Author Topic: Chauvin Trial and verdict  (Read 9158 times)

Tom Eckstein

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #60 on: April 21, 2021, 09:30:24 PM »
... I simply look at the facts of the case, not the larger sociological forces represented by the main players. And in this case, I think Chauvin should have been tried on different charges. Unlike you, I do not think he was a monster or had any intent to kill anyone.

Well, it certainly has been a cold spring! Hell hath frozen over again. For the most part, in this thread I have to go with Charles as to the trial itself, not necessarily the social aspects of the case. Speaking of assumptions, yours are erroneous, Peter, and manifest an ignorance of the law and the judicial system. A few examples:

As Charles has told you at least once, Chauvin was not charged with intentional murder. He was charged with unintentional murder. So, the State did not have to show that he had an intent to kill.

You also manifest a misunderstanding of the legal definition of "depraved heart." It does not require showing that the defendant is a monster. So, the jury did not find that Chauvin is "a monster of depraved heart."

As it is, the adrenaline that comes from resisting arrest coupled with his heart condition and massive amounts of drugs in his system likely would have killed [Floyd] even if Chauvin had left him in the back seat of the car.

So what? The State had to prove that Chauvin's actions were a "substantial" cause of death.

I can't prove it, but I can say that there is at least reasonable doubt that Chauvin killed Floyd.

Well, the burden was on the State to prove it. A jury of 12 citizens who actually heard all of the evidence determined that the State did prove it beyond a reasonable doubt.

Peter, above you wrote:  "The trial seemingly wasn't about Chauvin and Floyd but about the historic sociological problems the two men represent. Had the exact same thing happened to a white victim, we probably wouldn't even be aware of the case."

Your words are pure wisdom!
[/b]
You both demean the criminal justice system. I know Peter Cahill. He was a fine practicing lawyer and is an excellent judge. The trial was about justice, holding defendants accountable for their criminal actions, and it appears that justice was served. As Mr. Garner stated, Chauvin had a good defense lawyer (Although, given my experience trying criminal cases as a defense attorney, I believe that a closing argument should never go longer than an hour,) and the prosecution did an excellent job. That the media and some commentators used the trial to serve other purposes does not detract from the fact that the trial was about Floyd and Chauvin's actions that caused his death. The system worked.

I think there will be an appeal, and Chauvin will have at least a fighting chance of acquittal on the most serious charge.

I'm not sure how that  works. An appellate court does not "acquit" anyone. They can overturn a verdict, but the prosecution has the right to retry the defendant, although they must do so in light of whatever issues the appeals court relied upon in overturning the conviction.

Of course, there will be an appeal, and the appellate court could overturn the verdict due to publicity, a failure to sequester, and the like. But an appellate court rarely attempts to second-guess the triers of fact who heard all the evidence, saw the demeanor of witnesses, etc.

I also don't happen to think he was the primary cause of Floyd's death, but that is not a moral judgment, it is an assessment of the facts of the case about which reasonable people might disagree. In this case, I think Chauvin should have been tried on the lesser charges but not the most serious charges.

Again, the 12 who actually heard all of the evidence and were actually able to assess the facts determined otherwise. And when you get your law degree and become a prosecutor, you will be able to charge defendants as you see fit.

But, thank God that we live in a country where folks can opine and pop off about things they know little or nothing about on online boards like this one, in public, and in the media.

I realize that it's CNN, but the below link gives a very good explanation of charges, terms, etc as addressed above.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/19/us/derek-chauvin-charges-explain/index.html

Don, when I quoted Peter's words as being "wise" I understood him to be saying NOT that the Floyd trial or judicial system itself is racist but that many in our society view what happened to George Floyd in terms of systemic racism (even though there's no evidence that the police had any racist motivation in what happened to George Floyd!) rather than it being about the incompetent behavior of a police officer in a particular situation.  In other words, if George Floyd had been white, would there have been riots in Mpls.?  Obviously, the trial and judge did not view this case in racist terms.  But many in our society DO.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 09:32:48 PM by Tom Eckstein »
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Dave Benke

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #61 on: April 21, 2021, 09:42:25 PM »
As for a) really? I hadnít heard.

Concerning b) The facts were presented that the kneeling didnít cut off Floydís breathing or damage his neck or throat, that he already said he couldnít breathe even when sitting in the car, that his Fentanyl level would be considered lethal in many cases, and there were other drugs to complicate matters, that he had a serious heart condition, and was involved in an adrenaline producing incident. I think a reasonable person might conclude he didnít die because of being knelt on for so long. Mind you, Iím not saying he didnít die because of that. Iím just saying a reasonable person could doubt that Chauvin killed him. And yes, Iím aware the jury disagreed. But there were medical experts who were asked as much, and they refused to speculate. So it isnít as though the idea is so outlandish that no lawyer thought to pursue it.

This is what I said:  In the circle of friends, colleagues, relatives and acquaintances virtual and real in which I travel, you are the only person I know to date who holds the opinion that there is "reasonable doubt that Chauvin killed Floyd."   And this remains true - I know no one else who holds the opinion you hold. 

Dave Benke

Charles Austin

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #62 on: April 21, 2021, 09:53:39 PM »
Nor do I.
And Peter writes:
You honestly think life for black people in Minnesota today is comparable to life for people in the Jim Crow South of the 1950ís? Or is that a ridiculous comparison?
I comment:
Do you honestly think that everything is just fine for African Americans and immigrants in Minnesota today? They they do not experience prejudice, racism, and are subject to the indignities and inequalities running through our society?
An acquaintance who has been a political leader in Hennepin County told me today that Minneapolis and its police force have had a "reputation" for a long time. (He is elderly and white, BTW) No, it's probably not the South in the 1940s, but...
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 11:33:52 PM by Charles Austin »
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Donald_Kirchner

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #63 on: April 21, 2021, 10:17:09 PM »
As for a) really? I hadnít heard.

Concerning b) The facts were presented that the kneeling didnít cut off Floydís breathing or damage his neck or throat, that he already said he couldnít breathe even when sitting in the car, that his Fentanyl level would be considered lethal in many cases, and there were other drugs to complicate matters, that he had a serious heart condition, and was involved in an adrenaline producing incident. I think a reasonable person might conclude he didnít die because of being knelt on for so long. Mind you, Iím not saying he didnít die because of that. Iím just saying a reasonable person could doubt that Chauvin killed him. And yes, Iím aware the jury disagreed. But there were medical experts who were asked as much, and they refused to speculate. So it isnít as though the idea is so outlandish that no lawyer thought to pursue it.

This is what I said:  In the circle of friends, colleagues, relatives and acquaintances virtual and real in which I travel, you are the only person I know to date who holds the opinion that there is "reasonable doubt that Chauvin killed Floyd."   And this remains true - I know no one else who holds the opinion you hold. 

Dave Benke

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D. Engebretson

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #64 on: April 21, 2021, 10:23:03 PM »
Don, it was more personal than ecclesial. It helped me stop excusing the inexcusable stance of my family in pretending they could own people and sell them; and in pretending the big blow up was about statesí rights and not, as Matt Stanek said so bluntly a couple months back, ďthe statesí right to enslave fellow human beings.Ē It above all stopped me dead in my tracks from thinking I KNEW the truth about what my black sisters and brothers have been through and continue to experience, and instead, called me to LISTEN. I emailed Vic Belton to ask him if he had anything to say that I needed to hear, because I was terrified, after I finished her book, that Iíd not honestly really listened before. As for our Church, right now, weíre mostly still an all caucasian church. There are some adopted children of Chinese origin; a family with hispanic heritage. But I live in a town where we have several black families, or mixed race families. It opened my eyes to the importance of reaching out to them, asking them how THEY are doing in these troubled times, and listening to their experience. Weedon has always been too quick to run his mouth (and as you all know, his fingers). It was time to remember: two ears, one mouth. Quick to listen, slow to speak. I was horrified by the stories Isabel told, and particularly her own personal accounts, which she mostly saves up to the end. But I needed to hear them. And to sit with them. To think about them, and say nothing. Other than: Kyrie, eleison. That, and, Lord, help me to honor each and every person whom You have made in Your own image, of one blood, and whom Your Son has redeemed with HIS precious blood.

P.S. And it made me wish like anything that I could go back and ask my family some questions that need answering. But theyíre all dead now. Was there a lynching tree in our hometown? Did we have any ancestors who took those awful pictures and made POSTCARDS of them?

Thank you for your reflections.  I just ordered CASTE from Amazon as I have not read the book.  I respect your opinion and figured that considering the issues swirling around us at this time it would be helpful for me to read it and digest the author's observations and conclusions for myself.  I have lived in predominately Caucasian communities much of my life and I have lived, at times, in communities with larger ethnic populations (black, Hispanic, Asian).  I did not grow up in what I would consider a racist environment.  I will admit that I struggle with the idea of viewing all 'systems' of our society as inherently racist. I understand the presence and reality of racism; that is not in question.  It's the issue of how pervasive and inherent it is claimed to be.  At the LCMS convention in FL a couple of summers ago I was very disturbed when a delegate accused the synod of systemic racism.  It was the first time anything I was directly associated with had received such an accusation.  It felt personal, even though I was not directly involved in the issues that were being debated at the moment.  But I realize the need to explore more than one side of an issue. This book seems like a good way to begin that process.
Pastor Don Engebretson
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Dan Fienen

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #65 on: April 21, 2021, 10:25:05 PM »
Nor do I.
And Peter writes:
You honestly think life for black people in Minnesota today is comparable to life for people in the Jim Crow South of the 1950ís? Or is that a ridiculous comparison?
I comment:
Do you honestly think that everything is just fine for African Americans and immigrants in Minnesota today? They they do not experience prejudice, racism, and are subject to the indignities and inequalities running through our society?
An acquaintance who has been a political leader in Hennepin County told me today that Minneapolis and its police force have had a "reputation" for a long time. (He is elderly and white, BTS) No, it's probably not the South in the 1940s, but...
Is this situation either black or white? Either there is no racism in Minneapolis, no prejudice, no indignities, or inequalities or it is just as bad as the Jim Crow South of the 1950s? Has America made no progress in race relations over the last 70 years? Apparently until we have achieved perfection in our racial relations we are a completely corrupt nation.


I certainly am under no illusion that there are no racial problems in the United States, or that everything is fine. Nor am I suggesting that we have no need to work to improve the racial situation in America.
Pr. Daniel Fienen
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Michael Slusser

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #66 on: April 21, 2021, 10:42:23 PM »
You honestly think life for black people in Minnesota today is comparable to life for people in the Jim Crow South of the 1950ís? Or is that a ridiculous comparison?
I know that life for black people in Minnesota today is not the same as life for white people in Minnesota today. That is the comparison that counts.

Peace,
Michael
« Last Edit: April 21, 2021, 10:49:50 PM by Michael Slusser »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #67 on: April 21, 2021, 11:00:47 PM »
You honestly think life for black people in Minnesota today is comparable to life for people in the Jim Crow South of the 1950ís? Or is that a ridiculous comparison?
I know that life for black people in Minnesota today is not the same as life for white people in Minnesota today. That is the comparison that counts.

Peace,
Michael
Fair enough. Then why bring up a book about the Jim Crow South?

Do you agree that the United States is the least racist multi-ethnic nation in the history of the world?

Charles Austin

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #68 on: April 21, 2021, 11:04:28 PM »
Peter:
Do you agree that the United States is the least racist multi-ethnic nation in the history of the world?
Me:
That is a silly, issue-dodging question. And one that cannot be answered.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

peter_speckhard

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #69 on: April 21, 2021, 11:48:11 PM »
Peter:
Do you agree that the United States is the least racist multi-ethnic nation in the history of the world?
Me:
That is a silly, issue-dodging question. And one that cannot be answered.
What would you say are top three least racist multi-ethic nations in the history of the world? It matters because all condemnation is relative. You can call Wilt Chamberlain too short all day long, and 21st Century America systemically racist all day long, but you havenít said anything until youíve compared it to something real. Iím quite willing to discuss actual racism, systemic racism, or any other flaw you think our nation has or this trial represents, but only if I know Iím dealing with people who deal in reality. You are not one such person, at least as far as I can tell. So Iím asking; do you acknowledge that the United States is the least (or among the least) racist multi-ethnic nations in the history of humanity? If you donít want to answer, fine. That would be telling, but fine.

There is a very real sense of fear on matters of race. The mob rules. You may not disagree or even express doubt about the consensus without being accused of racism, white nationalism, etc. People are afraid of even the appearance of disagreeing with the mob. It is shame.

Charles Austin

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #70 on: April 22, 2021, 12:10:33 AM »
Peter, our country may be among the least racist country in history if you want to say that. But so what? Even if true, that does not mean that the racism which does exist among us is not massive, horrendous and terribly damaging to our neighbors and our society as a whole.
Read Caste, Peter. Pastor Weedon recommends it.
And apparently my ďrealityď is shared by some others in this modest forum. 
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #71 on: April 22, 2021, 02:41:22 AM »
Peter Speckhard recently wrote in response to Pr. Engebretson's effort to sum up systemic racism
Quote
Thatís more or less how Iíve seen it defined. The problem is how the theory is even testable.
60 years ago it was tested by John Howard Griffin, who wrote Black Like Me. He colored his skin dark and went through the Jim Crow South, discovering by personal experience that what Engebretson summed up as
Quote
Systemic racism, as I am seeing it defined, contends that there are pervasive policies and practices throughout the entire society that support and encourage an unfair advantage to some people and unfair or harmful treatment of others based on race. The premise underlying this is that we are said to be a county founded as a racist society that has only continued this practice into modern times.

These racist based practices are said to be part of the entire structure of the society: economic, judicial, educational, healthcare, religious institutions, etc.
was a factual description of the situation faced by colored people in America.
     I am fortunate to have read Black Like Me in the 60s. It saved me from a lot of my naivety and self-righteousness.
Quote
John Howard Griffin had embarked on a journey unlike any other. Many black authors had written about the hardship of living in the Jim Crow South. A few white writers had argued for integration. But Griffin, a novelist of extraordinary empathy rooted in his Catholic faith, had devised a daring experiment. To comprehend the lives of black people, he had darkened his skin to become black. As the civil rights movement tested various forms of civil disobedience, Griffin began a human odyssey through the South, from New Orleans to Atlanta. . . .
     ďBlack Like Me disabused the idea that minorities were acting out of paranoia,Ē says Gerald Early, a black scholar at Washington University and editor of Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation. ďThere was this idea that black people said certain things about racism, and one rather expected them to say these things. Griffin revealed that what they were saying was true. It took someone from outside coming in to do that. And what he went through gave the book a remarkable sincerity.Ē
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/black-like-me-50-years-later-74543463/

Peace,
Michael
You honestly think life for black people in Minnesota today is comparable to life for people in the Jim Crow South of the 1950ís? Or is that a ridiculous comparison?


I've heard Blacks state that the discrimination they experienced in the North was worse than in the South, because it was better hidden, more subtle. A white friend in Minneapolis area adopted two African children. The youngest is still in high school. Yes, they have experienced discrimination because of the color of their skin. Maybe it's not as great as it was in the 1960, but it hasn't disappeared.
"The church Ö had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Charles Austin

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #72 on: April 22, 2021, 04:32:01 AM »
But we can relax, Brian, because other places are worse and weíre already better than anyone has ever been. Yeah, thatís it.  ::)
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Back home from Sioux City after three days and a pleasant reunion of the East High School class of - can you believe it! - 1959.

Dan Fienen

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #73 on: April 22, 2021, 07:17:12 AM »
But we can relax, Brian, because other places are worse and weíre already better than anyone has ever been. Yeah, thatís it.  ::)
Well, at least as you sit back and enjoy the fruits of your white privilege and the perquisites of being part of the oppressor caste you can still snear at those who are not enlightened enough to recognize what a truly terrible county this is that has afforded you your comfortable life.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2021, 07:20:00 AM by Dan Fienen »
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peter_speckhard

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Re: Chauvin Trial and verdict
« Reply #74 on: April 22, 2021, 08:02:35 AM »
You are missing the point. Nobody is saying racism does not exist or that it isnít terrible. Iím saying racism is not the lens through which we ought to view individual crimes. Only if we know that race played a role should we treat something as a racial incident. We should not assume that race played a role merely because the officer was white and the victim black. Police misconduct and brutality is real. This trial should have gone off the exact same way as it would have if Chauvin were black or Floyd white. But it didnít; it became a parable about race relations without any evidence that race had anything to do with it. 

Calling America inherently racist without acknowledging that it is among the least racist nations ever to exist is like calling America poor without recognizing that it is among the richest nations ever to exist. Poverty in America is real and bad, but does not define America or the American experiment. Nor does racism, which is also real and bad. Nor do rape, child molestation, or any number of of other real and terrible things define America.

In this case, I think the pressure to treat the case as a national parable about race led the prosecution to seek charges that were a stretch given the facts. I realize the jury disagreed. Duh. But debate about whether this or that more serious charge was warranted, or disagreement with there the charges eventually landed is not allowed among certain people, which is a toxic situation.