Chauvin’s defence backfires

Andrew McCarthy at National Review writes:

The Chauvin defense called its big witness Tuesday afternoon, retired federal and state law-enforcement officer Barry Brodd, an expert in police training and the use of force. Some of his testimony was preposterous — particularly the claim that if three police officers physically restrain a person prone on an asphalt street for over nine minutes, with his arms cuffed behind his back, with significant parts of the officers’ body weight pressing down on him, with an officer’s knees occasionally grinding into his neck and shoulders, and with his needing to press his face onto the street to try to shift into a breathing position, that is not a use of force, but merely a “control technique.”

Apart from that, the testimony was an overall disaster for the defense. The danger in presenting a defense case, especially in a prosecution that is so video-dependent, is that it allows the prosecutor, through leading questions on cross-examination, to walk witnesses through the video, explaining to the jury moment-by-moment exactly what the prosecution’s theory of the case is. If he does this skillfully, the prosecutor turns his “questioning” into the equivalent of a summation. …

The foundation of Chauvin’s defense is that he had reason to fear that Floyd would regain consciousness and begin resisting arrest again. Schleicher elicited from Brodd the explanation that there is a difference between a threat and a risk: Police may use force to counter a threat they perceive based on some affirmative act by a detainee; but they may not use force based on a mere risk that a detainee might pose a threat at some future point. Floyd was unconscious and non-responsive. By Brodd’s own stated guidelines, the possibility that Floyd could have regained consciousness and started fighting the police was a remote risk, not a realistic threat, when he was prone on the ground, cuffed behind the back, unconscious, and pulseless.

The objective of a defense case is supposed to be the creation of reasonable doubt, not the removal of all doubt.

It is worth noting National Review is a conservative site and the author is a former Assistant US Attorney who led the prosecution of the terrorists who bombed the World Trade Centre in 1993. He is as far from liberal as you can get having called for Obama and Hillary Clinton to be impeached and defending Trump in his first impeachment trial.

So if he is saying the defence had a terrible day, I’d say a guilty verdict is looking likely.

Comments (103)

Login to comment or vote

Add a Comment

%d bloggers like this: