Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is seeking a dismissal of all charges against him. Court documents from last week show Chauvin’s lawyers arguing that George Floyd died from pre-existing health problems made worse by drug abuse.
In contrast, prosecutors want extended sentences for Chauvin and three other fired officers if convicted. In May, Chauvin was filmed with his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes in a video that went viral.
Defense of Derek Chauvin
Chauvin’s defense team focused heavily on Floyd’s heath issues in their filed argument. Attorney Eric Nelson wrote, “Floyd was a daily smoker of cigarettes. His heart was at the ‘upper limit of size’ due to untreated hypertension. Mr. Floyd suffered from arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease.”
In addition, Nelson claimed toxicology results from Floyd’s autopsy reported that Floyd had taken fentanyl just before his arrest. Nelson stated that Floyd used opiates for years, and that Floyd was still recovering from the coronavirus.
Nelson reported that during Floyd’s arrest, Chauvin was “cautious” out of concern for Floyd’s well-being. The officer “exuded a calm and professional demeanor,” Nelson claims, and “was clearly being cautious about the amount of pressure he used to restrain Mr. Floyd – cautious enough to prevent bruising.”
Nelson submitted the filing to Hennepin County District Court on behalf of Chauvin. The other three accused officers – J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao – are also seeking dismissal of the charges against them.
The Prosecution’s Rebuttal
However, the prosecution says the former officers should all face longer sentences if convicted. Floyd was “particularly vulnerable” to injury according to the prosecution’s own court filing. Officers treated Floyd with “particular cruelty” while he was handcuffed and struggled to breathe prior to his death.
Floyd wasn’t a threat to the four officers according to Ben Crump, a Floyd family attorney. Furthermore, he says the viral video of Floyd’s arrest with Chauvin’s knee on his neck reinforces that narrative.
“The more video evidence you see, the more unjustifiable George Floyd’s torture and death at the hands of the police becomes,” Crump said earlier this month. “Although the allegation against George was for a non-violent offense involving a $20 bill, the police officers approached him with guns drawn, simply because he was a Black man.”
[H/T FOX News]