• April 12, 2024

Defense Presents Closing Arguments In Derek Chauvin Trial : Live Updates: Trial Over George Floyd’s Killing : NPR


Defense attorney for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin makes final arguments in the murder trial of George Floyd.

Chauvin faces second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree homicide.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson began his closing arguments by discussing the presumption of innocence and the burden of the state to prove Chauvin’s guilt beyond any doubt.

“Compare the evidence to yourself. Test it, challenge it,” Nelson said. Assume the presumption of innocence and see how far the state can go, he suggested to the jury – and he argued that the state had failed to meet its burden.

If the state “lacks a single item, it’s a not guilty verdict,” Nelson said.

Prosecutors have stated that Chauvin’s use of force was inappropriate and contrary to his police training. Nelson’s arguments centered on how “a sensible cop” would have handled the incident to justify the case that Chauvin acted sensibly.

He pointed out the shipping report with its changes to codes and information within minutes. It shows “how quickly a situation can change from second to second, minute to minute,” said Nelson. “The situation is dynamic and fluid.”

A sane officer would conclude that the force used by the other two officers was not enough to overcome Floyd’s resistance to get into the car, Nelson said, ruling that additional force was necessary.

Nelson showed several officers ‘bodycam footage to illustrate the officers’ views of the incident. Chauvin and two other officers fought Floyd for a little over a minute.

“A sane officer would understand this situation. That Mr. Floyd was able to overcome the efforts of three handcuffed officers with his legs and physical strength,” said Nelson.

Prosecutors have already presented their final arguments to the jury, stating that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death on Memorial Day directly after kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

Floyd was not in the best of health and he was under stress, prosecutor Steve Schleicher said in court on Monday.

“But none of that broke George Floyd’s heart. It didn’t,” said the prosecutor. “His heart failed because the defendant’s use of force, the 9:29, Mr. Floyd took away the oxygen he needed, which humans need to live.”

NPR’s Merrit Kennedy contributed to this report.


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