IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Mar. 29 updates for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin Day 1

Prosecution and defense teams give opening statements and call witnesses in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder.

Live coverage of this blog has ended, please click here for Day 2 of Derek Chauvin's trial.

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's trial began Monday morning. Chauvin faces three charges, including second-degree murder, in the death of George Floyd.

Floyd, a Black man, died May 25 after Chauvin, a white 19-year veteran of the department, pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for several minutes.

The nearly nine-minute video of Floyd's death, in which he can repeatedly be heard saying, "I can't breathe," led to global protests last year against police brutality.

Live Blog

Prosecutor: Floyd killed in 9 minutes and 29 seconds of 'excessive force'

A prosecutor accused Derek Chauvin of applying "excessive force" on George Floyd for precisely 9 minutes and 29 seconds. 

While the exact amount of time Chauvin had his knee on Floyd's neck has varied depending on the camera angle of video taken last May 25, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell settled on this precise 9 1/2-minute figure.

"You will learn what happened in that 9 minutes and 29 seconds, the most important numbers you will hear in this trial are 9, 2, 9," Blackwell told jurors. "What happens in those 9 minutes and 29 seconds were  Mr. Derek Chauvin was applying this excessive force." 

Blackwell added, "You will be able to hear Mr. Floyd saying, 'Please, I can't breathe, please man, please,' in these 9 minutes  and 29 seconds."

Chauvin 'betrayed his badge' says prosecution in opening statements

Special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell in his opening statement for the prosecution in former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin's trial said Chauvin "betrayed this badge" when he used "used excessive and unreasonable force" against George Floyd.

The badge "carries with it a large responsibility and a large accountability to the public," Blackwell said. 

The badge "represents the very motto of the Minneapolis Police Department — to protect with courage, to serve with compassion," Blackwell said. "Compassion, sanctity of life are the cornerstone of that little badge worn over the officer's heart."

“Mr. Chauvin betrayed this badge,” he said.

Who are the 14 jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial?

The 14 jurors in the Derek Chauvin murder trial in the death of George Floyd were sworn in Monday morning ahead of opening statements. 

Fourteen jurors, including two alternates, will be present for the trial, which is expected to last around four weeks. 

The jury is made up of nine women and five men. Eight of the jurors identify as white, four as Black and two as mixed race. They range in age from the 20s to their 60s.

The 14 jurors are: two white men, one in his 20s and the other in his 30s; six white women, four in their 50s, one in her 40s and one in her 20s; two mixed-race woman, one in her 20s and the other in her 40s; three Black men, two in their 30s and one in his 40s; and one Black woman in her 60s.

15th juror dismissed in Derek Chauvin trial

The 15th and final juror chosen in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd was dismissed Monday morning as opening statements were set to begin.

The man, who is white and in his 20s, had been chosen last Tuesday during the 11th day of a jury selection process that saw 95 jurors dismissed. The 15th juror was expected to be dismissed unless one of the others was released before then.

Fourteen jurors, including two alternates, will be sworn in.

They include nine women and five men. Eight of the jurors identify as white, four as Black and two as of mixed race. They range in ages from the 20s to the 60s.

Ben Crump: George Floyd's record isn't at issue, because this is the trial of Derek Chauvin

Outside the courthouse Monday ahead of opening statements, Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump said the defense will talk about George Floyd's record during opening arguments. 

"But his record isn't at issue," Crump said. "Because this is the trial of Derek Chauvin. Let's talk about his record. His 19 records of excessive force."

Multiple people who had run-ins with Chauvin before his deadly encounter with Floyd have accused him of using excessive force.

Floyd's family kneels for 8 minutes and 46 seconds ahead of trial opening

Civil rights leaders and the family of George Floyd took a knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds Monday morning outside the courthouse where the murder trial was set to begin for the former Minneapolis police officer who knelt on Floyd's neck for that long on May 25 of last year.

“Today starts a landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come in its quest for equality and justice for all," civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump said prior to the group kneeling.

Crump and Floyd's family have said that it should not be difficult for the jury to convict the former officer, Derek Chauvin.

"If this trial is hard, we got two justice systems in America — one for white America and one for Black America," said Floyd's nephew, Brandon Williams.

"Chauvin is in the courtroom, but America's on trial," said the Rev. Al Sharpton, before the group knelt in the cold, showing what nearly nine minutes of kneeling looks like. 

"What kind of venom, what kind of hatred do you have that would make you press down that long while a man is begging for his life, begging for his mother?" Sharpton asked. "At what point does your humanity kick in?"

Floyd family lawyer, Attorney Ben Crump (L) and Rev. Al Sharpton, the founder and President of National Action Network,(C) and George Floyd's brother kneel outside the Hennepin County Government Center on Monday March 29, 2021.Kerem Yucel / AFP - Getty Images file

'He choked me out': Others detail allegations of abuse by officer who knelt on George Floyd

In November 2013, Minneapolis police pulled over LaSean Braddock shortly after midnight as he drove home from a double shift as a mental health worker at Hennepin County Medical Center.

When he hesitated to get out of the car, the officer aggressively hit the driver's side window with a flashlight, Braddock said. Two officers then tried to pull him from the car before he got out on his own.

More than six years later, Braddock saw one of those officers again as he watched a harrowing video of George Floyd's final moments. Derek Chauvin, Braddock said, was one of the officers who had treated him roughly. A police report from that night confirms that Chauvin was one of the arresting officers.

Braddock said he believes Floyd might still be alive if the complaint he filed alleging excessive force by Chauvin the day after their encounter had been taken seriously and not dismissed.

"It's unfortunate that they didn't do anything to Derek Chauvin," Braddock said in a recent interview. "If they had done something about it, it might not have went that far."

Click here to read the full story.

George Floyd's brother says case against Derek Chauvin is 'slam dunk'

Hours before the murder trial was set to begin for the former Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on George Floyd's neck for about nine minutes, Floyd's brother said the case is a "slam dunk," and he and his family are hoping for a second-degree murder conviction.

"We’re feeling good," Philonise Floyd said on NBC's "Today" Monday morning. "We know that this case, to us, is a slam dunk because we know the video is the proof, that's all you need. The guy was kneeling on my brother's neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, a guy who was sworn in to protect. He killed my brother in broad daylight."

"That was a modern day lynching," Floyd added.

Click here to read full story.

Attorneys in Chauvin trial home in on key juror question: Black or Blue Lives matter?

During the jury selection in Chauvin's trial, it was apparent that while the facts of the case were black and white for the prosecution and defense, when it came to prospective jurors, it would have more to do with Black versus blue.

Attorneys homed in on two questions on the juror questionnaire: how favorably prospective jurors view the Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter movements. These and other questions have helped attorneys learn where people stand on such issues as defunding the Minneapolis Police Department, whether the criminal justice system is biased against minorities and whether media coverage of police brutality "is only the tip of the iceberg."

Experts say that questions focusing on the two movements is shaping up to be a proxy for determining how valuable a prospective juror will be to either side in the case.

Click here for the full story