George Floyd Family Calls For Police Reform On Anniversary Of Murder

In this file photo taken on June 19, 2020 protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police during a Juneteenth rally in New York.  Chauvin’s trial opens Monday. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

 

The family of George Floyd appealed Tuesday for sweeping police reform on the anniversary of the African American man’s murder by a white officer, as they met President Joe Biden at the White House.

The president and Kamala Harris, America’s first female and first Black vice president, hosted several of Floyd’s relatives in the Oval Office after the family spoke to top lawmakers hoping for progress on reform.

“The Floyd family has shown extraordinary courage,” Biden said after their meeting — declaring himself “hopeful” that a deal could be struck after the Memorial Day holiday this weekend.

The legislation being considered to increase police accountability would be named after Floyd, who suffocated after being pinned down under the knee of Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020.

“If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color,” Philonise Floyd, George’s younger brother, said as he emerged from the private meeting, which lasted over an hour.

Another brother, Terrence Floyd, said as he left the White House that he was encouraged by the “productive conversation” in which Biden and Harris were eager to “actually give an ear to our concerns.”

Floyd’s mother, siblings and his daughter Gianna, along with family lawyers, had earlier gathered at the US Capitol with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members of Congress.

READ ALSO: Ex-Police Officer Convicted Of Floyd’s Murder Seeks New Trial

While the adults discussed their hopes for police reform, it was seven-year-old Gianna — hugging her mother Roxie Washington — who eloquently addressed the legacy of her late father, saying he would “change the world.”

“He did,” Biden said after meeting the family nearly a year after their first encounter ahead of Floyd’s funeral.

“I got a chance to spend a lot of time with Gianna and the family,” he said. “They’ve been wonderful.”

The family later visited Black Lives Matter Plaza close to the White House, which became a focal point for demonstrations in the weeks after Floyd’s death.

“What’s going on in America you can clearly see this right now, it’s two justice systems — so we need to get together as one,” said Philonise Floyd. “Whatever I have to do to get this law passed, I will do, we want freedom, be able to walk in peace.”

Culture of impunity
Floyd’s death sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality across a country already crackling with tension from the election battle between Biden and Donald Trump.

Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as he passed out and died, is to be sentenced in June for murder and manslaughter.

George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd speaks with other family members and lawyers outside the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2021. JIM WATSON / AFP
George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd speaks with other family members and lawyers outside the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2021. JIM WATSON / AFP

 

In a sign Biden wants to confront head on what he sees as systemic racism, the White House announced the president will travel to Oklahoma on June 1 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre in which an estimated 300 Black men, women and children were killed.

In the wake of Chauvin’s conviction last month, Biden sought to build on political momentum by urging Congress to pass a far-reaching police reform bill in time for the anniversary.

However, the ambitious deadline comes with only the House having passed the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, while the Senate continues to wrangle over key details.

Despite missing Biden’s deadline, Representative Karen Bass, a co-author of the reform bill, reiterated her commitment to Democrats and Republicans negotiating a compromise.

“We will get this bill on President Biden’s desk,” she said at the meeting with the Floyd family. “We will work until we get the job done.”

The proposed law seeks to reform what critics say have become ever more violent and unaccountable police forces around the country.

Biden says a culture of impunity and underlying racism has made tragedies like Floyd’s death increasingly common, although opponents believe police operating in often heavily armed communities are being scapegoated.

As if to highlight the staggering number of US shootings, multiple gunshots rang out Tuesday near the site in Minneapolis where people were marking the anniversary of Floyd’s killing.

Shortly afterward a patient arrived at hospital suffering from a gunshot wound, police said.

Ban on chokeholds
The police reform bill would ban potentially fatal restraint techniques used on suspects, like chokeholds, and end so-called “no-knock warrants” that authorize police to burst into a suspect’s house unannounced.

The most far-reaching of the measures would be to end legal protections that block civil lawsuits against police accused of misconduct.

“My video didn’t save George Floyd, but it put his murderer away and off the streets,” Darnella Frazier, whose took crucial phone footage evidence of Floyd’s death, said Tuesday in a Facebook post.

“I knew that he was another black man in danger with no power.”

AFP

George Floyd’s Brother Meets Biden, Wants ‘Laws To Protect People Of Color’

George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd speaks with other family members and lawyers outside the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2021. JIM WATSON / AFP
George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd speaks with other family members and lawyers outside the White House after meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington, DC, on May 25, 2021. JIM WATSON / AFP

 

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s younger brother, met with President Joe Biden at the White House on Tuesday and called for “federal laws to protect people of color.”

Philonise Floyd and other members of the family met privately with the president on the first anniversary of George Floyd’s May 25, 2020 murder by a Minneapolis police officer.

“If you can make federal laws to protect the bird, the bald eagle, you can make federal laws to protect people of color,” Philonise Floyd said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden praised the bravery of George Floyd’s family, a year to the day since the African American man was killed by a police officer during an arrest, sparking nationwide protests.

“The Floyd family has shown extraordinary courage, especially his young daughter Gianna, who I met again today,” Biden said in a statement after talking with several members of the Floyd family in the White House.

“His murder launched a summer of protest we hadn’t seen since the Civil Rights era in the ’60s — protests that peacefully unified people of every race and generation to collectively say enough of the senseless killings,” Biden said.

 

AFP

Ex-Police Officer Convicted Of Floyd’s Murder Seeks New Trial

In this file screenshot obtained from video feed via Court TV, shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listening to the verdict in his trial in the killing of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 20, 2021. PHOTO: Court TV / AFP

 

Derek Chauvin, the white ex-policeman convicted of murdering African-American man George Floyd, asked Tuesday for a new trial on claims of jury and prosecution misconduct.

The 45-year-old — who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes in Minneapolis — faces up to 40 years in prison after being found guilty last month in a case that prompted a national reckoning on racial injustice and police brutality.

Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson argued that his client did not get a fair trial due to publicity around the case, court and prosecution errors, as well as “race-based pressure” on the jury.

He also alleges that jurors should have been isolated during the trial and that the case could only get a fair hearing in a different place.

“The publicity here was so pervasive and so prejudicial before and during this trial that it amounted to a structural defect in the proceedings,” Nelson wrote.

Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents the Floyd family, fiercely opposed the motion on Twitter: “No. No. No. Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.”

The filing came as the impartiality of a juror in the case has been called into question after a photo surfaced of him at an anti-racism rally.

Legal experts had said Chauvin’s defense attorney could potentially use the photo of juror Brandon Mitchell as grounds to appeal the verdict, though the matter was not mentioned in Tuesday’s pleading.

 

– High bar for jury misconduct –

In the photo, Mitchell, a 31-year-old Black man, is wearing a T-shirt with a picture of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr on it, as well as the words “Get Your Knee Off Our Necks” and the letters “BLM” for Black Lives Matter.

Mitchell is one of only two jurors who have publicly identified themselves since the high-profile trial.

In a questionnaire, potential jurors were asked if they had taken part in any of the protests against police brutality that followed Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death.

Mitchell said he had not and could serve impartially. He told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the photo was taken at a march he attended in Washington in August 2020 to mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Jeffrey Frederick, a jury selection expert, said Mitchell’s answer may be “technically correct” since the Washington event was billed as a commemoration.

“It’ll be up to the judge to conduct questioning and to make a determination as to whether or not he felt that this juror was biased and, possibly, had lied during the course of voir dire or on the juror questionnaire,” Frederick told AFP.

The judge would then decide whether it “reaches a standard for affecting the outcome of the trial,” he said.

“The bar is high in terms of misconduct and the granting of a new trial,” he added. “Such determinations are rare.”

Steve Tuller, another jury selection expert, agreed.

“Judges do not want to declare mistrials, particularly in a case where there has been a verdict and given the special circumstances of this case,” Tuller said.

AFP

US Ex-Cop Chauvin To Be Sentenced June 16 For George Floyd Murder

FILES) A Minneapolis judge set a $1 million bail for police officer Derek Chauvin June 8, 2020 as he made his first court appearance charged with the murder of George Floyd, the 46-year-old African-American man whose death sparked nationwide protests. 
Handout / Hennepin County Jail / AFP

 

 

Sacked US police officer Derek Chauvin will be sentenced on June 16 for the murder of African American George Floyd in a case that sparked nationwide anti-racism protests.

The Hennepin County District Court in the Midwestern city of Minneapolis, where handcuffed Floyd died last May, said in its online schedule that the white ex-cop will be sentenced at 1:30 pm (1830 GMT).

The 45-year-old ex-officer — who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes — faces up to 40 years in prison after being found guilty of all charges Tuesday over the death of the unarmed man.

The crime was recorded by a bystander whose video shocked the world, triggering mass protests across the United States and beyond, while also prompting a national reckoning on racial injustice and police brutality.

Floyd, 46, was killed as he lay face down and handcuffed, saying repeatedly “I can’t breathe.” The case prompted some police reforms, but advocates including President Joe Biden say more is needed.

 

File photo: George Floyd, Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

 

While the Chauvin trial progressed in Minneapolis, the city was rocked by the fatal police shooting of yet another African American, 20-year-old Daunte Wright.

On Wednesday US Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department systematically uses excessive force and “engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing,” including during legal protests.

 

This booking photo received April 21, 2021 courtesy of Minnesota Department of Corrections, showS Derek Chauvin, currently in the Minnesota Department of Corrections’ custody at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights through an agreement between the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office and the Minneapolis Department of Corrections.(Photo by Handout / Minnesota Department of Corrections / AFP)

 

‘We needed a victory’

The jury deliberated less than 11 hours before finding Chauvin guilty of all three charges against him: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

A crowd gathered outside the heavily guarded downtown Minneapolis courtroom erupted in cheers, and some wept tears of relief, when the verdicts were announced after a three-week trial that had an entire nation on edge.

Chauvin, who had been free on bail, was put in handcuffs after Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read out the unanimous verdicts reached by the racially diverse, seven-woman, five-man jury.

Ahead of the verdict, cities across the United States had been braced for potential unrest and National Guard troops were deployed in Minneapolis.

Floyd was initially arrested on suspicion of a non-violent crime — trying to pass off a counterfeit $20 bill. His brother Rodney told AFP that Black people had been victims of deadly injustice at the hands of US authorities for hundreds of years.

“We needed a victory in this case, it’s very important, and we got it and hey, we might actually breathe a little bit better now,” he said.

 

In this file photo taken on April 15, 2021 this screenshot obtained from video feed via Court TV, shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin(R), who is accused of killing George Floyd, addressing the court, telling the presiding judge that he has decided not to testify in his own defense. STR / Court TV / AFP
In this file photo taken on April 15, 2021 this screenshot obtained from video feed via Court TV, shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin(R), who is accused of killing George Floyd, addressing the court, telling the presiding judge that he has decided not to testify in his own defense. STR / Court TV / AFP

 

Three other former police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest are to go on trial later this year.

Ex-Cop Derek Chauvin Convicted Of All Charges In George Floyd’s Death

These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP
These images taken on May 25, 2020, from a video courtesy of Darnella Frazier via Facebook, shows Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of George Floyd. Darnella Frazier / Facebook/Darnella Frazier / AFP

 

Sacked police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter Tuesday in the death of African-American George Floyd in a case that roiled the United States for almost a year, laying bare deep racial divisions.

A racially-diverse jury of seven women and five men in the Midwestern city of Minneapolis took less than two days at the end of a three-week trial to find the white officer guilty in unanimous decisions on all three charges he faced.

Chauvin, 45, could be handed decades behind bars for Floyd’s May 25, 2020 killing, which sparked protests against racial injustice around the world and is being seen as a landmark test of police accountability.

Floyd family lawyer Ben Crump hailed the verdict as a landmark victory for civil rights that could be a springboard to legislation to reform police forces in their dealings with minorities.

“Painfully earned justice has finally arrived for George Floyd’s family. This verdict is a turning point in history and sends a clear message on the need for accountability of law enforcement,” Crump tweeted.

 In this file photo taken on April 15, 2021 this screenshot obtained from video feed via Court TV, shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin(R), who is accused of killing George Floyd, addressing the court, telling the presiding judge that he has decided not to testify in his own defense. STR / Court TV / AFP
In this file photo taken on April 15, 2021 this screenshot obtained from video feed via Court TV, shows former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin(R), who is accused of killing George Floyd, addressing the court, telling the presiding judge that he has decided not to testify in his own defense. STR / Court TV / AFP

 

“Justice for Black America is justice for all of America!”

Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, faces a maximum of 40 years in prison on the most serious of three charges he faced — second-degree murder.

He was seen on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old Black man lay handcuffed facedown in the street complaining he “can’t breathe.”

The harrowing video, which was shown repeatedly to the jury during Chauvin’s three-week trial, sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality around the world.

 People react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 20, 2021 In Minneapolis, Minnesota. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP
People react after the verdict was read in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 20, 2021 In Minneapolis, Minnesota. Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

 

The courtroom drama played out before the eyes of the nation as Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot dead in a Minneapolis suburb by a white policewoman who apparently mistook her gun for her Taser, and a 13-year-old boy was killed by police in Chicago.

Wright’s killing triggered several nights of protests in Minneapolis, and ahead of a verdict in Chauvin’s case National Guard troops were deployed in the Minnesota city where shop windows have been boarded up as a precaution, as well as in the capital, Washington.

Among the 38 witnesses who testified for the prosecution were some of the bystanders who watched Floyd’s May 25, 2020 arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Darnella Frazier, the teenager who took the video that went viral, said Floyd was “scared” and “begging for his life.”

“It wasn’t right. He was suffering,” Frazier said.

Chauvin attended every day of the trial — dressed in a suit and taking notes on a yellow legal pad — but spoke only once to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

A conviction on any of the charges — second-degree murder, third-degree murder or manslaughter — will require the jury to return a unanimous verdict.

The racially diverse jury was made up of six white women, three Black men, three white men, two mixed race women and one Black woman.

Three other former police officers — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng — also face charges in connection with Floyd’s death.

They are to be tried separately later in the year.

Videos Pile Pressure On US Police Over Racism, Killings

PORTLAND, OR – APRIL 12: A person lights candles at a vigil for Daunte Wright on April 12, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. Wright, a Black man whose car was stopped in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota on Sunday reportedly for an expired registration, and not far from where George Floyd was killed during an arrest in Minneapolis last May, was shot and killed by an officer who police say mistook her service revolver for a Taser. Nathan Howard/Getty Images/AFP
Nathan Howard / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

 

 

More shocking bodycam footage, more fatal shootings by officers, and a murder trial nearing its conclusion — public trust in the US police has seldom been more strained.

Video evidence showing apparent wrongful use of deadly force has been piling up, fueling a fierce debate on policing across the United States.

“I am a Black man, and I know from experience that the police just aren’t professional and the leadership they get isn’t right,” said Darnell Squire, 46, who sells T-shirts and baseball caps from a street stall in a Minneapolis suburb.

“They aren’t around to protect the community, or to make people feel safe, whatever they say — that has been clear since I was a child.

“I don’t trust promises from the government about things changing, and I don’t trust the system or the courts. For me, the problem starts at the top.”

In a court in Minneapolis, former officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for murder over the killing of George Floyd, with closing arguments next week before the jury delivers its verdict.

As the trial examined grueling video of Floyd dying while Chauvin knelt on his knee, outside the courtroom, fresh examples of police killings have stoked anger and protests.

An officer who stopped young Black man Daunte Wright in a Minneapolis suburb last Sunday shot him dead in his car after mistaking her Taser for a gun — all caught on bodycam.

In another case, Chicago police on Thursday released graphic footage of an officer shooting dead 13-year-old Adam Toledo in a dark alley last month, apparently suspecting he had just dropped a gun.

– ‘This is a long fight’ –
“I will feel the same even if Chauvin is convicted — this is a long fight,” said Selena McKnight 46, a local activist in Minneapolis who regularly attends protests against police misconduct.

“Just look at the videos that come out every day. We will keep fighting. The trial is just one case, and this battle is not over until justice is always served.”

The images of Floyd, Wright, Toledo and others dying at the hands of police have been contrasted to officers dealing with aggressive white men.

On Wednesday, in a town outside Minneapolis, an officer was assaulted with a hammer and dragged at high-speed by a vehicle driven by a white, 61-year-old man.

The suspect, who is accused of attacking shop staff who asked him to wear a Covid-19 mask, rammed a police car and drove off with the officer hanging onto his car.

No shots were fired, and the man was later arrested.

“Was that man shot? No, of course not. That tells you all you need to know about police prejudice,” said McKnight.

“We might think that all this video footage can make a difference, but it just shows what we all know has been going on for a long time.”

Ahead of the Chauvin trial verdict, the United States is braced for potentially violent protests if he is acquitted of murder.

Downtown Minneapolis has been largely boarded up and deserted during the trial, with armed National Guard troops patrolling in armored vehicles.

On Friday night there were new protests in Brooklyn Center, the suburb where Wright was shot, with about 500 people gathering before police moved in to break it up.

Officers said some protesters came wielding shields and baseball bats, while glass bottles were thrown. About 100 people were arrested, public safety officials said.

There were also protests over the death of Toledo in Chicago, where several hundred turned out.

“I fear the police, not Covid-19,” said Minneapolis resident Tesfaye Habte, who was born in Ethiopia.

“If I am driving and I see them, I worry they will shoot me because of my color. It seems to have got worse in recent years in this city.

“With the protests, both sides are doing bad things.

“America is democracy, the constitution and free speech, but the police are very aggressive and inhuman. I follow this trial and I am worried.”

Defense Medical Expert Says Floyd Cause Of Death ‘Undetermined’

In this file photo taken on June 19, 2020 protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police during a Juneteenth rally in New York. – His name is chanted by demonstrators around the globe.  (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

 

 

George Floyd died from cardiac arrest brought on by heart disease, illegal drug use and other factors, a retired forensic pathologist testified on Wednesday at the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

The testimony of Dr David Fowler, a witness called by Chauvin’s defense team, contradicted that of several medical experts put on the witness stand by the prosecution.

Those experts said Floyd died of hypoxia, or lack of oxygen, while being held facedown and handcuffed on the ground with Chauvin’s knee on his neck for more than nine minutes.

A bystander video of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 arrest went viral and sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of the eastern state of Maryland, said he did not believe Floyd died due to hypoxia and he would classify his death as “undetermined.”

“I would fall back to undetermined in this particular case,” he said. “One of the uses of this particular classification is when you’ve got so many conflicting potential mechanisms, when the manner is not clear.”

The South African-born Fowler said Floyd had an enlarged heart and a “significant narrowing of all of his coronary arteries.”

“Mr Floyd died of a cardiac arrythmia due to hypertensive, atherosclerotic vascular disease during the restraint,” he said.

He said fentanyl and methamphetamine ingested by Floyd were contributing causes along with “the potential of a carbon monoxide role.”

Fowler said Floyd was held down on the ground by Chauvin and other officers next to the exhaust pipe of a running police car.

Fowler said he did not believe Floyd died of carbon monoxide poisoning but it was potential factor in his death.

He acknowledged under cross-examination, however, that no tests were ever done on the CO2 levels in Floyd’s body.

– Defense acquittal motion denied –
Earlier Wednesday, the judge presiding over the trial denied a defense motion to acquit Chauvin.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson said prosecutors had failed to prove their case against the 45-year-old Chauvin beyond a reasonable doubt and he should be acquitted.

The motion is a standard request in criminal trials at the end of the presentation of the prosecution case and it was rejected by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.

“The motion for judgment of acquittal is denied,” Cahill said.

The judge also said he would allow a potential defense witness to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

Morries Hall was with Floyd on the day of his arrest and his attorney, Adrienne Cousins, told the judge that Hall could “not answer any questions without incriminating himself.”

“I’m fearful of criminal charges going forward,” Hall told the court.

Nelson has suggested that Hall gave illegal drugs to Floyd, who was being arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

Nelson asked the judge on Monday to sequester the jury after protests erupted in Minneapolis following the police killing of a 20-year-old Black man.

The judge denied the request and said the jury would be sequestered after closing arguments, which are expected on Monday.

A conviction on any of the counts against Chauvin will require the nine-woman, five-man jury to return a unanimous verdict.

Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge — second-degree murder.

A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, Chauvin was fired from the force after Floyd’s death.

Three other former police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest are to be tried separately later this year.

Judge Denies Motion To Acquit Officer In Floyd’s Death

File photo: George Floyd, Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

 

 

The Minnesota judge presiding over the trial of Derek Chauvin denied a defense motion on Wednesday to acquit the former police officer facing murder and manslaughter charges for the death of George Floyd.

Chauvin, who is white, was seen in a video taken by a bystander kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the handcuffed 46-year-old Black man complained repeatedly that he “can’t breathe.”

Defense attorney Eric Nelson said prosecutors had failed to prove their case against the 45-year-old Chauvin beyond a reasonable doubt and he should be acquitted.

The motion is a standard request in criminal trials at the end of the presentation of the prosecution case and it was rejected by Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.

In this file photo taken on June 19, 2020 protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police during a Juneteenth rally in New York. Chauvin’s trial opens Monday. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

 

“The motion for judgment of acquittal is denied,” Cahill said.

The video of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 arrest touched off protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Prosecutors called nearly 40 witnesses during the first two weeks of the high-profile trial including medical experts, current and former police officers and bystanders to the arrest.

READ ALSO: Merkel Approves ‘Short National Lockdown’ To Curb Virus

Judge Cahill on Wednesday also said he would allow a potential defense witness to invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to testify.

Morries Hall was with Floyd on the day of his arrest and his attorney, Adrienne Cousins, told the judge that Hall could “not answer any questions without incriminating himself.”

“I’m fearful of criminal charges going forward,” Hall told the court.

Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, has suggested that Hall gave illegal drugs to Floyd and that his death was due to his consumption of fentanyl and methamphetamine and underlying health conditions.

Medical experts called by the prosecution said Floyd’s death was caused by a “low level of oxygen” from the neck restraint and not due to drugs or pre-existing conditions.

Nelson asked the judge on Monday to sequester the jury after protests erupted in Minneapolis following the police killing of a 20-year-old Black man.

The judge denied the request and said the jury would be sequestered after closing arguments, which are expected on Monday.

A conviction on any of the counts against Chauvin will require the nine-woman, five-man jury to return a unanimous verdict.

Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge — second-degree murder.

A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, Chauvin was fired from the force after Floyd’s death.

Three other former police officers involved in Floyd’s arrest are to be tried separately later this year.

AFP

Prosecution Rests Case In George Floyd’s Murder Trial

File photo: George Floyd, Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

 

Prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer on trial for murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd.

“Your honor, the state of Minnesota rests,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher told Judge Peter Cahill.

More to follow . . .

George Floyd Died From ‘Low-Level Of Oxygen’ – Doctor

File photo: George Floyd, Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. AFP

 

 

A respiratory doctor testified Thursday that George Floyd died from a lack of oxygen and that police officer Derek Chauvin’s knee was on his neck almost all the time he was facedown in the street with his hands cuffed behind his back.

Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, told the jury at Chauvin’s murder and manslaughter trial that he had watched videos of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 arrest “hundreds of times.”

“Mr. Floyd died from a low level of oxygen,” Tobin told the nine-woman, five-man jury hearing the high-profile case in a heavily guarded Minneapolis courtroom.

“This caused damage to his brain,” he said, and arrhythmia — an irregular heartbeat — which “caused his heart to stop.”

The 45-year-old Chauvin, who is white, was seen in a video taken by a bystander kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old African-American man gasped and complained repeatedly that he “can’t breathe.”

The video of Floyd’s arrest touched off protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Tobin said Floyd’s breathing weakened because he was “squeezed” face down on the street, handcuffed and with Chauvin and other police officers on his neck and back.

READ ALSO: Merkel Approves ‘Short National Lockdown’ To Curb Virus

Tobin said that as a doctor in an intensive care unit in a busy Chicago hospital he is “extremely familiar with seeing people die, unfortunately.”

He provided commentary as a graphic video of what he said was the moment of Floyd’s death was shown to an attentive jury.

 

In this file photo taken on June 19, 2020 protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police during a Juneteenth rally in New York.  Chauvin’s trial opens Monday. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

 

“You can see his eyes, he’s conscious, and then you see that he isn’t,” he said. “One second he’s alive and one second he is no longer.

“That’s the moment the life goes out of his body.”

– Drugs, health conditions not a factor –
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, has suggested that Chauvin’s body weight was actually on Floyd’s shoulder or back at times and not on his neck.

Tobin disagreed and said that even after Floyd had stopped breathing, Chauvin continued to pin him down on the street.

“Officer Chauvin’s left knee is virtually on the neck for the vast majority of the time,” he said. “More than 90 percent of the time in my calculations.”

Tobin noted that at one point in the video Chauvin’s left boot was off the ground meaning that half of the officer’s body weight was on Floyd’s neck.

“The knee remains on the neck for another three minutes and 27 seconds after he takes his last breath,” he said.

“The knee remains on the neck for another two minutes and 44 seconds after the officers have found themselves there’s no pulse.”

The Irish-born Tobin is testifying as an expert witness for the prosecution.

He said he has testified previously at medical malpractice trials but this is his first criminal trial and he is not being paid.

Prosecutors are seeking to prove Floyd’s death was due to asphyxiation, while Chauvin’s defense claims it was due to illegal drugs and underlying health conditions.

Tobin dismissed defense claims that pre-existing medical conditions may have contributed to Floyd’s death and the impact of the illegal drugs methamphetamine and fentanyl that he may have ingested.

 

In this file photo taken on March 10, 2021, a man walks near the makeshift memorial of George Floyd before the third day of jury selection begins in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin who is accused of killing Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP

 

“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died,” he said.

As for drugs, Tobin said fentanyl tends to depress breathing but Floyd’s respiratory rate appeared to normal before he passed out and died.

Several top Minneapolis police officers have testified that excessive force was used on Floyd, who was being arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill in a store.

Police chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin violated the department’s training policies and its “values.”

Police officers are rarely convicted in the United States when charges are brought and a conviction on any of the counts against Chauvin will require the jury to return a unanimous verdict.

Chauvin, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge — second-degree murder.

A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, Chauvin was fired from the force after Floyd’s death.

Three other former police officers involved in the arrest are to be tried separately later this year.

AFP

Dramatic Week Of Testimony In George Floyd Murder Trial

File photo: George Floyd, Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

 

 

The opening week of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, facing murder and manslaughter charges for the death of George Floyd has featured dramatic and emotional testimony.

Among those taking the stand in the heavily-guarded downtown Minneapolis courtroom have been Floyd’s girlfriend, witnesses to his May 25, 2020 arrest and fellow police officers.

Chauvin, who is white, was seen on video kneeling for more than nine minutes on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who was being detained for using a fake $20 bill in a nearby store.

Here are some of the emotional comments made by witnesses during the first week of the trial.

Darnella Frazier

Frazier, an 18-year-old African-American woman, was walking to the convenience store, Cup Foods, with her eight-year-old cousin when she saw Floyd being arrested.

She began recording and it was her smartphone video that went viral and sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the United States and around the world.

“It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain,” Frazier told the nine-woman, five-man jury hearing the case. “I knew it was wrong.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” she said.

Christopher Martin

Martin, a 19-year-old cashier at Cup Foods, sold the pack of cigarettes that Floyd paid for with a fake $20 bill.

Martin said he knew at the time that the banknote was counterfeit. “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,” he said.

Floyd appeared to be “high” while in the store but “he seemed to be having an average Memorial Day, just living his life,” Martin said.

Martin said he felt “disbelief and guilt” after learning Floyd had died.

Courteney Ross

Ross, 45, was Floyd’s girlfriend of nearly three years.

She said they met at a Minneapolis homeless shelter where Floyd worked as a security guard.

She had gone there to visit the father of one of her sons, Ross said, and Floyd saw her looking sad in the lobby and asked if he could “pray” with her.

“It was so sweet,” she said. “I had lost a lot of faith in God.”

Ross acknowledged that both she and Floyd had struggled with opioid addiction.

“We both suffered from chronic pain,” she said. “Mine was in my neck and his was in his back.”

“We got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction, many times.”

Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman

Zimmerman, the longest-serving officer in the Minnesota Police Department, said Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd was “totally unnecessary” and violated department policies.

“Pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time, it’s just uncalled for,” he said.

Zimmerman said he had reviewed bystander video and police bodycam footage and he “saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger.”

“Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down, all the way,” he said. “They’re cuffed. How can they really hurt you?”

Donald Williams

Williams, 33, was among the crowd of bystanders urging the officers holding Floyd down to get off of him.

“You could see that he was trying to gasp for air, trying to breathe,” Williams said. “You could see his eyes slowly rolling back in his head.”

Williams, a mixed martial arts instructor, said Floyd was being held by Chauvin in a “blood choke” and he saw him lose consciousness.

Williams made an emergency 911 call after Floyd was taken away by ambulance.

“Murderers, bro… they just killed that man in front of the store,” he told the 911 operator.

Derek Smith

Smith, a paramedic, said Chauvin still had his knee on Floyd’s neck when he arrived but he believed Floyd was already dead.

He checked the carotid artery in Floyd’s neck to see if he had a pulse. “I did not feel one,” Smith said. “In lay terms, I thought he was dead.”

Smith said he and his partner attempted to revive Floyd in the ambulance but their efforts were unsuccessful.

“He’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” he said.

Graphic Bodycam Footage Played At Floyd Murder Trial

In this file photo taken on June 19, 2020 protesters march across the Brooklyn Bridge over the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis Police during a Juneteenth rally in New York. – His name is chanted by demonstrators around the globe. (Photo by Bryan R. Smith / AFP)

 

Chilling police body camera footage was shown to the jury on Wednesday at the trial of the white policeman accused of killing George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man whose death touched off anti-racism protests around the world.

The video taken by the bodycams of the four police officers involved in Floyd’s May 25, 2020 arrest was introduced by prosecutors on the third day of the trial of ex-Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin, 45, who was captured on bystander video kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd for more than nine minutes, is charged with murder and manslaughter.

The bodycam videos include the moment Floyd was arrested at gunpoint for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill and his desperate pleas that he “can’t breathe” as he is pinned facedown in the street by officers.

The other three former police officers involved in the arrest — Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng — are to be tried separately later this year.

Lane’s bodycam video shows Floyd saying “Please don’t shoot me” as he is pulled out of his car outside the store where he paid for a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 banknote.

File photo: George Floyd, Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

 

Floyd is handcuffed and taken to a squad car where he becomes increasingly distressed and struggles with the officers who are trying to put him in the back of the vehicle.

“I’m claustrophobic, man,” Floyd says repeatedly. “Why you doing me like this? Don’t do me like this man.”

After Floyd falls out of the car into the street, three officers pin him down with Chauvin kneeling on his neck.

Chauvin’s body camera was knocked off in the struggle and falls under the car but the cameras of the other officers continued to operate.

Floyd says repeatedly that he can’t breathe. “Mama, I love you,” he says. “My stomach hurts, my neck hurts.”

At one point, one of the officers says “I think he’s passed out” and asks if they should “roll him on his side.”

The bodycam footage continues until an ambulance arrives and takes an unconscious Floyd to hospital, where he was declared dead.

– ‘Disbelief and guilt’ –
Besides the bodycam video, court proceedings on Wednesday featured the emotional testimony of a store clerk who said he regretted accepting the fake $20 bill from Floyd.

“If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,” said Christopher Martin, a cashier at Cup Foods.

Martin, 19, said he knew right away the banknote was fake but took it anyway.

“I thought George didn’t really know that it was a fake bill,” Martin said. “I thought I’d be doing him a favor.”

“I was planning to just put it on my tab,” he said, meaning the amount would be taken out of his paycheck. “I offered to pay for it.”

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Martin said he told the store manager about the fake bill, however, and the manager eventually called the police.

Martin said Floyd appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol while he was in the store but was “very friendly, approachable, talkative.”

“He seemed to be having an average Memorial Day, just living his life,” Martin said. “He did seem high.”

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, claimed in opening arguments that Floyd’s death was due to drugs and underlying medical conditions and not asphyxiation.

Martin said he left the store again when he heard “yelling and screaming” outside.

“I saw (Chauvin) with his knee on George’s neck on the ground,” he said. “George was motionless, limp.”

Asked by prosecutor Matthew Frank what he felt at the time, Martin became visibly upset and said “disbelief and guilt.”

Also testifying on Wednesday was Charles McMillian, 61, who said he was driving by that day and stopped to see what was going on.

McMillian, the first bystander on the scene, can be heard on video at one point telling the struggling Floyd “you can’t win” and to get into the back of the police squad car.

McMillian began sobbing as police bodycam video of Floyd’s arrest was played, removing his glasses and wiping his eyes with tissues until Judge Peter Cahill called a brief recess.

“I felt helpless,” McMillian said.

McMillian also confronted Chauvin after the incident. Asked by a prosecutor why he did so, McMillian said: “Because what I watched was wrong.”

Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the police force, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge — second-degree murder.

His trial is expected to last about a month.

AFP