During CNN’s Saturday coverage of the protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, CNN commentator Van Jones accused prosecutors of putting Floyd’s killer, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on the path to exoneration. As reported by Raw Story, Jones took particular note of the charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter that Chauvin is facing.
“You can then give — I’ve never heard of third-degree murder. I’m an attorney. I’m in my 50s. I’ve never heard of third-degree murder. Not to arrest the other officers and we’re all going to say thank you very much and go back to what we’re doing.”
Chauvin was captured on camera placing his knee on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds despite Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe. Floyd was later pronounced dead, and Chauvin was fired from the Minneapolis police force and later arrested. Nevertheless, Jones believes that Chauvin is going to plea down the initial charge of third-degree murder to a “traffic ticket.”
“I’ve been black a long time. We’re not stupid. This is the beginning of an exoneration, not a conviction. We’re very sophisticated in our community about how law enforcement works.”
Preliminary findings from Floyd’s autopsy sparked theories similar to those of Jones. As reported by The Daily Mail, the report suggested that Floyd’s death was a combination of underlying health conditions — such as hypertensive heart disease and coronary artery disease — potential intoxicants, and police restraint. The report found no evidence of strangulation or traumatic asphyxia, which has prompted outcry and pushed Floyd’s family to hire their own pathologist.
The family hired Dr. Michael Baden, who previously conducted an independent autopsy of Jeffrey Epstein and pointed to many red flags that conflicted with the findings of the New York City Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson, who concluded that Epstein took his own life. Baden also conducted an independent autopsy of Eric Garner and testified at the O.J. Simpson murder trial.
Two docs who I highly admire believe that the autopsy of George Floyd was a misleading sham. https://t.co/vtuDoOzMkv
— Mary Murray (@MaryMurrayNBC) May 30, 2020
Amid the protests of Floyd’s death, Jones has been outspoken about his beliefs on the incident and its implications. He recently suggested that the outrage from black Americans is unprecedented in modern times, Mediaite reported.
“I have not seen black people this upset in 20 years, maybe longer,” he said.
Jones also made headlines when he suggested that supporters of Hillary Clinton are more of a threat to black Americans than the KKK, which drew both backlash and praise. Many noted that his comments echoed black activists Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.