Jury in George Floyd murder trial to hear closing arguments

Daniel Fowler
April 20, 2021

Chauvin was prepared to plead guilty to third-degree murder in George Floyd's death before then-Attorney General William Barr personally blocked the plea deal previous year. "You must not consider any consequences or penalties that might follow from your verdict".

Jurors, who went into sequester following closing arguments, will resume deliberations on Tuesday morning.

However the impending decision by the jurors had a slight shadow cast over it after the judge said inflammatory comments by a Democrat congresswoman could be grounds for an appeal which could see a verdict overturned.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson told the jury they need to look at Chauvin's actions "from the perspective of a reasonable police officer".

"Nine minutes and 29 seconds of shocking abuse of authority".

Arradondo testified earlier, saying clearly that Chauvin's leaning on the restrained Floyd's neck was "in no way shape or form" part of their training.

Another colleague from the Minneapolis Police Department, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, also said that Chauvin's "use of force" was "totally unnecessary" in the circumstances.

Three other fired officers who assisted in Floyd being restrained stomach-down for more than 9 minutes - J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao - are scheduled to be tried in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. Out of four policemen who arrived to arrest Floyd, Derek Chauvin was one amongst them, during the arrest Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck which led to his death.

"It was said, for example, that Mister Floyd died because his heart was too big".

"I'm not suggesting this was an overdose death", Nelson said, "but it is a preposterous notion to say that this did not come into play here".

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher urged jurors to "use your common sense".

After the closing arguments today, they'll come back with a verdict, and we're not going to get ahead of those deliberations.

An image of George Floyd hangs from a necklace worn by a family member after a prayer session
An image of George Floyd hangs from a necklace worn by a family member after a prayer session Credit REUTERS Adrees Latif

"As the murder trial of Derek Chauvin comes to an end, the City of Grand Rapids reaffirms its steadfast commitment to improving policing in our community, enhancing our service, building trust and partnerships, and working to be a model in community-police relations", the statement said.

Chauvin, dressed in a light grey suit and dark blue shirt and blue tie, took off his face mask to listen to closing arguments but his face displayed little emotion.

Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot dead in a Minneapolis suburb on April 11 by a white policewoman who apparently mistook her gun for her Taser, and a 13-year-old boy was killed by police in Chicago.

Also on Monday, the defence was looking for a mistrial to be declared, citing media spotlight and comments made at the weekend by Congresswoman Maxine Waters who was in Brooklyn Centre, Minneapolis on Saturday at a racial justice protest where she said protesters needed to "get more active".

Psaki said Monday that the White House has had a "range of conversations" about preparations for the upcoming verdict and added, "Our objective is to ensure there is space for peaceful protest".

"We acknowledge that there is work to do, both locally and in communities across the country, to combat historical injustice and hold all law enforcement officers to the highest standards of equity, inclusion and protecting the safety of all people".

"I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that's disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch and our function", Cahill said.

Floyd was suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a nearby convenience store. "He was just letting us know that he was praying for us".

A retired forensic pathologist put on the stand by the defense said Floyd died of cardiac arrest brought on by heart disease and the illegal drugs fentanyl and methamphetamine.

Much of the evidence phase of the trial involved testimony from medical experts about Floyd's cause of death.

Donald Williams, 33, said he called 911 to report a "murder" after Floyd was taken away in an ambulance.

Lt. Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department testifies.

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