March 31, 2021


Former Minneapolis Police Office Derek Chauvin’s trial began Monday. Chauvin was charged with second and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter the death of George Floyd last spring.

Floyd died in police custody on May 25, 2020. Chauvin pinned his knee in Floyd’s neck for nine minutes, which made him cry out, “I can’t breathe.”

This line has become a rallying cry against Chauvin since Floyd shouted it over 20 times before he died.

Derek Chauvin Trial Updates

Peter Cahill is the judge in the trial. Cahill began the case by denying the state’s request to keep the audio and information from four primary witnesses private. The court will make the information publicly available.

One of the witnesses is an 18-year-old who recorded the entire video that went viral at the scene. She was 17 at the time, so her identity will remain private. The court will only use her first name in the case.

The trial has caused a lot of rallies throughout the nation. On Monday night, 200 protestors gathered outside of the Minneapolis courthouse where the case is occurring. No violence ensued, but there were police on the scene.

The police will maintain a presence outside the court for the remainder of the trial. Whatever the decision is in this case, it could cause some potentially violent demonstrations in Minneapolis. In the summer of 2020, protests shut down the city for several days. The streetcorner where Floyd died has become a makeshift memorial

The Minnesota National Guard has also released 200 troops to monitor Minneapolis and keep things under control.

The Prosecution’s Witnesses

The prosecution has called three people to testify thus far. The first person utilized was Jena Lee Scurry, a 911 dispatcher who was on call during the incident. She told the judge, “I became concerned that something might be wrong,” she said. “It was a gut instinct of, in the incident, something’s not going right.”

Alisha Oyler, the prosecution’s second witness, was a cashier at the local Speedway Convenience Store. She filmed multiple videos on her phone of the incident, so she had a first-hand account.

The third witness is Donald Williams, a trained MMA fighter. He has 12 professional bouts under his belt, so he knows a lot about chokeholds. His background as an MMA fighter makes him a key witness for the prosecution. Williams was on his way to get food in Minneapolis when he witnessed the arrest.

Williams called the police to shut down Chauvin’s chokehold. The prosecution played Williams’ 911 in court, which brought the fighter to tears. On the call from the scene, Williams said, “He just pretty much killed this guy who was not resisting arrest.”

The Arguments

The defense’s main argument is that the scene spanned longer than just the nine minutes and 29 seconds where Derek Chauvin was detaining George Floyd. They stated that Floyd was on drugs and resisting arrest in their opening arguments, and they claim the drugs in Floyd’s system were the cause of death, not Chauvin’s actions.

The prosecution is claiming that this was not a split-second decision. They argue Chauvin was on Floyd’s neck for close to ten minutes, and he had plenty of time to detain Floyd without killing him, even if he was resisting arrest.

The trial should continue for several weeks.

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