MINNEAPOLIS — That’s a wrap on the first week of witness testimony within the homicide trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged within the loss of life of George Floyd final Memorial Day.
The week began with heart-wrenching eyewitness accounts of Floyd’s death, with several witnesses breaking down as they recounted their attempts to intervene. But within the second half of the week, testimony shifted to focus on police body-camera videos, with insight from paramedics and police officers about what occurred that night, and what division coverage directs them to do.
Jurors have not heard from medical specialists but. Their testimony will probably be key for prosecutors as a result of the protection argues Floyd diedfrom a combination of medical issues, drug use and his wrestle with police. Prosecutors say he died from extreme use of pressure — particularly, Chauvin’s knee on his neck for greater than 9 minutes.
Here are the highlights:
Videos, movies, movies
Jurors noticed the video – the viral one Minneapolis teen Darnella Frazier recorded of Floyd’s struggle with police – nearly earlier than they bought their seats heat. Prosecutors played the full video – nine-minutes-plus – during their opening arguments.
Based on their answers during jury-selection questioning, it was the first time most members of the panel noticed the entire thing. But they’d see and listen to movies and audio of the wrestle many extra occasions earlier than the tip of the week..
There had been replays from four police bodycams. From a digicam put in by the City of Minneapolis above a gasoline station throughout the road from the incident. From cellphone movies filmed by different bystanders. And from security cameras inside the Cup Foods store the place Floyd used a suspected counterfeit $20 invoice to purchase cigarettes.
More video proof might come because the trial continues. Cynthia Cohen, a jury guide at Verdict Success in Los Angeles, mentioned the screenings have given the panel a you-are-there really feel. “Jurors become numb from repetitive viewings if it is a one-view camera,” mentioned Cohen. “However, different camera angles make the experience more profound. They see something new or something more in-depth in each subsequent video.”
Derek Chauvin’s trial is traumatic – for witnesses and viewers
Almost everybody who testified about watching Floyd take his final breath beneath Chauvin’s knee grew to become choked up on the witness stand this week. On Wednesday, the choose needed to name a 10-minute recess when Charles McMillian, 61, began to sob as he watched video exhibiting Floyd fighting police and calling out for his mom.
Genevieve Hansen, 27, an off-duty firefighter who stumbled throughout the scene that day, cried recalling her pleas to the officers to permit her to manage help to Floyd. “I was desperate to help,” Hansen mentioned Tuesday as she teared up, touched a tissue to her eyes and took a drink of water.
Simply watching video of Floyd’s loss of life can take an emotional toll on viewers, particularly individuals of shade who’ve been repeatedly uncovered to microaggressions and viral incidents of racism and police brutality, mentioned Nadine Kaslow, director of the Atlanta Trauma Alliance. But witnessing a severely traumatic occasion – comparable to Floyd’s loss of life – in particular person can have “profound” psychological results, each brief and long run.
Frazier, 18, the teen who recorded the bystander video that went viral, informed prosecutors the incident has modified her life. Crying, she mentioned she has stayed up some nights “apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.” Other witnesses shared comparable emotions of guilt for not stepping in, although an officer stored bystanders at bay.
Many in Minneapolis are fearful Chauvin’s trial will probably be retraumatizing, significantly for Black youngsters who’re liable to struggling severe psychological well being penalties. More on that here. (And it is been hard for journalists, too.)
Defense has raised the difficulty of George Floyd’s drug use. So has prosecution.
Prosecution and protection attorneys started laying out their methods over Floyd’s use of medicine — one thing prosecutors contend is not a consider Floyd’s loss of life however the protection contends was. The state tried to short-circuit the protection’s tactic, first raised in opening statements, by bringing to the courtroom a key witness whose testimony steered Floyd’s tolerance of medicine was excessive.
Floyd’s girlfriend since 2017, Courteney Ross, 45, was emotional from the beginning of questioning Thursday by prosecutor Matthew Frank. Both had been hooked on opiates, Ross mentioned.
Lead protection lawyer Eric Nelson identified that Ross and Floyd additionally used medication aside from opiates. But when Frank resumed his questioning, he highlighted that Ross and Floyd had not died after they used these medication. More on Courteney Ross here.
Multiple cops questioned Derek Chauvin’s use of pressure
Three Minneapolis Police Department officers said Chauvin should have stopped his deadly use of force – the strain of his knee on Floyd’s neck – as soon as he had stopped resisting.
Chauvin pressed his knee in opposition to Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, not lifting it up till a paramedic gestured that he wanted to position Floyd on a gurney. According to the prosecution’s account, for two ½ of these minutes, Floyd lay underneath Chauvin’s knee with out a pulse.
It was “totally unnecessary,” mentioned veteran Minneapolis police Lt. Richard Zimmerman. “First of all, holding him down to the ground, face-down, and putting your knee on the neck for that amount of time is uncalled for.”
Minneapolis cops are educated on the “use of force continuum,” which implies they’re supposed to offer solely the quantity of pressure vital and cheap to counter a menace, as much as lethal pressure – like a knee on the neck. Officers are required to always reevaluate that menace and the extent of pressure wanted: whether or not it is a knee on the neck or grabbing somebody’s arm by the elbow to guide them away.
“I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt,” Zimmerman mentioned Friday. “And that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.”
COVID-19 looms over proceedings
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have an effect on the trial on the Hennepin County Government Center, the place the courtroom holds as much as 32 individuals at a time, separated partially by plastic obstacles. (Last month, the choose talked about throughout jury choice that he had obtained his first dose of vaccine.)
The restricted capability means only one particular person from every of Floyd and Chauvin’s households is allowed to be within the room at a time. Floyd’s brothers Rodney and Philonise, in addition to his cousin Shareeduh Tate, had been within the room at one level this week. No one was within the seat for Chauvin’s household.
Everyone within the courtroom has been sporting a face masks — besides the witnesses and attorneys throughout questioning. That means it is onerous to make out among the facial expressions of jurors, who’re every seated at particular person desks, spaced a number of ft aside. Chauvin, too, has been sporting a face masks as observes the proceedings and takes notes on a authorized pad.
Contributing: Trevor Hughes, USA TODAY