An open letter from Restoration of America to defend the wrongfully imprisoned Derek Chauvin
There are 72 organizations worldwide — 59 in the United States — that claim to care about unjustly prosecuted and imprisoned men and women, according to The Innocence Network.
We are asking any of them to take up the cause of Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, former Minneapolis police officers unjustly prosecuted and imprisoned for the death of George Floyd.
Our open letter is below. The Great North Innocence Project, based in Minneapolis, would seem to be a prime candidate for intervention.
To Whom It May Concern:
We are writing because of your organization’s admirable passion for helping undo injustices in our criminal justice system, which result in tragic wrongful convictions and imprisonments.
We, along with the rest of America, learned of shocking new details in the well-publicized federal trial and convictions of Derek Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, in the 2020 death of George Floyd. All are serving prison sentences.
The sober and fact-based documentary “The Fall of Minneapolis” chronicled this “new” information. Much of this information is not really new — it was largely shielded from the public and jury during the trial of these men in 2021 and 2022.
Some of the highlights:
- The trials of Chauvin, Kueng, and Thao included sworn testimony that said Chauvin’s restraint technique of Mr. Floyd was not department policy. This testimony was false — the restraint technique was part of internal policy. The existence of department policy was kept from the jury.
- Chauvin’s restraint technique was repeatedly falsely portrayed as on Mr. Floyd’s neck. In reality, the restraint was on Mr. Floyd’s shoulder — as was department policy. This falsehood was allowed to permeate the trial.
- Officers immediately called emergency medical personnel during the incident. Emergency personnel went to the wrong address and were late arriving. This information was kept from the jury.
- The body cam footage of the entire episode with Mr. Floyd was withheld from the jury. It portrayed Mr. Floyd exclaiming “I can’t breathe” well in advance of being restrained on the ground, and provides important context of the overall nature of the confrontation.
- The entire trial was as unfair as any other in U.S. history. A mob mentality in the media and culture prevented any fair hearing of the evidence and affording of the constitutional rights to a fair trial guaranteed all citizens under the U.S. Constitution. Jurors were quite aware that anything but guilty verdicts would have resulted in further violence and destruction of their community.
Our opinion of this case is not novel. Many have spoken out in recent weeks after the documentary aired, including Professor Glenn Loury of the Watson Institute at Brown University, who frequently writes about injustice issues. His Dec. 5 commentary was titled, “Derek Chauvin did not murder George Floyd.”
We are well aware that your organization’s politics might cause you to ignore this injustice. We are appealing to your sense of fairness, however, and your knowledge that men and women who are wrongly convicted are suffering no matter what politics surround their cases. Indeed, it was just learned that Mr. Chauvin was stabbed and nearly killed in November while in prison.
We are urging you to take up the causes of Mr. Chauvin, Mr. Kueng, and Mr. Thao. They are all serving time for crimes they did not commit.
Restoration News Editor