Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Documentary re-examines the George Floyd mess authenticated by Coleman Hughes

Coleman Hughes takes a fresh look at the incident of George Floyd’s death and the aftermath where Derek Chauvin may have been used as a scapegoat. He talks about the documentary, The Fall of Minneapolis (video embedded below), about the killing of George Floyd and Hughes’ own authentication of the documentary’s claims.

The court of public opinion may have made up its mind based on a single out-of-context clip. But Chauvin’s trial in 2021 represented a chance to revise that consensus in light of all the evidence. In order to convict Chauvin of felony murder—which differs from more serious murder charges in that it requires neither premeditation nor intent to kill—the prosecution had to prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. Among other things, they had to prove that (1) Chauvin’s actions constituted assault (or attempted assault), and (2) that Chauvin’s actions caused the death of George Floyd.

The documentary throws both claims into doubt. What I discovered by making my own calls and confirming the documents shown in the documentary is that these key claims are not certain at all.

Central to proving the first element—felony assault—was the question: Why did Chauvin have his knee on Floyd’s neck and shoulder blade in the first place?

If it was an “improvised position,” as an MPD inspector testified at the trial, then it plausibly constituted felony assault. But if it was a hold that Chauvin, along with the entire MPD, was trained to do in precisely this kind of situation, then it becomes far harder to argue it was assault.

According to the documentary and documents I have reviewed, the move was indeed a standard hold, called the Maximal Restraint Technique (MRT), which the MPD trained its officers to use “in situations where handcuffed subjects are combative and still pose a threat to themselves, officers, or others, or could cause significant damage to property if not properly restrained,” according to the official MPD use-of-force manual. The section that describes MRT is dated to 2002 and was updated in 2014, 2017, and 2018. (The 2023 edition bans MRT.)

What Really Happened to George Floyd? – The Free Press