Jurors are deliberating in the murder trial of fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, in the death of George Floyd, 46. The jury has been at work since Monday afternoon, when closing arguments concluded.
As seen on video, the defendant kneeled on the victim’s neck during an arrest for an alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill on May 25, 2020. Floyd called out in pain, saying he could not breathe. Outraged bystanders stepped forward on behalf of the increasingly unresponsive man.
Prosecutors argued that Floyd, despite demonstrable health and drugs issues, would have lived were it not for the law enforcement restraint. He died there, with Chauvin on his neck, then-Officer J. Alexander Kueng on his back, and then-Officer Thomas Lane on his legs.
Floyd’s lungs were unable to expand, prosecutor Steve Schelicher said. Citing expert testimony, he said that the victim died from a low level of oxygen. It was not a cardiac event. It was asphyxia.
Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson asserted that the law enforcement restraint had nothing to do with Floyd’s death. Floyd had a bad heart, and a history of drug use. Defense expert Dr. David Fowler, former Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland, testified that he believed the man died from a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, with significant contributory elements including fentanyl and meth in the man’s system, exposure to carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust, and paraganglioma [a tumor].
Schleicher referenced state’s experts Dr. Jonathan Rich, Dr. William Smock, Dr. Lindsey Thomas, and Dr. Martin Tobin, who ruled out sudden cardiac arrhythmia. He also dismissed the paraganglioma, saying it would possibly cause headaches. In the rebuttal case, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said no testimony established whether the nearby police vehicle was running, but he suggested that if it were, then it would have been Chauvin’s fault for putting Floyd there.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]