Did George Floyd Die From An Overdose of Fentanyl or From Homicide?
Paul Craig Roberts
As readers know, I am a long-time critic of gratuitous police violence. My many columns on the subject have cost me readers who saw my columns as undermining the police and thereby law and order. I agree with readers that crime is real and that there is a danger that punishing the police for abusing their power can reduce their zealousness in enforcing laws. On the other hand, refusing to hold police accountable allows misbehavior to continue that eventually undermines their reputation as has now occurred.
As readers know, I am also a critic of authorities, including those in Minnesota, for having our police given Israeli police training. Israelis use police to suppress the Palestinian population. In my opinion this kind of aggressive training is risky when some members of the force are attracted by power and authority instead of public service.
Having this track record, some readers are now confused that I seem to be taking the side of the police in the George Floyd case.
My concern is not with one side or the other. It is with truth. The medical examiner’s report—completely ignored by the media and public authorities—indicates that Floyd died of a fatal dose of the opioid fentanyl and not from strangulation by officer Chauvin. If this is the case, then officer Chauvin, who has been convicted in the media prior to trial, has had his rights violated and has been, in effect, lynched by the media serving as a black KKK.
The American people should know by now that the media gets things wrong far more often than it gets them right. Take your pick and add to the list: Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russiagate, Impeachgate, Hillary’s emails. It is supposed to be a principle of US justice that a defendant is innocent until found guilty by a jury in a trial.
It is easy to see why officer Chauvin was not given the benefit of the doubt. The video and the photo of officer Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, with Floyd reported as complaining that he can’t breathe and Chauvin appearing indifferent to Floyd’s complaint, is all it takes for an anatomically ignorant population to see what they take to be an act of homicide.
Certainly the media did not investigate or wait for the medical report or even look at the medical report when it became available. Chauvin was pronounced guilty in advance. Now with the entire world convinced of his guilt, with so many political reputations staked on his guilt, and with more than 500,000 people contributing more than $14,500,000 to the official George Floyd Memorial Fund — https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd — it is impossible to correct what might be a rush to a false judgment.
I can do myself no good by raising questions about a conclusion that seems to be set in stone. It will cost me readers, donations, and bring me death threats. But I cannot be indifferent when it is possible that truth has been murdered and an innocent police office has been publicly lynched. I am defending truth, not Chauvin. Without truth, everyone of us can be pronounced guilty by accusation alone. This is especially the case in America where denunciation has displaced civilized debate.
As a former Wall Street Journal editor, columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, Creators Syndicate, and major French and Italian newspapers, I am familiar with how the press works. The media creates lies, sometimes on purpose, sometimes inadvertently, and sometimes by rushing to judgment. Americans, bless their gullible hearts, assume the press has investigated when so often the press is merely publishing a planted story or a press release or boosting readership with extravagant headlines that become the story in place of the facts.
The question before us is: In the case of George Floyd’s death, has the media turned a lie into truth?
Everywhere in the world the story has been told of “the Memorial Day Killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis,” to use the words from the UK Telegraph on July 4. The Foreign Staff of the Telegraph cannot even report on President Trump’s Mount Rushmore Speech without repeating again that Floyd was killed by police. We have all heard it countless times.
But is this what happened? No one has investigated except John-Paul Leonard — https://www.unz.com/article/or-did-george-floyd-die-of-a-drug-overdose/ . If the media account, which is based on nothing but an emotional reaction to a video, is incorrect, Chauvin, the accused police officer, has been wrongly convicted in the media and has no chance of a fair trial.
When I was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, if media presented a defendant as guilty before a court trial concluded that fact, it endangered the ability to prosecute the defendant as it prevented a fair trial. If the media was national that declared guilt prematurely, the case would be dismissed. If it was a local newspaper, the trial would have to be moved to another city or state. It simply was impermissible for media to convict a defendant in the media prior to a jury’s determination. Innocent until proven guilty was the rule. I don’t remember when this protection of the defendant was cast aside.
I suspect the protection was lost with the rise of plea bargaining. I don’t think plea bargaining existed in the 40s and 50s. With the rise of plea bargaining, evidence of innocence or guilt became irrelevant. Trials ceased to take place. Today 97% of felonies are resolved with plea bargains. In exchange for a guilty plea, the defendant is punished for a lesser offense that did not occur and avoids the risk of being convicted on more serious charges. The defendant’s lawyer and the prosecutor negotiate a lesser offence in exchange for a guilty plea that avoids the cost in time and money of a trial. The “justice system” moved from finding truth to clearing dockets and maximizing the conviction rate. Trials take time and can result in an innocent verdict. Plea bargains are quickly arranged and all who plea are guilty.
The police officer, Chauvin, has already been convicted by the media everywhere in the world. He cannot possibly get a fair trial. Even if the jurors are convinced he is innocent by the medical evidence and by Floyd’s complaints of his breathing problem prior to being restrained, they won’t dare say so. Jurors who found Chauvin innocent would be shunned by neighbors and face death threats from Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Despite the fact that no fair trial is possible for Chauvin, his case will not be dismissed. A prosecutor who dropped charges and a judge who dismissed the case on the grounds that a fair trial is impossible would be demonized and placed in danger of their lives and careers.
The medical examiner’s report finds no sign of damage to Floyd’s neck from being restrained, and it reports a fatal level of opioid in Floyd’s blood. The opioid, Fentanyl, when overdosed stops breathing and causes death. Floyd is heard on the recording to be complaining of his breathing problem prior to being restrained. You can get the facts of the effects of Fentanyl from this official source: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/fentanyl
The medical examiner’s report is here: https://www.scribd.com/document/464269559/George-Floyd-Autopsy-FULL-REPORT#from_embed?campaign=VigLink&ad_group=xxc1xx&source=hp_affiliate&medium=affiliate
It seems that the police sensed that Floyd was in a life-threatened situation when they put him in the police car to take to the police station. They called for medics, removed him from the car, and held him on his stomach, which their training may have taught them is the safest position, while waiting for the medics, who arrived too late.
As a person familiar with martial arts, I know that blows to the side of the neck do not affect breathing. It is blows to the throat that do that. Put pressure on the sides of your neck, and you will see that it does not affect your breathing. Now try that on your throat.
No media has looked at the autopsy report or interviewed objective experts. What we have is a picture of a cop restraining Floyd with a knee restraint taught in police training and Floyd saying he can’t breathe. The anatomically ignorant public unaware that Floyd is overdosed on an opioid that stops breathing, sees this and concludes, with media instruction, that the policeman mercilessly killed Floyd.
On the basis of what might be a false conclusion, a man will be denied a fair trial, and numerous businesses and public monuments have been destroyed. Race relations in the United States have been set back, and white Americans are moving out of multiracial cities. Antifa and Black Lives Matter have the liberal elites on the run, and this implies more breakdowns in civil order. On July 4 a large contingent of armed black militia marched pass the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial outside Atlanta and challenged white militias to battle: “We are in your house, let’s go!” https://www.zerohedge.com/political/were-your-house-lets-go-black-militia-challenges-white-militia-confederate-monument
It is entirely possible that race relations in the United States have been unravelled by a media lie.
I have no objection to my reading of the evidence being proven incorrect. But until it is, I very much object to the media murdering police officer Chauvin along with race relations in the United States.