Scott interviews Jacob Sullum about the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd. Sullum highlights two important features of the prosecution’s case so far: the first is that paramedics testified to Floyd’s already being dead when they showed up, and the second is an argument about Floyd’s possible drug overdose. Sullum explains that while the level of fentanyl found in Floyd’s system during the autopsy might be high for a normal person, it was actually on the extreme low end of what can cause an overdose, especially for a habitual opioid user. These factors make it unlikely that drug overdose was a primary cause in Floyd’s death—but more importantly, whether drugs played some role or not, the relevant fact in a murder or manslaughter trial is whether the victim would still be alive had the defendant not done what he did. In this case, argues Sullum, Floyd pretty clearly would be.
Discussed on the show:
- “Derek Chauvin Argues That His Use of Force Was Appropriate and Did Not Kill George Floyd” (Reason)
- “Derek Chauvin’s Belief That George Floyd Was Intoxicated Does Not Help His Case” (Reason)
- “Derek Chauvin Blames His Former Colleagues for George Floyd’s Death” (Reason)
Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason Magazine. He is the author of Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use and For Your Own Good: The Anti-Smoking Crusade and the Tyranny of Public Health. Follow him on Twitter @jacobsullum.
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