There is nothing unique or interesting about the defense strategy employed by the lawyers for Derek Chauvin. The trial has produced no made-for-television stunts or rhetorical flourishes. There’s no bloody glove, no rhyming couplets. Chauvin’s defense is so basic that an attorney straight out of law school could pull it off. His lawyers are simply arguing that cops have the right to kill people, if they think they need to.
That strategy might seem foolish to the untrained eye. After all, there is incontrovertible video evidence that Chauvin did not “need” to kill George Floyd. The video shows that Floyd posed no threat to the police or anybody else: He was prone and handcuffed while Chauvin slowly choked the life out of him over the course of eight minutes and 46 seconds. Any reasonable human being can see that Chauvin should have taken his knee off of Floyd’s neck.