Body camera video could offer more detail in Floyd encounter


Video recorded by a bystander showed the world George Floyd’s horrifying last minutes, capturing his cries and pleas for air as a Minneapolis officer used his knee to pin down Floyd's neck.


But the footage recorded by body cameras that officers wore on their chests as they were arresting Floyd is expected to show even more about what the officers and Floyd were doing and saying during that fateful encounter, and it could shape how the officers’ cases play out in court.

“A video camera, when properly authenticated, is an eye witness. It can testify,” said Michael Primeau, an audio and video forensics expert at Michigan-based Primeau Forensics.

Floyd, a black man who was handcuffed, died May 25 after Derek Chauvin, a white officer, used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground. Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even after Floyd stopped moving, has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.

The three other officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng, and Tou Thao, have been charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter. All four officers were fired.

The widely seen video recorded by a bystander shows Chauvin’s actions and Floyd’s anguish as he gasps for air. It also shows Thao, who was facing the bystanders. Some surveillance videos that have been released show bits and pieces of what happened before Floyd ended up on the ground, but a complete video picture of what happened from start to finish hasn’t emerged. Body camera videos are not expected to be made public until a trial or until the cases are otherwise resolved.

Police spokesman John Elder said there were cameras on the bodies of the four officers, which is a department policy. Minneapolis police officers were required to activate their body cameras before arriving at a scene, after Australia's Justin Raszczyk Dondam was shot dead in 2017, and called 911 to his home, reporting that he had heard about the sexual assault. The two officers who answered her call did not activate her body cameras.

In the Floyd case, Bruce Gordon, a spokesman for the State Bureau of Criminal Appearance, confirmed that the body camera video had captured some of the incident. He said there was no squad car video showing what happened.

Chief Prosecutor Attorney General Keith Ellison's spokesman for the case, John Stiles, said prosecutors are reviewing all available evidence. He said he could not comment yet.

Mel Reeves, a longtime community activist in Minneapolis, said the body camera video didn't matter because it was enough to convict the officers of the video.

"We've seen what we've seen," Reeves said. "We don't need any more proof. We've seen a person killed. ... The system we live in - if it's called democracy - can't find a way to punish people. What happens to a human being, then we have to pack our bags and try something else."

The body camera video is expected to give a more complete picture, especially in the cases of Kuang and Len, as they are obscured by the squad car, a move that the video's viewers have not seen.

Minneapolis-area defense attorney Mike Brandt said, "From a viewer's video ... you're watching Chauvin. It's very damaging, but you don't know what the other two are doing, or what they are saying. Listen to this." "I think all body cameras are really important in explaining what's been said and what's happening."

Lane's lawyer, Earl Gray, said he had seen the video of his client's body camera and that "it was very shocking to them" in his eyes. Rather than go into detail about what it shows, the audio and video recorded were sufficient for his client and stated in the criminal complaint: Lane expressed concern and pointed to Floyd.

Attorneys for Chauvin and Kueng said they were not making statements or answering questions about the case. Thao's lawyer did not respond to messages seeking comment.

According to the criminal complaint, authorities arrested Floyd on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $ 20 bill at a nearby store. At one point, they struggled to get him in the squad car, and Chauvin pulled him out and Floyd "stuck his face down and still in his hand."

Brand said the body camera video was important to show what happened in the squad car. Defendants may argue that if Floyd was concerned or acting outside, Floyd was acting dishonestly and that the officers' action was justified. Although this is so, this argument is problematic because once Floyd is suppressed, the prosecutor parties can point to the video and argue that there is no longer any risk, and Chauvin crosses the border.

Chicago civil rights lawyer Andrew M. says video evidence, not a source, is important in any case because it tells a story objectively and plays a role in blaming the authorities. Minneapolis police initially claimed that Floyd "appeared to have a medical crush after resisting arrest" and was handcuffed, but after viewing the video he was mistaken, which led to widespread protests beyond Minneapolis and Exhibited.

Stroth said, "For a (but understandable) video, there's no way to charge all those officers fast."

Primo, forensic experts have warned that the video needs to be properly analyzed and sometimes supported by other sources. For example, he said additional information about the use of force on Floyd's neck was needed to determine whether Chovin's actions were fatal, and that the autopsy report should refute those claims.

"What is your moral outlook," he said, "is fatal." "Your prejudice would like to say that ... but we don't know how much energy is used ... there are no numerical values ​​on the screen. 'Eight minutes on his neck.'

The county's autopsy shows Floyd restrained his heart; An autopsy commissioned by the family revealed she died of asphyxia due to compression in her neck and back.

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