The Fall of Minneapolis: A Dishonest Documentary


In connection with death of George Floyd, did the four police officers get a fair trial? Whatever the answer to that question may be, the documentary film The Fall of Minneapolis cannot be trusted to inform us honestly.

Sommaire en français En rapport avec la mort de George Floyd, les quatre policiers ont-ils bénéficié d’un procès juste ? Quelle que soit la réponse à cette question, on ne peut pas faire confiance au film documentaire The Fall of Minneapolis pour nous en informer honnêtement.

The Fall of Minneapolis is a documentary film, available to watch free on-line, which makes the claim that Derek Chauvin was wrongfully convicted of murdering George Floyd in 2020. When I first viewed the film, I was convinced by it that there were indeed excellent reasons to doubt the fairness of the trial of Chauvin and the other three police officers. I have observed, both from following current events and from my personal experiences, that the so-called “antiracist” movement is often extremely dishonest and fanatical. I have become so accustomed to that movement’s excesses that it was easy to believe the allegations made by the film. Furthermore, I did not want to assume that, because the filmakers are right-wing politically, they must be incapable of reporting the facts honestly. Again, so-called “antiracists” make a habit of accusing anyone who disagrees with them of being far-right or even fascist, thus constantly crying wolf, thus destroying their credibility.

However, after reading Radley Balko’s critical analysis of the film, I am no longer convinced. Although I still have doubts about some aspects of the case, I no longer trust the film to describe the situation honestly. It would appear that, in this case, the filmmakers did indeed let their political biases influence them so much that they lied outright, letting their pro-police prejudices take priority over truth.

The most important issue, the one which convinced me that the film could not be trusted, concerns the so-called Maximal Restraint Technique or MRT, approved by the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD), which involves holding the suspect on the ground, face down, while the police officer uses their knee to keep the suspect in that position. The film leads the viewer to believe that Chauvin, while holding Floyd on the ground, was using the MRT correctly and in a way which did not impede Floyd’s breathing. The film even includes footage from the trial in which witnesses, testifying before the court about police procedures, deny that such a technique is even approved by the MPD or taught in its training session, whereas training manuals clearly show that that technique is indeed approved and taught. This makes it appear that some witnesses are lying, and that the truth would exonerate Chauvin!

However, as Balko explains, Chauvin was not using the Maximal Restraint Technique correctly, and the witnesses were simply testifying that whatever Chauvin was doing, it was not an approved technique because he was not using the MRT as it is taught. The MRT is meant to be used only very briefly in order to install a “hobble” because the prone position can indeed hamper breathing. In Balko’s words, “They train them to use a technique where you put a knee on the side of the neck. You put most of your weight on your foot, but you do that to keep the person in place just long enough to administer this device called a hobble, after which you’re supposed to roll the suspect over to their side so they can breathe.” Chauvin and his fellow officers never administered the hobble, and they kept Floyd on the ground and on his stomach, unnecessarily, for some nine minutes.

There are other issues of course, in particular the autopsy results and how the documentary film reports them. Furthermore, one of the two filmmakers is the wife of a former head of the police union of the MPD. Thus there is a possible conflict of interest. But the MRT issue is the most important.

I still have some major misgivings about the trial. The fact that it was held in Minneapolis itself, with the courthouse basically under siege by demonstrators demanding revenge against the police officers, means that the trial could not have been completely fair. The jurors were under enormous pressure to find the officers as guilty as possible, probably even fearing for their lives if they rendered a verdict less severe that what the mob demanded. I seriously doubt that Chauvin merited the draconian sentence of 22.5 years in prison. If the trial had been held in a different city, under calmer conditions, things might have turned out differently.


Next blog: Racisme, néoracisme et antiracisme

The George Floyd Case

2023-12-19, Withdrawn 2024-02-26

I have decided to withdraw this blog because it was insufficiently critical of the film The Fall of Minneapolis, based on information I received after writing it. I have since written another blog about the film: The Fall of Minneapolis: A Dishonest Documentary

Sommaire en français J’ai décidé de retirer ce blogue car il n’était pas suffisamment critique à l’égard du film The Fall of Minneapolis, au vu des informations que j’ai reçues après l’avoir rédigé. Depuis, j’ai écrit un autre blogue au sujet de ce film : The Fall of Minneapolis: A Dishonest Documentary

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