Derek Chauvin's conviction was a stunning statement by a diverse jury that brutalizing a citizen will even get cops punished, but it's critical to know how close Chauvin came to getting away with it.
The way these cases have gone in the past ... the police department issues a statement, and if there's no citizen-generated video, it's often the end of it. In Chauvin's case, the initial police report -- written before any video surfaced -- made absolutely no mention of his conduct ... cutting off George Floyd's air supply for more than 9 minutes.
The Minneapolis PD issued a statement after Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, passing his death off as a "medical incident."
With the trial over and Chauvin heading to jail, the original Minneapolis police report of the George Floyd killing hits hard. pic.twitter.com/wbzER0g33D
The day after Floyd's death, the PD put out a statement, saying police responded to a "forgery in progress" and advised the suspect "was sitting on top of a blue car and appeared to be under the influence."
The statement goes on ... "Two officers arrived and located the suspect, a male believed to be in his 40s, in his car. He was ordered to step from his car. After he got out, he physically resisted officers. Officers were able to get the suspect into handcuffs and noted he appeared to be suffering medical distress. Officers called for an ambulance. He was transported to Hennepin County Medical Center by ambulance where he died a short time later." It went on to say "At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident."
The statement notes there was body cam video, but there was no mention of what it showed.
MPD eventually updated their release to call it a "critical incident" and to say that as more info became available, it'd been determined the FBI was going to get involved.
The case flew under the radar until Darnella Frazierposted video of what REALLY happened. There was a clear cover-up by cops who never said anything about Chauvin's knee, and we may never have known what really happened if it weren't for 17-year-old Darnella and her cellphone.
Facebook/ Darnella Frazier
Remember ... Chauvin had issues with excessive force on the PD before he encountered George Floyd, yet he remained on the force and he might still be a cop if it weren't for Frazier's video.
It just goes to show ... if it isn't captured on civilian video, justice can be elusive.