What to Know About the Trial of Derek Chauvin

Last Updated May 4, 2021, 7:18 p.m. ET

Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was found guilty of manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.

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Jury Selection Begins After Initial Delay in Chauvin Trial

On Tuesday, after a delayed start, official jury selection began in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.

“So your job, if you are to be selected as a juror in this case, would be to hear all of the evidence in this case. Do you understand that? Is that a yes?” “Yes.” “You don’t have to check in with the jury office or anything like that. If you have your yellow lanyard and the letter, do you have the letter with the number on it?” “Yes.” “Yeah, I’ll just take that. You can leave it on the stand there and — right, and then you can go with the deputy. Thank you for taking the time to fill out the questionnaire and to be here today.” “Thank you.” “Thank you.” “You’ve not seen any of the social media videos or news stories with clips of the video or anything?” “No.” “OK.” “I’ve seen the still, there’s a still image that was pretty common, but that’s the most I’ve seen.” “OK, thank you for that clarification. But based on your observation of that still photo, you formed an opinion about what was happening in that instant, right?” “I wouldn’t attribute that to the photo. I’d attribute that to news that was circulating at the time.” “OK.”

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On Tuesday, after a delayed start, official jury selection began in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer facing second-degree murder and manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.CreditCredit...Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

The death of George Floyd drew widespread outrage last May after a video circulated online showing Derek Chauvin holding his knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck on a Minneapolis street corner as he gasped for breath.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days following an emotional trial that lasted three weeks, the jury found Mr. Chauvin, who is white, guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Mr. Floyd.

Here’s what to know about the case.

Derek Chauvin is found guilty of murdering George Floyd.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days, the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of George Floyd.
Credit...Still image, via Court TV

Derek Chauvin was found guilty of two counts of murder on Tuesday in the death of George Floyd, whose final breaths last May under the knee of Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, were captured on video, setting off months of protests against the police abuse of Black people.

After deliberating for about 10 hours over two days following an emotional trial that lasted three weeks, the jury found Mr. Chauvin, who is white, guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Mr. Floyd, a Black man, on a street corner last year on Memorial Day.

Mr. Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison when he is sentenced in the coming weeks but is likely to receive far less time. The presumptive sentence for second-degree murder is 12.5 years, according to Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines, although the state has asked for a higher sentence.

The verdict was read in court and broadcast live to the nation on television, as the streets around the heavily fortified courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, ringed by razor wire and guarded by National Guard soldiers, filled with people awaiting the verdict.

For a country whose legal system rarely holds police officers to account for killing on the job, especially when the victims are Black people, the case was a milestone and its outcome a sign, perhaps, that the death of Mr. Floyd has moved the country toward more accountability for police abuses and more equality under the law.

The city has been on edge for weeks as the trial progressed and the city awaited the verdict, with many worrying that a not guilty ruling would bring renewed social unrest and chaos to a city that saw buildings set ablaze and widespread looting last year following the death of Mr. Floyd.

After the verdict was read, Judge Peter A. Cahill ordered that Mr. Chauvin, who has been free on bail since last fall, be immediately taken into custody by sheriff’s deputies. Mr. Chauvin was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs and will be sentenced in eight weeks following the completion of a pre-sentencing report about his background.

In his closing argument, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer urges jurors to ‘not let yourselves be misled.’

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Defense Concludes With ‘Burden of Proof’ Argument in Chauvin Trial

The defense in the Derek Chauvin trial, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, argued in its closing statements that the jury must prove Mr. Chauvin was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Essentially, what the state has to convince you is that the evidence in this case completely eliminates any reasonable doubt or in other words, leaving only unreasonable doubt. Compare the evidence against itself, test it, challenge it, compare it to the law, read the instructions in their entirety. Start from the point of the presumption of innocence, and see how far the state can get. I submit to you that the state has failed to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. The state has the burden of proving each and every element beyond a reasonable doubt, not just some global proposition that they’ve proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt. They have to prove each of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt. And if you determine that they have done so, you convict. But if they are missing any one single element, any one single element, it is a not guilty verdict.

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The defense in the Derek Chauvin trial, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, argued in its closing statements that the jury must prove Mr. Chauvin was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

The lawyer for Derek Chauvin argued on Monday that the former officer had acted reasonably when he knelt on George Floyd for more than nine minutes, imploring jurors to also consider the moments before officers took Mr. Floyd to the ground as they begin to debate whether to convict or acquit Mr. Chauvin.

Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, said in his closing argument that there was much more to the case than the moments that had been captured on a cellphone video and seen by the world. Mr. Nelson argued that there was at least reasonable doubt about two vital issues: whether Mr. Chauvin’s actions were allowed under Minneapolis Police Department policies and whether Mr. Chauvin had caused Mr. Floyd’s death. Jurors must believe that prosecutors have proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict.

The prosecution made its closing argument earlier on Monday, and another prosecutor will have a chance to rebut Mr. Nelson’s argument later in the day, after which the 12 jurors who have listened to three weeks of testimony will begin to deliberate over a verdict. They must be unanimous to convict Mr. Chauvin of any of the three charges he faces: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

For nearly three hours, Mr. Nelson focused on Mr. Chauvin’s decision-making and on what factors may have caused Mr. Floyd’s death. He emphasized that the jury instructions say that no crime has been committed if a police officer was justified in using reasonable force and that jurors should determine what is justified by considering what “a reasonable police officer in the same situation would believe to be necessary.”

Determining what is necessary, Mr. Nelson argued, requires paying close attention to the moments before officers put Mr. Floyd face down on the ground, when they tried to get a handcuffed Mr. Floyd into the back of a police car, which he resisted, saying he was claustrophobic. Prosecutors have repeatedly noted the exact amount of time — nine minutes and 29 seconds — that Mr. Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd, but Mr. Nelson said that was but one piece of evidence.

“It’s not the proper analysis, because the nine minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds,” Mr. Nelson said. He added: “A reasonable police officer would, in fact, take into consideration the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds.”

Mr. Nelson has argued throughout the trial that a group of bystanders who were yelling for officers to get off Mr. Floyd and check his pulse had actually taken officers’ attention away from Mr. Floyd’s declining health. On Monday, he highlighted the moment in which experts have said Mr. Floyd took his last breath, pointing out that at the same time, an off-duty firefighter and another bystander had moved closer to Mr. Chauvin, prompting the officer to pull out his mace.

“Human beings make decisions in highly-stressful situations that they believe to be right in the very moment it is occurring,” Mr. Nelson said.

Mr. Nelson also criticized the prosecutors’ medical experts, many of whom had testified that Mr. Chauvin’s actions were the main cause of Mr. Floyd’s death, saying their testimony “flies in the absolute face of reason and common sense.” He particularly singled out the testimony of Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist, who he said had selectively chosen screenshots that clouded the context of full videos.

“Do not let yourselves be misled by a single still frame image,” Mr. Nelson said. “Put the evidence in its proper context.”

Mr. Nelson said he was not arguing that Mr. Floyd had died of an overdose, but that jurors must consider a broad range of factors about what could have caused Mr. Floyd’s death, including the poor health of his heart and the fentanyl and methamphetamine found in his system.

Mr. Nelson said that when jurors considered all of the evidence, they would conclude that prosecutors have not reached their burden.

“The state has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore Mr. Chauvin should be found not guilty of all counts,” he said.

Prosecutor in Derek Chauvin trial makes closing argument: ‘This wasn’t policing, this was murder.’

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Prosecutor Describes George Floyd’s Last Moments in Closing Statement

Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor for the Derek Chauvin trial, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, focused his closing statements on describing in vivid detail the last moments of Mr. Floyd’s life.

This is not the trial of George Floyd. George Floyd is not on trial here. You’ve heard some things about George Floyd, that he struggled with drug addiction, that he was being investigated for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill, that there was never any evidence introduced that he knew was fake in the first place. But but he is not on trial. He didn’t get a trial when he was alive. And he is not on trial here. A knee to the neck, a knee to the back, twisting his fingers, holding his legs for nine minutes and 29 seconds — the defendant’s weight on him. The lungs in his chest unable to expand because there wasn’t enough room to breathe. George Floyd tried. He pushed his bare shoulder against the pavement to lift himself, to give his chest, to give his lungs enough room in his chest, to breathe. The pavement tearing into his skin, George Floyd losing strength, not superhuman strength. There is no superhuman strength that day. There’s no superhuman strength because there’s no such thing as a superhuman — those exist in comic books.

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Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor for the Derek Chauvin trial, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, focused his closing statements on describing in vivid detail the last moments of Mr. Floyd’s life.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

In his last comments to jurors before they begin deliberating over a verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, a Minnesota prosecutor argued that Mr. Chauvin had acted with cruelty and indifference unbefitting of a police officer and should be convicted of murder in George Floyd’s death.

The prosecutor, Steve Schleicher, tried to walk a fine line in his closing argument as he sought to describe Mr. Chauvin as a police officer who had not followed the department’s policies while making it clear that prosecutors were not criticizing policing as a whole.

“Imagining a police officer committing a crime might be the most difficult thing you have to set aside, because that’s just not the way we think about police officers,” Mr. Schleicher told the 12 jurors who will decide the verdict. “What the defendant did was not policing. What the defendant did was an assault.”

Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, will also make a closing argument on Monday, after which another prosecutor will have an opportunity for a rebuttal. Then the jury will be sequestered and will begin discussing the evidence that they have heard over the last three weeks of the trial. The jurors can deliberate for as long as they want before coming to a decision on the three charges that Mr. Chauvin faces: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. They must be unanimous to convict him on any count.

For nearly two hours on Monday, Mr. Schleicher summarized the prosecution’s evidence and tried to raise doubt about the evidence offered by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, peppering his arguments with portions of the jury instructions and the law. It was Mr. Chauvin’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes that killed him on May 25, Mr. Schleicher said, not any heart condition or drug overdose. Mr. Schleicher referenced the length of time that Mr. Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd — nine minutes and 29 seconds — 22 times in his closing argument.

“George Floyd struggled, desperate to breathe, to make enough room in his chest to breathe, but the force was too much,” Mr. Schleicher said. “He was trapped. He was trapped with the unyielding pavement underneath him, as unyielding as the men who held him down.”

Throughout the closing argument, Mr. Chauvin, dressed in a gray suit, blue tie and blue shirt, continued to take notes on a legal pad, as he has done for much of the trial.

Mr. Floyd’s death set off a wave of protests against police brutality last summer and led to fresh calls from activists across the country to divert public funds from police departments. But Mr. Schleicher tried to distance the prosecution from any broad criticism of the police, instead focusing jurors’ attention on Mr. Chauvin alone. “This is not an anti-police prosecution,” Mr. Schleicher said. “It’s a pro-police prosecution.”

The prosecutor also sought to humanize Mr. Floyd, showing photographs from his childhood and describing a loving family. And Mr. Schleicher also referenced Mr. Floyd’s struggles with drug addiction and the accusation that he had used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes before the police arrived, saying jurors should remember that Mr. Floyd is not the man on trial.

“He didn’t get a trial when he was alive, and he is not on trial here,” Mr. Schleicher said. Throughout the trial, prosecutors have tried to get ahead of arguments from the defense that Mr. Floyd had resisted arrest and could have overdosed on the fentanyl and methamphetamine that were found in his system.

Mr. Schleicher said that Mr. Floyd had, at many times, complied with police officers’ commands, even as one of the officers first approached Mr. Floyd’s car with a handgun pointed at his head. The prosecutor said Mr. Chauvin had shown “indifference” to Mr. Floyd’s life by ignoring his repeated complaints that he could not breathe, as well as demands by bystanders to get off of Mr. Floyd and an officer’s question about whether the police should move Mr. Floyd to another position.

“He could have listened to bystanders; he could have listened to fellow officers; he could have listened to his own training,” Mr. Schleicher said. “He knew better, he just didn’t do better.”

Mr. Schleicher emphasized to jurors that they were the only ones who had the power to convict Mr. Chauvin and said that they had a duty to do so. As he concluded his argument, he showed a photograph of Mr. Floyd one more time for the jurors.

“This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video,” Mr. Schleicher said. “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. It’s what you felt in your gut. It’s what you now know in your heart.”

“This wasn’t policing, this was murder,” Mr. Schleicher continued. “The defendant is guilty of all three counts. All of them. And there’s no excuse.”

Takeaways from Derek Chauvin’s defense case.

Black Lives Matter initials, written in chalk on the plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center, on Thursday.
Credit...Jim Mone/Associated Press

The presentation of evidence in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, concluded on Thursday without testimony from Mr. Chauvin himself.

Lawyers will give their concluding arguments on Monday, and then the jury will begin its own deliberations. Whether Mr. Chauvin would testify was a major question in this trial, one of the most-viewed in decades. Though the death of Mr. Floyd sparked a national reckoning around the intersection of race and policing — and ignited a wave of protests that rocked big cities and small towns across America — the public has heard very little from the former officer.

Throughout the trial, Mr. Chauvin displayed little, if any, emotion. (With a face mask, it can be more difficult to see a person’s expressions.) He listened and took notes as people who watched the arrest in person broke down in tears on the stand, and as numerous expert witnesses from the prosecution placed the blame of Mr. Floyd’s death squarely on his shoulders.

Mr. Chauvin’s defense team called two expert witnesses to the stand this week, along with a handful of other witnesses, most of whom spoke only briefly. A use-of-force expert testified that he acted within the bounds of normal policing when he knelt on Mr. Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds, and a medical expert said the restraint was not a contributing factor in Mr. Floyd’s death.

Both witnesses faced dogged cross-examination from prosecuting attorneys. And on Thursday, prosecutors called back to the stand Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist, who refuted a notion pushed by the defense’s medical expert that carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. Here are the takeaways from Mr. Chauvin’s defense.

  • Mr. Chauvin told the judge on Thursday that he would not testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. He faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges for the death of Mr. Floyd. Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s attorney, said they had several discussions about whether he should testify, including one lengthy meeting on Wednesday. Judge Peter A. Cahill told Mr. Chauvin that the jurors would be instructed to not hold his decision to avoid testifying against him.

  • Prosecutors called Dr. Tobin, the pulmonologist, back to the stand on Thursday to rebut the notion that vehicle exhaust contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. One of the two expert witnesses from the defense, Dr. David Fowler, a former chief medical examiner of Maryland, testified on Wednesday that carbon monoxide from the exhaust of the police cruiser that Mr. Floyd was pinned next to might have been a contributing factor. He placed more emphasis on drug use and pre-existing heart conditions, saying there were likely many factors at play. Ultimately, he said Mr. Floyd’s manner of death was “undetermined.”

    Dr. Tobin said the carbon monoxide argument was “simply wrong.” He said tests performed by Hennepin County showed that Mr. Floyd had a normal level of oxygen saturation in his blood, and that his level of carboxyhemoglobin — something formed in the blood during by carbon monoxide poisoning — could not have been more than 2 percent; Dr. Fowler said it might have been as high as 10 to 18 percent, though he acknowledged he had not seen any tests to confirm his assumption.

  • One of Dr. Fowler’s primary assertions was that the prone position where Mr. Floyd was kept for nine and a half minutes was safe. He cited several studies to support this notion, and said there was no hard evidence that putting someone in a prone position with their hands cuffed behind their backs for an extended period of time could be dangerous. Some prosecution witnesses criticized the studies that Dr. Fowler cited, saying they do not reflect real-world policing. They also said that it is well-known among police officers that suspects should not be kept in the prone position for too long because it can make it harder to breathe, particularly when the suspect is being pinned down under the weight of an officer. In a win for the prosecution, Dr. Fowler said Mr. Floyd should have been given medical aid.

  • The other primary witness from the defense was Barry Brodd, an expert on the use of force whose testimony contradicted that of several witnesses called by the prosecution, including the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department. Mr. Brodd testified that the officers who arrested Mr. Floyd had acted appropriately every step of the way, and even said that the restraint used by Mr. Chauvin did not constitute a “use of force” at all.

    During cross-examination, though, he conceded that the restraint did qualify as a use of force under the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department. He also said that the prone position does not typically hurt suspects and that it was an accepted way to control someone during an arrest. But he faced tough cross-examination on this point, when a prosecutor played body camera footage from the arrest which captured Mr. Floyd saying, “Everything hurts,” and crying out in pain. Mr. Brodd said that he had heard these exclamations during his review of the tapes, but that he didn’t “note it.”

  • While the two expert witnesses gave testimony that supported Mr. Chauvin, it is unclear what impact they will have on jurors. Cross-examination from prosecutors was effective in that it drew some concessions from both witnesses on the stand. And the defense was less thorough than the prosecution. The prosecution called several medical specialists to the stand, including a cardiologist and a pulmonologist, and allowed its experts to walk through the arrest moment by moment, identifying key points and breaking down the video tapes in meticulous detail. The defense witnesses spoke more broadly, and appeared less knowledgeable about the particulars of the arrest.

These are the key moments from the second week of the Derek Chauvin trial.

Hennepin County Government Center on Friday.
Credit...Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

The first week of the Derek Chauvin trial was marked by emotional accounts from bystanders who witnessed the nine and a half minutes that the police pinned George Floyd to the ground. But the second week struck a different chord, highlighting testimony from medical and law enforcement experts that centered on the conduct of Mr. Chauvin and the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death.

Those witnesses hit on the key issues of the trial: what exactly killed Mr. Floyd, and whether Mr. Chauvin violated police policies on use of force. The answers to those two questions will be crucial for Mr. Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murdering Mr. Floyd in Minneapolis last May.

Several medical witnesses testified that Mr. Floyd died from a deprivation of oxygen — contradicting claims by the defense lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, who has sought to tie Mr. Floyd’s death to complications from drug use and a heart condition. Law enforcement officials, including the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, said Mr. Chauvin violated police policy when he used his knee to keep Mr. Floyd pinned to the street.

Here are five key takeaways from the second week of the trial.

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Minneapolis Police Chief Says Chauvin Violated Policy

Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.

“Is what you see in Exhibit 17, in your opinion, within the Minneapolis Police departmental policy 5-300, authorizing the use of reasonable force?” “It is not.” “Do you have a belief as to when this restraint, the restraint on the ground that you viewed should have stopped?” “Once Mr. Floyd, and this is based on my viewing of the videos, once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that — that should have stopped. And clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.” “And based these observations, do you have an opinion as to whether the defendant violated M.P.D. departmental policy 7-350 by failing to render aid to Mr. Floyd?” “I agree that the defendant violated our policy in terms of rendering aid.”

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Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

On Monday, Chief Medaria Arradondo of the Minneapolis Police Department said Mr. Chauvin “absolutely” violated the department’s policies during the arrest. His statements represented an unusual rebuke of a police officer by an acting chief.

“Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped,” Chief Arradondo said. The chief’s statement was one of the most clear-cut and significant on the issue of Mr. Chauvin’s use of force, though several other witnesses also suggested that Mr. Chauvin acted outside the bounds of normal policing.

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Medical Support Coordinator Testifies in Chauvin Trial

Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains Minneapolis police officers on providing medical care, said at the trial of Derek Chauvin that bystanders could make it easier for officers to miss signs that a detainee is in distress.

“You talked about how sometimes E.M.S. will stage off site until the scene is clear and safe, correct?” “Correct.” “And have you heard the term load-and-go?” “Yes.” “Can you describe for the jury what that is?” “Load-and-go, that would be, I think it’s more like an informal term that’s used with first responders. That essentially means that as soon as they’re going to be arriving, it’s a priority to get that person into the ambulance as soon as possible and get en route to the hospital as soon as possible.” “And what about people in the area? Could that affect an E.M.T.’s decision to load-and-go?” “Yes.” “How so?” “If you had a very hostile or volatile crowd, I know it sounds unreasonable, but bystanders do occasionally attack E.M.S. crews. So sometimes just getting out of the situation is kind of the best way to defuse it.” “And have you ever had to perform emergency services in a just not even a hostile crowd, just a loud, excited crowd?” “Yes.” “Is that, in your experience, more or less difficult?” “It’s incredibly difficult.” “Does it make it more likely that you may miss signs that a patient is experiencing something?” “Yes.” “And so the distraction can actually harm the potential care of the patient?” “Yes.”

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Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains Minneapolis police officers on providing medical care, said at the trial of Derek Chauvin that bystanders could make it easier for officers to miss signs that a detainee is in distress.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

Still, Mr. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, may have made some headway with other witnesses on the question of force. Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, agreed with Mr. Nelson’s assertion that a crowd of vocal bystanders could make it difficult for an officer to render medical aid during an arrest. And Lt. Johnny Mercil, a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department and a use-of-force instructor, also said that hostile bystanders can raise alarm with officers.

Mr. Nelson has suggested throughout the trial that the crowd of bystanders outside the Cup Foods convenience store, some of whom yelled at Mr. Chauvin during the arrest, may have hindered the former officer from providing help once Mr. Floyd became unresponsive.

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Chauvin’s Use of Force Was ‘Excessive,’ L.A.P.D. Sergeant Says

Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told jurors on Tuesday that the former police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force on George Floyd during his arrest.

“I reviewed all the body-worn videos, all the other videos that were provided to me that were cellphone videos, pulled videos, things of that nature — reports, manuals from the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as the training materials.” “Based upon your review of these materials and in light of the Graham factors, what is your opinion as to the degree of force used by the defendant on Mr. Floyd on the date in question?” “My opinion was that the force was excessive. When Mr. Floyd was being placed in the backseat of the vehicle, he was actively resisting the officers. So at that point, the officers were justified in utilizing force to try to have him comply with their commands and to seat him in the backseat of the vehicle. However, once he was placed in the prone position on the ground, he slowly ceased his resistance and at that point, the officers, ex-officers, I should say, they should have slowed down or stopped their, their force as well.”

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Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told jurors on Tuesday that the former police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force on George Floyd during his arrest.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

Sgt. Jody Stiger, who works with the Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General’s Office, continued to explore the use-of-force issue by saying that Mr. Chauvin used “deadly force” when he should have used none. He also teed up another aspect of the trial that came into focus later in the week: whether Mr. Floyd’s death was caused by “asphyxia,” or a lack of oxygen.

“He was in the prone position, he was handcuffed, he was not attempting to resist, he was not attempting to assault the officers — kick, punch or anything of that nature,” Sergeant Stiger said. Responding to questions from the defense, Sergeant Stiger said that Mr. Floyd resisted arrest when the officers tried to place him in the back of a squad car. In those early moments of the arrest, Mr. Chauvin would have been justified if he had decided to use a Taser, Sergeant Stiger said.

The defense has argued that people who do not appear to be dangerous to officers can quickly pose a threat. The sergeant pushed back on that argument, saying that officers should use force that is necessary for what suspects are doing in the moment, not what they might do later.

Mr. Floyd’s drug use was a recurring point of discussion throughout the week. On Wednesday, the jury heard testimony from McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who processed the squad car that Mr. Floyd was briefly placed in on the night he died. An initial inspection found no drugs in the vehicle, but during a second search, requested by Mr. Chauvin’s defense team in January, the team discovered fragments of pills. In testing the fragments, Ms. Anderson said a lab found DNA that matched Mr. Floyd’s.

Breahna Giles, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified that some of the pills recovered at the scene were found to contain methamphetamine and fentanyl. Mr. Chauvin’s defense has suggested that Mr. Floyd died from complications of drug use. Later in the week, the medical examiner who performed the official autopsy of Mr. Floyd said he found no fragments of pills in Mr. Floyd’s stomach contents.

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Pulmonologist Details How George Floyd Lost Consciousness During Arrest

A veteran pulmonologist Dr. Martin J. Tobin testified that George Floyd’s death was caused in part by Derek Chauvin’s knees pressing against his neck and back, making it impossible for him to breathe.

“The work that Mr. Floyd has to perform becomes huge because he has to, with each breath, He has to try and fight against the street. He has to try and fight with the small volumes that he has. And then he has to try and lift up the officer’s knee with each breath. And also, remember, he has to try and also lift up the effect of the other officer pumping in his arm, with the handcuffed arm there, pushing it in, into his chest. So he has to make all these efforts to try and breathe against that. At the beginning, you can see he’s conscious. You can see slight flickering. And then, it disappears. So one second, he’s alive, and one second he’s no longer.” “Is that the flicking?” “You can see his eyes. He’s conscious, and then you see that he isn’t. That’s the moment the life goes out of his body.”

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A veteran pulmonologist Dr. Martin J. Tobin testified that George Floyd’s death was caused in part by Derek Chauvin’s knees pressing against his neck and back, making it impossible for him to breathe.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

Two medical witnesses on Thursday testified that they saw no evidence that Mr. Floyd died from a drug overdose. The first, Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist and critical care physician from the Chicago area, said that any normal person could have died from being pinned under Mr. Chauvin’s knee for nine and a half minutes.

His testimony gave a moment-by-moment breakdown of the arrest of Mr. Floyd, identifying what he believed to be “the moment the life goes out of his body.” Responding to Mr. Nelson’s suggestion that Mr. Floyd died from complications of fentanyl use — a toxicology report found fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system — Dr. Tobin said Mr. Floyd’s behavior did not correspond with that of a person who was overdosing.

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Pulmonologist Testifies Fentanyl Did Not Impact George Floyd’s Breathing

Dr. Martin Tobin, an expert pulmonologist, said that George Floyd’s breathing rate in the moments before he died indicated that the fentanyl in his system was not having any effect on his breathing, despite the argument by Derek Chauvin’s legal team.

“One, two, three, four … … five, six, seven.” “So that was roughly a 17-second clip?” “Right.” “Is that number, the respiratory rate of 22, significant to this case?” “It’s extremely significant.” “Why is that?” “Because one of the things in this case is the question of fentanyl. And if fentanyl is having an effect, and is causing depression of the respiratory centers, the centers that control breathing. That’s going to result in a decrease in the respiratory rate. And it’s shown that with fentanyl, you expect a 40 percent reduction in the respiratory rate. So with fentanyl, his respiratory rate should be down at around 10. Instead of that, it’s right in the middle, at normal, at 22.”

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Dr. Martin Tobin, an expert pulmonologist, said that George Floyd’s breathing rate in the moments before he died indicated that the fentanyl in his system was not having any effect on his breathing, despite the argument by Derek Chauvin’s legal team.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

He also pushed back on the idea that simply because Mr. Floyd was speaking, he was getting enough oxygen. Dr. Tobin said that a person might be taking in enough oxygen to speak but not enough to survive. The person can be alive and talking one moment, and dead just seconds later, he said. Dr. Bill Smock, the surgeon for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, also testified, saying he saw no evidence of an overdose.

“That is not a fentanyl overdose,” Dr. Smock said. “That is somebody begging to breathe.”

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Police Surgeon Says George Floyd Died of Asphyxia

Dr. Bill Smock, a surgeon for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, testified on Thursday that he had found no evidence to support claims that George Floyd died of an overdose.

“Mr. Floyd died from positional asphyxia, which is a fancy way of saying he died because he had no oxygen left in his body. When the body is deprived of oxygen — and in this case, from his chest, pressure on his chest and back — he gradually succumbed to lower and lower levels of oxygen until it was gone. And he died.” “Have you ever encountered a situation of a fentanyl overdose where a person was in the overdose displaying air hunger and essentially crying out for their life or crying out in pain?” “No, sir.” “Based on your experience in training police officers and your experience accompanying police officers to various arrest locations, you have observed police officers use a prone handcuffing technique.” “Yes, I have, for short periods of time, sir.” “And you’ve observed them place their knee in the posterior of the base of the neck, right?” “Yes, again, for short periods of times.”

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Dr. Bill Smock, a surgeon for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, testified on Thursday that he had found no evidence to support claims that George Floyd died of an overdose.

The second week ended with testimony from Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner who performed the official autopsy of George Floyd. Dr. Baker testified that while drug use and a heart condition contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death, police restraint was the main cause.

Leading up to the trial, Dr. Baker had made several statements that could have complicated the arguments of the prosecution, particularly in relation to Mr. Floyd’s drug use. During testimony on Friday, he said that the level of fentanyl found in Mr. Floyd’s system could have been fatal for some people.

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Floyd’s Cause of Death Was Homicide, Medical Examiner Says

Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner who performed the initial autopsy of George Floyd, said that there were contributing factors to Mr. Floyd’s death but that ultimately it was homicide.

“Do you recall describing the level of fentanyl as a fatal level of a fentanyl?” “I recall describing it in other circumstances, it would be a fatal level, yes — in other circumstances.” “And you all — would you agree that one of the causes of the pulmonary edema that you communicated to the county attorneys was also fentanyl?” “Fentanyl can certainly be a cause of pulmonary edema. As I indicated earlier in previous questioning, it’s confounded by the fact that Mr. Floyd had quite a bit of CPR. And so I find the pulmonary edema much less specific “What today remains your opinion as to the cause of death for Mr. Floyd?” “So my opinion remains unchanged. It’s what I put on the death certificate last June. That’s cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement, subdual restraint and neck compression. That was my top line, then, it would stay my top line now.” “And so we look at the other contributing conditions. Those other contributing conditions are not conditions that you consider direct causes. Is that true?” “They are not direct causes of Mr. Floyd’s death, that’s true. They’re contributing causes.” “And in terms of manner of death, you found then. and do you stand by today that the manner of death for Mr. Floyd was, as you would call it, homicide?” “Yes, I would still classify it as a homicide today.”

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Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner who performed the initial autopsy of George Floyd, said that there were contributing factors to Mr. Floyd’s death but that ultimately it was homicide.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV

Still, Dr. Baker said that, in Mr. Floyd’s case, it was less likely than other potential causes of death. He added that Mr. Floyd had an enlarged heart for his size, which would require more oxygen to pump blood through his body. High-intensity situations — like the one Mr. Floyd experienced during his arrest — could exacerbate that problem.

“In my opinion, the law enforcement subdual, restraint and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions,” he said.

Here is what happened in the first week of the trial.

Black Lives Matter flags outside Minneapolis City Hall.
Credit...Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

The first week of the murder trial of Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis was marked by emotional accounts from bystanders who watched Mr. Chauvin pin George Floyd to the ground for more than nine minutes in May.

The prosecution presented testimony, often accompanied by tears and shaking voices, from people who were there during the fatal arrest of Mr. Floyd, along with hours of video evidence and additional testimony from paramedics and law enforcement officials who said that Mr. Chauvin’s use of force was unnecessary.

Prosecutors also introduced the issue of Mr. Floyd’s drug use, which is expected to be a crucial part of Mr. Chauvin’s defense; Mr. Chauvin’s lawyers are expected to argue that Mr. Floyd’s death was a result of his drug use. The trial, one of the most viewed in decades, comes with the memory of last summer’s protests for racial justice fresh in people’s minds.

Here are six key points from the first week of the trial.

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3 Weeks, Dozens of Witnesses: Chauvin Trial Begins

The murder trial for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, began on Monday in Minneapolis. The prosecution and defense focused on the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death and Mr. Chauvin’s use of force.

“You will see that his respiration gets shallower and shallower, and finally stops when he speaks his last words, ‘I can’t breathe.’” “So how do we begin to analyze and organize this evidence? I suggest that you let common sense and reason guide you.” “We have two objectives in this trial, ladies and gentlemen — the first objective is to give Mr. Chauvin a fair trial. And a second objective, ladies and gentlemen, is to bring you the evidence.” “The first thing that Officer Chauvin sees is Officers Kueng and Lane struggling with Mr. Floyd.” “Mr. Chauvin’s conduct was not consistent with Minneapolis Police Department training. Was not consistent with Minneapolis Police Department policy, was not reflective of the Minneapolis Police Department. We are bringing this case, this prosecution against Mr. Chauvin for the excessive force he applied on the body of Mr. George Floyd, for engaging in behavior that was imminently dangerous, and the force that he applied without regard for its impact on the life of Mr. George Floyd. So we learn here that Mr. Floyd, at some point, is completely passed out. Mr. Chauvin continues on as he had, knee on the neck, knee on the back. You will see he does not let up. And he does not get up.” “The first call, officers called for paramedics to arrive, Code 2, because Mr. Floyd had a nose injury. He was bleeding from the nose — that occurred during the struggle. Mr. Floyd banged his face into the plexiglass partition of the squad car. 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.”

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The murder trial for Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, began on Monday in Minneapolis. The prosecution and defense focused on the cause of Mr. Floyd’s death and Mr. Chauvin’s use of force.CreditCredit...Kerem Yucel/AFP — Getty Images

On Monday, each side laid out its strategy in opening statements.

Eric J. Nelson, the lawyer for Mr. Chauvin, made clear on Monday that he would attempt to convince jurors that the videos of Mr. Floyd’s death did not tell the full story. The case “is clearly more than about 9 minutes and 29 seconds,” Mr. Nelson said, referring to the time that Mr. Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd. He signaled that he planned to argue that Mr. Chauvin had been following his training, that his knee was not necessarily on Mr. Floyd’s neck, and that Mr. Floyd’s death may have been caused by drugs.

One of the prosecutors, Jerry W. Blackwell, urged jurors to “believe your eyes, that it’s homicide — it’s murder.” Prosecutors call all of their witnesses before the defense begins to lay out its case, so the week was heavily weighted toward the prosecution’s arguments, but the strategies of both sides began to come into view.

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Chauvin Trial: Day 2 Key Moments

As the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, continued on Tuesday in Minneapolis, the prosecution and the defense used witness testimony to focus on how the arrest unfolded.

“So tell the jury what you observed, what you heard, when you stopped to look at what was happening there at the scene.” “I heard George Floyd saying: ‘I can’t breathe. Please get off of me. I can’t breathe.’ He cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew. It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified.” “He’s not moving!” “You’re a bum, bro. You’re a bum, bro. You’re definitely a bum, bro.” “Check his pulse and tell me what it is.” Tell me what his pulse is right now, I swear to God.” “Bro, he has not moved, not one time.” “In over a minute!” “Why was that important for you, in terms of saying over a minute, were you worried about the length of time that this was going on?” “Yes, because I knew time was running out or that it had already.” “What do you mean by time was running out?” “That he was going to die.” “I identified myself right away because I noticed that he needed medical attention. In my memory, I tried different tactics of calm and reasoning. I tried to be assertive. I pled and was desperate.” “You heard various people calling the officers names, right?” “Yes.” “And the volume of the people in that were bystanders grew louder over time. Would you agree with that?” “Yes. More so as he was becoming more unresponsive.” “You called him bogus.” “I did.” “You called him a bum at least 13 times.” “That’s what you counted in the video?” “That’s what I counted.” “Then that’s what you got, 13.” “And that was early on, right? Those terms grew more and more angry, would you agree with that?” “They grew more and more pleading for life.”

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As the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, continued on Tuesday in Minneapolis, the prosecution and the defense used witness testimony to focus on how the arrest unfolded.CreditCredit...Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

The trial began with powerful testimony from a series of witnesses to the arrest, many of whom broke down in tears while recounting what they saw. They included several women who were under 18 at the time of the arrest, as well as a 61-year-old man who spoke with Mr. Floyd while he was pinned to the ground. From the convenience store clerk at the Cup Foods where Mr. Floyd bought cigarettes to an off-duty firefighter who yelled at the officers as Mr. Floyd became unresponsive, they conveyed a shared sense of trauma from what they saw that day.

By highlighting the emotional trauma Mr. Floyd’s arrest caused witnesses, prosecutors seemingly hoped to convince jurors that Mr. Chauvin’s actions had been clearly excessive to people who saw them in real time. One witness, Darnella Frazier, now 18, testified that she has been haunted by what she saw, sometimes lying awake at night “apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”

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Chauvin Trial: Day 3 Key Moments

On the third day of the Derek Chauvin trial, the jury learned more about what had happened inside Cup Foods before the police were called, and body camera footage from the officers was presented.

“Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, and nothing but the truth?” “I do.” “Have a seat.” “Please, thank you. And so when we’re looking, I’m going to have you identify this individual here —” “George Floyd.” “And that’s Mr. Floyd, who you had the conversation with?” “Correct.” “All right. And then this individual right in here, who’s that?” “That’s me.” “All right.” “Can you describe for the jurors, you know, generally what his demeanor was like — what was his condition like?” “So when I asked him if he played baseball, he went on to respond to that. But it kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say. So it would appear that he was high.” “So you just had some signs that you thought he was under the influence of something?” “Yes.” “All right. But were you able to carry on at least some conversation with him?” “Yes.” “And did you eventually sell him something?” “Yes.” “That was what?” “The cigarettes.” “Now, freeze it here — I’m sorry, I said I was going to let it run, but we saw you holding something up. Can you describe — and again, for the record, this is 7:45:10 — describe for the jurors what you were doing there.” “I was holding up the $20 bill that I just received.” “And is that something you always do or something about this?” “No, when I saw the bill, I noticed that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of how a $100 bill would have. And I found that odd. So I assumed that it was fake.” “I know this is difficult, can you just explain sort of what you’re feeling in this moment?” “I can’t, I feel helpless. I don’t have a mama either, but I understand him.” “Let’s see your hands. Stay in the car, let me see your other hand.” “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” “Let me see your other hand.” “Please, please.” “Both hands. Put your [expletive] hands up right now. Let me see your other hand. “What’d I do, though?” “Put your hand up there. Put your [expletive] hand up there. Jesus Christ, keep your [expletive] hands on the wheel. Hands on the wheel. Step out and face away.” “Please don’t shoot me. Please don’t shoot me, man.” “Step out and face away.” “Can you not shoot me, man?” “I’m not shooting — step out and face away.” “OK, OK, OK, please.” “You can’t win. You can’t win.” “I’m not trying to win.” “Go get in the car.” “Don’t do me like that, man. OK, can I talk to you, please?” [arguing]

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On the third day of the Derek Chauvin trial, the jury learned more about what had happened inside Cup Foods before the police were called, and body camera footage from the officers was presented.CreditCredit...Still Image, via Court TV

For the first time, the final moments before Mr. Floyd’s arrest were shown in detail. Surveillance video from Cup Foods, along with testimony from the store clerk, showed Mr. Floyd walking around the store, chatting and laughing with customers, and eventually buying a pack of cigarettes with a $20 bill that the clerk suspected was fake.

Footage from police body cameras then replayed the arrest from beginning to end. It showed an officer approach Mr. Floyd with his pistol drawn, and captured audio of Mr. Floyd’s fearful reaction: “Please, don’t shoot me,” he said. Mr. Floyd appeared terrified, first of the pistol, then of being held in a police car. As Mr. Chauvin pinned him to the ground, the footage captured the moments when the officers checked for a pulse and found none, but took no action.

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George Floyd’s Girlfriend Recalls Relationship in Emotional Testimony

Courteney Ross, who was dating George Floyd for nearly three years before his death in May, delivered tearful testimony on Thursday about their shared struggle with an opioid addiction.

“He asked me if he could get my number, and we had our first kiss in the lobby. And that’s when our relationship started.” “And after that, how close did you become?” “We were very close. We went out to eat a lot.” “Why?” Because Floyd loved to eat a lot. He’s a big man and it’s, you know, it took a lot of energy to keep him going. And he loved food.” “I have to ask you if your drug use was a part of that relationship?” “Yes.” “And what kind of drug use was a part of that relationship?” Floyd and I both suffered with an opiate addiction. We, we got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.” “And were you each aware of each other’s struggles with opioids?” “Yes, eventually in our relationship, we shared that.” “And did you work together on that?” “Absolutely.”

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Courteney Ross, who was dating George Floyd for nearly three years before his death in May, delivered tearful testimony on Thursday about their shared struggle with an opioid addiction.CreditCredit...Court TV still image, via Associated Press

On Thursday, jurors heard from Courteney Ross, Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend at the time of his death. Through stories of their first kiss, their dates and his hobbies, prosecutors used Ms. Ross’s testimony to show Mr. Floyd’s humanity as a father, partner and friend.

Ms. Ross’s testimony also brought one of the most important aspects of the trial to the forefront: Mr. Floyd’s drug use. The role that drugs did or did not play in Mr. Floyd’s death is expected to be a crucial element of Mr. Chauvin’s defense, and prosecutors called Ms. Ross to the stand to get in front of the claims of Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer.

Ms. Ross said that she and Mr. Floyd had first been prescribed painkillers to ease chronic pain, but that when the prescriptions ran out, they continued to buy the pills from others. They had begun a battle for sobriety, sometimes avoiding the drugs before they relapsed again. In the weeks before Mr. Floyd’s death, Ms. Ross said, she suspected that he had begun using again.

Prosecutors sought to show that Mr. Floyd had built up a high tolerance of the drugs, making it less likely that he died of an overdose; Mr. Floyd had methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system at the time of his death, according to a toxicology report.

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Paramedic Testifies on George Floyd’s Death

On Thursday, Seth Bravinder, a paramedic, testified that George Floyd was unresponsive when an ambulance arrived at Cup Foods, and that the medical team was unable to revive him.

“Did the code level of that call change at some point?” “It did, about a minute and a half after we got it, I believe.” “And what was the change?” “We got a note saying Code 3, so upgraded to lights and sirens, emergency response to the scene.” “And what did you see when you got out of the ambulance in terms of the patient’s condition at that point?” “I was standing a little ways away, so I couldn’t get — my partner would have a more accurate description of his condition at that point. But from what I could see where I was that I didn’t, I didn’t see any breathing or movement or anything like that.” “Did he appear to be unresponsive to you at that point in time?” “From what I could tell, just standing from a distance, yes.” “And even though there was, when he first arrived, he was in asystole. At some point later, there was PEA. At any point, did he regenerate a pulse or come to — was he revived?” “No.”

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On Thursday, Seth Bravinder, a paramedic, testified that George Floyd was unresponsive when an ambulance arrived at Cup Foods, and that the medical team was unable to revive him.CreditCredit...Court TV

Two paramedics who responded to the scene both testified that they saw no signs of life from Mr. Floyd upon their arrival. One of them, Derek Smith, felt Mr. Floyd’s neck while police officers were still on top of him, and said he found no pulse. Mr. Smith’s attempts to revive him, including the use of a defibrillator and a machine that provides chest compressions, did nothing to improve Mr. Floyd’s condition. Though the paramedics did not address what exactly killed Mr. Floyd, their testimony seemed to support prosecutors’ claim that Mr. Chauvin’s actions resulted in his death.

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George Floyd Died Before Medics Arrived, Paramedic Says

Derek Smith, one of the paramedics called to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, testified in court on Thursday that when he arrived it appeared that Mr. Floyd was already dead.

When you approached, he said he was in handcuffs as you approached him to inspect further, were the officers still on top of him? The officers were still on him when I approached. And what did you do when you approached? I was assessing the scene, running through what? No cure may be needed. And did you take some initial steps, like checking for a pulse? I checked for a pulse. And did you also check with the individual, Mr Floyd’s pupils? I did. And what did you determine at that point? They were large, dilated. So you determined that his pupils were larger, dilated? What about a pulse? I did not get a pulse. When you say pop, it is that you didn’t feel or detect a desire to take the pulse. And what did his condition appear to be to you overall in lay terms? I thought he was dead. So what did you do next? I kind of get a look for my partner and told them. I think he’s dead. And I want to move this out here, ok? And I will begin caring about.

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Derek Smith, one of the paramedics called to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, testified in court on Thursday that when he arrived it appeared that Mr. Floyd was already dead.CreditCredit...Still image via Court TV

On Friday, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-serving officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, offered scathing condemnation of Mr. Chauvin’s use of force. He said Mr. Chauvin violated police policy and called his actions “totally unnecessary.” Putting a knee on someone’s neck while they are handcuffed in a prone position, he said, qualifies as “deadly force.”

“If your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them,” Lieutenant Zimmerman said, adding that people who are handcuffed generally pose little threat to officers. Mr. Zimmerman’s testimony, bolstered by his more than 35 years on the force, could be a major setback for a crucial aspect of Mr. Chauvin’s defense — that his actions were not only legal, but within the bounds of his training.

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‘Deadly Force’: Minneapolis Police Officer Describes Chauvin’s Actions

Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who responded to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest after he was taken away in an ambulance, testified in court that Derek Chauvin did not follow police protocol.

“Have you ever in all the years you’ve been working for the Minneapolis Police Department, been trained to kneel on the neck of someone who is handcuffed behind their back in a prone position?” “No, I haven’t.” “Is that, if that were done, would that be considered force?” “Absolutely.” “What level of force might that be?” “That would be the top tier, the deadly force.” “Why?” “Because of the fact that if your knee is on a person’s neck that can kill him. Once a person is cuffed, you need to turn them on their side or have them sit up. You need to get them off their chest.” “Why?” “Because of the — as I mentioned earlier, your muscles are pulling back when you’re handcuffed. And if you’re laying on your chest, that’s constricting your breathing even more.”

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Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who responded to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest after he was taken away in an ambulance, testified in court that Derek Chauvin did not follow police protocol.CreditCredit...Still image, via Court TV