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Derek Chauvin trial


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CBS Live Updates: Testimony begins in trial of Derek Chauvin, former officer charged in George Floyd's death

Erin Donaghue

March 29, 2021 / 2:08 PM

Testimony began Monday following opening statements in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin, who was seen in a disturbing video kneeling on the neck of the unarmed Black man, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. 

Prosecutors played the video of Floyd's death for the jurors during their opening statements, saying Chauvin used lethal force against a "defenseless" and handcuffed Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said Floyd died of oxygen deprivation beneath the pressure of Chauvin's knee, but defense attorney Eric Nelson argued Floyd died of a heart arrhythmia complicated by the fentanyl and methamphetamine he had ingested before his arrest. 

Following opening statements, prosecutors called their first witness to the stand, a 911 dispatcher who said she called a police sergeant when she saw officers restraining Floyd on video footage from a camera across the street.

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NRO Derek Chauvin’s Attorney Opens Trial Claiming He Used ‘Necessary’ Force during George Floyd Arrest

Zachary Evans

Mar. 29 2021

Attorneys representing former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin opened his murder trial Monday morning by arguing that their client used a “necessary” level of force while arresting George Floyd, and said that Floyd’s death was the result of a combination of factors outside Chauvin’s control.

Chauvin was filmed pinning African American Minneapolis resident George Floyd to the ground during his arrest in May 2020. Floyd lost consciousness while Chauvin knelt on his neck, and was pronounced dead soon after the incident. The death of Floyd sparked massive riots and protests against police brutality across the U.S.

Attorney Jerry Blackwell, appointed to the prosecution by state Attorney General Keith Ellison, said that prosecutors would show that Chauvin killed Floyd through excessive use of force.

“You will learn that on May 25, 2020 that Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of Mr. George Floyd,” Blackwell said.

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Alpha News/Power Line Jury Make up

Scott Johnson

Mar. 29 2021

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Given the media’s interest in the racial angle, the court has provided the media the racial self-identification and age demographic of the jurors. Here is the information on the twelve:

• No. 2: white male; 20s
• No. 9: multi/mixed-race woman; 20s
• No. 19: white male; 30s
• No. 27: black male; 30s
• No. 44: white woman; 50s
• No. 52: black male; 30s
• No. 55: white woman; 50s
• No. 79: black male; 40s
• No. 85: multi/mixed-race woman; 40s
• No. 89: white woman; 50s
• No. 91: black woman; 60s
• No. 92: white woman; 40s

Here are my notes on the the twelve jurors who will serve as regulars. The first three are adapted from my notes and the rest are excerpted from my daily trial updates.

Juror number 2

Juror number 2 is an intelligent guy who works as a chemist. He is passionate about his work. In the narrative account of what he knew about the case in his juror questionnaire, he wrote, “Floyd escaped from the car and was killed.” He professed not to have seen the videos. He has visited the scene at 38th and Chicago because Floyd’s death was “a transformative event.” He strongly agrees with the proposition that the judicial system is biased against blacks.

He views Black Lives Matter as “too extreme,” but he supports the movement. He believes that everyone should matter equally. He referred at one point to his synagogue in one of Minneapolis’s western suburbs. If I were defense counsel Eric Nelson, I would have pressed this guy much more intensely.

Juror number 9

Juror number 9 is a young lady originally from Brainerd in outstate Minnesota. She was “super excited” to be summoned in this case. The case is a huge deal nationwide, she said, very important to everyone, but she understands how the outcome will affect someone’s life. Could she foresee herself voting to acquit? She committed to render an impartial verdict based on the evidence. She has a somewhat negative impression of Derek Chauvin. She wants to hear all the evidence in the case.

She has a relative who serves as a police officer in Brainerd. She believes that blacks don’t receive equal treatment in the judicial system, but that Black Lives Matter has turned in a propaganda scheme.

Juror number 19

My notes reflect that juror number 19 was “honest, straightforward, easy to talk to.” He has no concerns for his or his family’s personal safety. It makes me wonder if he in touch with the reality of this case.

He works as an auditor. He had seen portions of the video two or three times and had a somewhat negative view of Chauvin because “someone died, and that’s obviously not a positive thing.” He thought that “George should have been given the same justice as Chauvin,” although he expressed no view of Chauvin’s innocence or guilt. He didn’t think Floyd’s use of drugs should influence the outcome of the case against Chauvin.

Juror number 27

Juror number 27 is a multilingual immigrant. He came to the United States — I think from somewhere in Francophone Africa — 14 years ago. He works in IT. He loves technology. He expressed no concern for his physical safety. He said he wants to serve as a juror to make the justice system work. In response to questions posed by pro bono prosecutor Steve Schleicher, he stated he disagrees with proposals to defund the police.

Juror number 44

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Chauvin trial day 1 [updated]

Scott Johnson

Mar. 30 2021

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Following the opening statements the State called three witnesses. The first was dispatcher Jena Scurry. The direct examination by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank was a plodding bore, but she was a good witness for the State. Watching the scene unfold at 38th and Chicago on a video monitor in her office, she thought “something wasn’t right.” She called the cops — MPR sergeant David Fleeker (I’m not sure how his name is spelled) on the cops.

Next up was bystander Alisha Oyler, who was working on May 25 at the Speedway Station across the street from Cup Foods. Although she took several videos, she professed not to remember much about the events. Are you kidding me? She was a terrible witness except insofar as she gave the State the opportunity to replay the famous bystander video by juxtaposing it with Oyler’s.

At this point I headed off for an urgent care visit. I watched the testimony of martial arts expert David Williams II on my cell phone. Williams was a bystander on the scene at the time of the incident. He can be heard on the video. I didn’t realize that martial arts experience made him an expert on cause of death, but he opined on the “blood choke” he observed Chauvin working on Floyd. He watched it kill him like a fish.

Williams’s testimony beyond his observations at the time are objectionable in my opinion, [UPDATE: but Judge Cahill disagrees. See his order on defendant’s motions in limine paragraph 22. I regret this oversight in my original comments here. Consistent with his ruling, Judge Cahill struck Williams’s assertion that Chauvin’s choke killed Floyd, but the jury heard it.]

This guy is a devastating witness for the State. Williams continues this morning.

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Chauvin trial day 2

Scott Johnson

Apr. 1 2021

Minnesota martial arts practitioner Donald Williams returned to the stand and concluded testimony that began Monday afternoon. He reiterated his observations culminating in Floyd’s death: tremendous pain in Floyd’s face, his eyes rolling back in his head, his mouth open, drooling, gasping for air. All the while Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck, Williams’s “energy” did not let him feel he could intervene. After Floyd was loaded into the ambulance, Williams called 911 believing he had witnessed a murder.

The scope Judge Cahill afforded Williams on direct examination required penetrating cross examination. I didn’t think defense counsel Eric Nelson rose to the occasion either in his attempts to distinguish mixed martial arts from police restraint or in his recitation of the vulgar names Williams had called Chauvin as Floyd lay prone under Chauvin’s knee. Like the bystanders who followed Williams to the stand, I thought Williams’s anger was understandable given his perception of what he had witnessed.

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The testimony of these bystander witnesses featured videos and photographs of the incident. The testimony was raw and emotional. I’m not sure why, but the witnesses were allowed to testify to the effect of the incident on them. I didn’t think that Nelson found a productive line of cross examination on either Darnella or Alyssa. Hansen is another story.

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Chauvin trial day 3

Scott Johnson

Apr. 1 2021

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The bodycam video is the first evidence of the larger context of the knee on the neck scenario. We haven’t heard much about it from either the prosecution or the defense. It’s easy to miss, but you can hear Floyd explaining his drug use — “I was just hooping earlier.” One of the officers describes Floyd’s eyes “shaking back and forth really fast. Is that PCP?” I think it is Officer Kueng who observes to Floyd, “You’ve got foam around your mouth too.”

We see the officers try to get Floyd seated in the squad car. He is wildly resisting and yelling he can’t breathe.

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SDwaters

From the coverage (admittedly limited) I've seen, a lot of the prosecution's witness presentation has been of the "how did that make you feel?" school.  Not sure how the emotions of witnesses has any bearing on the determination of guilt/innocence if judgement is supposed to be based on facts. 

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18 minutes ago, SDwaters said:

From the coverage (admittedly limited) I've seen, a lot of the prosecution's witness presentation has been of the "how did that make you feel?" school.  Not sure how the emotions of witnesses has any bearing on the determination of guilt/innocence if judgement is supposed to be based on facts. 

 

For The Left Feeling trump Facts Every Time.

"The First Time You Think, You Stop Being A Democrat."

Evan Sayet

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Live updates: George Floyd’s girlfriend said pills made her feel like she was ‘going to die’

Follow along here for breaking updates in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Alpha News Staff

April 1, 2021

Thursday, April 1

Courteney Batya Ross was the first witness called Thursday morning. She was in a relationship with George Floyd for three years and talked at length about Floyd’s addiction to opioids as well as her own struggles with addiction. 

Ross’s testimony revealed that Floyd was hospitalized from an overdose in March 2020, two months before his death. Ross said he was sober up until two weeks before his death, when she “noticed a change in his behavior.”

She said the opioids they took a week before Floyd’s death reminded her of the pills from the March incident and made her feel like she was “going to die.”

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Chauvin trial day 4

Scott Johnson

Apr. 2 2021

The State opened the day with the testimony of George Floyd girl friend Courteney Ross. She discussed her relationship with Floyd dating to the day in August 2017 that he asked asked her how she was doing when she was waiting in the lobby of Harbor Lights to visit her son’s father. She recalled Floyd asking her, “Sis, you okay, Sis?” She said she wasn’t and he asked if he could pray with her. Floyd was working at Harbor Lights as a security guard.

Ross was called to provide so-called “spark of life” evidence regarding Floyd. Such evidence is admissible in a murder case to provide a human portrait of the victim. In this case it presents one more factor contributing to the prejudice Chauvin must overcome to have his case determined on the facts.

The State also used Ross’s testimony to raise the issue of Floyd’s drug use in sympathetic form. Both Ross and Floyd struggled with opiate addictions in the course of their relationship. She said that they both suffered from chronic pain and started with prescription opiates. They consumed illegally obtained oxycontin and oxycodone together off and on throughout their relationship.

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