George Floyd: Defense, prosecution wrap up closing arguments

Henrietta Strickland
April 20, 2021

"He didn't follow training, he did not follow the department's use of force rules, he did not perform CPR".

"Nine minutes and 29 seconds of shocking abuse of authority".

"You can believe your eyes", Schleicher said. All three charges require the jury to conclude that Chauvin's actions were a "substantial causal factor" in Mr Floyd's death and that his use of force was unreasonable. "All of these things existed before Mr. Chauvin arrived".

The defence argued the now-fired officer acted reasonably, telling jurors the 46-year-old victim died of an underlying heart condition and illegal drug use.

Genevieve Hansen, 27, an off-duty firefighter, said Mr Chauvin and other officers rebuffed her offers to provide medical attention to Mr Floyd.

Chauvin's lead lawyer, Eric Nelson, said he behaved as any "reasonable police officer" would, arguing that he followed his training from 19 years on the force. "You have to take into account that officers are human beings capable of making mistakes".

"He did what he did on goal, and it killed George Floyd", Schleicher stressed.

If convicted of the most serious charge against him, second-degree murder, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison, though state guidelines suggest a sentence of about 12 years for such a charge.

Dressed in a light grey suit and dark blue shirt and blue tie, Chauvin took off his face mask to listen to closing arguments, but his face displayed little emotion.

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old black man, was shot dead in a Minneapolis suburb on 11 April by a white policewoman who apparently mistook her gun for her Taser, and a 13-year-old boy was killed by police in Chicago.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration has had a "range of conversations" about preparations for the upcoming verdict "to ensure there is space for peaceful protest".

Wright's killing triggered several nights of protests in Minneapolis, and ahead of a verdict in Chauvin's case National Guard troops have been deployed in the Minnesota city where shop windows have been boarded up as a precaution.

Police officers testifying for the prosecution - including the city police chief - said it was excessive and unnecessary.

He spoke only once - and that was out of the presence of the jury - when he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his own defence.

Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor with the Minnesota attorney general's office, said that Chauvin was guilty of murder when he kneeled on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds during his attempted arrest in May previous year.

They do not have to find that Chauvin meant to kill Floyd.

"They had to overcome the barrier of being able to prosecute police officers", he said.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Prosecutors, in closing arguments to the jury, which will be sequestered during deliberations, repeatedly showed the harrowing video seen by millions around the world.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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