Our attorneys and staff grieve with George Floyd’s family at the outset, as our lead counsel was the victim of police abuse, and we know no one is perfect. However, many inconsistencies and outright lies about the case are puffed by many news media outlets that don’t do justice to the parties. By the same token, I want to thank the brave people who videotaped the police. We have evidence police often injure or arrest witnesses to police misconduct, arrest them with false charges or interfere with police, etc.
Yes. The black man’s family, alleged by prosecutors to have been killed by Minneapolis police, agreed to a $27 million settlement before a lengthy civil trial. On or about March 12, 2021, the city of Minneapolis and George Floyd’s family announced a settlement in the wrongful death case surrounding his death last year. Our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys have followed this case closely.
Not even close. We have questioned from the start the biased news reporting hailing George Floyd a “hero.”
We are equally frustrated over other parties painting Floyd out as some kind of animal, unworthy of Constitutional rights. Of course, the city’s admission of civil liability likely all but sealed officer Chauvin’s fate in his present criminal trial. So far, the videotapes and eyewitness evidence shows Floyd was dancing around inside a liquor store after he tried to purchase items with a counterfeit $20.00 Federal Reserve Note.
It would be foolhardy to think that months of rioting and media disinformation didn’t influence the largest wrongful death settlement in North American history, and here’s why:
Toxicology reports show Floyd was likely high on a deadly cocktail of Fentanyl and Methamphetamine. Floyd’s family hired an expert who said Chauvin’s knee to Floyd’s neck killed him and not the illegal narcotics he allegedly habitually used. The city’s toxicology expert originally asserted that Floyd would have died anyway due to the illegal drugs he was taking. The far-left “fact-checker” family, Snopes, argues it is racist even to discuss Floyd’s past crimes or drug use as a basis for shackling and holding Floyd asserting:
“The question of past arrests often surfaces among people who want to rationalize police officers’ actions when Black men are killed in custody.”
Snopes goes on to opine (again a “fact check” site) that most people who cared about Floyd’s past crimes were those:
“… who seemed to be searching for evidence that either the actions by the Minneapolis police officer who choked Floyd were justified, or memorials to honor him were unnecessary.”
Snopes appears to be unhappy that a black woman, Candace Owens, doesn’t think Floyd should be honored as a hero. Owens argues that Floyd would have used his van as a deadly weapon, possibly killing many road users as a reckless car driver. Owens argues, as would a court or prosecutor, that evidence of past crimes and drug use is relevant to the necessary force to detain Floyd. However, since Snopes says they can find NOTHING to suggest the police knew how lethal Floyd was, their force was unjustified.
Snopes appears to suggest at the outset that Floyd was never convicted of armed robbery, but merely “theft” in “1998,” but then later in the piece, Snopes finally admits Floyd, 6-foot-7 and well over 200 pounds, was also convicted of armed robbery.
Probably. Although Snopes selectively cites the Minneapolis Police Department’s policies, they made no mention that MPD policy mandates that suspects have their plates and ID run before making most arrests. Snopes also failed to mention that Chauvin worked with Floyd as a bouncer and was “afraid” of the 6 foot 7 giant. We need to point out that unnecessary use of force is not determined just by police policy, and it’s obvious that placing your knee on a dude’s neck, high on drugs, could kill him! However, it appears no evidence was presented at all that “systemic racism” caused this tragedy either.
FACTS: After black police officer Thomas Lane and Asian police officer J. A. Kueng responded to a 911 call and investigating what happened, these two minority race police located Floyd breathing heavily sitting in his van.
Their bodycam footage shows that Floyd kept saying, “I can’t breathe.” After Lane received Floyd’s name and identification, he most likely ran him for wants, warranted, and prior arrests/convictions, as is Minneapolis police department protocol (not mentioned by Snopes).
“A. Initiating a stop When making a traffic law enforcement (TLE) stop, the initiating squad shall:
1. Notify the dispatcher of the location of the stop and the license number of the vehicle being stopped and initiate a call for service in accordance with P&P 7-100 Communications.
2. Request a back-up unit or roll-by assist from the dispatcher, if one is needed or desired.
• It is no longer a Department procedure to automatically start a roll-by or back-up to a TLE if the stop is made by one officer (able) squad.”
“Information captured by an ALPR relating to a license plate that matches the license plate on a BOLO or Hotlist.” (See “The Minneapolis Police Department Policy and Procedure Manual“).
Lane conducted a “traffic stop” since Floyd was in a vehicle with its engine running. Here, Lane questioned Floyd as to whether he had been using drugs after noticing foam streaming from Floyd’s mouth. After Lane told Floyd he was under arrest for the criminal felony of using counterfeit currency, Floyd became aggressive and demonstrated he wished to flee.
This was when white officer Derek Chauvin and Asian American officer Tou Thao showed to assist the other two officers. By this time, the gigantic, fidgeting, crying man Floyd known to Chauvin was dead set against getting into the squad car. Once again, Floyd asserted he could not breathe as his mouth continued foaming (a symptom of a deadly drug overdose).
This event is when prosecutors allege Chauvin pulled Floyd away from the squad car, and:
“Mr. Floyd went to the ground face down and still handcuffed.”
Prosecutors say officer Kueng secured Floyd by his backside as Officer Lane held down the gigantic man’s legs. Officer Chauvin used his left knee to pin Floyd down by his neck as additional calls for officer assistance were made. By this time, bystanders showed up with smartphones and yelled at police for trying to arrest Floyd. Their smartphone evidence shows Mr. Floyd kept asserting, “I can’t breathe.” The high Floyd also kept crying for his “Mama,” screaming “please,” “I’m about to die.”
Snopes counters that: “It’s an Exaggeration of Toxicology Findings To Claim Floyd Was ‘High on Meth’ When He Died,” ignoring that Floyd probably had a deadly cocktail of multiple drugs in his, not just meth.
But later, as Snopes ofter does, it breezes over Fentanyl use, asserting:
“Floyd tested positive for 11 ng/mL of fentanyl — which is a synthetic opioid pain reliever — and 19 ng/mL of methamphetamine, or meth, though it’s unclear by what method the intoxicants got into his bloodstream or for what reasons.”
In other words, Snopes finally admits Floyd had meth in his body, but since Floyd was such a giant, it’s questionable whether “he was high.” The video footage inside the liquor store and witnesses who saw everything and not just part of the interaction all say Floyd appeared to be wasted on narcotics.
The supposedly neutral Snopes goes on to quote an opinion editorial piece from Scientific American, for the proposition that:
“When Black people are killed by police, their character and even their anatomy is turned into justification for their killer’s exoneration. It’s a well-honed tactic.”
However, that evidence, of course, is a “Voices | Opinion” piece, titled:
“The weaponization of medical language emboldened white supremacy with the authority of the white coat. How will we stop it from happening again?”
Of course, Snopes failed to disclose their source was written by far-left journalists: “Ann Crawford-Roberts, Sonya Shadravan, Jennifer Tsai, Nicolás E. Barceló, Allie Gips, Michael Mensah, Nichole Roxas, Alina Kung, Anna Darby, Naya Misa, Isabella Morton, Alice Shen.” (Snopes passes off anti-white/critical race theorists as a valid source of evidence for the proposition it’s white supremacy to question the prior arrests of a black person?)
Snopes goes on to assert another opinion couched as fact, stating:
Snopes cites no evidence or statistics that other races killed by police don’t have attention drawn to their past criminal histories. A person’s criminal history can and should be very relevant to police and jurors.
Officer Safety: Police run plates and identification of criminal arrestees for a reason. And sentence enhancements exist for a reason.
During a Criminal Proceeding: True, character evidence is generally not allowed to prove or disprove a person acted a certain way during a later event. In other words, the prosecutor may not introduce evidence of a defendant’s prior bad acts—criminal or otherwise—unless it is directly related to the crime at hand for which you received a charge.
Ex: Floyd’s armed robbery conviction would not be relevant to prove he committed larceny, illegal counterfeiting, or drug use. But it would be relevant if he had robbed the liquor store clerk instead of handing her fake U.S. currency.
In California, for example,
Evidence Code Section 1105 a prosecutor would use Floyd’s priors and violent criminal past to show Floyd:
In fact-based reporting, it’s a little different. There are no rules of evidence, and there is no ethical creed or oath of office like police and lawyer might have. Instead, the public has been conditioned to accept certain news outlets as “trustworthy” based on name recognition, similar to hamburger = McDonalds. Unfortunately, news outlets are now mainly political propaganda driven by corporate sponsors seeking political favors through lobbying and marketing. Conservatives have Fox News, NewsMaxx, and One America News. Democrats have Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, Snopes, virtually all Fact Checker sites, NBC, ABC, CBS, most local news channels, and social media to save one site with server problems.
In fact, many of Snope’s cited opinion journalists with an axe to grind against law enforcement and conservatism generally, as FACT. Apparently, Snopes thinks that skin color determines when a person’s past is relevant or not. Their arguments are unsupported by the physical facts as well. But let’s look at what Snopes is REALLY saying. Break it down. Snopes is basically arguing that the press and social media can assassinate the police and police officers (Or anyone else for that matter), scrub bad information about arrestees, and immediately cry “systemic racism,” “abolish the police.” These slogans are good for press and marketing campaigns and help move products. In this case, it likely helped yield the largest wrongful death settlement ever! We at Ehline Law Firm envy attorney Benjamin Crump.
Every personal injury attorney on earth would love having so much publicity over a case where the decedent had little income and a criminal past. Typically a wrongful death settlement is based on economic and general damages. Special damages are monies paid to the decedent’s closed loved ones for monies decedent would have contributed to the household. This compensation is called special, economic damages. We know Floyd likely contributed little if anything, being a habitual illegal drug user, passing off counterfeit money to pay for things.
The other recoverable general damages for wrongful death will not include the decedent’s pain and suffering, But it will include loss of consortium, etc. It appears the largest wrongful death settlement in history appears entirely based upon the loss of consortium. If there were a survival action, his serving loved ones would indirectly receive Floyd’s pain and suffering damages through Floyd’s estate. If the families of police accused of crimes, or the few news outlets with neutral positions present both sides, “fact check” sites like Snopes will immediately be blasted to the front page of Google, asserting these other people are merely racists, not to be listened to, etc. Isn’t that what you see in the fact-checking they did so far above?
Thankfully, unlike the Robespierre, post-French Revolution tactics used by Sun King Snopes, our courts don’t allow these tactics. Unfortunately, the biased reporting passed off as “fact check” definitely taints juries. In this case, Chauvin’s only chance to win a not guilty verdict is likely a hold-out jury relying on jury nullification for overcharging an offense. Some jurors understand that a prosecutor seeking higher office can get big points for putting people in jail that journalists hate. When only one side, tainted by politics, is heard, the public will eventually fall in line.
In fact, the Soviets found that if you bombard people with a false message for two months, it will be accepted as accurate. Westerners call tactics like this “FUD.” “Fear, uncertainty, and doubt (often shortened to FUD) is a propaganda tactic used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics, polling, and cults. FUD is generally a strategy to influence perception by disseminating negative and dubious or false information and a manifestation of the appeal to fear.” – Wikipedia
Fortunately, criminal courts can provide all parties a neutral ground from which to work from. But we all know that black people were lynched using the same tactics Snopes and its compatriots have used to taint the truth or blur or bury it from the days of the past. That being said, the videotape showing Chauvin resting his knee on Floyd’s throat certainly cannot be ignored. Nor can Chauvin’s past.
Courts know this, which is why they try and weed out the jurors who already have been biased by false fact check sites and other corporate media giants like Snopes. This is called Voire Dire. This is a process where courts and attorneys question prospective jurors and challenge tainted jurors for cause or peremptorily. After that, we go to trial, and we use established rules of evidence, careful not to ring the bell and stir a jury’s passion or prejudice for or against a defendant unfairly. Here, it’s damning enough that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for at least 9 minutes. Stirring up the pot, crying racism, etc., (with zero evidence other than political opinions ala Snopes) is not allowed.
Snope’s argument can be summed up as follows: “If a black person is killed during an investigatory stop by police and at least one cop has light skin, it is relevant to point out all police are “racist,” and it’s racist to bring up the violent criminal past of a black arrestee.” In a nutshell, that is their argument. And this is considered a credible fact check site.
However, when one party tries to paint the other side as some hero, as noted above, evidence of bad character comes into evidence. This ancient rule is known to us lawyers as “bringing the bell.” This is exactly what the media did here. They praised decedent Floyd, rushed for camera shots and advertising dollars. In court, Snope’s painting Floyd as a hero and crucifying the police (in this case, most of whom are minority races) as racist, do you think a jury would dare not convict Chauvin?
Snope’s base argument would never survive in court. Yet, we are told accused parties, especially white police officers, are not entitled to the “privilege” of fair reporting. Can you imagine being a juror on this case, knowing if you don’t convict, your neighbors, BLM supporters, and others could target your family?
It is the legal duty of prosecutors and courts to draw attention to any relevant past conduct when the other side has rung the bell. Most journalists were quick to ring the Bell that Floyd was actually a hero. Anything that is unfairly prejudicial could shed light on a person’s motive, opportunity, the good and bad character is fair play and appropriate. Finally, the Snopes piece asserts that no evidence exists police knew Floyd to be dangerous.
Snopes is unaware that police policy dictates that police receive a radio or computer printout of suspects by running their license plates and license (and that happened here). Perhaps Snopes is unaware that Chauvin bounced at a nightclub with Floyd and knew Floyd to be a violent drug addict and convicted armed robber. But with a social media blackout on any information telling both sides of the story, news agencies used the story to assert the black-run police department is “systemically racist.”
The result is the highest pre-trial settlement in American history. The all Democrat-run city will likely afford the payout since they have decided to de-fund their police. It comes in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A passerby caught the event and released the video online. The resulting video went viral and achieved millions of views. This event sparked massive protests/riots across the nation.
Millions of children and social media devotees protested against police brutality and breathed new life into the Marxist-inspired Black Lives Matter movement. When you add it all together, Floyd’s death is one of the new decade’s defining moments, transforming the legal field and social media-based propaganda couched as fact, forever.
The city’s reasoning is clear to law and order supporters; Minneapolis is a democrat-run city, heavily influenced by ANTIFA, BLM, and other college campus-based organizations. Irrespective of whether or not their police department had a black police chief mattered not. To the people owning businesses and paying most of the tax base, this was a political payoff. On the one hand, there is substantial provenance regarding former police officer Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial. Chauvin also has a record of being less than kind to arrestees.
Chauvin was the Minneapolis PD officer caught on tape kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. The 45-year-old is on trial for murder, and many news observers seem to be rooting for a conviction. The Chauvin trial is national news and a significant element of future criminal trials. Furthermore, the Chauvin trial will likely result in dramatic changes for police departments nationwide.
Nationally, PDs will likely implement a series of dramatic reforms to their policing elements. New York State mandated that all policing agencies in the state draw up police reform plans. The questions of overuse of force, race in policing, and accountability are a significant part of our collective reaction to last year’s events. We have an opportunity to understand what happened and potential changes that can last for decades.
For today, we look at the potential events and consequences for civil law, as well. As NPR reported, there are already ripple effects across civil damages. George Floyd’s family argued that the Minneapolis Police Department acted with particular carelessness, resulting in wrongful death. Furthermore, the death was caused by the actions of one of the department’s officers on duty. Chauvin argued that his actions were in line with the Department’s training. However, the Chief of Police claimed that this was not the case. Either way, there was enough evidence that the Police Department and the city feared the effects of going to trial before a jury.
Most likely, it would have resulted in an even larger payout. The exact circumstances have not been released yet. However, there is a particular responsibility the city believed it had– or could not escape. Whether Derek Chauvin is found guilty in a criminal trial, here is an example of civil commitment taking on very different dimensions to those in criminal proceedings. It is also the most significant payout agreed to by two parties before a trial.
The previous record was that of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was killed after calling the police. She feared a sexual assault, called the police and was killed. Damond was shot and killed by Minneapolis officer Mohamed Noor. The resulting payout was $20 million.
The shockwaves of this decision will echo far beyond that of the immediate case itself. It casts a pall over the criminal procedure. It may not affect the jury’s decision but will likely color public opinion as the trial continues. Furthermore, it raises the stakes in case the jury finds the white police officer not guilty. It also sets the bar for new wrongful death cases involving police officers, especially if the deceased is of a different race. If you add together the missing facts, you will better understand that all facts matter, not just the political narrative.
This information remains vital in avoiding future star chambers and only for Minneapolis and George Floyd’s family. The entire nation and every defendant, regardless of race, deserve all the facts, not just politically biased “fact checks.” If you or your loved one was falsely charged with a crime, killed by police, or another evildoer, contact our wrongful death law firm to learn about your rights under California law. You or your family may be entitled to the next largest wrongful death settlement in history! Fortis Furtuna Adiuvat.
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