Jury Resumes Deliberations in 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, 11:28 a.m. ETApril 20, 2021, 11:28 a.m. ET

The jurors, who deliberated for four hours on Monday then returned at 8 a.m. Central time on Tuesday, are tasked with deciding whether to convict Mr. Chauvin of murder.

ImageDemonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis on Monday as the jury began deliberations in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd.
Demonstrators marched through downtown Minneapolis on Monday as the jury began deliberations in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd.Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times
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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.

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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 second day of jury deliberations.
Security at the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday, the second 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.

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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.

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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.

  • 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.”

  • 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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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