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Apr. 19 highlights for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin

Highlights from the trial of Derek Chauvin. The case was handed over to the jury, who met for four hours of deliberation Monday evening.

The jury has started deliberations in Derek Chauvin's trial in the death of George Floyd after prosecutors and Chauvin's lawyers presented their closing arguments on Monday and the judge provided instructions on the charges, which include second-degree murder.

The 12 jurors deliberated for four hours Monday and will resume Tuesday.

The case was handed over to the jury after nearly three weeks of witness testimony. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, declined to take the stand last week.

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Prosecution asks jurors: 'Would George Floyd have died' without Chauvin's actions?

Prosecutor Steven Schleicher asked the jurors “would George Floyd have died that day?” if Derek Chauvin hadn't restrained him for nine and a half minutes.

Schleicher, addressing the defense’s main arguments, dismissed claims that a drug overdose, enlarged heart, or carbon monoxide killed Floyd.

“Use your common sense. Believe your eyes. What you saw, you saw,” he said. 

During testimony the prosecution played extensive video of Floyd’s fatal interaction with police, including video from bystanders, officer body camera footage and surveillance video.

Prosecutor: "That's not resistance, that's compliance"

Walking the jury through a timeline of the events that led to George Floyd's death, prosecutor Steven Schleicher repeatedly pointed to instances where Floyd had done exactly what officers asked of him, saying: "That's not resistance, that's compliance."

Schleicher cited Floyd getting out of his vehicle, letting the officers handcuff him, sitting on the sidewalk, and giving officers his name as examples of his compliant behavior. The examples were meant to counter the defense's argument that Floyd was noncompliant and a danger to the officers.

The prosecution said that Floyd was in crisis, which made compliance more difficult for him, and the officers, who had been trained in crisis intervention, either ignored it or didn't recognize it.

"The officers wouldn't listen to him," Schleicher said.

State of Minnesota: ‘This is not a prosecution of the police’

Prosecutor Steven Schleicher said in his closing argument that the murder trial of Derek Chauvin is “not a prosecution of the police, it is a prosecution of the defendant.”

Schleicher called policing “a most noble profession" and added “to be very clear, this case is called the ‘State of Minnesota vs. Derek Chauvin,’ this case is not called the ‘State of Minnesota vs. the police.’”

During witness testimony, the prosecution called multiple law enforcement officers and experts that testified Chauvin’s actions against George Floyd violated policy and were an unnecessary and deadly use of force. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo's testimony was a rare instance of a police chief testifying against a police officer. The chief said Chauvin’s actions "absolutely" violated department policy and had previously called Floyd’s death a “murder.” 

Schleicher said Monday that Chauvin "chose pride over policing."

“This is not an anti-police prosecution, it’s a pro-police prosecution,” he said.

“The defendant abandoned his values, abandoned the training and killed a man,” the attorney added.

"He had to know": prosecution emphasizes intent

Prosecutor Steven Schleicher focused a portion of his closing argument on the intent behind Derek Chauvin's actions.

“He had to know,” Schleicher said, emphasizing the amount of time Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck, keeping it there even after the ambulance arrived. 

“He did it on purpose. This was not an accident,” he said of Chauvin.

“He is not on trial for who he was. He is on trial for what he did. That is what he did,” Schleicher's said,  pointing to a photo of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck. “He knew better, he just didn’t do better.”

"His name was George Perry Floyd Jr.": prosecution starts on solemn note

"Members of the jury: His name was George Perry Floyd Jr. and he was born on October 14, 1973 in Fayetteville, North Carolina," prosecutor Steven Schleicher said in the first words of his closing argument.

The line was reminiscent of the "say his name" chant of protesters after Floyd's death and the deaths of other people at the hands of police officers.

Schleicher's solemn opening is a preview of what we can expect from the prosecution's closing argument, which will try to remind the jury why Chauvin's actions merit a guilty verdict, and also make sure the jury sees Floyd as a person who was loved and whose life mattered.

Prosecution begins closing arguments

The prosecution in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd began its closing argument Monday morning.

The prosecution’s closing is being delivered by Steven Schleicher, a former federal prosecutor and veteran trial attorney. 

Closing arguments come after three weeks of testimony from dozens of witnesses that included bystanders, law enforcement officials and medical experts.

The jury is expected to begin deliberations Monday afternoon.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Judge Cahill reads jury instructions before the start of closing arguments

Before the prosecution and defense are set to give their closing remarks, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill read the jury its instructions on how to make their decision Monday morning.

Cahill outlined the three different charges Chauvin is facing — second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter — and the burden of proof necessary for the jury to find Chauvin guilty of the charges. He also outlined what is considered reasonable and unlawful use of force for a police officer.

The jury is expected to begin deliberating after closing arguments conclude.

'Lackluster performance' by Chauvin defense leaves experts debating trial's outcome

Several legal experts who provided observations about the performances of the prosecution and the defense, both of which have rested their cases after nearly three weeks of witness testimony in the closely watched trial, said the defense had fewer expert witnesses testify than had been expected.

"The defense was actually weaker than I thought," said David Schultz, a visiting law professor at the University of Minnesota. "I was expecting more witnesses, more medical testimony."

Schultz said he suspects other witnesses defense attorney Eric Nelson sought out were unwilling to testify because they were concerned they'd be perceived as being "on the wrong side of history."

Rebecca Kavanagh, a criminal defense attorney in New York who is closely watching the case, said: "What is more surprising to me than the quality of the prosecution is the lackluster performance of the defense. I would contrast this with the high-powered defense team George Zimmerman had, which I think was probably instrumental in his acquittal."

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Pig's head thrown at former home of Chauvin defense witness

Vandals threw a pig's head at the one-time home of a former California police officer who served as a defense witness for Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer accused of killing George Floyd, police said.

The incident occurred early Saturday morning at the house in Santa Rosa, California, where Barry Brodd used to live, the Santa Rosa Police Department said in a statement.

The department said Brodd appeared to have been targeted over his testimony.

“Mr. Brodd has not lived at the residence for a number of years and is no longer a resident of California,” the department said. “Because Mr. Brodd no longer lives in the city of Santa Rosa, it appears the victim was falsely targeted.”

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