USA city on edge as jury deliberates Chauvin verdict — George Floyd

Lawrence Kim
April 20, 2021

The murder case against former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin over the death of George Floyd has gone to the jury.

Prosecutors argued that Chauvin, who is white, caused Floyd's death by kneeling on his neck.

Speaking ahead of closing arguments, Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd and Wright families, said "the outcome that we pray for in Derek Chauvin is for him to be held criminally liable for killing George Floyd".

"There is nothing worse for a good police than bad police, who doesn't follow the rules, who doesn't follow procedure, who doesn't follow training", Schleicher said.

"This was not a neck restraint".

Chauvin sat inside the courtroom staring intently at his attorney.

The defence contends not only that Chauvin acted reasonably but that 46-year-old Mr Floyd died of heart disease and illegal drug use, not Chauvin's actions. The case has set this city on edge and gripped the nation with questions around race and police brutality.

He repeated a single phrase scores of times, saying Chauvin behaved as a "reasonable police office" would in dealing with a man as "large" as Floyd, who was struggling against being put in a police auto when Chauvin arrived, responding to a call for back-up.

Medical experts called by the prosecution said Mr Floyd died from hypoxia, or a lack of oxygen, from Mr Chauvin's knee on his neck and that drugs were not a factor.

"Police officers have strong legal authority to use force".

In a rebuttal to Nelson, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell urged jurors to use "common sense" while they deliberated. Blackwell said this argument was "not accurate".

"The force was too much". Schleicher said, as he pointed to Chauvin. "Trapped with the unyielding pavement underneath him".

Second-degree intentional murder carries up to 40 years in prison, third-degree murder 25 years, and second-degree manslaughter 10 years.

Guilty verdicts must be unanimous.

Sentencing guidelines call for far less time, including 12 1/2 years on either murder count.

Chauvin declined to take the witness stand during the trial.

"This wasn't policing, this was murder", Mr Schleicher said.

He also reminded jurors that Minneapolis police take an oath to protect with courage, and said it might be hard to "imagine a police officer doing something like this", but reminded jurors that they were asked during jury selection to set aside any preconceived notions about police officers. "But George Floyd was not a threat to anyone". He wasn't trying to hurt anyone. He was not trying to do anything to anyone.

Three other former police officers - Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J Alexander Kueng - also face charges in connection with George Floyd's death. And none was shown on that day. "All that was required was a little compassion and none was shown on that day". Mr Schleicher asked before playing a video of Chauvin replying "Uh-huh" several times as Mr Floyd cried out.

"You can believe your eyes".

The same issues raised by Floyd's death came to the forefront in the community again about a week ago when a now-resigned police officer in a Minneapolis suburb killed a 20-year-old African American man during a traffic stop.

The officer, a 26-year veteran, was charged with second-degree manslaughter after officials said she mistook her gun for her Taser.

Prosecutors need to prove underlying assault for most serious charge of second-degree murder.

Almost 3,000 National Guard troops are on patrol throughout the region. Public officials in cities like NY and Los Angeles anticipate they'll be protests once the jury announces its verdict.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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