April 18, 2024
Chauvin’s prosecution and trial are emblematic of a criminal justice system gone awry.

Derek Chauvin Was Wrongfully Convicted

Derek Chauvin and his colleagues did not murder George Floyd

On Monday, May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a man with a significant criminal record including a five-year sentence for an armed home invasion, entered a convenience store in downtown Minneapolis and made a purchase. The clerk at Cup Foods called the police after examining the bill. He believed it to be a counterfeit twenty. Two Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) rookie officers — Alex Kueng, black, and Thomas Lane, white — responded to the call.

Floyd was in the driver’s seat of a borrowed car when Lane tapped on the window and told Floyd he was under arrest. Floyd’s reaction to the officers, as seen on body cam footage, is bizarre. Agitated and confused, he failed to cooperate. After exiting his car, Floyd refused to be put in the squad car.

Derek Chauvin, senior MPD officer in the area, arrived after the arrest effort began and took charge. Floyd continued to resist and cry out, claiming he couldn’t breathe. Unable to get the muscular Floyd into the squad car, the officers yielded to Floyd’s request to lie down.

After Floyd was down on the pavement, he kicked Lane. To control the still struggling Floyd, Chauvin used a prone restraint known as the Maximal Restraint Technique (MRT), an approved MPD protocol for resisting arrestees and prisoners. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s left shoulder and neck. Lane restrained Floyd’s back, and Keung his legs. Chauvin’s partner, Tou Thao, shielded the officers from a hostile crowd. (READ MORE from Jack Cashill: How George Floyd Actually Died)

Thinking Floyd subject to excited delirium, a diagnosis well known by law enforcement, the officers called for an ambulance within a minute of initiating the prone restraint. About eight minutes after the restraint was applied, Floyd suddenly grew quiet. He had, in fact, died.  Resuscitation measures on scene and at the ER were unsuccessful.

Sudden death makes cause of death analysis much less complicated because there are limited causes of non-traumatic sudden death. All suggest cardiac arrest.  An autopsy was performed Tuesday morning, May 26, by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker. In a deposition taken later on a different lawsuit, Assistant Prosecutor Amy Sweasy testified to her interaction that day with Baker.

I called Dr. Baker early that morning to tell him about the case and to ask him if he would perform the autopsy on Mr. Floyd. He called me later in the day on that Tuesday and he told me that there were no medical findings that showed any injury to the vital structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck. There were no medical indications of asphyxia or strangulation.

He said to me, “Amy, what happens when the actual evidence doesn’t match up with the public narrative that everyone’s already decided on?” And then he said, ‘This is the kind of case that ends careers.’”

On Friday, May 29, prosecutors elaborated on the cause of death as originally reported by Dr. Baker in posting their initial complaint against Derek Chauvin. According to the complaint, “The full report of the [medical examiner] is pending but the [medical examiner] has made the following preliminary findings. The autopsy revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation.”

Dr. John Dunn contacted journalist Jack Cashill early on in this matter with his concerns about the information in the autopsy. Dunn had read the autopsy report and concluded that Floyd died of natural causes, most likely cardiac arrest from severe heart disease, exertion, and excitement. The methamphetamine in his system could have made his heart more irritable to add to the risk of cardiac arrest.  The fentanyl in his system was not a factor, since the blood level of 11 nanograms was not lethal for a frequent user and he was not acting like a fentanyl overdose, which causes lethargy, unconsciousness and slowed breathing, then death from respiratory failure.

Dunn was alarmed by Baker’s final autopsy report, released a week after the original.  During that week, among other outrages, rioters set fire to the MPD Third Precinct house, totaling it. Baker could feel the heat and not just from the arson.

An exhibit released later by Judge Peter Cahill memorialized a November 2020 meeting held by state prosecutors with Dr. Roger Mitchell, the District of Columbia medical examiner. In the meeting, Mitchell boasted of how he compelled Baker to change his initial autopsy report to include death from neck compression, a homicide. If Baker balked, Mitchell promised to denounce him in a Washington Post op-ed. Baker yielded. Under threat from Mitchell, he titled his revised autopsy report, “Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression (Italics added).

Excited Delirium

Excited delirium, originally known as Bell’s Mania, had a more than 50 percent death rate before medications became available to sedate extremely agitated psychiatric patients. The deaths come from dehydration, hyperthermia, organ failure, and heart problems, including death from cardiac arrest. (READ MORE: Chauvin Did Not Murder George Floyd)

In 2008 the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) commissioned 18 physician experts to draft a monograph on excited delirium. It was well received in 2009 when released. In June 2021, the American Medical Association (AMA) House of Delegates  publicly condemned the excited delirium diagnosis in sudden death cases like Floyd’s because it might exonerate police officers. The action by the AMA was no surprise since the AMA Board of Trustees had already declared  its support for critical race theory, DEI, and anti-police campaigns. Under pressure from social justice warriors in the medical community, ACEP removed the excited delirium monograph from its website. Sensing trouble to come, Dr. Dunn downloaded a copy before activists made it disappear.

‘Can’t breathe’ Analyzed

It is well known that panic/anxiety attacks cause a shortness of breath, often to the point of fainting. Mr. Floyd was noisy and talkative to the end. Although anxious, he was breathing well and not apparently short of breath.

The prosecution’s medical experts claimed that the officers impaired Floyd’s breathing by putting pressure on his shoulder and neck, but they were silent on the obvious, namely that the muscle for breathing, the diaphragm, is inside the lower chest. It is protected by the ribs. That’s why the restraint is safe and not lethal.

The Restraint Demonstrations 

In June 2021 Dr. Dunn made a video, available on Rumble, testing the prosecution thesis. For ten minutes, a man roughly the weight of Derek Chauvin restrained a man roughly the weight of George Floyd using the same technique Chauvin used on Floyd. Dunn repeated the experiment two more times in December 2023 and January 2024. In these tests Dunn, slightly heavier than Chauvin, played Floyd’s role with a man about the same height and weight as Floyd, 6 feet 4 inches and 220 pounds, played the role of Chauvin.

In all three demonstrations, the restraint proved harmless. The oxygen levels of the man restrained remained in the normal range — above 95 percent saturation — throughout the entire ten minute exercise.

Witness Coercion

The proper conclusion on the cause of death was right there in the autopsy’s findings. The state prosecutors knew about Mitchell’s threats and Baker’s original impression of no homicide. Baker testified in the trial of April 2021 that no one coerced him. The prosecutors presented that testimony, knowing it to be false, and Judge Cahill allowed it. (RELATED: Why the Media Are Mum About White Flight 2.0)

Here are the critical and pertinent elements of the autopsy report that show there was no homicide.  Read the whole report for extraordinary detail to support these findings.

Final Diagnoses

Forty-six-year-old man who became unresponsive while being restrained by law enforcement officers;

  1. Blunt force injuries
  2. Cutaneous blunt force injuries of the forehead, face, and upper lip
  3. Mucosal injuries of the lips
  4. Cutaneous blunt force injuries of the shoulders, hands, elbows, and legs


  1. Natural diseases
  2. Arteriosclerotic heart disease, multifocal, severe
  3. Hypertensive heart disease
  4. Cardiomegaly (540 g) with mild biventricular dilatation
  5. Clinical history of hypertension
  6. Left pelvic tumor (incidental, see microscopic description)

III. No life-threatening injuries identified

  1. No facial, oral mucosal, or conjunctival petechiae
  2. No injuries of anterior muscles of neck or laryngeal structures
  3. No scalp soft tissue, skull, or brain injuries
  4. No chest wall soft tissue injuries, rib fractures (other than a single rib fracture from CPR), vertebral column injuries, or visceral injuries
  5. Incision and subcutaneous dissection of posterior and lateral neck, shoulders, back, flanks, and buttocks negative for occult trauma.

BRAIN (10-12): Sections of hippocampus, cerebellum, cerebral cortex, and midbrain show the expected microscopic architecture, without hypoxic-ischemic, reactive, neoplastic, or inflammatory changes.

Autopsy Report Analyzed

The “paraganglioma” cited above, a tumor found in Mr. Floyd’s pelvis and described by Dr. Baker as “incidental,” was potentially lethal. Tumors of this nature produce adrenaline and noradrenaline. Dr. William Schaetzel, a recently retired pathologist, has argued that the tumor was more than “incidental.” ”When the tumor goes off,” he told Cashill, “that is what’s called a catecholamine crisis. It might as well be a bomb.”

The secreting paraganglioma could very well have caused a cardiac arrest and sudden death. The proper thing for Dr. Baker to have done was to test the metanephrine level in the post mortem. Intentionally or otherwise, Baker failed to run that test.

“Petechiae” are small blood blisters on the surfaces. As Baker noted, they were not present. This, too, is strong evidence that Chauvin and his colleagues did not “murder” George Floyd.

The fact that the brain exam showed no evidence of “hypoxic-ischemic, reactive, neoplastic, or inflammatory changes” also refutes the claim of the prosecution and their experts that Mr. Floyd died of oxygen deprivation caused by the police restraint.

“He had very severe heart disease,” Baker said of Floyd during Chauvin’s trial. For a variety of reasons, Baker failed to discover precisely what triggered Floyd’s fatal cardiac arrest. Instead, he allowed the prosecutors to blame four innocent police officers for murdering a man who died a natural death brought on by his own criminal resistance.

Prosecutorial and Judicial Ethics

Judges and Prosecutors are officers of the court, obligated under oath to provide justice in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Advancing a case that lacks adequate evidence is unethical prosecutorial abuse. Concealing exculpatory evidence is beyond abusive.

In a timeless 1940 lecture, U.S Attorney General and later Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson laid out the ethical standards for prosecutors.

The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty, and reputation than any other person in America…. If the prosecutor is obliged to choose his cases, it follows that he can choose his defendants. Therein is the most dangerous power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted…. While the prosecutor at his best is one of the most beneficent forces in our society, when he acts from malice or other base motives, he is one of the worst.

One parting shot completed Attorney General Mr. Jackson’s lecture — a gift for the ages:

The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive and as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman….The citizen’s safety lies in the prosecutor who tempers zeal with human kindness, who seeks truth and not victims, who serves the law and not factional purposes, and who approaches his task with humility.

Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the trials and sentencing of the four officers, allowed the ever threatening mobs to dictate justice. He knew better. More than a century earlier, Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously condemned mob justice in his dissent of the 1913 Atlanta murder conviction of Leo Frank, asserting eloquently:

Mob law does not become due process of law by securing the assent of a terrorized jury. We are not speaking of mere disorder, or mere irregularities in procedure, but of a case where the processes of justice are actually subverted.

Derek Chauvin and his colleagues did not murder George Floyd. Chauvin’s prosecution and trial are emblematic of a criminal justice system gone awry — and not just in Minneapolis.

Dr. Dunn has been a physician for 50 years, board certified in emergency medicine, and an attorney for 40 years, board certified in legal medicine. A frequent author/lecturer on medical and legal matters, Dr. Dunn co-edited a major textbook in emergency medicine, Principles and Practice of Emergency Medicine, and authored chapters on medical testimony and medical forensics for Legal Medicine, a textbook published by the American College of Legal Medicine, a professional association of physician attorneys. 


Jack’s Note:  I’ve copied the entire column because things like this have a bad habit of disappearing on the net.  Not this one!


Visited 1 times, 1 visit(s) today
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments