A judge presiding over the trial in Minneapolis of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd has resinstated a charge of third-degree murder, which increases the likelihood of a conviction.
Prosecutors pushed for that option, contends Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, because body-cam video and a toxicology report counter the narrative that media and activists derived from the horrific viral video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
Long before a jury could consider the evidence, Floyd’s death was turned into a race issue, sparking deadly and costly protests and rioting along with monumental societal changes.
Now, “mob justice,” Carlson said on his show Wednesday, is threatening Chauvin’s right to a fair trial, as activists stare down National Guard troops outside the courthouse and shut down streets, demanding “justice by any means necessary.”
“In other words, if you vote to acquit Derek Chauvin, the mob is saying, the community will burn because we will burn it,” Carlson said. “It’s like something from Mississippi in the 1920s. But where’s the Justice Department? Where’s the so-called Civil Rights Division to protect the civil rights of Derek Chauvin? Yes, even accused cops have the right to a fair trial. Your civil rights are not suspended when you’re accused. This is America.”
A USA Today/Ipsos poll published last week showed only 36% of Americans believe Floyd was murdered.
Jury selection began Monday, and a handful of jurors are expected to be seated within days. Chauvin already had been charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office found Floyd suffered from heart disease and had three times the lethal dose of fentanyl in his system as well as methamphetamine.
While Floyd’s lawyer admits the report is correct, he insists Floyd was killed “by racism,” Carlson noted.
Minnesota’s attorney general, Keith Ellison, said the additional charge “reflects the gravity of the allegations against Mr. Chauvin.”
The third-degree charge had been thrown out as inapplicable by a judge, but an appeals court ordered the judge to reconsider. The count generally applies in cases in which a person engages in inherently dangerous acts without regard to life, such as randomly firing into a crowd.
David Weinstein, a former prosecutor, CNN reported, said the charges give jurors more options.
“Choices like this can also allow for a compromise verdict by the jury,” he said. “The defense would have preferred an all or nothing choice for jurors.”
The threat of violence in downtown Minneapolis already was evident.
Fox News said reporter Brian Entin of NewsNation was ordered to leave the neighborhood where Floyd died.
“You’re going to be in a bad situation in a second,” a masked protester told Entin Tuesday. “You’re being called out for what you are, and you need to get out of here. You need to get in your car and go.”
Retired Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith of the National Police Association told Fox News that demonstrators have created an “autonomous zone” in the neighborhood and are refusing permission for outsiders to enter.
The George Floyd memorial is an “autonomous zone” with several blocks controlled by activists. Police don’t even go in. We tried to respectfully get video-but left after two people confronted us near the barricades.
Later learned many protestors don’t even feel comfortable there. pic.twitter.com/5w32fxQ0hR
— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) March 10, 2021
Carlson noted Floyd’s death has transformed the nation.
“George Floyd, we were told, wasn’t simply an individual. He was every African-American in this country. Derek Chauvin wasn’t just a cop. He was the physical embodiment of America’s institutions. We were told that when Chauvin murdered George Floyd, he was doing to one man what our country has done to all African- Americans. Many people told us this, including Joe Biden,” he said.
One of the reactions to Floyd’s death was a nationwide “defund police” movement that has resulted in a crime surge, including in Minneapolis, which saw a 250% spike in gunshot victims alone.
Potential jurors have expressed fear about the threats they would face.
One said: “It’s more from a safety, security standpoint. As far as I’m concerned I feel comfortable and safe. But I just wouldn’t want any issues or harm to come to my wife or my family … If certain individuals who were out to intimidate or cause harm, if they knew where I lived, there’s potential [they] could damage the house or spray paint the house or garage door. Or break a window.”
Police were trying to detain Floyd for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby store.
Carlson noted Floyd might have told officers “I can’t breathe” because one of the primary symptoms of a fentanyl overdose is “slowed or stopped breathing,” leading to “unconsciousness” and death.
See Carlson’s segment on the Chauvin case:
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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.