Chauvin trial: Closing statements Monday begin trial’s ultimate part

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3 things to know:

  • The final arguments begin on Monday

  • Derek Chauvin did not testify in his defense and invoked his right to remain silent

  • The case is expected to hang on responsibility for George Floyd’s death. Defense points on Floyd’s health, drugs; The charges point to Chauvin’s actions, the knee to Floyd’s neck

The climate chapters of Derek Chauvin’s murder trial begin Monday morning at the Hennepin County courthouse. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will make final arguments and then turn the case on to a jury pending what may be the most momentous verdict in Minnesota history.

The former Minneapolis police officer is charged with second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in the murder of George Floyd while the man was handcuffed on the sidewalk after allegedly faking $ 20 for buying cigarettes in a store in the Corner had used south Minneapolis.

The on-site bystander video held Chauvin’s knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the man pleaded he couldn’t breathe and when people shouted from the curb that Floyd was dying. Chauvin and three other officers were released.

Weeks of trial revolved around a fundamental question: Who or what is responsible for Floyd’s death? The defense has brought up Floyd’s health and the drugs in his system. Prosecutors have blamed Chauvin’s actions and his knee on Floyd’s neck.

The instructions of the judge’s jury are key

The prosecutors and Chauvin’s defense attorneys will take turns summarizing the arguments they have made in court over the past three weeks.

The government will review some of the most powerful statements, particularly that of pulmonologist Martin Tobin, who compared Floyd’s position under Chauvin’s knee to pressure on a “vise” and told the court, “A healthy person exposed to what Mr. Floyd did was exposed would have died. “

Chauvin decided last week not to take a stand in his own defense. Experts say his lawyer faces major challenges in convincing a jury to acquittal.

“The defense needs to stitch more together,” said Mark Osler, law professor at St. Thomas University. “It’ll be a bit like throwing a ton of spaghetti on the wall and seeing if any of it sticks.” “”

The defense struggled from the start to create their own narrative about Floyd’s death, said Mary Moriarty, former Hennepin County’s chief defender.

Moriarty, who is not involved in the chauvinist trial, said prosecutors will likely lead the jury through Floyd’s final moments of life. “I expect them to use visual aids quite often. I would expect to see a timeline of still images going through each step of those 9 1/2 minutes. “

Other experts saw the strength of chauvinist lawyer Eric Nelson in the questioning of some witnesses.

He’ll likely try to highlight his exchanges with the Minneapolis police force’s use of violence instructor Johnny Mercil, who said Chauvin used his knee and leg at one point in the way officers have been taught to do.

Nelson shows a series of still images captured by Officer Lane’s body camera. When asked if it looks like Chauvin’s shins and knees appear to be placed similarly, Mercil said it is.

– Brandt Williams (@BrandtMPR) April 6, 2021

While the attorneys’ arguments can provide the drama, Judge Peter Cahill’s relatively dry directions to the jury will be crucial.

The instructions provide interpretations of the words contained in the statutory law and guide the judges’ decision-making.

“The jury’s instructions are not simply the third degree murder law. It is a third degree murder that is broken down into each of its elements – in the words of courts that have explained and worked out what each of those elements means,” said Angela Porter . Associate Professor at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law at St. Paul.

Prepared for a judgment

It is not clear how quickly the jury will decide once it receives the case. The jurors remain isolated during their deliberations at a local hotel. Porter said confiscated jurors’ desire to return to their lives and families can sometimes be a motivating factor in their pace.

As the judges consider, tensions will remain high in the twin cities and across the country. Floyd’s murder sparked worldwide outrage when the video of the police subjugating him went viral on social media. It led to peaceful mass demonstrations that sometimes led to violence.

The image of a white cop, casually indifferent to the suffering of a black man begging for his life beneath his knee, made the race an inevitable part of the court and jury selection.

Among the 14 selected jurors are three black men, including two immigrants. a black woman; two women who identify as multiracial; two white men; and six white women.

Two are alternatives and it is not clear who they are, so the exact racial and ethnic makeup of the jury is not clear.

But the public shouldn’t be in a rush to get a verdict, said Frank Aba-Onu, president of the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers.

“I think when we watch we have to give people grace and time because they have to go through each point, the items,” he said. “There are people from different walks of life, from different backgrounds, and you see and hear things differently and you need to come to a consensus.”

If they cannot pass judgment, the judge can declare a mistrial and the state might try to convict chauvin again.

Trial version basics

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin (right), charged with the murder of George Floyd (right), and his defense attorney Eric Nelson take notes during his April trial.

Screen shot of the Court TV video

Who is who: A look at the key players in the study.

Have to know:: Answers to important questions about the study.

What we know about the jurors: The 12 jurors and two alternates selected to consider the case include a chemist, a youth volunteer, a cardiac nurse and an IT professional.

Important questions about the deliberations of the jury answered: The panel will consider whether the former Minneapolis officer’s actions in police custody last May resulted in George Floyd’s death.

Chauvin’s attorney is outnumbered but has help: No fewer than four law enforcement attorneys have appeared so far, compared to a single attorney defending Derek Chauvin.

Legion of Chauvin Prosecutors, each with their own role: Viewers can be impressed by the multitude of prosecutors who take turns presenting their case. The choice of who does what is no accident.

MPR News on its reporting: Nancy Lebens, the newsroom’s assistant editor-in-chief, answered questions from the audience about our reporting plans.

George Floyd and his legacy

People stand arm in arm and pray in front of a large building.

George Floyd’s brother Terrence Floyd (second from left) Rachel Noerdlinger (left), Attorney Ben Crump and Rev. Al Sharpton (right) pray during a press conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Evan Frost | MPR news

Remembering George Floyd, the man: Before becoming a symbol in the fight for racial justice, friends said George Floyd was a “gentle giant” looking for a fresh start.

Do George Floyd Square: So the place where George Floyd was killed – 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis – is being redesigned.

Save the plywood – and remind you of a movement: Two black women are trying to keep the murals painted on shop windows in the twin cities.

Calls for change: Here’s what some MPR News activists tell about their experience of racing in Minnesota, why they are marching, and what they hope for in the future.

Continue reading

A group of people with their fists in the air.

People raised their fists in the air during a rally for black and Asian solidarity in George Floyd Square on Sunday.

Evan Frost | MPR news

Lawmakers controversy over public safety practices as Chauvin’s verdict approaches: When the public is ready for judgment and security plans are put in place, there is also pressure on the heads of state to decide how to respond to both the short-term effects and the more general calls for change.

Critics say the chauvinist defense “armed” the gun stigma for black Americans with addiction: Derek Chauvin’s defense has suggested that George Floyd’s drug use may have made him “more volatile” and unpredictable, which justifies the use of force. Critics say Floyd needs health care and compassion. (NPR)

How does the chauvin process feel for the neighbors keeping watch in George Floyd Square: People in the community talk about black liberation, “cultural” visitors and why there is no television showing the process. (Sahan Journal)

NPR’s Live Blog: The latest from the Derek Chauvin murder trial.

Questions about the chauvin process? Ask us

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