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Derek Chauvin’s defense is in fact a damning indictment

Rogue Valley

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Derek Chauvin’s defense is in fact a damning indictment

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4/13/21
As the trial of Derek Chauvin switches over to the defense this week, the former Minneapolis police officer’s legal team is expected to blame George Floyd’s death on a condition called “excited delirium.” The prosecution is expected to counter either that he wasn’t suffering from it, or that excited delirium isn’t a legitimate medical condition. It’s a debate we see often after a high-profile death in police custody. But the defense’s claim doesn’t absolve Chauvin — if anything, it makes him look worse. Excited delirium is typically invoked when a suspect is agitated, confused, scared or angry, and is drunk, high or having a mental health crisis. Some definitions claim those experiencing it can have unusually high tolerance for pain, or can exhibit unexpected strength. According to proponents of the idea, about 10 percent of people suffering from excited delirium simply drop dead, usually of heart failure, often while heavily restrained or after being shot with pepper spray or a stun gun. It’s a convenient diagnosis for law enforcement. It provides both a justification for what otherwise might look like excessive force, and impunity when that force coincides with a suspect’s death. There are enough varying definitions of the term with enough different “symptoms” to provide an excuse for just about any in-custody death that wasn’t the result of a shooting.

But excited delirium isn’t recognized by the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association or the American Psychiatric Association. Studies have found it disproportionately diagnosed in Black victims. In fact, one of its biggest proponents isn’t a medical organization, but Axon Enterprise, the company formerly known as Taser International. The reason ought to be self-evident — it’s a liability-ducking explanation for why hundreds of people in the United States have died after getting shot with a weapon that isn’t supposed to be lethal. But even if you buy into excited delirium, Floyd wasn’t displaying the symptoms most associated with it. He didn’t appear to be invincible, or to think he was. He appeared to be scared and vulnerable. If the officers at the scene did not think Floyd was suffering from excited delirium, there was no reason for the added restraint. If they did think he was suffering from the condition, Chauvin’s subsequent actions look even worse. If Chauvin thought Floyd was experiencing excited delirium, it means he suspected Floyd was suffering from a condition that had a 10 percent chance of killing him. Chauvin then opted not for tactics that would diminish those odds, but tactics that increased them. That’s no defense. It’s a damning indictment.


The Pathologist for the defense testified that Floyd had possibly serious underlying medical conditions and drug use. One of those conditions or a combination of all could have resulted in George Floyd's death on May 25.

This defense is saying to the jurors that George Floyd had potentially fatal conditions. But we all do. All of us will die someday of something. The pertinent question remains: Why did George Floyd die on that day?

The defense would like you to believe it was due to an enlarged heart, cholesterol, exited delirium, carbon monoxide, drug use... anything other than what we all witnessed on video.

Mr. Floyd died that day because Derek Chauvin compressed his neck and lungs with ~96 pounds of pressure for 9 minutes and 26 seconds.
 

Callen

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Anxious to hear the prosecution cross examine. I don't think this guy will stand up well.
 

Excast

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It's awfully similar to the comorbidities argument that we heard from many conservatives as an excuse not to shut things down or take the pandemic seriously. After all, only people who had issues needed to worry, right? Until you realize that most of us have one problem or another, whether it be diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, or any of the plethora of others that half or more of the country are dealing with.

"Sure, I was driving drunk, but the guy I ran into had high blood pressure, so I can't be held responsible for him dying."

Is that the argument we really want to make? That nobody is ever responsible for someone else's death as long as that individual has an underlying health condition of any kind? It's absurd on it's face and hopefully the jury rejects it outright.
 
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