Jury Reaches a Verdict in Derek Chauvin Trial

The jurors, who began deliberating for four hours on Monday night, must decide whether to convict Derek Chauvin of murder. Here’s the latest.,

LiveUpdated April 20, 2021, 4:38 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:38 p.m. ET

The jurors, who deliberated for about 10 hours the past two days, have made a decision on whether to convict Mr. Chauvin, who faces murder and manslaughter charges. It will be read Tuesday afternoon.

Video

Video player loading
Jurors deliver a verdict in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, a Black man whose death prompted nationwide protests against police brutality.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV
image

April 20, 2021, 4:28 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:28 p.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

When the alert went out from the court about 2:30 p.m. local time that a verdict had been reached and would be read in an hour, residents, activists and journalists descended on the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis. For weeks, downtown had been eerily quiet, as buildings were boarded up and office workers stayed home. But suddenly on Tuesday afternoon there were traffic jams, and the green space in front of the court felt like an anxious street festival, with everyone waiting to see if the city would burst into celebration over a guilty verdict or explode into anger over another police officer being acquitted after killing a Black man.

image

April 20, 2021, 4:27 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:27 p.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from Minneapolis

Outside of the building where the jury’s verdict is about to be read, Courteney Ross, who was George Floyd’s girlfriend and who testified in the trial, says she is confident that Derek Chauvin will be convicted of second-degree murder, the most severe charge he is facing. “I am convinced that there is going to be a guilty verdict coming,” Ms. Ross tells reporters.

image

April 20, 2021, 4:14 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:14 p.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

Employees at Cup Foods, the store outside of which George Floyd died, were rushing to close up their business before the verdict was read this afternoon. “Safety’s more important,” said Billy Abumayyaleh, one of the owners, as he stared at a television playing the news of preparations for the verdict. “As long as we get a guilty verdict, that’s all that matters.”

image

April 20, 2021, 4:17 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:17 p.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

“Just on edge about seeing what it’s going to be,” Raykel Neubert said as she worked on someone’s cellphone at Cup Foods. Neubert witnessed Mr. Floyd being pinned in the street by Derek Chauvin last year and has been shaken ever since.

image

April 20, 2021, 4:14 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:14 p.m. ET

If the jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin finds him guilty on any of the three charges he faces, it will certainly be a dramatic televised moment when the verdict is read. But how much prison time Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd, would have to serve if he is found guilty will not be decided until several weeks later, after a pre-sentencing report about Mr. Chauvin’s background is produced. Judge Peter A. Cahill would also have to determine if there were special circumstances of the crime that would justify a higher sentence than the prison terms laid out by Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines.

Mr. Chauvin, who has been out on bail since last fall, might also be able to go home after a guilty verdict, as he awaits sentencing. It would be up to the judge to either order Mr. Chauvin to jail immediately, or let him remain out on bail, should he be found guilty. Mr. Chauvin is charged with two counts of murder — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — and the sentencing guidelines for each, for a defendant like Mr. Chauvin with no criminal history, is 12.5 years. But the maximum sentences for each charge differ: Second-degree murder could be as high as 40 years in prison, while the maximum for third-degree murder is 25 years.

Mr. Chauvin is also charged with second-degree manslaughter, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years, but under the guidelines he would most likely be sentenced to four years. But the state has asked for a higher sentence — what is known as an “upward sentencing departure” — citing aggravating factors including, the state has said in court filings, that the killing of Mr. Floyd happened in the presence of children, that Mr. Floyd was treated with “particular cruelty” by Mr. Chauvin, and that Mr. Chauvin, as a police officer, “abused his position of authority.”

Mr. Chauvin had the option of having the jury rule on the aggravating factors or putting it in the hands of Judge Cahill. At the end of closing arguments on Monday, Mr. Chauvin waived his right to have the jury decide, putting the decision on sentencing solely in the hands of Judge Cahill.

image

April 20, 2021, 4:12 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:12 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The jury’s verdict is expected to be read between 3:30 and 4 p.m. local time.

image

April 20, 2021, 4:10 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 4:10 p.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from Minneapolis

Derek Chauvin is now at the courthouse with his lawyer, per a pool reporter, waiting for the jury’s verdict to be read.

image

April 20, 2021, 3:31 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 3:31 p.m. ET
Demonstrators march through downtown Minneapolis Monday as jury deliberations started in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
Demonstrators march through downtown Minneapolis Monday as jury deliberations started in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The jury has reached a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, and its decision will be read between 3:30 and 4 p.m. local time.

Mr. Chauvin faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges. The most serious charge, second-degree murder, would most likely carry an 11- to 15-year sentence, but it could carry a penalty as high as 40 years.

The verdict comes the day after lawyers gave their closing arguments, the culmination of three weeks of witness testimonies that were livestreamed to a large audience. The 12-person jury heard from 45 witnesses in total, 38 from the prosecution and seven from Mr. Chauvin’s defense.

Among them was a young woman who used her cellphone to videotape the arrest of Mr. Floyd, which infuriated many Americans who saw his death as an emblem of racial injustice. A wave of protests — possibly the largest in American history — washed over the country in the weeks and months that followed.

Other witnesses included use-of-force experts, the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, paramedics who responded to the scene and medical experts, including a pulmonologist and a cardiologist.

During closing arguments, prosecutors asked jurors to “believe your eyes” and the feelings they had while watching the wrenching videos of Mr. Floyd’s final moments under the knee of Mr. Chauvin. The defense argued that Mr. Chauvin was acting as any reasonable police officer would, and said the state had ignored other possible contributing factors to Mr. Floyd’s death, including heart problems and drug use.

In Minneapolis, tensions are high as the public awaits the jury’s verdict. More than 3,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen have been deployed to the city, and on Monday law enforcement agencies and community organizations asked for peace.

image

April 20, 2021, 2:59 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 2:59 p.m. ET

By Matt Furber

Members of the Minnesota State Patrol surrounding a Target store during protests over the death of George Floyd last May.
Members of the Minnesota State Patrol surrounding a Target store during protests over the death of George Floyd last May. Credit…Craig Lassig/EPA, via Shutterstock

As jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial finished their first hours of deliberation on Monday night, Tracy Wiggins was putting his daughter to bed at their home in south Minneapolis and worrying about what would happen next in the case that has catalyzed American concerns over race and policing.

“As a Black man in America, none of this surprises me,” said Mr. Wiggins, 52, who works in project management for Target, one of the city’s biggest companies. “I’ve been told all my life this is how the world is. The newness is for other people.”

Mr. Wiggins, who grew up in Virginia Beach, Va., and served six years in the Marine Corps, said he and his wife have followed the trial in fits and starts during their busy remote workdays. He was surprised to see so many police officers, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, testify that Mr. Chauvin’s actions violated Minneapolis Police Department policy.

“You usually don’t see police department officials come out and speak against a current or former police officer,” Mr. Wiggins said. “That was striking early on.”

Minneapolis has been on edge for weeks in anticipation of a verdict. The city has stepped up security, erected fences and barricades and called in more than 3,000 National Guard troops.

Mr. Wiggins said the damage to property, including at stores owned by his employer, during the protests following Mr. Floyd’s death last summer was perhaps a necessary evil, given the harm that has come to Black people at the hands of law enforcement for generations.

“As unfortunate as it is, if that’s what it takes to institute change, then so be it,” he said. “To save lives in the long term, I can’t say that I’m opposed to it.”

Mr. Wiggins said he hoped that a greater understanding of the discrimination that Black people face could lead to meaningful change. “I’m a little concerned that there will be a backlash, like there was with affirmative action in the ’80s,” he said, “but I’m cautiously optimistic.”

image

April 20, 2021, 1:40 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 1:40 p.m. ET
National Guard members and Minneapolis police officers standing guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
National Guard members and Minneapolis police officers standing guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday.Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Cities across the country are preparing for protests as the jury in the murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin entered its second day of deliberations on Tuesday. With the memory of last summer’s protests after George Floyd’s death still fresh, some states have ordered National Guard troops to be on standby in anticipation of large protests if there is an acquittal.

Police chiefs are urging protesters to be peaceful, and businesses in many cities, from Indianapolis to Los Angeles to New York, are boarding up windows. The courthouse where the trial is being held is surrounded by razor-wire, fencing, concrete barriers and dozens of National Guard troops.

It will be up to each governor to decide whether troops or law enforcement will be necessary to help with possible protests. So far, Illinois, Minnesota and Washington, D.C., have done so.

Here’s how cities are preparing:

  • Minneapolis: On Monday, Gov. Tim Walz declared a “peacetime emergency” and said that state troopers from Nebraska and Ohio would come to Minneapolis to help overwhelmed local and state law enforcement. There are already 3,000 National Guard troops in Minneapolis and 1,000 law enforcement officers, including state troopers. The force is patrolling the downtown and metropolitan areas.

    Construction workers boarded up dozens of additional buildings downtown on Tuesday morning. The local police and sheriff’s deputies patrolled the streets in squad cars near the courthouse, focusing on shopping centers. And businesses set up additional concrete barriers and fencing, making it harder to access parking lots and entrances. Some businesses have taken to spray painting or posting signs to alert customers that they are open, even if windows appear covered. On one corner downtown, at least six National Guard Humvees were parked with about a dozen guards.

  • Washington, D.C.: On Monday, the National Guard was called up in case of protests through May 9, according to a news release. Last summer, the Guard used chemical irritants, including tear gas, and a helicopter to try to clear Lafayette Square, the plaza in front of the White House, drawing criticism about the heavy-handed policing of the protests.

  • Chicago: Gov. JB Pritzker ordered state troopers and 125 National Guard troops to help law enforcement in Chicago. The authorities in Chicago were already on edge after the police released a video of an officer shooting Adam Toledo, an unarmed 13-year-old boy, on April 16. The protests so far have been peaceful. But last summer, the city took to raising the bridges in downtown Chicago to prevent protests from reaching major retailers, fearing violence similar to that in Minneapolis.

  • New York: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo hasn’t ordered National Guard troops to New York City. Last summer, the city’s Police Department, which has more than 30,000 officers, handled the protests after Mr. Floyd’s death. The first nights of protests last year ended in sporadic violence and looting in SoHo and Midtown.

image

April 20, 2021, 1:23 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 1:23 p.m. ET
The George Floyd memorial site in Minneapolis last summer.
The George Floyd memorial site in Minneapolis last summer.Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

As jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial consider a verdict, Minnesota’s largest employers are bracing for a reopening of last summer’s wounds.

George Floyd’s killing ignited violence and unrest last summer that forced Target to shutter a number of its stores and limit hours in others. More broadly, it set off a social reckoning across corporate America, as business leaders sought to address racial inequity both within their own walls and the community at large. In Minnesota, more than 80 companies including General Mills, Best Buy and 3M started the Minnesota Business Coalition for Racial Equity aimed at improving outcomes for the state’s Black community.

As the state gears up for the possibility of renewed unrest, a spokesman for Target said the retailer was “closely monitoring the trial and any surrounding activity,” but did not indicate any plans to close stores in advance of a verdict.

The majority of the company’s headquarters work force is already working from home, but for those employees still in its main office and stores downtown, “we’ve communicated to them about the trial, shared that we’re monitoring closely and let them know we’ll reach out if there’s any impact to our business,” the Target spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for General Mills, which sells its Cheerios and other baked goods around the world, said the company remained focused on broader issues facing the company and country.

“As a global company headquartered in Minneapolis, we understand the nation is in a long overdue conversation on systemic racism,” she said. “Further, we know we have a role to play and all of us have a lot of work to do on this count.” The company’s top priority is communicating its “support and allyship” to its employees, she said.

Minnesota’s largest company by revenue, UnitedHealth Group, is “offering training for managers to have conversations with their teams, and seminars focused on empathy and compassion,” a spokesman said. “Our priority during this period is supporting our employees who continue to be affected in different ways by this case.”

At 3M, which makes products across a broad array of industries, the company has increased resources in its employee assistance program, a spokesman said. “We continue to have, and encourage, open discussions with our colleagues to listen, understand, and act, as needed.”

image

April 20, 2021, 12:54 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 12:54 p.m. ET
Video

transcript

bars

0:00/1:13

-0:00

transcript

‘Praying the Verdict Is the Right Verdict,’ Biden Tells Floyd Family

President Biden disclosed the details of a phone call he shared with the family of George Floyd, as the family awaits the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of killing Mr. Floyd.

I’ve come to know George’s family, not just in passing. I’ve spent time with them. I spent time with his little daughter, Gianna. You should see this beautiful child and his brother, both brothers, matter of fact. And so I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling. And so I waited till the jury was sequestered, and then I called, and as I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but Philonise said today on television, they accurately said it was a private conversation because Joe understands what it’s like to go through loss, and they’re a good family. And they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what that verdict is. I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict which is — I think it’s overwhelming in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now — you wouldn’t hear me say that. But so, we just talked. I wanted to know how they were doing, just personally, and we talked about personal things.

Video player loading
President Biden disclosed the details of a phone call he shared with the family of George Floyd, as the family awaits the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of killing Mr. Floyd.CreditCredit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Biden called the family of George Floyd on Monday to express his support and sympathy, telling reporters on Tuesday that the evidence against the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was “overwhelming” and that he was praying for the “right verdict.”

It is highly unusual for a president to weigh in on behalf of a specific outcome in a judicial proceeding. On Monday, Peter A. Cahill, the Minnesota state judge who is presiding in the case, warned politicians to refrain from commenting on the outcome after Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, urged demonstrators to mobilize in anticipation of the verdict.

“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they are feeling, so I waited till the jury was sequestered,” Mr. Biden said of his conversation with the Floyd family during brief remarks in the Oval Office.

Video

transcript

bars

0:00/14:23

-0:00

transcript

From Rodney King to George Floyd: Reliving the Scars of Police Violence

The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing. But cycles of protests over systemic racism and policing are not new. We watched the trial with the families of Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Stephon Clark to see this moment in history through their eyes.

“May it please the court. Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, good morning. The video evidence, I think, will be very helpful and meaningful to you because you can see it for yourself without lawyer talk, lawyer spin, lawyer anything. You can see it for yourself.” “Please. Please. I can’t breathe. Please, man. Please somebody help me. Please. I’m about to die in this thing.” “Oh my God.” “What did he say?” “He said, I’m about to die. Oh my God.” “While watching the George Floyd trial, I noticed the differences and the importance of footage.” “This corner –” “When Stephon was murdered, we only had the officers’ footage. We only had their point of view.” “Hey, show your hands.” “You know, when my son was killed being on the platform, there was several bystanders that filmed. And had it not been for the cameras, we wouldn’t even be here today because they would have probably said it was justified.” “Bro, with your feet on his head, man. You knee on his neck.” “He’s pushing harder.” “Yeah.” “I cannot breathe.” “A little bit more. Right here.” “I don’t watch the footage of my dad’s incident because it’s torture.” “You see the officers giving a trove of blows to his body?” “Yes.” “To his arms, to his torso, to his legs.” “Here it is 30 years later, nothing has changed.” “Now who are you going to believe? The defendants or your own eyes?” “I am watching the George Floyd case with my best friend, Tiffany, at her home.” “Oh my gosh.” “Wow.” “And he’s still on his neck.” “Today was the first time I watched the entire video of George Floyd, and it definitely made me think about my dad begging for his life screaming.” “Check his pulse. Check his pulse.” “His daughter was the same age I was when my dad was beaten.” “My name is Lora Dene King. I’m the middle child of Rodney Glen King.” “The world saw the videotape.” “We thought the video showed excessive force and unnecessary force.” “With that videotape, if they had two eyes and they weren’t blind, you could see that it was excessive force.” “The defense tried to dilute the impact of the tape by dissecting it, frame by frame, in an effort to show that King was a threat to the officers.” “He kind of gave out like a bear-like yell, like a wounded animal. If he had grabbed my officer, it would have been a death grip. If he had grabbed the weapon, he would have had numerous targets.” “He didn’t grab anybody during these events, did he?” “No sir, he did not.” “He couldn’t walk. He had 50 broken bones. His skull was permanently fractured. He had permanent brain damage. My dad was never the same after that. You know, and everybody just considered him to be normal. I think if that happened to anybody, they wouldn’t be normal ever again.” “This doesn’t just affect the person it happened to. It also affects all those people who are out there watching it. They’re all affected forever.” “I was desperate to help.” “I was just kind of emotional, and I went to the African-American that was standing there on the curb. And I was just like, they’re not going to help them.” “Oh my God.” “This man, he witnessed another African-American man getting his life taken. The nine-year-old speaker on the trial.” “Good morning, [inaudible].” “Good morning.” “Which one is you?” “Just so happened to be walking down the street. She will never forget that for the rest of her life.” “You ultimately ended up posting your video to social media, right?” “Correct.” “And it went viral?” “Correct.” “It changed your life, right?” “The girl who filmed George Floyd, the fact that there was nothing she can do to save his life.” “It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more.” “That’s something that will haunt her like George Holliday, who captured my dad’s video.” “Without George Holliday, these four officers might not be on trial.” “He just wanted to test this new camera he had. Like, oh let me take — he stood there shaking, terrified. And he still suffers to this day because that was the right thing to do.” “What could he have done to deserve that?” “If I was to see George Floyd’s daughter today, I wish there was something I can say. But it’s not easy. It’s not easy at all. Because I’m sure she’s watched that videotape. And that’s something that carries in your mental every everyday, just like my dad’s video tape.” “For the jury, a difficult decision ahead, knowing that to acquit the four officers could ignite this city.” “Not guilty of –” Chanting: “No justice, no peace. No justice, no peace.” “And damage to the city of Los Angeles running into billions of dollars.” “That’s what I’m saying. The police, they don’t pay a cent for this trial. So my mother and I, we was watching the George Floyd’s trial. And it brought back so many memories of my son Oscar’s case. Oscar’s last picture in his cellphone was of the officer who shot him.” “My name is Wanda Johnson. I’m the mother of Oscar Grant.” “Grant was shot once in the back as he lay face down on the train station’s platform.” “He was unarmed.” “The 27-year-old officer has said he thought he had drawn his Taser gun –” “– but accidentally pulled out his handgun instead.” “And the incident was captured on cellphone video.” “Video speaks for themselves. And the jury will see that and make the correct decision.” “We knew that we would have a very hard time winning in the court systems because the judicial system was not made for everyone in the society.” “As the situation went on, the crowd began to grow and grow.” “Oh my goodness, the same playbook that they used for what happened with Oscar, they used the same thing for George Floyd. Oh, there was a crowd of angry mob people.” “They were behind them. There were people across the street, people yelling.” “We don’t know if they were going to attack us. I thought about the young man testifying in George Floyd’s case.” “You grew angrier and angrier.” “Calling the police on the police.” “911, what’s the address of the emergency?” “How do you have somebody investigate those that they work with? Of course you’re going to find that they’re going to believe the people that they work with quicker than they will believe the citizens who are filing the complaint.” “Would you like to speak with those sergeants?” “Yeah, I’d like to. He was unresponsive. He wasn’t resisting arrest or any of this.” “OK, one second.” “Murderers, bro. Y’all are just murderers, bro.” “You know, when we was going to jury trial for Oscar, they would ask questions like, ‘Do you know anybody who went to jail? Do you know anybody who had an encounter with the police?’ And as soon as the person said that, they would strike them from being a juror, right? Having a jury that consists of different backgrounds, it could help with the decision-making of innocent or guilty.” “The 27-year-old officer –” “– pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.” “His trial had been moved to Los Angeles over concerns of racial tension and intense media scrutiny.” “Everybody, let’s just pray for one minute.” “Father God, we come to you and your son named Jesus Christ. Father, we ask the people that see this –” “Every time I come to my mom’s house, I’m reminded that my son was killed here.” “My name is Sequette Clark. I’m the mother of Stephon Clark.” “22-year-old Stephon Clark was fatally shot while running from police.” “Clark was see evading authorities after allegedly smashing a car window.” “He was shot eight times in his grandmother’s backyard.” “Police apparently thinking he was holding a gun, now say it was a cellphone.” “Out of fear for their own lives, they fired their service weapon.” “And following the incident, officers manually muted their body cameras at times.” “Move over this way.” “As we watched the George Floyd trial, I invited particular members of my family because you can’t address something in the community or the city or the nation until you address it at home with the family.” “When Mr. Floyd was in distress, Mr. Chauvin wouldn’t help him, didn’t help him.” “So that’s just how they left my boy out there. They handcuffed him after he was dead.” “Excessive force.” “Excessive force and lethal force after the fact of death. I felt saddened, heavy, drained. I felt as if I was a slave 400 years ago. Just hearing how he was dead, seeing how he was dead. And then to turn around and hear the defense’s attempt to bring up the fact that we should not focus on the –” “– 9 minutes and 29 seconds –” “– that it took to kill George Floyd. But we should focus on what went on ahead of that. Anything that does not deal directly with the murder of George Floyd is irrelevant in my opinion.” “He’s 6 to 6 and a half feet tall. You did not know that he had taken heroin. Mr. Floyd did use a counterfeit $20 bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes. Mr. Floyd put drugs in his mouth.” “Poppa’s already dead. George Floyd is already dead.” “That’s right. That’s right.” “So now you’re resurrecting him just to kill him all over again.” “Basically.” “Defame him in order to justify the wrongdoing of your officers, reminded me exactly of what the district attorney did to Stephon.” “The cellphone examination revealed a domestic violence incident that happened with the mother of his children. Texts and phone calls showing that he was seeking drugs and a photograph of his hand holding 10 Xanax pills.” “What was on his cellphone has zero to do with the actions of the police officers at the time of his homicide. I feel like it’s a bittersweet thing that’s happening watching the George Floyd trial. Because I’m optimistic that this is a piece of justice for the death of my son.” “We might not be here. They’re going to get him. They’re going to get him.” “Was a crime committed? The answer to that question is no. And as a result, we will not charge these officers with any criminal liability related to the shooting death or the use of force of Stephon Clark.” “April 14, 1991: King fights emotional and physical scars. So this is basically a photo album book of my dad’s newspaper articles since he’s been in the news. Years and years and years. You throw someone to the wolves and you expect them to be normal. You know, there’s no such thing as normal after that. And then, can you imagine how many Rodney Kings there is that never got videotaped? There’s plenty of them.” “I would have prayed and hoped that Oscar’s trial would have been televised because America has to really look in the mirror and say, ‘Are all people being treated equally?'” “There was excessive use of force against George Floyd –” “We’re not focused on the videotape, his toxicology, his heart condition. We’re focused on the fact that several people witnessed this man get murdered.” “You can see it with our own eyes. It’s crazy.” “People don’t realize what it does to your family. It’s bigger than just a trial and this officer. We never get to see them again. We never get to smell them again and kiss them again. Our lives are completely affected forever.”

Video player loading
The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing. But cycles of protests over systemic racism and policing are not new. We watched the trial with the families of Rodney King, Oscar Grant and Stephon Clark to see this moment in history through their eyes.

“They’re a good family, and they’re calling for peace and tranquillity, no matter what that verdict is. I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict.”

The evidence “is overwhelming in my view,” Mr. Biden said, adding that most of the conversation focused on “personal things.”

The president quickly defended his decision to weigh in on an unresolved trial, saying he thought it was appropriate to do so because all the evidence had been presented and the jury would not hear his remarks.

“I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now,” he added, following a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Later, Mr. Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, brushed aside suggestions that the president’s comments undermined an independent judiciary, but she did not clarify what he meant by calling for “the right” verdict.

“I don’t think he would see it as weighing in on the verdict,” she told reporters during her daily briefing. “He was conveying what many people are feeling across the country, which is compassion for the family.”

Ms. Psaki said Mr. Biden, who flew to Houston to console Mr. Floyd’s family before his funeral last June, had been speaking from his “heart” and would have further comment on the trial once the verdict had been rendered.

Mr. Floyd’s family discussed the president’s call during a television appearance earlier in the day.

“He was just calling,” Philonise Floyd, Mr. Floyd’s brother, told NBC’s “Today” show early Tuesday, a day after the Chauvin jury had retired to consider the verdict.

“He knows how it is to lose a family member, and he knows the process of what we’re going through,” he continued. “So he was just letting us know that he was praying for us, hoping that everything will come out to be OK.”

Shortly after video circulated last May showing Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, Mr. Biden expressed sympathy with the family and called Mr. Floyd’s death an example of an “ingrained systemic cycle of injustice” that plagued the country.

“George Floyd’s life matters,” Mr. Biden said during a livestream with supporters at the time. “It mattered as much as mine. It matters as much as anyone’s in this country. At least it should have.”

image

April 20, 2021, 12:32 p.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 12:32 p.m. ET
The defense lawyer Eric J. Nelson and his client, the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, during closing arguments at the Hennepin County Courthouse on Monday.
The defense lawyer Eric J. Nelson and his client, the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, during closing arguments at the Hennepin County Courthouse on Monday.Credit…Still image, via Court TV

The jury has begun deliberations in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who has been charged in connection with the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died on May 25 after being handcuffed and pinned to the ground under the knee of Mr. Chauvin, who is white, for more than nine minutes.

Throughout the trial, which began on March 29, the jury heard from 45 witnesses, including bystanders and experts, viewed hours of video of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, and heard arguments from the prosecution and the defense, each presenting a different narrative of what caused Mr. Floyd’s death. Here are some of the key people in the trial.

  • Derek Chauvin, 45, had been an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for more than 19 years before George Floyd’s death. During that time, he was the subject of at least 22 complaints and internal investigations.

  • Mr. Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Mr. Floyd.

  • Judge Peter A. Cahill is a 14-year veteran of the bench in Hennepin County. He has previously worked as a public defender, private defense lawyer and prosecutor, rising to become chief deputy under Amy Klobuchar, now a U.S. senator, when she served as the county attorney.

  • The jury — made up of 12 jurors and two alternates — was chosen from a pool of more than 300 people from across Hennepin County. Throughout the trial, they have remained anonymous; their faces were not shown on camera.

  • The jurors’ identities are secret, but the court has released some demographic information: There are three Black men, one Black woman, two women who identified as multiracial, two white men and four white women. They are from urban and suburban areas, ranging in age from 20s to 60s.

  • Jerry W. Blackwell, a corporate attorney, was the first lawyer to speak when the trial opened. Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general, brought Mr. Blackwell in only for this case, and Mr. Blackwell is working for free.

  • Steve Schleicher, an experienced trial and appellate lawyer and former federal prosecutor, spent 13 years in the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota, as the deputy criminal chief of the special prosecution section and the St. Paul branch chief, according to a biography on his firm’s website. He gave the prosecution’s closing argument, while Mr. Blackwell handled its rebuttal.

  • Erin Eldridge, an assistant attorney general, works in the office’s criminal division. Among the witnesses she questioned was Charles McMillian, who broke down on the stand while he recounted watching Mr. Chauvin pin Mr. Floyd to the ground.

  • Matthew Frank, an assistant attorney general for Minnesota, took the lead in questioning many of the witnesses, including several who shared emotional and detailed accounts of Mr. Floyd’s arrest on May 25.

  • Other lawyers on the prosecution team who have not appeared in court include Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general; Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general during the Obama administration who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court; and Sundeep Iyer and Harrison Gray Kilgore, lawyers with Hogan Lovells who joined the prosecution pro hac vice, meaning the judge has allowed them to work on the case despite not being licensed by the bar in Minnesota.

  • Mr. Chauvin is represented by Eric J. Nelson, a defense lawyer who rotates as counsel for the legal defense fund of the Minnesota Police and Peace Officer’s Association. Mr. Nelson took on Mr. Chauvin’s defense over the summer, after his first lawyer retired. Amy Voss, another lawyer, whom Mr. Nelson identified as his assistant, appeared in court throughout the trial but did not speak.

image

April 20, 2021, 11:06 a.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 11:06 a.m. ET

The New York Times

Demonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis on Monday as jury deliberations started in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Damik Wright, the brother of Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by a police officer on April 11, at a protest outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Roosevelt High School students participated in a statewide walkout to protest racial injustice. A couple visited “Say Their Names Cemetery,” a memorial to victims of police violence.

image

April 20, 2021, 10:21 a.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 10:21 a.m. ET
Security at the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday, the first day of jury deliberations.
Security at the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday, the first day of jury deliberations.Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Twelve jurors resumed their deliberations on Tuesday morning in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, marking their second day of discussions over evidence in the closely watched case.

The jurors reconvened at 8 a.m., according to court officials, after meeting for four hours on Monday night after prosecutors and Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer made their closing arguments.

The jurors are being sequestered in a hotel each night until they reach a verdict or determine that it is impossible for them all to agree. They must be unanimous in order to convict or acquit Mr. Chauvin of any of the three charges he is facing: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The jurors’ identities are secret, but the court has released some demographic information: The jurors include four white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman, and two multiracial women. They range in age from their 20s to their 60s.

image

April 20, 2021, 8:23 a.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 8:23 a.m. ET
Judge Peter A. Cahill said the length of deliberations is in the hands of the jurors, who must come to unanimous decisions.
Judge Peter A. Cahill said the length of deliberations is in the hands of the jurors, who must come to unanimous decisions.Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Before Judge Peter A. Cahill sent jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial home last week, he gave them short and vague instructions on what they might need to pack for deliberations.

“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” he said. “Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count.”

So far, the 12 jurors — six white, four Black and two who identify as multiracial — have deliberated for four hours. A verdict could come as soon as Tuesday or stretch into next week or beyond.

On Monday, jurors began discussing the evidence surrounding the death of George Floyd after listening to closing arguments. Prosecutors told them to trust what they saw in a bystander video of Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, pinning a handcuffed Mr. Floyd to the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds. The lawyer for Mr. Chauvin emphasized Mr. Floyd’s use of drugs and said the officer had followed department policies.

During deliberations, the jury will have access to the evidence and exhibits presented in court. The jurors will remain sequestered in a hotel, ideally secluded from outside influences, until reaching a unanimous verdict. If the jury is hung, or cannot reach a decision on one or more charges, the judge may declare a mistrial.

Eric Anderson, senior trial counsel at Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae in California and a former prosecutor, said that jury deliberation lengths vary widely.

“There’s no way of telling how long this will take, particularly when I think that the jurors will try to do the right thing, whatever they think that is,” he said. “And to get to the right thing, they’re going to want to look very closely at the evidence. They’re going to want to look closely at every possible angle.”

It took a jury in Chicago less than eight hours in 2018 to convict Jason Van Dyke, a former Chicago police officer, of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was carrying a knife but heading away from the police.

In the case of Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk in 2017, jurors took 11 hours to reach a verdict, MPR News reported. They found him guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter but not second-degree murder.

image

April 19, 2021, 5:39 p.m. ETApril 19, 2021, 5:39 p.m. ET
Members of George Floyd's family gathered outside the courthouse on Monday with the Rev. Al Sharpton, the family of Daunte Wright, the lawyer Ben Crump, government officials and activists before closing arguments.
Members of George Floyd’s family gathered outside the courthouse on Monday with the Rev. Al Sharpton, the family of Daunte Wright, the lawyer Ben Crump, government officials and activists before closing arguments.Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

After three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, the lawyers gave their concluding arguments on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd.

Judge Peter A. Cahill started the day with instructions for the jury, whose task it is to determine whether Mr. Chauvin is guilty of the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. For second-degree murder, the most serious charge, the state has to prove that Mr. Chauvin assaulted Mr. Floyd and that the assault was a substantial factor in his death.

Prosecutors do not have to prove that he intended to kill Mr. Floyd.

Arguments began with a commanding rebuke of the defense’s case from one of the prosecutors, Steve Schleicher. He called several of the defense’s points “nonsense” and said that Mr. Chauvin betrayed his oath as a police officer.

For his part, Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, asked jurors to take in the totality of the evidence, and criticized the state for dismissing other possible contributing factors in Mr. Floyd’s death, including heart problems and drug use.

Here are some key takeaways.

The Prosecution

  • Mr. Schleicher began with a chilling description of the arrest, setting the tone for his primary argument: That jurors should “believe their eyes” when they watch the videos of Mr. Floyd being pinned to the ground for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Mr. Schleicher talked about the “unyielding pavement,” and what he believed to be Mr. Floyd’s desperate struggle to lift his chest and fill his lungs with air. He reminded jurors of Mr. Floyd’s last words, “Please, I can’t breathe.”

  • He reinforced what Mr. Floyd’s brother and former girlfriend told the jury: That Mr. Floyd was loved by many people who knew him, that he loved his mother, that he was more than the symbol he became in death. He died “surrounded by strangers,” Mr. Schleicher said — pinned between the pavement and the knee of Mr. Chauvin. “Not a familiar face to say his final words,” Mr. Schleicher said. “But he did say them to someone — he said them to someone who he did not know by name, but he knew him from the uniform he wore and the badge he wore, and he called him ‘Mr. Officer.'”

  • A primary focus of the prosecution was dismissing some of the arguments of the defense. “You’re not required to accept nonsense,” Mr. Schleicher told jurors, pointing to the opinion offered by a defense witness that Mr. Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd did not constitute use of force, and that the exhaust from the tailpipe of a police cruiser might have contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. “Use your common sense,” Mr. Schleicher said. “Believe your eyes. What you saw, you saw.”

The Defense

  • Mr. Nelson focused largely on whether Mr. Chauvin acted the way a reasonable police officer would. He reinforced ideas that he had proposed during the three weeks of witness testimony, including that suspects who do not appear to be dangerous can quickly become so. “A reasonable police officer understands the intensity of the struggle,” he said, pointing out how difficult it was for Mr. Chauvin and other officers to put Mr. Floyd into the back of a police cruiser.

  • He also highlighted the moment that Mr. Floyd took his last breath, showing those few seconds from the vantage point of a security camera. At that moment, Mr. Nelson said, a crowd of angry bystanders, who could also pose a threat to officers, was becoming louder and louder, and that Mr. Chauvin pulled a can of mace from his belt — a sign that he felt he was in danger. “All of the evidence shows that Mr. Chauvin thought he was following his training,” he said.

  • Mr. Nelson hit on the issue of “intent,” asking jurors to consider whether Mr. Chauvin would have purposefully caused unlawful harm to Mr. Floyd. Noting that several body-worn cameras were recording the incident, along with the cellphones of bystanders, Mr. Nelson asked jurors why a person would purposefully break the rules when they knew they were being filmed and that their actions would be reviewed by their supervisors.

  • On Mr. Floyd’s cause of death, Mr. Nelson said it was “preposterous” for the state and several of its witnesses to have asked jurors to ignore a host of possible contributing factors, including Mr. Floyd’s pre-existing heart problems and drug use. He insisted that the defense’s focus on Mr. Floyd’s drug use was not an attack on his character, but was prompted by the issue’s medical significance.

  • Jerry Blackwell, another prosecutor, responded to the defense by continuing to urge jurors to follow “common sense,” saying that even a 9-year-old girl who testified earlier in the trial could see that Mr. Chauvin was hurting Mr. Floyd.

  • Using a chart that showed a dot for every day that Mr. Floyd was alive, Mr. Blackwell spoke of how unlikely it would be that Mr. Floyd would happen to die on May 25, if not for Mr. Chauvin’s use of force. Jurors must decide whether Mr. Chauvin’s restraint was a “substantial factor” in Mr. Floyd’s death, not whether it was the sole factor.

  • Mr. Blackwell ended his rebuttal by reminding jurors that some witnesses had said Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. “Now, having seen all the evidence, having heard all the evidence, you know the truth,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small.

image

April 19, 2021, 11:16 a.m. ETApril 19, 2021, 11:16 a.m. ET
A group of student activists from South High School in Minneapolis hung a banner in support of George Floyd from the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge.
A group of student activists from South High School in Minneapolis hung a banner in support of George Floyd from the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge.Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

Minneapolis Public Schools will shift to remote learning later this week in anticipation of the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial, Ed Graff, the district superintendent, said in a notice sent to the school community last week.

The schools will shift to remote learning from Wednesday through Friday, but if the trial schedule changes, the district will “re-evaluate, adjust plans and let families and students know as soon as possible,” the letter said.

Monday marked the first return to the classroom for sixth-grade students in Minneapolis Public Schools since the start of the pandemic. Seventh and eighth graders will return on Tuesday at most schools, a spokeswoman for Minneapolis Public Schools said. Most high schools returned last week, and elementary schools in February. All grades will shift to remote learning for the trial verdict.

School buildings will remain open, but athletic events and child care will not take place, the letter said. The shift to remote learning does not interrupt boxed meals that are available for students.

The notice also said that age-appropriate resources had been provided to teachers to aid in classroom discussion about the “racism and violence that has been highlighted in these tragic incidents.”

“As appropriate and as they are comfortable, teachers will give students the opportunity to process their feelings, how this feels to them personally and how they are impacted by having the eyes of the world on Minneapolis,” the letter said.

The Minneapolis Public School district serves more than 35,000 students in the Minneapolis area.

image

April 19, 2021, 10:28 a.m. ETApril 19, 2021, 10:28 a.m. ET
Derek Chauvin's booking photos from June 2020.
Derek Chauvin’s booking photos from June 2020.Credit…Agence France-Presse, via Hennepin County Jail – Getty Images

The former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, faces three charges in the death of George Floyd: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

  • Second-degree murder, also called unintentional murder or felony murder, is killing someone in the course of committing another felony — in this case, the prosecutors will argue that Mr. Chauvin was assaulting Mr. Floyd. This charge does not require the prosecution to prove that Mr. Chauvin had any intent to kill. It carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, but Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence of 12.5 years for someone who, like Mr. Chauvin, has no prior convictions.

  • Third-degree murder is a death that occurs when someone is acting extremely dangerously, without regard to human life and “evincing a depraved mind.” Prosecutors will argue that Mr. Chauvin knew that the restraint he used on Mr. Floyd was potentially lethal and a violation of police procedure and training. Third-degree murder carries a sentence of up to 25 years. The guideline recommendation is 10.5 years.

  • Second-degree manslaughter is death by “culpable negligence,” in which the perpetrator knowingly risks causing death or serious harm. It’s punishable by up to 10 years, but under the state guidelines a likely sentence would be four years.

image

April 19, 2021, 9:03 a.m. ETApril 19, 2021, 9:03 a.m. ET
Video

transcript

bars

0:00/1:48

-0:00

transcript

‘He Was Suffering’: Teenager Who Filmed Floyd’s Arrest Testifies at Trial

Darnella Frazier, who was 17 years old when she filmed video of George Floyd’s arrest, testified on Tuesday in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Mr. Floyd’s death.

“And is this as you are approaching Cup Foods on May 25?” “Yes.” “Now see, there, your cousin goes into the store. Why did she go into the store, and then you turned around and then came back toward the squad cars?” “I wanted to make sure she got in.” [inaudible] “When you walk past the squad car there, did you see anything happening there on the ground as you were walking towards Cup Foods with your cousin?” “Yes, I see a man on the ground and I see a cop kneeling down on him.” “Was there anything about the scene that you didn’t want your cousin to see?” “Yes” “And what was that?” “A man terrified, scared, begging for his life.” “Is that why you directed your cousin to going into Cup Foods?” “Yes.” “And, and then when you saw what was happening there, at the scene, what was it about the scene that caused you to come back?” “He wasn’t right. He was he was suffering. He was in pain.” “So tell the jury what you observed, what you heard when you stopped to look at what was happening there at the scene.” “I heard George Floyd saying, ‘I can’t breathe. Please get off of me. I can’t breathe.’ He he cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew. It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified.”

Video player loading
Darnella Frazier, who was 17 years old when she filmed video of George Floyd’s arrest, testified on Tuesday in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Mr. Floyd’s death.CreditCredit…Still image via Court TV

In the three weeks of the trial of Derek Chauvin, dozens of witnesses have testified; hours of video of George Floyd’s arrest have been played, paused and replayed; and two sides of the courtroom have presented opposing narratives to a jury tasked with determining the guilt or innocence of a former police officer charged with murder in one of the most watched trials in decades.

Through witness testimony, several distinct themes have emerged as the most crucial points of contention: whether Mr. Chauvin violated policy when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine and a half minutes; what role, if any, drugs played in Mr. Floyd’s death; and what kind of impact the arrest may have had on the people who witnessed it.

image

March 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ETMarch 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ET
Video

transcript

bars

0:00/9:44

-0:00

transcript

How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody

The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

It’s a Monday evening in Minneapolis. Police respond to a call about a man who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Seventeen minutes later, the man they are there to investigate lies motionless on the ground, and is pronounced dead shortly after. The man was 46-year-old George Floyd, a bouncer originally from Houston who had lost his job at a restaurant when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Crowd: “No justice, no peace.” Floyd’s death triggered major protests in Minneapolis, and sparked rage across the country. One of the officers involved, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. The Times analyzed bystander videos, security camera footage and police scanner audio, spoke to witnesses and experts, and reviewed documents released by the authorities to build as comprehensive a picture as possible and better understand how George Floyd died in police custody. The events of May 25 begin here. Floyd is sitting in the driver’s seat of this blue S.U.V. Across the street is a convenience store called Cup Foods. Footage from this restaurant security camera helps us understand what happens next. Note that the timestamp on the camera is 24 minutes fast. At 7:57 p.m., two employees from Cup Foods confront Floyd and his companions about an alleged counterfeit bill he just used in their store to buy cigarettes. They demand the cigarettes back but walk away empty-handed. Four minutes later, they call the police. According to the 911 transcript, an employee says that Floyd used fake bills to buy cigarettes, and that he is “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.” Soon, the first police vehicle arrives on the scene. Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng step out of the car and approach the blue S.U.V. Seconds later, Lane pulls his gun. We don’t know exactly why. He orders Floyd to put his hands on the wheel. Lane reholsters the gun, and after about 90 seconds of back and forth, yanks Floyd out of the S.U.V. A man is filming the confrontation from a car parked behind them. The officers cuff Floyd’s hands behind his back. And Kueng walks him to the restaurant wall. “All right, what’s your name?” From the 911 transcript and the footage, we now know three important facts: First, that the police believed they were responding to a man who was drunk and out of control. But second, even though the police were expecting this situation, we can see that Floyd has not acted violently. And third, that he seems to already be in distress. Six minutes into the arrest, the two officers move Floyd back to their vehicle. As the officers approach their car, we can see Floyd fall to the ground. According to the criminal complaints filed against the officers, Floyd says he is claustrophobic and refuses to enter the police car. During the struggle, Floyd appears to turn his head to address the officers multiple times. According to the complaints, he tells them he can’t breathe. Nine minutes into the arrest, the third and final police car arrives on the scene. It’s carrying officers Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin. Both have previous records of complaints brought against them. Thao was once sued for throwing a man to the ground and hitting him. Chauvin has been involved in three police shootings, one of them fatal. Chauvin becomes involved in the struggle to get Floyd into the car. Security camera footage from Cup Foods shows Kueng struggling with Floyd in the backseat while Thao watches. Chauvin pulls him through the back seat and onto the street. We don’t know why. Floyd is now lying on the pavement, face down. That’s when two witnesses begin filming, almost simultaneously. The footage from the first witness shows us that all four officers are now gathered around Floyd. It’s the first moment when we can clearly see that Floyd is face down on the ground, with three officers applying pressure to his neck, torso and legs. At 8:20 p.m., we hear Floyd’s voice for the first time. The video stops when Lane appears to tell the person filming to walk away. “Get off to the sidewalk, please. One side or the other, please.” The officers radio a Code 2, a call for non-emergency medical assistance, reporting an injury to Floyd’s mouth. In the background, we can hear Floyd struggling. The call is quickly upgraded to a Code 3, a call for emergency medical assistance. By now another bystander, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, is filming from a different angle. Her footage shows that despite calls for medical help, Chauvin keeps Floyd pinned down for another seven minutes. We can’t see whether Kueng and Lane are still applying pressure. Floyd: [gasping] Officer: “What do you want?” Bystander: “I’ve been –” Floyd: [gasping] In the two videos, Floyd can be heard telling officers that he can’t breathe at least 16 times in less than five minutes. Bystander: “You having fun?” But Chauvin never takes his knee off of Floyd, even as his eyes close and he appears to go unconscious. Bystander: “Bro.” According to medical and policing experts, these four police officers are committing a series of actions that violate policies, and in this case, turn fatal. They’ve kept Floyd lying face down, applying pressure for at least five minutes. This combined action is likely compressing his chest and making it impossible to breathe. Chauvin is pushing his knee into Floyd’s neck, a move banned by most police departments. Minneapolis Police Department policy states an officer can only do this if someone is, quote, “actively resisting.” And even though the officers call for medical assistance, they take no action to treat Floyd on their own while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Officer: “Get back on the sidewalk.” According to the complaints against the officers, Lane asks him twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side. Chauvin says no. Twenty minutes into the arrest, an ambulance arrives on the scene. Bystander: “Get off of his neck!” Bystander: “He’s still on him?” The E.M.T.s check Floyd’s pulse. Bystander: “Are you serious?” Chauvin keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost another whole minute, even though Floyd appears completely unresponsive. He only gets off once the E.M.T.s tell him to. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, according to our review of the video evidence. Floyd is loaded into the ambulance. The ambulance leaves the scene, possibly because a crowd is forming. But the E.M.T.s call for additional medical help from the fire department. But when the engine arrives, the officers give them, quote, “no clear info on Floyd or his whereabouts,” according to a fire department incident report. This delays their ability to help the paramedics. Meanwhile, Floyd is going into cardiac arrest. It takes the engine five minutes to reach Floyd in the ambulance. He’s pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 9:25 p.m. Preliminary autopsies conducted by the state and Floyd’s family both ruled his death a homicide. The widely circulated arrest videos don’t paint the entire picture of what happened to George Floyd. Crowd: “Floyd! Floyd!” Additional video and audio from the body cameras of the key officers would reveal more about why the struggle began and how it escalated. The city quickly fired all four officers. And Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting murder. But outrage over George Floyd’s death has only spread further and further across the United States.

Video player loading
The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 to report that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

By combining videos from bystanders and security cameras, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Mr. Floyd’s death. Our video shows officers taking a series of actions that violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and turned fatal, leaving Mr. Floyd unable to breathe, even as he and onlookers called out for help.

Leave a Reply