Friday, February 16, 2024

The retconning of George Floyd

I linked to a documentary casting doubt on the culpability of the police in the death of George Floyd.

In fairness, an expert rebuttal has been published. See both for a balanced view. It appears that both sides are making arguments stronger than what was made at trial.

The new info does not really change my reasons for believing the cops to be innocent. Floyd appeared to be dying before the cops touched him. He had a lethal dose of fentanyl and other illegal drugs. The cops were in a very difficult situation. They called an ambulance and tried to accommodate him. They did not appear to have any criminal intent.

The rebuttal argues that strictly following police procedures would have had Chauvin get off Floyd's back after a couple of minutes, and attaching a strap to restrain him. At one point a bystander says Floyd may have died, and urged the cops to check his pulse. Chauvin chose to wait for the ambulance instead.

Okay, maybe Chauvin used poor judgment, but it is not murder to lean on someone who is already dead.

The bigger issue of course is how this case was politicized. Everyone used it to show that White countries are systemically racist. It does not show that at all.

A 2020 medical paper claimed:

On 25 May 2020, George Floyd pleaded at least 16 times, “I can't breathe.” One officer in attendance nonetheless told bystanders, “He's talking. He's fine” (1, 2). Mayor Hal Marx of Petal, Mississippi, posted on Twitter the following day, “If you can say you can't breathe, you're breathing.” ...

George Floyd could have uttered those syllables repeatedly with small breaths that filled only the trachea and bronchi but brought no air to the alveoli, where actual gas exchange happens. ...

The use of incorrect physiologic statements to justify the force leading to the deaths of Eric Garner and George Floyd is unacceptable. According to our oath as clinicians, it is our responsibility to the public to aggressively correct such misconceptions to prevent further deaths.

His point is that Floyd's talking showed that the police were not blocking his trachea, but the lungs were not absorbing the oxygen because of an underlying medical condition.

The use of force did not contribute to Floyd's death. This paper has no evidence that it did. Its only content is to nitpick about the word "breathe". Some people use it to mean moving air through the throat, while others mean to get oxygen absorbed by the lungs.

No comments: