The general consensus that the indictment in the Derek Chauvin trial was very successful in the first week and a half has been countered by a warning about how difficult it is to convict police officers with excessive force. I will.
In fact, winning such proceedings is notoriously difficult, but prosecutors in the Shovin trial often break out of the paradigm and serve acquittal verdicts and jury juries when police are involved. They are likely to win the conviction.
The Washington Post Criminal Justice Reporter Mark Berman Challenge “When police kill people, they are rarely prosecuted and difficult to be convicted,” he explained on Sunday. Citing data collected between 2005 and 2015, he shows that non-police defendants were convicted of murder in about 70% of cases tried. In the case of the police, that percentage is about 50%.
Officers write that they often successfully insist that “a momentary decision must be made at a tense, potentially dangerous moment.” When a jury understands the situation as a heated few seconds in a confrontation with an unpredictable and menacing suspect, the jury tends to conclude that police officers can afford it.
Despite the King being thrashed with a barbaric videotape that was put into the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, it was primarily what happened in the first state trial of the Rodney King case. (Full Disclosure: I worked on a federal retrial of four policemen and convicted them.)
Chauvin will probably not be able to benefit from these built-in benefits to the police, probably because of the prosecutor’s skills and knowledge, and because of the extraordinary nature of the evidence.
First, the prosecution effectively made May 26, 2020, an unexplained and relatively peaceful day in southern Minneapolis until Chauvin and his fellow officers entered the scene as invading forces. Painted. The jury watched a video of Floyd entering Cup Foods. I’m drunk, but I’m not a barbarian. Over a dozen neighborhood witnesses and convenience store employees testified to their helplessness when he died. They formed a kind of team George. Many called Floyd in his name at the Witness Stand.
All of this changes the table in the case of standard excessive force. The jury’s attention has focused on regular witnesses in familiar street corner scenes, rather than isolated encounters between police officers and potentially dangerous suspects. The prosecutor’s presentation has the advantage of bringing home the intolerable quality of the most horrifying evidence of the video (playback and play) where Chauvin knelt on Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
As prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury in the opening statement, “You can believe in your eyes that it’s a murder.”
Again, compare this to what the first King Trial and its famous videotape show. The Simi Valley jury saw only the truncated behavior of police officers who encountered only the King in a dark, urban-type DMZ.
The facts of the Floyd case itself have fallen into the hands of Chauvin’s prosecutor, which is easier than most excessive force charges. Chauvin’s actions cannot be explained as a momentary reaction charged with adrenaline to personal danger. Yes, Floyd acted irregularly when he was detained and refused to ride a police car. The policeman was justified by the use of force, but by the time Chauvin kneeled on Floyd, he was not in imminent danger, as the jury and the world had seen.
In fact, the most characteristic element of evidence in this case is Chauvin’s inadequate, almost empty air, as Chauvin is handcuffed and kneels on a prone, unresponsive Floyd. There may be.
The video evidence paved the way for another very unusual advantage for the prosecution, which I have never seen in another case of excessive force. The Minneapolis Police Chief and his longest-serving member clearly testified that Chauvin had become fraudulent and used excessive force. Instead of the familiar blue wall of silence, the jury witnessed a wall of blue blame.
With all these deviations from the paradigm, the prosecution’s mission is no longer a more difficult battle than usual, but another characteristic feature of the Chauvin trial complicates their mission.
Chauvin faces three different crimes: two murders, three murders, and two manslaughter charges. His guilt and innocence can be esoteric, if not Gotham-a thin distinction between accusations, primarily about intent. (By comparison, in the federal system, cases of overpower usually turn on simple criteria: whether officers deliberately applied overpower in the constitution.)
A jumble of allegations raises the possibility of a compromise verdict. The jury may decide to convict Chauvin for murder rather than manslaughter, but chooses three crimes and is acquitted (or squeezed) for two more serious crimes. I will. In particular, conflicting medical testimonies beginning on Thursday can raise enough suspicion to move them in that direction.
So the prosecution may be on the glide path to victory, but what kind? Given the inherent difficulty of prosecuting cases of excessive power, the conviction of murder seems good enough, or less than a second murder as a loss that rekindles the community and the country. Do you understand? That question, even if convicted, could determine whether Chauvin’s prosecution remains in history as a victory or failure of justice.
This story was originally Los Angeles Times..