Another Pro-Pig Ruling as the Derek Chauvin Trial Opens in Minneapolis

From Minnesota to Georgia to Kenosha:
Storm Clouds Gather Over Black People in America



With the final selection of the jury and the opening of the trial of pig Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd slated for today, this past week has seen three important developments bearing on the situation of Black people in this country and, indeed, of the entire political situation.

  • In Minnesota, the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin was seated. Chauvin is the Minneapolis pig who murdered George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life, telling Chauvin that he could not breathe. When video of this outrage made its way into the public eye, an unprecedented uprising for justice and against white supremacy rocked not only America but much of the world for weeks last summer.

    The trial is now set to begin as we publish, Monday, March 29. As we reported last week, there have been rulings in the trial thus far that along with the overall context could shape the terrain in the courtroom in favor of the accused pig Derek Chauvin. Since we covered this last week the former prosecutor and current law professor and Washington Post columnist Paul Butler has pointed to a further disturbing development that motivated a key ruling by Judge Cahill.

    Cahill is now allowing a defense motion to admit as evidence reports and video from an earlier incident a year before, in May 2019, in which Minneapolis cops had detained Floyd on suspicion of drugs. As we pointed out, this should be deemed irrelevant. It was what the prosecution characterized as “a desperate attempt” to “smear Mr. Floyd’s character,” and the ruling is outrageous on a number of different levels.1 Butler details how Cahill made this ruling and the implications of this, having denied such a motion before.

    In his column, among other things, Butler raised serious questions about flagrant inconsistencies in the account of the police on evidence related to George Floyd’s alleged drug use.

    After the murder, police had originally not reported finding drugs in either George Floyd’s car or the squad car in which he had been held. Then, months later and in response to a defense motion to search the cars again, police suddenly claimed that they had now supposedly found the powerful drugs fentanyl and meth with George Floyd’s DNA on them in both Floyd’s car and the squad car in which Floyd had been held. This “evidence,” according to Butler, facilitated Cahill allowing Floyd’s previous detention and surrounding circumstances to be admitted into the trial, as Floyd is alleged to have intentionally swallowed drugs in the previous incident, potentially implying patterns of behavior and response on Floyd’s part—even though Cahill himself characterized the searches and its results as “mind-boggling.”

    Because the defense will likely claim that Floyd died not from Chauvin’s eight-minute-plus strangulation of him but from a drug overdose interacting with preexisting health conditions, this ruling—a ruling based again in which evidence favorable to Chauvin police had somehow first “missed” and then “suddenly” found—could carry very serious negative consequences.

    Because of the tremendous importance of this trial and the profound questions this raises about white supremacy and the situation of Black people in this country, we will be closely following the trial in the days and weeks to come and reporting as well on ways in which people demand justice for George Floyd.

    This occurs in the context of two other significant developments that we report on elsewhere.
  • In Georgia, as we report here, the legislature passed and the governor signed a law aimed at severely restricting the right of Black people, as well as other people of color, to vote. This law goes so far as to criminalize giving away water to people waiting to vote—in a state in which voting sites in Black areas are so few and far between that people are routinely forced to wait hours in line to exercise this right. Laws like this—similarly aimed at oppressed nationality people of color—are under consideration in 43 states.
  • Meanwhile, almost totally under the radar, Kenosha police announced on Friday the filing of serious charges against 55 people (in addition to others already charged) for “crimes” supposedly connected to last August’s rebellion. The rebellion broke out for several nights during the Republican National Convention, after police shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times as he tried to get into his car. Blake has been paralyzed from the waist down since. The accompanying dispatch from the Revolution Club in Chicago goes into this.

Bob Avakian wrote in his New Year’s statement, A New Year, The Urgent Need For A Radically New World—For The Emancipation Of All Humanity, that “[t]he electoral defeat of the Trump/Pence regime only ‘buys some time’—both in relation to the imminent danger posed by the fascism this regime represents, and more fundamentally in terms of the potentially existential crisis humanity is increasingly facing as a consequence of being bound to the dynamics of this system of capitalism-imperialism.

Later in the statement he went on to analyze the major societal changes of the past period, including in the situation and position of Black people in the U.S. and in that regard the great importance of the “completely justified and righteous protest and rebellion” against the system’s attempts to enforce this oppression, and the way out of this madness in revolution.

All these developments, taken together with the multiple crises and intensifying forms of oppression of different kinds, drive home BA’s point in this powerful statement that the time we do have “must not be squandered—mired in oblivious individualism and political paralysis or misspent on misdirected activity that only reinforces this system which perpetuates endless horrors for the masses of humanity and has brought things to the brink of very real catastrophe.


1. This ruling was unjust on two levels. First of all, in January Cahill ruled that most of Chauvin’s record of at least 15 civilian complaints, and his involvement in three shootings, one of which was fatal, could not be admitted at trial. These records are closed, but if they do establish a pattern of brutality, that would obviously be relevant to the trial. Secondly, and even worse, by declaring that Floyd’s high blood pressure in 2019 is relevant to his death in 2020, Cahill is essentially validating the defense’s ludicrous contention that Floyd died of a drug overdose. For one thing, there is no evidence that Floyd’s high blood pressure in 2019 was caused by drugs—it could just as well have been caused by being brutalized and terrorized at gunpoint by pigs. And there is even less evidence that Floyd’s death in 2020 was caused by drugs. (See Court TV interview with renowned pathologist Cyril Wecht.) This is once again setting up a situation where the jurors are being fed “reasonable doubt” that has no basis in reality. [back]


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Hundreds in Kenosha, Wisconsin protest cop shooting of Jacob Blake, 7 shots that left him paralyzed, August 29, 2020. Photo: AP



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