Proceedings to resume in Chauvin murder trial
Good morning, readers. Welcome to the Guardian’s coverage of the Derek Chauvin murder trial.
Trial proceedings will resume resume after 9 am CT this morning in Minneapolis. Chauvin’s trial is entering its 12th day of witness testimony.
Chauvin’s trial is taking place in the wake of another Minneapolis-region police killing—which has spurred two nights of protests and ramped up tensions in a community that has been on edge over the Chauvin trial’s conclusion.
A police officer in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, during a traffic stop Sunday afternoon.
Chauvin, a white officer formerly with the Minneapolis police department, is facing charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, in George Floyd’s death during his May 2020 arrest. Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during this encounter.
Floyd, who is Black, died after being restrained prone on the ground while Chauvin kept his knee against his neck. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty plea to the charges.
Here are some key points from Monday’s proceedings:
- Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, took the witness stand. Although Philonise’s testimony was brief, he emotively painted a portrait of George as a devoted family man who careed deeply for his siblings and family. “He would always make sure that we had our clothes for school,” Philonise testified. “He made sure that we all were going to be to school on time”.
- One of the most gripping parts of Philonise’s testimony was his portrayal of George’s bond with their mother. “He was a big momma’s boy,” Philonise recounted. When their mother died three years ago, Philonise recalled, George “would just say ‘mama, mama,’ over and over again”. Philonise’s testimony was incredibly important for prosecutors. Chauvin’s defense repeatedly discussed up George’s drug use, but Philonise’s words stressed that George was a multidimensional person—someone “everybody loved”.
- Dr Jonathan Rich testified about Floyd’s heart and cause-of-death, repeatedly saying that he would have lived had he not been subdued and restrained. “In this case, Mr George Floyd died from a cardiopulmonary arrest that was caused by low oxygen levels, and those low oxygen levels were induced by the prone restraint and positional asphyxiation that he was subjected to”, he recalled. “It was truly the prone restraint and positional restraints that led to his asphyxiation”.
- Seth Stoughton, a law professor and expert on use-of-force, who had served as a police officer, repeatedly stated that Chauvin’s actions were not those of a “reasonable officer”. Stoughton stated: “The use of force had the foreseeable effect and substantial likelihood of resulting death” or bodily harm. He also testified: “Both the the knee across Mr Floyd’s neck, and the prone restraint, were unreasonable, excessive, and contrary to generally excepted police practices”.
- Judge Peter Cahill announced that closing statements would likely begin on Monday, in six days. This news about the trial’s schedule initially emerged after Chauvin’s lawyer made an unsuccessful request to sequester jurors. He asked to do so because of protests surrounding Daunte Wright’s death. Cahill explained to jurors they can expect to be sequestered when closings start. “Expect that when you report for duty on Monday, that it will be followed by sequestration. So, pack a bag”, he remarked when court ended.
As for today’s proceedings, Cahill said yesterday that he will call Morries Hall, who was with Floyd during his deadly arrest, to the stand. Cahill wants to see whether Hall will invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. If Hall does so, it might mean that he doesn’t answer any questions.
Cahill also said that Chauvin’s lawyer is expected to start calling defense witnesses today.
That’s it for the time being. We will have updates on breaking news as they happen.