With all the controversy swirling around and some conspiracy theories already in motion out on the internet I wanted to share some of the things that I’ve learned about this tragic situation in one place and organized chronologically in case it’s helpful to anyone else.
Everything started when Mr. Floyd purchased a pack of cigarettes from a Cup Foods. The store realized that the $20 bill that they had been given was a forgery and ran out to the parking lot to confront him. However Mr. Floyd refused to return the cigarettes and the cops were called to intervene.
It’s important to note here that we don’t know why Mr. Floyd refused to return the merchandise and can’t infer anything from that. There were 2 other people in the car along with the store employee who called 911 who would have potentially been witness to this exchange however so more details may come out later in court testimony.
On the 911 call the employee described Mr. Floyd as "awfully drunk and […] not in control of himself", confirmed that he had the purchased goods in his possession, would not return them and that he hadn’t left yet.
It’s important to note here that some have suggested that due to Mr. Floyd’s death we will never know if a crime occurred. However, we have the counterfeit bill, eye witness testimony with a positive identification, and the perpetrator was still in possession of the purchased goods when the cops arrived as well as a receipt that would act as a paper trail too (not to mention any possible store security footage). In this case the most likely scenario is that Mr. Floyd spent a forged bill (quite probably without even knowing it was fake) and the store wanted their product back. It seems highly suspect that the store would try to con him and immediately get the police involved and risk a full investigation. Again, remember there is 0 proof of any criminal intent so far.
When the police arrived, body cameras caught the following events as reported by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension:
Mr. Floyd was asked to get out of the car and was handcuffed immediately. The BWC video indicates that Mr. Floyed initially resisted to an extent when being placed in cuffs but stopped once they were on. He and the cop walked over to the sidewalk where Mr. Floyd sat down while the officer explained to him why he was being arrested and collected some basic information. During this brief exchange the officer asked Mr. Floyd if he was "on anything".
After this, Mr. Floyd got up and walked to the police car with the cop but on the way he stiffened up and collapsed. He began saying that he was claustrophobic and began to struggle not wanting to get into the car. At some point Mr. Floyd began to struggle and fell down a second time. Around this time he began to say that he couldn’t breathe while the cops tried to get him into the vehicle.
This was one of the most interesting parts to me as I haven’t seen this covered anywhere in the MSM. So here’s the full quote, "While standing outside the car, Mr. Floyd began saying and repeating that he could not breathe." Remember that this is BEFORE the cops put him on the ground!
After this, officer Chauvin pulled Mr. Floyd from the car and he "went to the ground face down".
It’s unclear if Mr. Floyd collapsed a third time or if the cops pushed him to the ground. Hopefully if the full video comes out we can find out more.
This was the moment in which officers stretched him out and knelt on him putting weight on his back and neck in what is known as a prone restraint. Despite Floyd crying out that he couldn’t breathe the cops responded with "you are talking fine".
After this the rest is well known. Mr. Floyd stopped moving and the officers continued to restrain him until the ambulance arrived and took him from the scene and he was later pronounced dead.
I think it’s important to note that there was a parallel case that occurred just last year in which Mr. Timpa was put into a prone restraint by the cops, began calling out that they were going to kill him, blacked out and was later reported as dead. In that case the cops were not prosecuted for murder because the cause of death was ruled to be "sudden cardiac death" caused by "the toxic effects of cocaine and physiological stress associated with physical restraint,".
Although the full report from the Medical Examiner is not available, the preliminary report on the death of Mr. Floyd showed that there was "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation." They went on to say that he had 2 underlying heart issues and that the combination of his heart conditions, the stress of being restrained by the cops and the potential intoxicants in his body likely contributed to his death.
I think it’s important to review some of the elements with this report in mind. Assuming the employee was correct, Mr. Floyd was "awfully drunk". According to the Medical Examiner Mr. Floyd suffered from both coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease. We also know that Mr. Floyd fell at least twice and was complaining about not being able to breathe before he was restrained face down. We also know that originally it was just the cops that arrived but something cause the cops to remove him from the car and wait for an ambulance to show up.
This is just my interpretations of events, but it would appear that due to whatever was allegedly in Mr. Floyd’s system at the time of his arrest combined with the stress of the arrest caused his heart issues to manifest and he began to manifest serious medical complications. Unfortunately from the perspective of the cops, he was "awfully drunk", had resisted being put in cuffs, was falling down repeatedly and now saying that he couldn’t breathe while standing next to the cop car. With the crowd that was starting to gather too the question would have to have been whether or not this guy was serious or if this was just someone trying to make them look bad in front of a growing crowd etc.
I think it’s also fair to point out that people are subdued with prone restraints every day in this country and while considered technically unsafe most of that has to do with the actual take down and then the position that the restrained person is in. It’s very few of these cases that actually result in death. However that said, considering both this case and Mr. Timpa’s case I think better training should be given to cops to either use "safer" prone restraints positions or to not use them at all.
In the end, I don't hink this was a malicious event. I don’t think the store owner maliciously framed Mr. Floyd for fraud. I don’t think Mr. Floyd maliciously resisted arrest. And I don’t think the cops maliciously restrained him. I think that what happened was a series of very unfortunate events that culminated in tragedy. I think that Mr. Floyd probably unknowingly spent a forged bill, I think the shop realistically just wanted to be paid what they were owed, and I think the cops tragically interpreted a medical emergency as resisting arrest and theatrics in front of a crowd and the all of these things led to his death.
If Mr. Floyd’s heart was starting to give out just walking to the cop car, then it’s entirely possible that had he calmly got into the squad car that he would have still died if they couldn’t get him to a hospital fast enough. Unfortunately though at this point that kind of speculation possibly be proven. I simply raise it to say that although we don’t know what would have happened in a different scenario we know the cop didn’t choke him according to the preliminary ME report and that it’s at least possible that he could have died either way and in the sake of fairness I feel this is important to mention.
Everything is tragic about this story. You’d hope to spend your last moments in live surrounded by people who love you not face down on the ground with a cop on your back. And while I think mistakes were made by nearly everyone involved (including Mr. Floyd’s alleged refusal to make the purchase right), I don’t think any of it was malicious and I certainly don’t think anyone deserved to die that day. Or that the community deserved the riots and ruination that were visited upon them in the aftermath. I hope that a full investigation is done on the cops handling of the situation and that justice (whatever that looks like) is done.
Anyways, just my thoughts. If you want to do any of your own research here’s some links that will be good starting points: