George Floyd trial updates LIVE – Derek Chauvin murder case closing arguments begin as Minneapolis braces for violence

George Floyd trial updates LIVE – Derek Chauvin murder case closing arguments begin as Minneapolis braces for violence

April 20, 2021

CLOSING arguments began in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin yesterday.

The 45-year-old has been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd.

The defense and prosecution both rested their cases last week.

Floyd died last May following an arrest during which Chauvin placed a knee on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds while Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”

Caught on video, those tragic final moments led to widespread protests and riots across the US against police brutality and racism.

Chauvin, along with three other police officers present during the fatal arrest, was fired from the Minneapolis Police Department the day after the death.

45 witnesses were called to the stand in recent weeks – 38 for the prosecution and seven for the defense – including the Minneapolis police chief and other officers who have openly condemned Chauvin’s actions.

One person notably absent from the list of those to take the stand was Chauvin himself, who on Thursday invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

Before the 12 jurors are sequestered to determine Chauvin's fate, they will hear a final appeal from both sides in the form of a closing argument.

Jurors will then be directed by the judge to decide on a verdict, which could take just a few hours or several weeks.

Minneapolis transformed into a military fortress over the weekend, as the city braces for violence over the trial's outcome.

Read our Derek Chauvin trial live blog for the latest on George Floyd's killing…

  • Patrick Knox

    WHEN WILL THERE BE A VERDICT IN THE DEREK CHAUVIN TRIAL?

    Jurors will soon decide if former police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, will face charges over George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020.

    Closing arguments for the trial have already begun as of Monday, April 19, 2021, after the defense called on over 30 witnesses to take the stand during the first two weeks.

    The final step of the process will be jury deliberation after closing arguments end which may come by the end of the week.

    The jury will be sequestered, or isolated, until a final decision is reached regarding the fate of Chauvin’s charges.

  • Patrick Knox

    HOW LONG COULD CHAUVINBE JAILED FOR?

    Officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.

    Each of the charges are considered to be separate, meaning the 45-year-old could be convicted of all of them, some of them, or none of them.

    The second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison; the third-degree murder charge 25 years; and second-degree manslaughter 10 years,

    This means if Chauvin is indeed found guilty of all counts, he could receive a prison sentence of up to 75 years.

  • Patrick Knox

    WHAT HAPPENS IF CHAUVIN IS CLEARED?

    Attorney Joe Tamburino told WCCO4 that if he is convicted, Chauvin will go “right from the courtroom, he will go to jail and he will be held in jail until sentencing.

    “If there is a prison sentence, which of course there would be, he would go to prison.”

    If Chauvin is acquitted he still could face federal criminal civil rights charges.

  • Patrick Knox

    PORTLAND POLICE MAKE 2 ARRESTS AMID PROTEST VANDALISM

    Some people in a small crowd calling for the abolition of police broke windows as they marched in Portland on Monday night, hours after authorities said that a man who was fatally shot by an officer in a city park last week had an orange-tipped replica gun.

    The Portland Police Bureau said on Twitter late Monday it had made two arrests for criminal mischief after declaring the assembly of about 80 people in northeast Portland unlawful. Windows were broken at a bank building, a fast-food restaurant, a grocery store and at a Boys and Girls Club, the department said.

    The protest followed the police killing Friday of Robert Douglas Delgado, 46, who had reportedly been acting like a cowboy and doing quick-draws with what appeared to be a handgun in Lents Park.

  • Patrick Knox

    CHAUVIN JUDGE BLASTS CONGRESSWOMAN FOR ‘THREATENING VIOLENCE’

    Judge Peter Cahill blasted Rep. Maxine Waters on Monday for what he described as an "abhorrent" intervention after she called for BLM protesters to be "more confrontational" if he's acquitted over the death of George Floyd.

    told the court in Minneapolis that Waters' comments at a rally in the city on Saturday could even see a guilty verdict appealed and overturned – after ex-cop Chauvin's attorney argued the jury has been unduly influenced.

    Judge Peter Chauvin chastised Representative Maxine Waters for making comments about the Chauvin trial (AP)
  • Patrick Knox

    JURY DELIBERATIONS BEGIN AS CLOSING ARGUMENTS END

    After three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, the prosecution and the defense in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin have rested their cases and given closing arguments. 

    Now the jury must decide on a verdict for each of the three charges against Chauvin:.

    They are  second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

    The jury could take several hours to reach a decision, or even several weeks.

  • Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

    JURY CONCLUDES DELIBERATIONS ON FIRST DAY

    The jurors in the trial against former cop Derek Chauvin concluded deliberating at 8pm on Monday, around four hours after they began.

    Jurors are being isolated during deliberations and will spend the night in a hotel.

    The court did not disclose at what time on Tuesday morning they would begin deliberating Chauvin's case again.

    The prosecution and defense teams wrapped with their closing arguments earlier in the day on Monday.

  • Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

    MINNESOTA GOV DECLARES 'PEACETIME EMERGENCY'

    The governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, declared a "peacetime emergency" in the Minneapolis area on Monday as the jury began deliberations in the murder trial of former cop Derek Chauvin.

    Walz promised to protect protesters' rights, but cautioned against the "level of violence and destruction" the city saw last May in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

    "Minnesotans I think know, we can't go through what we went through in May and June," he said.

    "Those folks who are out there asking for change, they need to be heard. The legislature needs to move."

  • Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

    JURY SHOWN GRAPHIC IMAGES OF FLOYD'S INJURIES

    During closing arguments on Monday, prosecutor Steve Schleicher showed the jury graphic images of the injuries George Floyd sustained while Derek Chauvin held him on the ground for more than nine minutes before he died.

    The images showed massive abrasions on Floyd's face and shoulder.

    Schleicher asked the jury to look at the images and ask themselves one question before delivering a verdict against Chauvin: If not for the cop's restraint, would Floyd have died last May?

    The prosecutor went on to say that Chauvin "had to know" what he was doing.

    "He did it on purpose. This was not an accident," he said. "He knew better. He just didn’t do better.

  • Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

    CHAUVIN JUDGE SLAMS DEM REP MAXINE WATERS

    The judge presiding over Derek Chauvin’s murder trial has slammed California Rep Maxine Waters for commenting on the case publicly, and telling supporters to “get more confrontational” if the ex-cop is found not guilty for the murder of George Floyd.

    “I'm aware that Congresswoman Waters was talking specifically about this trial and about the unacceptability of anything less than a murder conviction and talk of being confrontational,” Judge Peter Cahill.

    “This goes back to what I've been saying in the beginning, I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch in our function.”

    Waters has also been widely slammed by Republicans, who accused her of inciting riots, over the comments.

  • Luke Kenton

    PROSECUTION: 'NO EXCUSE FOR POLICE ABUSE'

    Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell said the line "there's no excuse for police abuse" multiple times during his rebuttal argument.

    He said that the defense presented a "number of these" excuses, including a claim that paramedics took longer to arrive than they should have.

    "They said the paramedics took longer to get there than was planned. They should've been there within three minutes. And common sense will tell you, that the mere fact that the paramedics took longer than Mr. Chauvin may have thought, was not a reason to use excessive force or two or to be indifferent to the fact that somebody is no longer breathing and does not have a pulse."

  • Luke Kenton

    PROSECUTION: THERE'S A 46TH WITNESS – 'COMMON SENSE'

    Attorney Jerry Blackwell began the prosecution's rebuttal argument by telling the jury that there's a 46th witness in the case: common sense.

    "I'm going to start talking to about what I call the 46th witness. You've actually have heard from 45 witnesses on the stand, but there is a 46th witness. 

    "This witness was testifying to you before you got here into the courtroom…and the only witness that will be talking to you when you're back in deliberation. And that witness, ladies and gentlemen, is common sense. Common sense." 

    He said the trial against Chauvin "isn't that complicated"

    In fact, the case is "so simple a child could understand," he said, adding: "in fact, a child did understand it," reminding the jury of a nine-year-old bystander who watched Floyd die.

    "The 9-year-old girl said, 'get off of him.' That's how simple it was. Get off of him. Common sense," he said.

    Credit: Reuters
  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE: FIND CHAUVIN NOT GUILTY ON ALL COUNTS

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson concluded his closing argument by asking the jury to find Derek Chauvin not guilty on all counts.

    Speaking for upwards of three hours, Neslon said it's "nonsense" that other factors like drug use and a heart condition didn't play "any role" in George Floyd's death.

    "When you review the entirety of the evidence. When you review the law, as written and you conclude it all within this, all within a thorough and honest analysis. The state has failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt," Nelson said. 

    "Therefore, Mr. Chauvin should be found not guilty of all counts."

    Credit: Reuters
  • Luke Kenton

    NYC BRACES FOR REACTION TO CHAUVIN VERDICT

    Officials with the New York Police Department are bracing for protests in response to the verdict in Derek Chauvin’s trial.

    Officers will be switched to 12-hour shift patterns as necessarry, an official told CNN.

    The source said that scheduled days off will also be cancelled to ensure adequate manpower is on hand in the event of widespread protests.

    In a statement, the police department said it has been preparing for potential unrest for “many months”, including providing officers with additional training.

    “The NYPD works around the clock to keep New Yorkers safe. The Department has prepared for this for many months, and has examined, adapted and adjusted our response to protests,” the NYPD said.

    “This includes more training for police officers in protecting and facilitating demonstrations and marches, and also examining which units within the department we can utilize more such as Community Affairs. 

    “The NYPD protects the Constitutional right to peaceful protest, and works to ensure public safety for every New Yorker exercising their First Amendment rights.”

    Credit: AFP
  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE RESUMES CLOSING ARGUMENTS

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson has resumed his closing arguments in Derek Chauvin's trial, following a brief recess.

    Nelson has been speaking with jurors for more than two and a half hours.

    According to pool reporters, some members of the jury have been "getting antsy" and "rubbing their eyes and fidgeting".

    Nelson resumed his remarks by apologizing to the jury for being long-winded.

    A pool reporter said the apology came after he read the faces of the jury.

    The prosecution spoke for one hour and 45 minutes this morning. They will have the chance for a rebuttal after Nelson rests.

    Credit: Reuters
  • Luke Kenton

    PROTESTING STUDENTS CHANT: "NATIONAL GUARD, GO HOME!"

    Students from 100 schools across Minnesota staged walk-outs on Monday afternoon to protest racial inequality as the trial of Derek Chauvin draws to a close.

    A group of students from one school in downtown Minneapolis were seen chanting, "National Guard, go home!" amid the demonstration.

    Footage of that moment was captured by The Guardian's Lois Beckett.

  • Luke Kenton

    GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: 'YOU HAVE RIGHT TO BE ANGRY – BUT EXPRESS IT PEACEFULLY'

    As the month-long trial of Derek Chauvin draws to a close, George Floyd's brother, Terrence Floyd, called for peaceful protests in an interview with the Independent .

    "[A guilty verdict] would be a big spark of hope. A sigh of relief that we see change now – it’s not just somebody speaking change, but seeing it. It’d be like a milestone to see change like that happen," he told the outlet.

    Terrence FloydCredit: AP
  • Luke Kenton

    TRIAL BREAKS FOR LUNCH

    The court has recessed for lunch.

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson will resume his closing arguments after the break.

  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE: PROSECUTION EXPERT WITNESS SHOWED BIAS

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson claimed that Dr. Martin Tobin, a renowned pulmonologist, showed bias in his testimony, in which he claimed Floyd died from a lack of oxygen.

    Tobin, one of the prosecution's strongest witnesses, said George Floyd tried to press his knuckles against the pavement to try to allow air into his lungs before he died.

    Nelson said that Floyd was in a side recovery at the moment Tobin described, meaning he should have been able to breathe.

    "His entire testimony is based on theory, speculation, assumption," Nelson said of Tobin, adding the witness had shown bias by taking a “single, isolated frame [of a photograph] to reach a conclusion.”

    Martin TobinCredit: Reuters
  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE: CHAUVIN KNEW HE WAS BEING FILMED SO 'COULDN'T HAVE INTENDED TO KILL'

    Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney argued that his client could not have intended to kill George Floyd because he knew he was being recorded.

    Eric Nelson said that in addition to the bystanders filming him on their cellphones, he says his client was aware of a number of surveillance cameras in the areas.

    Because of his awareness of the camera, Nelson attempted to argue his client couldn't have possibly intended to kill Floyd.

    He also added that earlier in the arrest, Chauvin rolled window inside a police cruiser and turned on air conditioning when Floyd said he couldn't breathe.

    Chauvin "didn't intend to use unlawful force" on Floyd, Nelson concluded.

    "“There is absolutely no evidence that officer Chauvin intentionally applied unlawful force."

    Credit: AP
  • Luke Kenton

    STUDENTS FROM 100 MINNESOTA SCHOOLS STAGE PROTEST

    Students from 100 schools across the state of Minnesota have staged walk-out protests to demonstrate against racial inequality.

    The walk-outs began on Monday afternoon, while Derek Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, was giving his closing arguments to the jury.

    Footage of one protest was captured by Newsy's James Packard:

     

  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE: 'NO EVIDENCE' CHAUVIN INTENDED TO USE UNLAWFUL FORCE

    Eric Nelson argued in court that there is  “absolutely no evidence that Officer Chauvin intentionally, purposefully applied unlawful force." 

    The defense attorney argued that Chauvin was following police training during his interaction with Floyd.

    "These are officers doing their job in a highly stressful situation, according to their training, according to the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department," he said. "And it's tragic, it's tragic.”

    Credit: Refer to Caption
  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE: ANGRY BYSTANDERS DISTRACTED CHAUVIN

    Derek Chauvin's defense attorney argued on Monday that angry bystanders gathered at the scene of George Floyd's fatal arrest distracted the ex-cop at a "critical moment".

    “As this crowd grew more and more upset or deeper into crisis, a very critical thing happens at a very precise moment,” attorney Eric Nelson told jurors, claiming it was at this moment that Floyd took his last breath.

    It was at this moment, Nelson said, that Chauvin pulled out a can of pepper spray into the crowd's reactions. He also said Chauvin was "startled" by an off-duty firefighter who approached him from behind.

    “All of these facts and circumstances simultaneously occur at a critical moment,” Nelson said. “And that changed Officer Chauvin’s perception of what was happening.”

  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE: CHAUVIN RESTRAINT 'NOT UNAUTHORIZED'

    In his closing arguments on Monday, Eric Nelson said that a use of force trainer at the Minneapolis Police Department testified that placing a knee onto the neck of a suspect "is not an unauthorized move".

    Reminding the jury that several law enforcement figures had testified during the trial, Nelson called the testimony of Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil the "most interesting" and "relevant".

    "The best glimpse that we will get into the training of a Minneapolis Police Department officer comes from the trainer who conducts the training," he said.

    Nelson further reprised how Mercil claimed that a knee on the neck "can be utilized in certain circumstances."

    "He described using the knee on the neck and back and stated that it can be there for an extended period of time, depending on the level of his resistance you get, once the suspect is handcuffed, it does not necessarily mean that it's time to move your leg, because when people are handcuffed they can continue to be dangerous to themselves and others." 

    During his testimony, Mercil said Chauvin's use of the knee was not a proper neck restraint.

    Asked by Nelson on cross whether it could be used as part of another type of training, he said: "perhaps … [when] using bodyweight to control."

    "However, I will add that we don't — we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible and if you're going to use bodyweight to pin, to put it on their shoulder and be mindful of position," Mercil said on the stand.

    Credit: AP
  • Luke Kenton

    DEFENSE: ONLY CONSIDERING 9:29 TIMING 'NOT PROPER ANALYSIS'

    Eric Nelson told the jury Monday that only considering the nine minutes and 29 seconds Chauvin knelt down on Floyd's neck is not "proper analysis" when determining a verdict.

    Instead, the defense attorney urged jurors to consider the information Chauvin had when he arrived on scene, specifically reports that Floyd was "resisting arrest".

    "The state has really focused on the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds, 9 minutes and 29 seconds. It's not the proper analysis because the 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 15 minutes and 59 seconds.

    "It says in that moment, at that point, nothing else that happened before should be taken into consideration by a reasonable police officer. It tries to re-frame the issue of what a reasonable police officer would do."

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