Day one of Derek Chauvin’s trial for the murder of George Floyd begins today (March 29).
The prosecution played the chilling video of Chauvin and Floyd’s interaction last year. The audio played Floyd’s clip begging for mercy, saying, “I can’t breathe” 27 times, and witnesses urging Chauvin to get off Floyd’s neck.
Opening statements also began. Defense attorney Eric Nelson spoke for 25 minutes, arguing the evidence in the case is “far greater than 9 minutes and 29 seconds.” Nelson said the other Floyd videos would give jurors a “different side” of Floyd, showing he was on drugs and resisted arrest. Nelson claims the arrest was “complicated.” He also seemingly tried to justify Chauvin’s use of excessive force due to Chauvin being 5’9″ and Floyd being over 6 feet. According to Nelson, Chauvin had one leg on Floyd’s shoulder blade and another on his arm, but video footage shows otherwise.
Nelson also questioned Floyd’s cause of death and said his client “did his job.” Nelson said, “What was Mr. Floyd’s actual cause of death? The evidence will show that Mr. Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline flowing through his body – all of which acted to compromise an already compromised heart further.” Nelson said, “there is no political or social cause in this court [Chauvin] did exactly what he had been trained to do [throughout] his 19-year career.”
As reported on CNN, prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell began his opening argument by stating how Chauvin broke his code of honor by using excessive force on Floyd during his fatal arrest. Blackwell said,
“What it means to be a public servant and have the honor of wearing this badge. It’s a small badge that carries with it a large responsibility and large accountability to the public. What does it stand for? It represents the very motto of the Minneapolis Police Department. To protect with courage, to serve with compassion, but it also represents the essence of the Minneapolis police department approach to the use of force against its citizens when appropriate.”
Blackwell went on to tell the jury they should focus on the oath Minneapolis Police Department took. Blackwell said, “They take an oath that, ‘I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately and as you will learn, as it applies to this case, never employing unnecessary force or violence.'”
Blackwell went on to say that on May 25, 2020, Chauvin “betrayed” the badge and “used excessive and unreasonable force” against Floyd. Blackwell said,“That he put his knees upon his neck and his back. Grinding and crushing him until the very breath — no, ladies and gentlemen — until the very life was squeezed out of him.”
Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill gave jurors a list of things they shouldn’t do during the trial. Judge Cahill told jurors they aren’t investigators, don’t use the Internet to find out information about the case, and avoid all news if possible. Jurors shouldn’t talk to people involved with the subject or speak to their families about it.
The article also notes Floyd’s family members, Rev. Al Sharpton, and attorney Benjamin Crump took a knee outside the Minneapolis courthouse for eight minutes and 46 seconds before entering the building. Sharpton said,
“We are taking a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds, and we want you to think of during that time, why Chauvin didn’t, in that time, get his knee up?
Take a look:
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. If convicted of the most serious charge, he could face 10½ years to 15 years.
Take a look at what social media is saying:
There is no morally upright or legitimate professional reasoning for Derek Chauvin’s actions.
Not a one.
Remember: He’s the person on trial.
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) March 29, 2021
Derek Chauvin is on trial.
America is on trial.
Our criminal-legal system is on trial.
George Floyd is not on trial.
— Cori Bush (@CoriBush) March 29, 2021