Crime ‘No Way Around That’: Derek Chauvin’s Defense Lawyer Fails to Poke Holes in Expert Pulmonologist’s Account of George Floyd’s Death
Minneapolis officers line up to reject Chauvin's actions
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The parade of Minneapolis police officers rejecting a former officer’s actions in restraining George Floyd continued at his murder trial, including a use-of-force instructor who said officers were coached to “stay away from the neck when possible.” Lt. Johnny Mercil on Tuesday became the latest member of the Minneapolis force to take the stand as part of an effort by prosecutors to dismantle the argument that Derek Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do when he put his knee on George Floyd’s neck last May.
Former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson had his work cut out for himof the state’s expert pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin on Thursday.
Nelson began by suggesting that Tobin’s report only captured a tiny bit of what happened during George Floyd’s fatal arrest last May.
“You’ve taken this case, and you’ve literally boiled it down into a nanosecond?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t say that,” the doctor replied–noting that his report chronicled several minutes beginning at the point Chauvin’s knee hit Floyd’s neck and ending when paramedics attempted to revive him.
Defense set to take turn in ex-cop's trial in Floyd death
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The defense for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's death was set to start presenting its case Tuesday, following 11 days of a prosecution narrative that combined wrenching video with clinical analysis by medical and use-of-force experts to condemn Derek Chauvin's actions. Prosecutors called their final witnesses Monday, leaving only some administrative matters before they were expected to rest Tuesday. Once the defense takes over, Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson is expected to have his own experts testify that it was Floyd's drug use and bad heart, not Chauvin's actions, that killed him.
That first volley was more or less emblematic of the defense’s overall strategy to push back against the testimony of the Irish-accented Loyola professor and practicing pulmonologist.
Nelson attempted to cast doubt in jurors’ minds about the scientific conclusions reached by Tobin by repeatedly asking the expert witness about constant changes in science.
“All science is constantly changing,” Tobin noted in response.
On redirect, special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell asked if Chauvin’s knee was “constantly changing” positions while on Floyd’s neck.
The doctor said no.
The defense spent substantial effort tending to its overarching theory of the case; that Floyd died due to a fentanyl overdose. This was an all-but necessity for Nelson due to Tobin’s prior testimony.
The judge in the Derek Chauvin case is orchestrating one of the nation’s most widely watched murder trials. Meet Peter Cahill.
While Judge Peter Cahill allowed cameras in the courtroom for the first time in Minnesota state history, he's also been strict on other matters.That is exactly where Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill finds himself in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, entering its sixth week and bringing daily controversy and scrutiny to every step taken in the courtroom.
The Chicago-based doctor previously dismissed theon Floyd as he died last May.
“There isn’t fentanyl on board that is affecting [Floyd’s] respiratory centers,” Tobin previously told the prosecution–right after noting Floyd’s respiratory rate just before his death.
Asked for the “punch line” regarding Floyd’s respiratory rate and the presence of fentanyl in his system, the witness answered decisively.
“You know fentanyl is not causing the depression of his respiration,” the expert pulmonologist said. “What you’re seeing is that the increase in his carbon dioxide that is found in the emergency room is solely explained by what you expect to happen in somebody who doesn’t have any ventilation given to him for 9 minutes and 50 seconds, it’s completely explained by that.”
Nelson sought to poke holes in Tobin’s determination by asking whether fentanyl is generally “a respiratory depressant.”
Police chief: Fired cop broke policy in pinning Floyd
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis police chief who called George Floyd's death “murder” soon after it happened testified that Officer Derek Chauvin had clearly violated department policy when he pinned Floyd's neck beneath his knee for more than 9 minutes. Continuing to kneel on Floyd's neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, "and it is certainlyContinuing to kneel on Floyd's neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, "and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday on D
“It can be,” Tobin replied before explaining that if fentanyl has “any effect” on the respiratory centers that would have to occur through the “neural receptors” of the brain.
“There’s no way around that,” the doctor said. “Fentanyl isn’t going to have an effect on respiration by some other mechanism.”
The upshot of this segment was later clarified during redirect after Nelson asked whether fentanyl can “cause a death as a result of low oxygen.”
“Your answer is yes, but only in part,” Tobin said–again reiterating his prior point.
“Do people go into a coma before they die from fentanyl?” Blackwell asked.
“Yes,” the doctor replied.
“Was Mr. Floyd ever in a coma?” the prosecution pressed.
“No,” Tobin replied.
Law&Crime Network host Brian Buckmire, however, noting that Nelson made some headway by establishing that Floyd might have ingested fentanyl just minutes before he died–which Tobin was forced to concede.
level of fentanyl in his system was closer to those who survived than those who died of fentanyl the doctor on the stand gave that as a final statement on re-direct
EXPLAINER: Judge lets jury decide Floyd's remark about drugs
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The judge overseeing the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer in the death of George Floyd said Monday that he'll leave it up to the jury to sort out whether Floyd yelled “I ate too many drugs” or “I ain’t do no drugs” as three officers pinned him to the ground. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill made the ruling as attorneys argued over whether to allow the testimony of a use-of-force expert for the prosecution, Seth Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina Law School. Prosecutors wanted him to testify from an academic perspective on whether Chauvin used reasonable force and about national policing standards.
— Brian G. Buckmire (@BuckEsq)
After failing to overrule a prosecution objection about a prior witness’s testimony, Nelson asked a hypothetical question about the general moment of “peak respiratory depression” based on the consumption of pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. Tobin confirmed that the peak would likely occur at roughly five minutes after consumption–which, here, would have been some two minutes before Floyd died.
Another key moment during Tobin’s second time on the stand occurred during redirect when Blackwell addressed the defense invoking several of Floyd’s preexisting conditions.
“Now, you were asked quite a few questions about Mr. Floyd’s preexisting health conditions?” the prosecution asked.
“Correct,” the doctor replied.
“And remember, he cited a number of those?” Blackwell continued.
“Yes,” the witness said.
“And do any of those conditions have anything to do with the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death, in your professional opinion, whatsoever?”
“None whatsoever,” Tobin said.
A pivotal moment in the Derek Chauvin trial. Dr. Tobin says that George Floyd’s pre-existing health conditions had nothing whatsoever to do with his death.
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin)
[image via screengrab/Law&Crime Network]
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Prosecution case nears end in ex-cop's trial in Floyd death .
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd 's death enters its third week Monday, with the state nearing the end of a case built on searing witness accounts, official rejections of the neck restraint and expert testimony attributing Floyd's death to a lack of oxygen. Derek Chauvin, 45, who is white, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s May 25 death. Police were called to a neighborhood market where Floyd, who was Black, was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit bill.