George Floyd Case

The president should appoint a board of retired NTSB accident investigators to analyze the George Floyd case. The NTSB does an excellent job determining the causes of aircraft disasters and recommends actions to prevent similar tragedies. There are technical, documentation, and human factors involved here that scientific analysis could help. Politicians are incompetent to address the problems with this case.

This murder case has many similarities to an airliner crash. For instance:

CRM (Crew Resource Management) problems: The other officers did not stop the knee on the neck that first impressions said killed the victim. Some crashes are caused by a copilot being intimidated by a domineering pilot. Crew Resource Management training addresses this problem, training all crew members to speak up and take emergency action. All crew members get this training ensuring they recognize the vocabulary.

Chain of Events: An accident is the result of a chain of events that could have been stopped at any point to prevent the accident. No officer broke the chain.

FDR and CVR (Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder): Fortunately, there are police body cameras and onlooker cell phone video recordings of this tragedy. George was complaining that he could not breathe many times before he was pinned to the ground. A policeman’s body camera showed that George tried to hide his fentanyl by trying to swallow it and spitting it out in the back seat of the squad car. His autopsy showed he did not have a drug overdose. The knee on the neck looked bad but was not the cause of death. Constraining his breathing and not taking action when he obviously needed help caused his death. Deep analysis of the autopsy was not necessary to see what the policeman did wrong.

CFIT (Controlled Flight Into Terrain): What was the officer waiting for while keeping his knee on the victim’s neck? What was the next step? When a pilot gets fixated, someone must intervene.

Pilot Background Analysis: The training and service record of a pilot can show training problems and the history of problems with the pilot. In this case the officer had a huge history of complaints of abuses. There could be many more that were not reported. He is now being divorced by his wife. There could be domestic abuse and he could have been under stress from his family situation. The police department should not have assigned him to patrol.

Drug and Sleep Analysis: Was a blood sample taken from the officer after this event? How long had he been on duty that day? Was he sleep deprived? Was he on medication?

Crash Site Control: Looters have stolen wallets from airline accident victims (Elkton MD 707 crash, Dec 8, 1963). The environment around a crash site must be controlled. Society is a thin layer of order over indescribable evil. Demonstrators wanted to show their sympathy for the victim but should have stood down as soon as they saw they were being hijacked by destructive people. There is a flight restriction zone over Washington D.C. so that attackers cannot hide among innocent flights.  The entire country agreed about this tragedy. Did demonstrators think they had some unique insight into justice and evil?

This officer was obviously an Unexploded Bomb (UXB) just waiting to eventually explode. This was not the first case of a person dying while being arrested. After a crash analysis, the NTSB produces recommendations to prevent other similar disasters. In this case all police units should check their records to find any other similar officers that should be stopped before causing another tragedy. Police need to be trained both to behave appropriately and to stop other officers when they violate their training.

This recommendation can help the nation heal and prevent future tragedies. The commission should be like the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident Investigation. Politicians and race baiters must not be on the board.

Update: Joe Biden said that the George Floyd murder had more worldwide impact than the Martin Luther King assassination. He did not mention that the difference is the video record of the death and the internet communications. There has been much technical progress but human progress has lagged, considering all the violence, murder, vandalism, looting, and evil that have been triggered recently. Remember, you cannot trigger something that does not exist. Martin Luther King was martyred because he represented excellence. George Floyd was a victim of terrible circumstances. It is not appropriate to compare the two cases.

A mother was on TV saying she worries about whether her daughter would be killed by a white policeman while she is walking home from school. Parents have “the talk” with their children. Do they mention that black-on-black murder is so common that it does not make the news except for statistics and black-on-white crime is much more common than white-on-black crime? White police murdering black victims is so rare it is enumerable and becomes very famous. All crime is terrible but people are not good at math, evaluating risks.

People worry more about airliner crashes than car crashes. Flying is intrinsically more dangerous than driving a car but the aviation industry deals with the danger rationally and has made flying safer than driving. It is common here in Florida to have news reports of families killed driving home to another state from Disney World. Airline tickets would be a safer choice.

March 30th: The murder trial is currently in progress. George Floyd is not on trial. He did many things wrong and paid the price with his life. The police officer, Chauvin, is on trial and it does not matter if the knee on the neck or drugs killed George Floyd because the officer was responsible for his own actions, not responsible for details later seen in the autopsies. It was clear that Floyd was subdued, in custody, and the police are responsible for the safety of their prisoners. Chauvin did not change his actions to ensure the safety of Floyd. This was obviously dangerous to all the witnesses.

He is not charged with first degree murder because there is no indication that he intended to kill Floyd but the charges are for his incompetent and neglectful treatment of his prisoner. I expect him to be found guilty of one of the charges of homicide. The video showed that he even had to be forced to release Floyd by the EMTs who transported him to the hospital.

I wonder if the defense will try to argue that Chauvin suffered from temporary insanity. The other officers should have forced him to release Floyd and check his health signs. I hope there will not be the riots, destruction and looting that happened last summer. A small number of people were involved in this murder case but many people used it to trigger their own very vicious crimes. That is the real issue for our country.