Almost a year after the killing of the African American George Floyd († 46) in a police operation in the USA, the world is looking to Minneapolis again. The main trial against ex-police officer Derek Chauvin (45) started on Monday.
Killing George Floyd: Now killer cop Derek Chauvin is on trial(01:03)
Chauvin is charged, among other things, with second degree murder, which has resulted in up to 40 years in prison in the state of Minnesota. The white American is also charged with third-degree murder (up to 25 years in prison) and second-degree manslaughter. They are imprisoned for up to ten years. The ex-cop was released on bail.
Police officer in court: Now Derek Chauvin is being tried(01:09)
Jurors are not shown
The court finalized the jury selection last week. As CNN writes, eight of them are white, four are black and two have a different skin color.
The process is broadcast live. The 14 jurors who will ultimately rule on Chauvin’s guilt or innocence should not be shown. Two of the jury members are considered substitute candidates, so in the end only twelve will give the verdict
Judge Peter Cahill believes the main trial could take up to a month.
Chauvin pleads not guilty
The 46-year-old Floyd was killed in a brutal arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Videos have documented the police pushing the unarmed Floyd to the ground. Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes. “I can’t breathe,” the 46-year-old pleaded several times before falling silent forever.
According to the autopsy, Floyd passed out and died. The officers arrested Floyd on suspicion of paying with a fake $ 20 bill.
Chauvin had pleaded not guilty. He is represented by top lawyer Eric Nelson, among others. His defense lawyers say the operation was justified because Floyd resisted. They also argue that his death was not due to violence, but primarily to his pre-existing health and drug residues in his blood.
“That was torture”
“It’s not a difficult case,” said Floyd’s family lawyer, Ben Crump, last week. “What killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force.”
He reckons that Chauvin’s attorneys will try to discredit Floyd’s reputation in court. However, the fact that drug residues were found in his blood only distracted from the real cause of death: that Chauvin had his knee pressed into Floyd’s neck for minutes. If Floyd had been white, no one would doubt it, he said. “That was torture.”
Prosecutor: “betrayal of oath”
Before the trial began, Floyd’s family member and attorney kneeled for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. As long as Chauvin rammed his knee into Floyd’s neck, too.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell accused Chauvin of “betraying” his oath to never use unnecessary force. The policeman rammed his knee into Floyd’s neck until “life was squeezed out of him.”
Floyd was handcuffed and pleaded 27 times to let him breathe, but Chauvin did not let go of him, Blackwell said.
Derek Chauvin’s attorney addressed the jury in his speech: “I suggest that you use common sense and common sense during the trial.”
Wooden walls and barbed wire
The negotiation with Derek Chauvin on site is under heavy security. The city became a fortress because of this significant process! 2000 soldiers of the National Guard and 1000 police officers were mobilized and guard the area around the court. The area was secured with wooden walls, concrete barriers, security fences and barbed wire.
“There will be very high emotions on all sides, and we will be prepared,” said the city’s governor, Tim Walz. The security forces want to allow peaceful protests, but also prevent riots like those that followed Floyd’s death.
Floyd’s death led to mass protests around the world
In several Swiss cities: Hundreds of people demonstrate against racism(02:18)
The expectations of the trial are immense – Floyd’s fate had led to mass protests against police violence and racism in the United States for months. The protests shook the country on a historic scale.
In other countries around the world, including Switzerland, people took to the streets against racism. Many people in the US hope for a verdict that will take a stand against racism and police violence.
$ 27 million for Floyd’s family
The city of Minneapolis recently agreed on a settlement payment of $ 27 million (about 25 million Swiss francs) because of police actions with Floyd’s family. However, this does not directly affect the criminal proceedings.
In addition to Chauvin, three other ex-police officers involved in the operation against Floyd have been charged, who will stand trial in a separate trial from 23 August. They are charged with aid. They too could face long prison sentences. (man / SDA)