Floyd, they had him sitting calmly on the curb as adults and children walked past. Not acting like he was a threat to anyone or the police. He did resist going into the back of the Police SUV. The defense continues to claim the 12 adults watching were hostile, but the video recorded by the observers refutes this. They called out to the police to let up on his neck. An off duty paramedic begged to take his pulse or do chest compressions, but the police ignored her. One of the officers was practicing crowd control and effectively keeping the bystanders at a distance to the situation. This is what they are saying was crowd hostility!

    The ambulance arrived and they had to ask Chauvin to take his knee off so they could attend George. He was limp and non responsive at that time. The ambulance paramedics testified they felt very strongly he was dead at that time.

    How can you be as close as Chauvin was and the victim be so limp and non responsive and still feel the need to keep your knee on his neck as the video shows?

    1. Jason

      How can you be as close as Chauvin was and the victim be so limp and non responsive and still feel the need to keep your knee on his neck as the video shows?

      Because Derek Chauvin is a psychopath. Next question.

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      He did resist going into the back of the Police SUV.

      As I mentioned earlier, I saw footage of his being escorted to the police car. The man was 6′ 7″? They tried to shove him into the backseat headfirst. I’d have “resisted”, too, were I him.

  17. William Hunter Duncan

    As for Twitter censorship, I suppose the only thing standing between Jack Dorsey and the unwashed masses are guys like Chauvin?

    NPR/Mn Public Radio coverage, by contrast, has been mostly been surface stuff. But my sense is, this is because the hosts and “journalists” there are clearly decided Chauvin is guilty. Alisa Chang in particular, for all her 8th grade schoolteacher cadence, can hardly contain her contempt, though up and down the line, the line is Chauvin “killed” Floyd.

    Destiny is a curious thing. It is almost like both men and the choices they made lead them to this seemingly random moment, for all America to have a reckoning.

  18. Victoria Hanks

    The original point of the article I think was that Twitter is deliberately playing down the actual footage of the police kneeling on Floyd – I would tend to think that it was on purpose by Twitter. Twitter is a monopoly big business and aren’t all American big businesses run by conservative interests? Is not all American mainstream news run by conservative interests? Meaning they will always side with the power base which includes the police. It’s hard to hide the Floyd news but it seems Twitter made an attempt to do so. It’s subtle and not noticeable to most people but it goes on every day with regard to news uncomfortable to the 1% but very much needed by the rest of us to be informed about what our government (which is owned by corporations) are really doing or trying to do. They want to hang on to their power, as if it’s being challenged in any meaningful way; I guess they are paranoid. The great unwashed is still too unorganized to be a real threat. I wish it was different but sadly large corporate interests are still manipulating most of the public through the media. So thank you Yves for uncovering this.

  19. dummy

    In a trial like this, a European legal procedure would be more useful.
    The American legal procedure is of an “accusatory” type, (from puritan protestantism tradition) and the role of lawyers (prosecutor and defense lawyer) is to destabilize witnesses in order to discredit them in the eyes of the jury.
    In Europe, the “inquisitorial” system (from catholic tradition) seeks the truth first by assigning this role to the examining magistrate who instructs independently (he does not participate in debates) for both prosecution and defense.
    Further, there is no investigating judge (juge d’instruction) in the USA that will be very useful in this case.

  20. dbk

    I’ve been watching several hours of the trial each day – I personally don’t feel the need for commentary (in fact, I find it distracting) – really, both the video and the witness testimonia speak for themselves to anyone willing to listen.

    I can’t imagine others who are deeply concerned aren’t doing the same; thus, “preparation” for a manslaughter charge (I can’t imagine acquittal at this point in the trial), while it may be going on (I don’t see much about the trial at all in my own Twitter feed), isn’t going to achieve much.

    I had followed the events last May closely and written extensively about them, but I’d never watched the full video (9 min, 29 sec). Both that (or rather, the multiple videos) and the behavior of the small group of witnesses – who were really frightened for George Floyd’s life and trying to get Chauvin’s attention – were pretty dispositive. The trial itself is mesmerizing.

  21. Frank Little

    Just wanted to mention a couple accounts that may be worth following that have some local connections here and have been covering the trial extensively. Doesn’t address the issues raised in this post but thought I’d add since I hadn’t seen them mentioned and thought they may be of interest.

    A former public defender here in Hennepin Co. Mary Moriarty has been tweeting through the trial and provides lots of useful commentary, especially to non-lawyers like myself. Her handle is @MaryMoriarty

    Unicorn Riot, which is a non-profit media organization that also covered the protests last summer extensively, has been streaming the trial as well as live-tweeting with lots of context w/r/t past community issues with MPD. Their handle is @UR_Ninja and they have some video interviews with people at George Floyd Square as well if that’s of interest.

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