News around George Floyd’s murder and police misconduct

In this blog:

  • Floyd’s death officially ruled a murder, but exact cause of death is in dispute
  • Vox: The anger behind the protests, explained in four charts
  • Police tactics again draw public criticism
  • Who’s rioting and why?

Floyd’s death officially ruled a murder, but exact cause of death is in dispute

There are competing explanations for how George Floyd died, narratives that no doubt will come into sharper focus when Officer Derek Chauvin goes on trial for Floyd’s murder.

The Hennepin County medical examiner has now officially ruled Floyd’s death a homicide, the Washington Post reports. Floyd died of a heart attack “while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),“ according to the medical examiner’s report.

“An independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family determined the cause of his death was “asphyxiation from sustained pressure,” attorneys for the family announced Monday,” the story said.

Vox: The anger behind the protests, explained in four charts

The number of people killed annually by police has remained relatively static from 2013 to 2019, varying from a high of 1,143 (2018) to a low of 1,050 (2014), according to a story in Vox.

… a recent analysis by advocacy group Mapping Police Violence found that 99 percent of police killings from 2014 to 2019 did not result in officers even being charged with, let alone convicted of, a crime….

Numbers such as these are a stark reminder that despite years of demonstrations and advocacy — and even changes in policy, such as the adoption of body cameras or requirements that officers use deescalation techniques before resorting to violence — little has changed numerically.

Click on the link above for more analysis.

Police tactics draw public criticism

  • The Verge report: “Caught on camera, police explode in rage and violence across the US,” documents examples of police brutality over the past 72 hours. One example: “A New York City police officer tore a protective mask off of a young black man and assaulted him with pepper spray while the victim peacefully stood with his hands up.”
  • The ACLU reports that its Connecticut chapter “is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him.”
  • Police bolstered by the National Guard forced a peaceful protest to flee Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House, “using tear gas and beating some with batons and shields,” ABC News reports. The Washington Post headline summed it up this way: Police gas, force out peaceful protesters so Trump can pose for photos at a church.
  • Bellingcat reports that “US Law Enforcement Are Deliberately Targeting Journalists During George Floyd Protests.”

Who’s rioting and why?

The News Day blog, written by former Twin Cities Daily Planet Editor Mary Turck, has a helpful analysis on the presence of outside agitators and far right extremist groups in local protests. We are still in the fog of war, and right now we don’t have all the facts. “We won’t know with any certainty and accuracy until all of this is over,” she writes. But the blog summarizes articles from other publications. It says:

According to reports in Bellingcat and Vice, some of the people coming from outside Minneapolis and outside the state are aligned with a loose confederation whose aim is civil war in the United States. Their ideology includes “accelerationism:” violence to hasten what they believe will be a race war. Many identify with “Boogaloo.”

Click on the link for more details.


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