On The Cross Connection, Elie Mystal reminds us that when a terrorist attack occurs, we don't blame the victims for simply being where they were when the terrorists attacked — unless the victim is Black and the terrorist is a cop, and the violence is state-sanctioned.
"The analogy that iIve tried to make when we look at what the defense is doing in response to this compelling testimony, imagine if after 9/11 the defense lawyers for the terrorists had said, well, you know, if they hadn't gone to work that morning, they'd be alive....Of course we don't let terrorists blame the victims for the terrorism. That's not what happens in this country, unless the victim is Black," he insisted. "When the victim is Black, these white, domestic state-sponsored terrorists, which is what Derek Chauvin and his three accomplices were that day, state-sponsored terrorists, when the terrorism is against Black people, it is suddenly okay for lawyers to make the arguments, and judges to allow evidence suggesting that the victim of the terrorism was at fault for their own death, and it's just — it's crazy making and it's wrong."
Tiffany Cross agreed, and then played the testimony from the pulmonologist who described seeing the life leave Mr. Floyd's body. She then asked Cheryl Dorsey, who is a former law enforcement officer, "What's your take on this alleged story line of the blue wall cracking?"
Dorsey was unimpressed.
"Listen, I've said all along that the police chief and those under him get no brownie points from me. They had to tell the truth. They had to admit to everything that we saw that they saw," she said. Then she asked the most important question, which should be at the core of police reform across the nation.
"The reason why they get no brownie points is because the police chief knows exactly who Derek Chauvin is. They grew up on that department together. That supervisor on scene testified, 'I know Chauvin. I've worked for him since 2008,' and so if you know this guy is a loose cannon, if you know he is a city liability, why would you keep him in uniform? Why would you allow him to go out, live to offend again?" she probed. "But for Mr. Floyd having died, he would have received a 19th personnel complaint, and so they get no brownie points from me for doing that thing that they had to do, damage control."
Why else, she wondered, would the chief testify that the first call he made, once he saw the video, was to the Mayor? "He probably said, sir, you better open up your checkbook, because Chauvin is at it again."
Cross then wondered Mystal thought Chauvin would take the stand to testify how frightened (read: sarcasm) he was of the crowd, which the defense is trying to argue justified his killing Floyd. Mystal didn't think so, and it's not because Chauvin wouldn't do well. It's because unbelievably, they don't need him to testify in order to place doubt in the jury's mind.
"I don't think we'll see Chauvin come to the stand, and I don't think they have to quite frankly to make their case. This is what the law allows them to do," he said.
"Look, any reasonable human being watching that video knows what happened. But the law does not require cops behave like reasonable human beings. They only require them to behave like cops. That cop standard is so low that as long as they behave as any other officer on the scene might have, then they can get away with murder."
Ouch. And, YUP.
He allowed that perhaps the prosecution's witnesses might "blunt" that argument, because they included cops saying he wasn't behaving like a reasonable cop would. But then there's the jury.
"You have to remember, this jury has been seeded with ignorance. It's been seeded with people who either did not see the video, which is almost impossible to do in this country, or saw the video and couldn't decide if sometimes, maybe Black people do need to be choked to death for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. Maybe they had it coming," he tells us. "They're trying to convince 12 people that have been picked specifically for not knowing things, and so that's what — that's what frightens me. No, they don't need to put Chauvin on the stand. They need one juror to refuse to see reason."