The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with the alleged murder of George Floyd, has started today.
Floyd, an African American, died after the police officer had seemingly pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. The said incident, which took place on May 25 last year, was caught on camera. According to the medical examiner, Floyd’s manner of death was a homicide, but he also noted a “pretty high” amount of fentanyl in the man’s system.
The case caused people to start protests nationwide over racial justice. Left-leaning Americans called to “defund the police” following the incident. After Chauvin's release after he paid a $1 million bond, more protests have erupted last October.
Chauvin, who is 44 years old, has spent 19 years working for the Minneapolis Police Department. He gained both multiple medals of bravery and multiple civilian complaints.
Minnesota to Televise, Live-stream Chauvin Trial
Many have dubbed the trial of Chauvin as Minnesota’s highest-profile murder case. Apart from this, it also serves as the state’s first criminal case that will be shown on TV. It will also be live-streamed. The opening arguments for the said trial will start on Monday.
Some local activists think broadcasting such trials should become normal as capturing them on camera provides a sense of accountability. Additionally, it educates citizens on what goes on during a criminal trial.
Minnesota tends to restrict the broadcasting of proceedings in the courtroom. However, the judge handling this trial has made an exception due to the widespread interest and of how the pandemic has limited the number of people who can be in the courtroom.
This story is developing. Check back in for live updates.
Day 1 (March 29, 2021)
- [12:05 pm] Opening statements have started. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said Chauvin “betrayed his badge.”
- [12:42 p.m.] 9-minute video evidence played.
- [12:54 p.m.] Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, has given his opening statement. In it, he claimed that there is evidence beyond the 9-minute video. He alleged Floyd was under the influence prior to Chauvin intercepting the man.
- [1:00 p.m.] Defense claims Floyd was already struggling prior to the encounter.
- [1:10 p.m.] Opening statements concluded.
- [1:37 p.m.] Prosecution starts questioning the first witness. Jenna Scurry, a 911 dispatcher, watched the incident between Floyd and the police through a fixed camera.
- [2:44 p.m.] Scurry claimed that her instincts told her something was wrong during the incident.
- [4:48 p.m.] During cross-examination, the defense tries to say Scurry did not have enough knowledge on use of force policies.
- [4:58 p.m.] Prosecution calls on the second witness, Alisha Oyler, a shift manager from a store in Cup Foods.
- [5:27 p.m.] Prosecution calls on the third witness, Donald Williams, a professional MMA fighter who told Chauvin to stop kneeling on Floyd's neck.
- [6;39 p.m.] The trial has ended for the day. Judge adjourns session after experiencing a technical glitch.
Day 2 (March 30,2021)
- [10:17 a.m.] Trial resumes with Williams returning to the stands. Williams said Floyd looked like he was in pain during the final moments of his life.
- [12:22 p.m.] Williams noted that Floyd pleaded for his life. The witness said he felt he was watching a murder and that he needed to “call the police on the police.”
- [12:34 p.m.] The teen who took the viral video, Darnella Frazier, was called to the stand. Her face is not shown on the live stream feed as she was a minor when the incident happened. Frazier said Floyd was suffering during the incident.
- [4:00 p.m.] Frazier said she “kind of knew” Floyd was dead and was worried about him.
- [5:07 p.m.] Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter and trained EMT, then took to the stand. She noted that Chauvin “looked comfortable” while he had his knee on Floyd's neck
Day 3 (March 31, 2021)
- [10:00 a.m.] Trial resumes with witness Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter and trained EMT. Hansen said she was scared for Floyd's life and that she tried to intervene. She claimed that she was denied by the police from doing so.
- [11:50 a.m.] Another witness was called to the stand – Christopher Martin, a Cup Foods employee. He is also the first witness who had actually spoken to Floyd prior to the incident.
- [11:55 a.m.] Martin said Floyd used a $20 bill with a “blue pigment,” which he found odd, so he thought it was fake. He called his manager regarding this. The Minneapolis police were called after.
- [1:19 p.m.] Martin said he recorded a video of Floyd being detained but deleted it soon after. He mentioned that he deleted the video after he thought that Floyd had already died since the ambulance he was in took the longer route to the hospital. When asked why he did so, Martin said he didn't want to have to show it anymore.
- [3:20 p.m.] Witness Charles McMillian, 61, took to the stand and had an emotional breakdown as he recounted how Floyd was calling for his mother.
- [5:05 p.m.] Jurors were shown footage from the body cameras of Officer Thomas Lane, and of former officers J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao.
Day 4 (April 1, 2021)
- [10:55 a.m.] George Floy'd s girlfriend, Courtney Ross, took to the stands. She said Floyd felt broken after losing his mother.
- [12:00 p.m.] Prosecution did not hesitate in showcasing Floyd's addiction to opioids.
- [12;41 p.m.] A paramedic from Hennepin County, Seth Zachary Bravinder, took to the stands. He said Floyd's heart was not pumping blood when they got to him.
- [3:45 p.m.] Another paramedic, Derek Smith, took to the stand. He revealed that he had thought Floyd was already lifeless when he was assessing him at the scene.
- [4:27 p.m.] Retired Sgt. David Pleoger was called by the prosecution to the stand. He was serving as the supervisor of Chauvin and three other responding law enforcement officers on May 25, 2020.
- [4:41 p.m.] When asked about protocol, Pleoger said officers should roll a restrained prisoner on his side.
- [5:58 p.m.] Chauvin's supervisor claimed that the use of force should have ended when Floyd was cuffed and was on the ground.
- [6:01 p.m] The court adjourned.
Week 2 (April 5-9, 2021)
Update: April 9, 2021, 9:17 p.m.
- MPD officials said Chauvin broke protocols and policies when responding to the incident. On Monday, MPD Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified at the trial. The police chief said Chauvin broke their policy for conscious neck restraint when he exerted more than “light to moderate” pressure on Floyd's neck.
- MPD's medical support coordinator, Police Officer Nicole MacKenzie testified on Tuesday. She said Chauvin did complete in-service training for first aid and CPR multiple times. However, he failed to apply them during the incident with Floyd.
- The trial also discussed Floyd's potential drug use when Special Agent James Reyerson from Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension testified.
- On Friday, the second week of the trial closed with experts examining and going against the medical examiner's report. Hennepin County Medical Examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker, who also conducted the autopsy on Floyd, took the stand.
- Baker said he didn't look at the video, but concluded that Floyd died of cardiopulmonary arrest caused by the force Chauvin put on his neck. Experts, however, counter this conclusion, saying Floyd died of asphyxia caused by the pressure on his neck.
- Defense tried to make Baker recognize that Floyd's hypertensive heart disease and potential drug use caused his death. Baker acknowledged those health conditions. However, he still believes the pressure on Floyd's neck caused the man's death.
Week 3 – End of Witness Testimony Hearings (April 12-15, 2021)
Update: April 15, 5:19 p.m.
- On Monday, April 12, cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich, Philonise Floyd (George Floyd's brother), and Prof. Seth Soughton took to the stand as witnesses. In his testimony, Dr. Rich expressed his certainty that the victim did not die from a drug overdose. Meanwhile, Philonese Floyd, the victim's brother, recounted his memories with George. On the other hand, Prof. Soughton, an associate professor of law at the University of South Carolina, testified even though the defense moved for his testimony to be excluded.
- On Wednesday, April 14, several people testified, including former California officer Barry Brodd, witness Morries Hall, who plead the Fifth, and David Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of Maryland. On the same day, Judge Cahill had denied the defense's motion to acquit Chauvin.
- Thursday, April 15, served as the last day for witness testimonies at the Chauvin trial. During the trial, Fowler, who's an expert witness of the defense, claimed that Floyd didn't die due to the restraint. Instead, Fowler said he died due to heart trouble. However, prosecution expert Dr. Martin Tobin Refuted this claim.
- When called to take the stand during the trial, Chauvin refused by invoking his Fifth Amendment rights.
- Also on April 15, the Judge threatened that a mistrial could happen if the prosecution brought up new pieces of evidence in the form of test results.
- The Chauvin trial will begin closing arguments on Monday.
Week 4 – Closing Arguments and Deliberations
Update: April 19, 9:20 p.m.
- The prosecution has delivered their closing remarks on Monday. In it, they recognized the daunting task that the jury will soon face. The prosecution delivered a simple message, “believe your eyes,” for their closer. The prosecution also noted that Floyd being large and that he seems to be “on something” is not a justification to use force on the victim.
- The defense rebutted the closing arguments of the prosecution. They reminded the people that Chauving is innocent until proven guilty, and not the other way around. The defence also urged the jury to consider the evidence as to how a “reasonable officer” would respond. They also emphasized that the use of force was unintentional on the part of Chauvin, arguing that witnesses distracted him from the matter at hand. They also tried to use the statement of the medical examiner regarding Floyd's autopsy to prove their case.
- The jury for the Derek Chauvin trial went on their first deliberation today. Their discussion ended at 8 p.m. after 4 hours. They are expected to return to Hennepin County Courthouse on Tuesday morning.
- Chauvin is facing three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
https://t.co/ipvPUiiBke – #DerekChauvin defense attorney Eric Nelson began his closing argument at 11:36am CT. Chauvin has removed mask for the closing from his defense attorney. pic.twitter.com/U8qcNrHLfr
— FOX 9 (@FOX9) April 19, 2021