There are two possibilities in the George Floyd death, as I see things. The first is that officer Derek Chauvin purposely caused Floyd’s obstruction to breathe by virtue of the pressure exerted by his knee; or the second being the common misconception that if one can vocalize at all, as Floyd was doing in a manner, one is capable of breathing adequately.
What Chauvin may have interpreted as Floyd’s speaking were actually gasps that produced sound as Floyd forcefully exhaled in an effort to speak. These gasps further emptied Floyd’s lungs and made Floyd’s situation more desperate, as he was unable to re-inhale against the pressure against his neck.
However, given the amount of respiratory distress Floyd was experiencing, in any case, Chauvin displayed remarkably poor judgment. The fact that he continued to apply pressure to Floyd’s neck after Floyd lost consciousness amounts to criminal liability.
Perhaps Chauvin was overcome by the pressure of the situation. And once he was committed to applying a pressure restraint to Floyd’s neck, he chose to do so until EMT/paramedic arrival. This is spurious reasoning, however.
Once he placed Floyd under arrest, Chauvin was responsible for his safety, and large muscular subjects are routinely subdued on the ground with handcuffs behind the back without choking them to death. The ability to do so should have been within Derek Chauvin’s wheelhouse.
Kevin F. Brennan