The new normal: persecuting an expert witness because he testified for the defense in a political-charged trial

orwell 1984 03

by Robert Zimmerman at

They’re coming for you next: It appears it is now considered reasonable in today’s intolerant society to persecute any expert witness who dares testify honestly for the defense in any trial that the narrative demands a guilty plea, no matter what the facts might be.

The trial in this case was against Derek Chauvin, the police officer who in 2020 held George Floyd down by the neck during the arrest in which Floyd died. The expert witness is Dr. David Fowler, the former Chief Medical Examiner of the State of Maryland, who testified for Chauvin’s defense.

The persecution of Fowler was instigated by Dr. Roger Mitchell, former Chief Medical Examiner of the District of Columbia, Deputy Mayor of DC, and now Chief of the Department of Pathology at Howard University. Mitchell was outraged that Fowler had dared express an opinion challenging the political narrative that insisted Chauvin killed Floyd for racial reasons, refusing to get off his neck even as the man was dying of suffocation. Mitchell wrote a open letter, signed by 400 others, calling for a full review of all of Fowler’s past cases in Maryland, with the clear intent of punishing Fowler by having his medical license revoked.

Soon thereafter, in April 2021, Maryland authorities agreed to Mitchell’s demand, forming a panel to review Fowler’s work and his right to continue to practice medicine of any kind.

[R]epresentatives for Attorney General Brian Frosh and Gov. Larry Hogan confirmed to NBC News that they agreed to a review. “We welcome an independent review of reports on deaths in custody issued during David Fowler’s tenure, and agree it is appropriate for the Office of the Attorney General to coordinate the workgroup,” Hogan spokesman Michael Ricci said in a statement.

The irony behind this kangaroo court is that Fowler’s testimony at the Chauvin trial was not simply his own. He was testifying as the representative for a panel of about a dozen medical experts, giving their consensus conclusions about the cause of George Floyd’s death. As William Oliver, a member of that panel and a retired assistant medical examiner explained to me in an email,

For the Chauvin case, the defense empaneled a team of around 14 (I don’t remember the exact number any more) experts, including forensic pathologists, physiologists, pulmonologists, and others to look at what happened. We came to a different conclusion about the mechanism than the prosecution experts regarding the pathophysiology of this death. That’s not uncommon.

Fowler was then chosen to outline their conclusions at the trial, for the defense. To try to destroy Fowler, and only Fowler, for his testimony is thus an act of dishonest evil so ugly words can hardly describe it. Despite having served for seventeen years as Maryland’s chief medical examiner without any serious blemish to his record, he is now to be Maryland’s scapegoat, punished not because he did anything fundamentally immoral or wrong but because he publicly disagreed with the shouts and screams of the mob that leftist politicians were using for political gain.

The willingness of so-called Republican Larry Hogan to endorse this show-trial tells us much about him. It also tells us that his fantasy of winning the Republican nomination for president in the 2024 election has about as much chance as a snowflake surviving in hell.

To explain in detail the conclusions of the Fowler panel, which was based on the fundamentals used in all medical forensic investigations, Oliver has written a long thirteen part essay and posted it on the web. If you want to deepen your general knowledge about the scientific process and the importance it places on always questioning everything, I urge you to read it all. It might not change your mind about the George Floyd case, but after reading it you will no longer find it so easy to jump to any conclusions when next a hot story hits the headlines.

The bottom line however is simple. Floyd was a very sick man, from many causes both natural and self-inflicted. Many factors during his arrest could have caused his death. The prosecution’s accusation, based on the ruling of the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office, that Chauvin committed homicide by his actions might have been correct, but it was also an accusation that many could very reasonably question. And according to fundamental American law, the defense above all had the right to question it. The Fowler panel — explained by Fowler — simply provided the defense the evidence it needed for that questioning.


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