George Floyd Autopsies Find Homicide, Louisville Fires Police Chief In Killing Of BBQ Chef
Two autopsies released yesterday determined that George Floyd, the black man killed by a Minneapolis cop who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, died in a homicide, although the autopsies differed somewhat in the exact cause of death. And in other cops killing unarmed black men news, the police chief of Louisville, Kentucky, was fired Monday after the fatal Sunday night shooting of a beloved local restaurateur, David McAtee, by police and National Guard troops. The two cops involved in the shooting did not have their body cameras turned on at the time, which prompted Mayor Greg Fischer to fire Police Chief Steve Conrad. McAtee's killing is being investigated by Kentucky State Police, the US Attorney's office, and the FBI. Let's see if we can finish this brief roundup before police somewhere in the country kill another unarmed black person.
Duelling George Floyd Autopsies
One autopsy, performed by two doctors hired by Floyd's family, found Floyd died of asphyxia, leading his brain and organs to fail due to lack of oxygen. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune's report on the news conference may help clear up a weird statement in the charging document for fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; it had said that the county medical examiner's autopsy "revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation." Probably because by the time the body got to the morgue, that evidence was no longer visible:
"The compressive pressure of the neck and back are not seen at autopsy because the pressure has been released by the time the body comes to the medical examiner's office," said Dr. Michael Baden, a forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on behalf of the Floyd family.
"It can only be seen — serious compressive pressure on the neck and back can only be seen while the pressure is being applied or when, as in this instance, it is captured on video."
Baden said he believes that while Floyd was officially pronounced dead later, he actually died "after about 4 or 5 minutes" [...]
"The cause of death, in my opinion, is asphyxia due to compression of the neck," Baden said.
Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The other three cops have not yet been charged with anything.
A few hours later, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office released its own public report on its autopsy, which listed the cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression," and saying Floyd "experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)." It also listed "other significant conditions" as "Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use," so get ready for police apologists to claim that maybe having a knee pressed into the back of the man's neck was merely a minor complication. The Star-Tribune notes that
Baden and his colleague, Dr. Allecia Wilson, disputed the medical examiner's findings of heart disease — with Baden going so far as to say, "I wish I had the same coronary arteries that Mr. Floyd had that we saw at the autopsy."
It's also not entirely clear whether the private autopsy results will play any role in the case against the officers, according to a law guy interviewed by the Star-Tribune:
"I don't even know how this goes," said Bradford Colbert, a practitioner in residence at Mitchell Hamline School of Law. "It's not exactly clear to me, because in a criminal case, it's the state vs. the defendant. Theoretically, the victim does not have the right to be involved. That's how it rolls."
Either a prosecutor or a defense attorney could choose to enter the results of the family's autopsy into evidence at a criminal trial, but neither would be required to do so, Colbert said.
The private autopsy might also be used in a potential civil case against the cops and the police department, Colbert said. We'd add there's a non-trivial value of its use in public discussions of Floyd's killing.
Louisville Police Chief Shitcanned, Involved Cop Shitty Too
In Kentucky, Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Steve Conrad was "relieved of his duties" by Mayor Greg Fischer after officials found out that none of the cops present at the shooting of barbecue restaurant owner David McAtee had their body cams activated. McAtee, 46, was shot around 12:15 Monday morning following demonstrations to protest two police killings, the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, and the March 13 killing of Louisville EMT Breonna Taylor in her own home, by cops who'd gone with a no-knock warrant to Taylor's home, where the suspect they were looking for didn't live. The police in that raid also didn't have their body cameras on, and isn't that a coincidence?
In Monday's shooting, police and National Guard troops patrolling near McAtee's restaurant were dispersing protesters when shots were fired at them. Police said they returned fire, killing McAtee. Police say they aren't sure whether McAtee fired the shots.
Fischer said the failure of police to activate their cameras was an "institutional failure" that "will not be tolerated."
McAtee's restaurant, YaYa's BBQ, was a popular eatery in western Louisville; his mother, Odessa Riley, told the Louisvile Courier-Journal that her son sometimes served cops free meals.
"He fed them free," Riley said. "He fed the police and didn't charge them nothing.
"My son was a good son. All he did on that barbecue corner is try to make a dollar for himself and his family," she added. "And they come along and they killed my son."
Two LMPD officers, Katie Crews and Allen Austin, have been placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated; a Courier-Journal story reposted by USA Today explains that Crews is a real piece of work. At some point prior to the shooting of McAtee, Crews posted to Facebook a Courier-Journal photo of a protester handing Crews flowers as she stood with other cops, and wrote, "I hope the pepper balls that she got lit up with a little later on hurt."
The photo in Crews' post, taken Thursday, shows a protester offering flowers to Crews, who is staring back at her.
"She was saying and doing a lot more than 'offering flowers' to me. Just so for it to be known," Crews wrote in the post. "For anyone that knows me and knows that facial expression tells everything."
And after mentioning the pepper balls, Crews ended the post with: "Come back and get ya some more ole girl, I'll be on the line again tonight."
She seems nice.
And that's all for the moment; we hope everyone stays alive for the rest of the day, maybe even longer.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.