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posted by martyb on Tuesday June 02 2020, @07:30PM   Printer-friendly

African-American George Floyd's death has led to marches, demonstrations, acts of violence, and looting across the USA and in other parts of the world. Emotions are running high. We will not attempt to accuse or defend anyone here. Just attempt to lay out the information we have and offer it up for the community to discuss. Many comments about this incident have been posted to unrelated stories on this site. This is, therefore, an attempt to provide one place on SoylentNews where people are encouraged to discuss it. So as to not derail other stories on the site, I kindly ask you focus those comments here.

Wikipedia has a page about this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killing_of_George_Floyd (permanent link to the page as it appeared at the time of writing):

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, an African-American man, was killed in the Powderhorn community of Minneapolis, Minnesota. While Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on a city street during an arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white American Minneapolis police officer, kept his knee on the right side of Floyd's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; according to the criminal complaint against Chauvin, 2 minutes and 53 seconds of that time occurred after Floyd became unresponsive.[3][4][5][6][7] Officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas K. Lane participated in Floyd's arrest, with Kueng holding Floyd's back, Lane holding his legs, and Thao looking on and preventing intervention by an onlooker as he stood nearby.[8]:6:24[9][10]

The arrest was made after Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a market.[11] Police said Floyd physically resisted arrest.[12][13] Some media organizations commented that a security camera from a nearby business did not show Floyd resisting.[14][15] The criminal complaint filed later said that based on body camera footage, Floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe while standing outside the police car, resisted getting in the car and intentionally fell down.[16][17][18][19] Several bystanders recorded the event on their smartphones, with one video showing Floyd repeating "Please", "I can't breathe", "Mama", and "Don't kill me" being widely circulated on social media platforms and broadcast by the media.[20] While knee-to-neck restraints are allowed in Minnesota under certain circumstances, Chauvin's usage of the technique has been widely criticized by law enforcement experts as excessive.[21][22][23] All four officers were fired the day after the incident.[24]

[...] Charges: Third-degree murder (Chauvin) Second-degree manslaughter (Chauvin)

This has been extensively covered by the media. Some outlets attempt to put their own interpretations on their coverage with their selection of video footage and with their commentary. It is difficult to find a simple video of the incident. Here is one that has coverage from the time of initial encounter of the police the officers with George Floyd up through his being taken away by ambulance. The video is a composite of shots from a restaurant's surveillance camera (Dragon Wok), Officer body cam, and bystander cell phones. YouTube footage: Full George Floyd Available Footage (21:12). If anyone has more complete footage of the arrest, please mention it clearly (with a link) in the comments.

Lastly, this is a hard time for everybody. Pandemic. Lock-down. Unemployment. Fears. Please be mindful of others' circumstances when commenting. We are a community sprung from a time of challenge. Let us continue to be here for one-another during this difficult time. SoylentNews is People.


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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02 2020, @10:45PM (6 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 02 2020, @10:45PM (#1002461)

    A common principle in law is that if you assault someone, you are responsible for all of the harm done, even if the victim's underlying condition makes that harm much greater than you anticipated.

    The term of art is "the soft skull argument." It's called that after the exemplar: if someone has a bone density reducing disease, and they are punched with enough force to be only a mild blow to anyone else, but it caves their skull in and kills them, the assault is no less heinous because of the vulnerability.

    Societies without this standard in law would have problems with eg. it being more legally permissible to kill grandpa or a young child than a young athelete.

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  • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:28AM (5 children)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:28AM (#1002550)

    >if someone has a bone density reducing disease, and they are punched with enough force to be only a mild blow to anyone else, but it caves their skull in and kills them, the assault is no less heinous because of the vulnerability.

    Is this disease a real thing? Or just a hypothetical made up for the legal principle?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @03:05AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @03:05AM (#1002563)

      DDG is your friend:
      https://www.britannica.com/browse/Bone-Diseases [britannica.com]

      There are one or two that fit the bill, but there are plenty of other bone disorders that can weaken bones to make such a scenario plausible too.

      And you're welcome.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @03:31AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @03:31AM (#1002582)

      Older women with osteoporosis are literally the textbook examples for the eggshell skull doctrine.

    • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:18PM (1 child)

      by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday June 03 2020, @02:18PM (#1002725)

      Absolutely real. Look at boxing / various condoned fighting. Usually people get punched in the head dozens of times. Sometimes people die.

      You could have a brain aneurysm (very weak spot in blood vessel) ready to pop. One bump and the person dies, or maybe worse, suffers permanent brain damage that would appear like a stroke.

      Or someone could have a clot ready to break loose and one punch could loosen it and cause embolism (heart, lungs, brain, liver, kidneys, etc.) and the person's in dire straits.

      Not sure how I feel about the legal philosophy though...

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:49PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:49PM (#1002860)

        Or second impact syndrome [wikipedia.org]. Or, hit repeatedly enough and one might get a brain bleed that wasn't aneurysm based. Or CTE.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:43PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 03 2020, @05:43PM (#1002854)

      Osteogenesis imperfecta [wikipedia.org], type 16 especially, among others. (Latin way of saying less than perfect bone generation, but it is in a category of it's own.) Osteoporosis as well to some degree, though not really skull specific. The other possibility is fontanels (cranial suture lines) that fail to close and ossify, allowing a staving in of the skull bone.

      Now, has anyone actually been a victim of that, I dunno. And I don't think it matters, because standards of duty and negligence usually only accounts for reasonable and prudent behavior, not exceptional cases. A professional does not have to foresee all possible consequences and problems, only reasonable ones. None of that excuses the behavior here and I am NOT trying to justify it - I am condemning it because no reasonable and prudent police officer should ever apply pressure to someone's neck. It is reasonable to assume an officer should know that pressure on the neck can cause tracheal closure, carotid artery occlusion (FAR more dangerous), and the potential of spinal injury.

      But that a few people may have a particular weakness is not an argument. Let's say someone is allergic to peppers or capsaicin. Spices, for example, or animal studies [nih.gov]. I mean anaphylactic reaction allergic - it's hard to grade when something is intentionally an irritant and positioning may be a factor. That a very few might have those reactions does not mean police cannot use it as a tool. Not on peaceful protestors, but as an alternative to even more invasive interventions. Because the standard of duty generally permits that.