Closing arguments on Monday; what will the verdict be?

Published by carolyn on Fri, 2021-04-16 18:17

This widely seen image taken from a bystander video on May 25 is detrimental to the defense case to the point of assuring a conviction. It shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee placed on the neck of the previously struggling George Floyd even after Floyd was no longer resisting.

By Carolyn Yeager

BEFORE SEEING THE CLOSING ARGUMENTS, but after watching the entirety of the 13 days of courtroom testimony televised to the public, I am willing to offer my prediction of what this jury will do. I sat on one jury in my life, in a civil case. I know that the expectation to overcome differences and reach a final verdict is strong, and most jurors take that responsibility seriously. I've thought all along, and continue to think that the damning blow against Derek Chauvin is the video that shows all 9min25sec that George Floyd is pinned to the ground, even after he had ceased all resistance and apparently stopped breathing (shown in image above).

The prosecution opened their case with it and no doubt will close with it, too. The final crucial time span that Floyd was unresponsive was somewhere around 2 minutes, plus or minus, until the ambulance with paramedics arrived. During this time even the assisting officers voiced some concerns, which Chauvin appeared to ignore. Also voicing their concern was the group of bystanders on the sidewalk who vociferously called for the policeman to 'let up.'

I believe the jury will be unable to render a “not guilty” verdict because of the impact of those 2 minutes.

In his defense of Chauvin, Eric Nelson basically argued that police officers' sometimes split-second decisions made under stressful and even dangerous circumstances should not be “second-guessed'' after the fact by those who weren't there or are not trained law enforcement. In this case specifically, Chauvin had to consider the busy street traffic, the angry crowd on the sidewalk, the fact that EMS was on the way, and Floyd's previous uncooperative behavior in deciding not to do more for Floyd and instead wait for the paramedics (who took longer than they should have).  Can the jury see this as reasonable behavior? Whether they can or not, I doubt they will. And now this argument has been weakened by Chauvin's decision to not take the stand and explain what was going through his mind.

Not that I think it's a wrong decision. It's what I expected.

But this leaves something of a hole in the otherwise able defense strategy attorney Nelson has crafted together. No matter how persuasive other evidence of following police procedure might be, it can't undo the horrible appearance of heartlessness conveyed by that single highly circulated image. Naturally, the prosecution continues to make the most of it.

It remains to be seen whether jurors sympathetic to the defense position will put up enough resistance to those who want to convict. Three things that keep me from accepting a murder charge are (among others) 1) the strong resistance Floyd continued to put up against all attempts to control him even though he kept saying and promising he would comply, 2) the particular drugs he was clearly consuming at the time of his arrest which played havoc with his heart, lungs and brain, and 3) lack of a motive or any vindictiveness or anger exhibited on the part of Officer Chauvin. Floyd's behavior was clearly self-destructive.

The death of George Floyd falls most naturally into the category of involuntary manslaughter, ie. unintentional death in consequence of the actions of the accused. I do believe Floyd's own actions contributed to his death, and I would be comfortable finding Chauvin not guilty of any charges, but I think the majority of the jurors will never go that route.Therefore, to reach a verdict I predict the twelve men and women will have to compromise on manslaughter.

If the jury hardliners demand 3rd degree murder to better satisfy the mob, it's possible they could force that on the others as “not that different” in outcome from manslaughter. If that happens, it would be a shame.

That's my take, overall. I don't think closing arguments will offer any surprises, but I will watch them even though I can barely tolerate the prosecution lawyers anymore. I am sick of them. I'm wondering who will be doing the closing. My guess is Jerry Blackwell, but could it be a team effort?


News, Race


Thanks for the insights.  I think, to use an out-worn phrase, the Chauvin trial is a modern-day lynching.  The rolls have been reversed with a vengeance.  Now Black Suremasts rule.   Incredibly, a career criminal, who was not himself averse to putting a gun to someone's head, who was passing counterfeit money, a crime against the state,  who was driving under the influence of drugs, who was resisting arrest, is now become a martyr to truth and justice, and a policeman, Officer Chauvin, is criminalized for doing his job.  I think.  

@Al Milligan - Your choice of terminology sounds spot-on to me; lynching.  I would call it a lynching by judicial process.  And thanks agaiin to Carolyn Yeager for doing the best reporting and commentary out there on this trial.

Thank you so much.

Yep you're spot on Carolyn . The blacks will still loot and destroy but nothing like the Rodney King riots. At best Chauvin will be convicted of 2nd manslaughter but that wouldn't be enough to satisfy the mob. All we can hope for is that the Judge shows some leniency at sentencing. 
This Country is in big trouble and we need to separate and start again.

Hi Roger. We need to get our attention off predictions of "looting and rioting" and keep it on "law and justice." The trial is not over yet, but too many in the "white right" only want to focus on the misbehavior of groups like BLM, which is made up of both black and white leftists. Yes, it's blacks who lead it, but are whites standing up against it? (Every juror said they support BLM.) Law and order should be absolute but, like in everything else, emotion rules the media narrative, and therefore influences most of us in that direction.

It just struck me that that is the key to Derek Chauvin's guilty appearance -- he is cool as a cucumber, by nature. He's incapable of responding to the emotionality of others. That makes him guilty in an over-emotionalized society - he's guilty of lacking empathy. Are police now required to feel empathy for the law breakers? Are the Army, Navy and Marines next?

 Chauvin had at his disposal many other forms of restraint. He lacked basic moral
civility not to acknowldge Mr. Floyds distress pleas that he could not breathe.
He should definitely be held accountable.

I wouldn't go around advertising. But I'm not really comfortable with race mixing. That's between us.  Chauvin was probably in a liberal environment in his personal life. Something tells me he voted for Obama along with his Asian wife.  I like Asian girls fine but marriage is serious. I just don't think he had his head screwed on straight.  If it's a black and white issue, I can't really claim him as white. Sorry.

Chauvin is definitely not an ideal white man. His parents divorced when he was seven and he was then raised by his father. He was a high school drop-out and worked as a prep cook until he joined the Army and served in the military police. During these 4 years, he attended a community college and later graduated from Metropolitan State University with a bacherlor's degree in law enforcement. He joined the Minneapolis police dept. in 2001.

He seems like someone who got a poor start in life but managed to turn himself in a positive direction. He was never arrested or behaved like a juvenile delinquent. He married a Hmong Laotian refugee but they had no children. They seemed to share an ambition for getting ahead and accumulaing wealth/security. I don't see any sign of higher ideals of service. It feels very much that he missed out on a mother's love; what I've read about his mother was that she wasn't much good and then disappeared from his life.

It's very unfair that the difficulties Michael Chauvin faced in life (and his effort to make the best choices available to him) are simply ignored in the media while the difficulties facing George Floyd are played up with massive sympathy. While Chauvin may not be an ideal white man, he is definitely suffering unequal treatment in what's become an anti-white America. For that, we should take his side.

Very well said. when they were reading the verdict I saw chauvin's eyes dart from left to right wildly like an animal trapped in a noose. At that moment my heart broke for him.