Minneapolis-Lawyers closed at the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday, and a jury determines whether Chauvin was guilty of murder or manslaughter at the death of George Floyd last May I tried to understand two completely different arguments.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors alleged that Chauvin’s knees were pressed against 46-year-old Floyd’s neck while being handcuffed and turned face down on the street, leading to his death due to the loss of oxygen. The defense claimed a fundamental heart problem, and his system of methamphetamine and fentanyl caused death while Floyd was fighting police.
Both sides used still images, video clips, and visual aids when talking to the jury through Chauvin’s 45-year-old face (two and three murders and two manslaughter charges).
In the statement, Chauvin took notes in the yellow statutory book, as he had done for weeks. So did the jury.
When lawyer Eric Nelson told the jury that Chauvin acted like any other “reasonable police officer” in closing arguments, Chauvin took off his surgical mask and gave the jury his entire face. I let you see.
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Angry mob or witness?
Prosecutors explained that bystanders watching Chauvin detaining Floyd witnessed what happened with horrific strangers and testified in front of the jury.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher told the jury that he was “a random member of the community, witnessing what happened as everything converged by fate in an instant.” He said they were helpless at the time, but they were empowered to testify to the jury.
Attorney Eric Nelson called these bystanders an angry, intimidating, and distracting crowd that Chauvin went unnoticed the moment Floyd died.
Nelson played a video of the jury at the moment Floyd lost consciousness, according to prosecution experts. Nelson pointed out how off-duty firefighter Genevieve Hansen approached the police, saying Chauvin pulled out Mace and focused on her rather than Floyd under him.
The prosecution said police officers violated the Minneapolis Police’s “duty of care” policy and demanded that Floyd provide assistance as soon as possible when he showed medical distress.
“The last words of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 were: He sought help in his last breath,” he said. “All I needed was compassion.”
“Sanctity of life” is the basis of the department’s use of force, and as a first responder, police officers are taught basic first aid measures such as CPR and chest compressions, Schleicher said.
Chauvin “did not follow the hundreds of hours of training he received. He did not follow the rules of the department and did not CPR,” Schleicher said. “He knew better, he just didn’t.”
Chauvin should have known how to treat a person at stake, Schleicher said, and when Floyd tried to squeeze him behind a police car, he told police about his anxiety and claustrophobia. Said he spoke. Just because he couldn’t obey doesn’t mean he was resisting, he said.
Instead of taking care of Floyd, the officers “picked up rocks from the tires and commented on the smell of the man’s feet,” Schleicher said.
Nelson claimed that Chauvin and other police officers had called an ambulance and trained them by warning authorities of the seriousness of the situation. He said they couldn’t do anything more because the scene wasn’t safe.
He said Chauvin did not have decades of medical experience like Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist and state expert witness who had the luxury of watching video footage for hours. Stated. Chauvin was also not taught that Floyd’s foot kick was the last gasping from his brain’s oxygen loss, Nelson said.
Instead, Nelson said that “reasonable police officers” (a phrase he repeated based on the Supreme Court’s proceedings on the use of force in 1989) added additional power to overcome the suspect’s resistance. Said he was simply taught to use. It went down when it went up.
“It’s not uncommon to pretend or pretend to be emergency medical care while the suspect is being arrested,” Nelson said.
He played a video saying Floyd couldn’t breathe before landing on the ground, suggesting that those screams under Chauvin’s knees didn’t mean he was really suffering. ..
9:29 vs 16:59
Schleicher repeatedly quoted the bystander video “9:29” to show the moment Chauvin laid his knees on Floyd’s neck and back.
“George Floyd begged until he couldn’t speak anymore, and the defendant continued this attack,” Schleicher told the jury.
“When he couldn’t speak, the defendant continued,” Schleicher said. “When the defendant was unable to breathe, the defendant continued. Beyond the time of the pulse. The defendant continued this attack for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. When the ambulance arrived, the ambulance was here and the defendant continued. He continued. He didn’t give up. “
Nelson claimed that “9 minutes and 29 seconds ignore the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds” when police officers were trading with Floyd.
He focused on the interaction between Floyd and the officer before getting under Chauvin’s lap. He said Chauvin, as a “reasonable police officer,” needs to take into account the whole situation because “human behavior is unpredictable and no one knows as well as a police officer.” ..
“Someone is obedient for one second and can fight the next second,” Nelson said.
The prosecution has not argued that the police officer’s early interaction with Floyd was excessive. Their expert witnesses testified that Floyd’s restraint became excessive and unreasonable only when he was on the ground.
Nelson showed a body camera footage of Chauvin standing behind him while other officers were trying to deal with Floyd. Nelson said he moved only when Chauvin couldn’t handle him.
Focus on Chauvin vs. Floyd
Schleicher reminded the jury that Chauvin was being tried, not the police, and Floyd was not being tried for his drug use or other reasons.
“This is not a police prosecution, but a defendant’s prosecution,” Schleicher said. “And there is nothing worse for a good police than a bad police who does not follow the rules and does not follow the training.”
Chauvin “chosen pride over the police,” Schreicher told the jury, referring to images of the horrifying crowd and Chauvin’s facial expressions when he kneeled on Floyd’s neck.
Schleicher put the knee restraint “unnecessary, unnecessary, disproportionate, Chauvin did it intentionally. This was not a coincidence. He stumbled and fell on George Floyd’s neck. I didn’t find myself. “
Nelson described Chauvin as concerned about the size of Floyd and the fact that he was “doing something” as he told bystanders.
Nelson argued that Floyd’s drug use was an important part of the evidence, and police officers saw people come after they became unconscious and violent.
Nelson told the jury that people under the influence of certain drugs could have more power than usual, and Chauvin responded to the information at the time.
Police and assault
At the heart of Chauvin’s murder charges was whether his detention of Floyd was assault or standard police, and Nelson said it could be “legal but terrible.” ..
Schleicher told the jury, in this case, it was “just terrible.” He told the jury that police were demanding a counterfeit $ 20 bill, but did not provide evidence that Floyd knew it was a fake.
Calling Chauvin’s actions “a shocking abuse of police power,” Schleicher said that Chauvin’s actions observed by a nine-year-old man were “not police” and “assault.”
He told the jury that they had to ask themselves: “But did George Floyd die that day, pushing him down because of the defendant’s actions?”
Nelson called the whole situation “tragic” and “all evidence shows that Mr. Chauvin thought he was following his training. He is actually following his training. He is following the Minneapolis police. He was trained this way. It all shows a lack of intent. “
In the U.S. Constitutional Amendment Article 4 and the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court proceedings, juries were put in the same knowledge, situation, and rational to determine whether officers were overpowered. You need to consider what a typical officer will do.
Follow Tami Abdullah, a national correspondent for criminal justice reporting on the Chauvin trial, on Twitter @latams
What the jury should know when considering a verdict
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