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Meanwhile in Minneapolis: Rookie cops found guilty in George Floyd case

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Special to WorldTribune.com

By Bill Juneau

With unrelenting screams of racism, and a disregard for what is fair and right, today's woke system of justice has taken down three Minneapolis policemen for "abetting" their senior officer in the unintended murder of George Floyd, a drug addict and a hardened criminal with a long record.

Two of the three policemen were rookies, and one of them had been a patrolman for just four days.

Derek Chauvin was the fourth and the senior officer at the scene of the Floyd arrest back on May 25, 2020. Chauvin was a street-smart police veteran with 19 years on the Minneapolis force. He has been convicted of the unintentional second degree murder and manslaughter of Floyd in a circus-like trial and has begun serving a sentence of 22 years and six months in prison.

His appeal is pending and some legal scholars are predicting that higher courts may yet order a new trial for him based upon the prejudicial venue and judicial error which dominated his five-week trial before an unsequestered jury in Minneapolis.

The three officers accused of aiding Chauvin in the second degree murder of Floyd have been found guilty of victimizing and violating his civil rights. Recently, Federal Judge Paul Magnuson sentenced Officers J. Alexander Kueng, 28, who is black, to three years in prison, and Tou Nmn Thau, 36, who is Hmong American, to 42 months behind bars. Thomas Lane, 38, was sentenced to 30 months. The three officers still face state charges of abetting the murder, but it is presumed that if found guilty their sentences will run concurrently with the punishments assigned for the civil rights violations.

After Chauvin wrestled the muscular, six-foot, four -inch Floyd to the pavement, Lane and Kueng helped hold him down; and Tou Thau concentrated on controlling the gathering crowd.

Lane, the police rookie of four days, was sentenced to jail in spite of the fact that he tried, but was unsuccessful in persuading his mentor, Officer Chauvin, to turn Floyd onto his side; and later Lane attempted to revive him using CPR. The judge noted in his sentencing remarks that he had received 145 letters of support for Tom Lane and that he "had never" received so many letters on behalf of a defendant. He then went on to fault the Minneapolis police department for sending him and rookie Koenig on the call that ended with George Floyd's death.

Judge Magnuson's comments made little sense in light of his outrageous and undeserved sentencing of Lane, Kueng and Thau, but was heralded by Black Lives Matter and the far left media for his coming down hard on police racism and white supremacy.

The woke-minded and malleable judge went on to say that Officer Lane should have jumped upon Chauvin and thrown him aside so as to free Floyd. "Mr. Lane, this is a very serious offense, in which a life was lost," asserted Judge Magnuson. "The fact that you did not get up and remove Mr. Chauvin when Mr. Floyd become unconscious is a violation of the law."

Earl Grey, Tom Lane's attorney, said that "Officer Lane did everything he could possibly do to help George Floyd. He had suggested rolling Floyd onto his side so he could breathe more easily, but was rebuffed twice by Chauvin." At one point, Lane actually performed CPR in an effort to revive Mr. Floyd.

"Any reasonable person should just be disgusted --should be infuriated that Lane was ever charged," Grey said. Lane's conviction and sentence to prison will be appealed to a higher court.

Reviewing courts have a lot on their plates. The sins of the four policemen could well wind up for a final decision by Supreme Court justices, given the many constitutional questions and violations which defendant lawyers have raised.

During the Chauvin trial, physicians differed as to the cause of Floyd's death. The amount of fentanyl in his system, along with the fact that his main arteries were almost completely blocked was enough to cause his brain to become deprived of oxygen and blood. Chauvin had held his knee to the neck of the muscular Floyd for almost nine minutes, but that action, had there been no fentanyl and no blocked arteries, would not have deprived the brain of needed life-sustaining elements in the opinions of some physicians.

While detained by Officer Chauvin's knee on his neck, Floyd was heard saying that "I can't breathe." However, when police first confronted Floyd, he was gulping pills and making the same complaint that he could not breath.

Policemen Lane, Kuneg and Thau took orders from their senior officer. Chauvin made use of a knee-on-neck technique taught all officers and recruits in the Minneapolis police academy. The technique is not uncommon in controlling addicts and other suspects, and is used by many police departments throughout the country

Sending these three officers to prison is a miscarriage of justice in a country which insists on justice for everyone. Appeals by the policemen to the state and federal courts could go on for several years.

Bill Juneau worked for 25 years as a reporter and night city editor at the Chicago Tribune. Subsequently he became a partner in a law firm and also served as a village prosecutor and as a consultant to the Cook County Circuit Court and to the Cook County Medical Examiner. He is currently writing columns and the 'Florida Bill' blog.
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