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Jury resumes deliberations in Derek Chauvin's trial in death of George Floyd

With jury deliberations nearing in Derek Chauvin's trial over the death of George Floyd, Minneapolis and other US cities are preparing for protests and possible civil unrest.

Posted: Apr 17, 2021 8:54 PM
Updated: Apr 20, 2021 11:15 AM


The jury resumed deliberations Tuesday in Derek Chauvin's trial on charges of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd.

The jury of five men and seven women began deliberating Monday afternoon at 5 p.m. ET and continued until 9 p.m. ET. Jurors resumed deliberating Tuesday at 9 a.m. ET, according to the Hennepin County Court. They are being sequestered from the public during deliberations.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The deliberations began after three weeks of testimony in one of the most closely watched cases of the Black Lives Matter era. In a first for Minnesota, the trial has been broadcast live in its entirety to accommodate Covid-19 attendance restrictions, giving the public a rare look into the heart of the legal system.

The prosecution's case against Chauvin featured 38 witnesses as they sought to show the former Minneapolis Police officer committed murder when he kneeled on the neck and back of Floyd, handcuffed and prone on the street, for 9 minutes and 29 seconds on May 25, 2020.

Prosecutors have repeatedly told jurors to 'believe your eyes' and rely on the infamous bystander video of Floyd's death.

'This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video. It is exactly that. You can believe your eyes. It's exactly what you believed. It's exactly what you saw with your eyes. It's exactly what you knew, what you felt in your gut. It's what you now know in your heart,' prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher said in closing arguments. 'This wasn't policing. This was murder.'

The defense called seven witnesses of its own -- but not Chauvin himself, as he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Chauvin's use of force was unattractive but appropriate and said he was distracted by a crowd of hostile bystanders on the scene. He also argued that Floyd died due to fentanyl and methamphetamine use, his resistance of officers and his underlying heart problems, rather than due to Chauvin's actions.

The second-degree murder charge says Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd with his knee, which unintentionally caused Floyd's death. The third-degree murder charge says Chauvin acted with a 'depraved mind, without regard for human life.' And the second-degree manslaughter charge says Chauvin's 'culpable negligence' caused Floyd's death.

If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. The charges are to be considered separate, so Chauvin could be convicted of all, some or none of them.

Six of the jurors are White, four are Black and two are multiracial, according to information released by the court. Two other jurors who were initially selected as alternates were dismissed prior to the start of deliberations.

Floyd's death last May set off unrest and mass protests challenging the ways that police treat Black people in the US. Though the trial has focused specifically on Chauvin and Floyd, the stakes of the case were made clear last week when a police officer in nearby Brooklyn Center was charged with manslaughter after she fatally shot a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop.

Tensions are high throughout the Twin Cities region, and authorities have ramped up security in anticipation of a verdict. The Hennepin County Government Center has been surrounded by fencing and barricades since jury selection began in March.

More than 3,000 Minnesota National Guard members have also been activated in the Twin Cities, while businesses in Minneapolis have boarded up windows.

Closing arguments took up all Monday

In the prosecution's first phase of the trial, video from the scene and bystanders' testimony revealed Floyd gasping for air and saying 'I can't breathe' 27 times under Chauvin's restraint. Next, a series of police supervisors and use-of-force experts -- including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo -- criticized Chauvin's continued kneeling as excessive and unreasonable, particularly after Floyd had passed out, stopped breathing and had no pulse.

Finally, five separate medical experts explained that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen when Chauvin restricted his ability to breathe in what's known as 'positional asphyxia.'

In the state's closing argument, Schleicher said Chauvin kneeled on Floyd for so long because of his pride and his ego in the face of concerned bystanders.

'He was not going to let these bystanders tell him what to do. He was going to do what he wanted, how he wanted, for as long as he wanted. And there was nothing, nothing they can do about it because he had the authority. He had the power, and the other officers, the bystanders were powerless,' he said. 'He was trying to win, and George Floyd paid for it with his life.'

He contrasted Chauvin's 'ego-based pride' with the proper feelings of pride in wearing a police badge and praised policing as a noble profession. He insisted the state was prosecuting Chauvin individually -- not policing in general.

'This is not an anti-police prosecution; it is a pro-police prosecution,' he said. 'There is nothing worse for good police than bad police.'

In response, Nelson said Chauvin acted as a 'reasonable officer' would in that situation and said there was no evidence he intentionally or purposefully used force that was unlawful.

'You have to look at it from the reasonable police officer standard. You have to take into account that officers are human beings, capable of making mistakes in highly stressful situations,' Nelson said. 'In this case, the totality of the circumstances that were known to a reasonable police officer in the precise moment the force was used demonstrates that this was an authorized use of force, as unattractive as it may be. This is reasonable doubt.'

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell then delivered a rebuttal rejecting the defense's claim that Floyd died because of an enlarged heart.

'The reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin's heart is too small,' he said.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 591445

Reported Deaths: 7367
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1224421730
Ramsey51212875
Dakota45791452
Anoka41604438
Washington26834283
Stearns22196222
St. Louis17734303
Scott17244124
Wright16009139
Olmsted1322598
Sherburne1167187
Carver1047545
Clay814492
Rice8037107
Blue Earth749641
Crow Wing663189
Kandiyohi654283
Chisago596651
Otter Tail574078
Benton568297
Goodhue477272
Douglas466375
Mower464832
Winona453950
Itasca435556
McLeod422559
Isanti419664
Morrison418260
Nobles407648
Beltrami394459
Steele386715
Polk383568
Becker379751
Lyon360251
Carlton345054
Freeborn341529
Pine327822
Nicollet325643
Brown305040
Mille Lacs303253
Le Sueur290922
Todd281632
Cass271328
Meeker255740
Waseca235922
Martin230531
Roseau209019
Wabasha20513
Hubbard188341
Dodge18453
Renville179743
Redwood174037
Houston171616
Cottonwood164821
Fillmore155910
Wadena155922
Pennington153619
Chippewa152138
Faribault152119
Kanabec144326
Sibley143110
Aitkin134736
Watonwan13219
Rock128119
Jackson121712
Pipestone115426
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11006
Murray10619
Swift105218
Stevens90411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86616
Koochiching82715
Wilkin81112
Lake80919
Lac qui Parle75222
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5748
Mahnomen5469
Norman5399
Unassigned48993
Kittson48622
Red Lake3957
Traverse3695
Lake of the Woods3243
Cook1620

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366827

Reported Deaths: 5937
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57596625
Linn20845335
Scott20025241
Black Hawk15803308
Woodbury15128228
Johnson1447483
Dubuque13368208
Dallas1117898
Pottawattamie11113168
Story1061248
Warren577088
Clinton555593
Cerro Gordo539789
Sioux514474
Webster512393
Marshall482975
Muscatine480799
Des Moines455766
Wapello4299122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418872
Plymouth401180
Lee375755
Marion362575
Jones298957
Henry291637
Carroll285752
Bremer284360
Crawford266440
Boone264534
Benton256455
Washington254150
Dickinson248343
Mahaska230351
Jackson221742
Clay215525
Kossuth215364
Delaware209541
Tama209571
Winneshiek196834
Page192622
Buchanan191232
Cedar190023
Hardin185243
Fayette185041
Wright184637
Hamilton179849
Harrison179573
Clayton169456
Butler164934
Mills162322
Madison162219
Floyd160542
Cherokee158738
Lyon157941
Poweshiek154734
Allamakee151551
Iowa148724
Hancock147834
Winnebago142431
Cass138554
Calhoun138413
Grundy136333
Emmet134140
Jefferson132335
Shelby131037
Sac130319
Union128333
Louisa128049
Appanoose127949
Mitchell126342
Chickasaw124015
Guthrie121530
Franklin120021
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112723
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100124
Unassigned9710
Keokuk95831
Monroe95229
Ida90535
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis82924
Monona82830
Osceola78616
Greene77610
Lucas77323
Worth7478
Taylor65812
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55818
Ringgold55624
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