Chauvin's stumbling defense case

In any event, McKenzie’s testimony did not help the defense: To the contrary, echoing the state’s medical experts, her account strongly suggested that Floyd was not exhibiting excited-delirium signs. In addition, she elaborated that even detainees who appear to be in excited delirium must be rolled over into the side recovery position once they are handcuffed and no longer resisting arrest — which Chauvin and the other officers did not do with Floyd. McKenzie added that during his 19-year police career, Chauvin would have gotten regular CPR training because police are supposed to render medical aid, such as chest compressions, to detainees who are in extremis. Again, Chauvin and the other now-fired officers did not do that for Floyd.

The decision whether to mount a defense case can be a tough call. In this case, the state’s own evidence shows that (a) the police did call for an ambulance (i.e., they tried to get Floyd medical help), (b) Floyd violently resisted arrest, and (c) Floyd abused drugs that could have exacerbated his profound cardio-pulmonary problems. Under these circumstances, the best course would probably have been to offer no defense evidence, rely on the presumption of innocence, and argue that the state had not met its burden of proof on intent and causation.