Derek Chauvin asks judge for new trial after being convicted of George Floyd’s murder



Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin asked a Minneapolis judge on Tuesday local time for a new trial, court records showed, two weeks after he was found guilty of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd.

In a series of motions filed to District Court Judge Peter Cahill, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, said his client was deprived of a fair trial, adding there was prosecutorial and jury misconduct, errors of law at trial and that the verdict was contrary to law.

On 20 April, a 12-member jury found Chauvin, 45, guilty on all three counts he faced after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses, including bystanders, police officials and medical experts.

The rare verdict against a police officer is considered a milestone in the fraught racial history of the United States and a rebuke of law enforcement’s treatment of black Americans.

In a confrontation captured on video, Chauvin, a white veteran of the police force, pushed his knee into the neck of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs, for more than 9 minutes on 25 May, 2020.

Chauvin and three fellow officers were attempting to arrest Mr Floyd, accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a grocery store.

More to come.

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Jury finds Chauvin guilty on all charges


In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin arrived for the verdict in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

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UPDATED  4:21 PM PT – Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges in connection with the death of George Floyd.

A jury in Hennepin County convicted Chauvin on Tuesday of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

It took the jury a little over 10 hours of deliberation to reach the verdict after hearing two weeks of testimony from witnesses called by the prosecution and several days of defense witnesses.

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is taken into custody as his attorney Eric Nelson, left, watches, after his bail was revoked after he was found guilty on all three counts in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was taken into custody as his attorney Eric Nelson, left, watched, after his bail was revoked after he was found guilty on all three counts in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

 

Chauvin’s bail has been revoked and sentencing will begin in eight weeks.

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Derek Chauvin found guilty of murder


Former police officer Derek Chauvin has been found guilty of murdering George Floyd in the United States.

The 12-person jury deliberated for about 10 hours before arriving at a unanimous verdict, finding Chauvin guilty on all three counts: second degree unintentional murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

The most serious of those charges carries a maximum sentence of 40 years, though Chauvin is unlikely to face such a long period in prison. The guidelines for an offender with no criminal record suggest a sentence of about 12.5 years.

The sentencing phase of the trial is still to come.

Chauvin was taken from the courtroom in handcuffs moments after the verdict was read. Meanwhile, Mr Floyd’s brother Philonise hugged the prosecutors.

Mr Floyd died in Minneapolis last year after a confrontation with police, who had responded to reports he’d used a fraudulent $US20 note to purchase cigarettes.

Bystanders filmed Chauvin kneeling on the unarmed African-American man’s neck and back for nine minutes and 29 seconds, a position he maintained despite Mr Floyd’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

RELATED: World reacts to the guilty verdict

US REACTS TO THE VERDICT

Ben Crump, one of the lawyers representing Mr Floyd’s family, released a statement calling the guilty verdict “painfully earned justice”.

“Today’s verdict goes far beyond this city and has significant implications for the country, and even the world,” Mr Crump said.

“Justice for black America is justice for all of America. This case is a turning point in American history for accountability of law enforcement, and sends a clear message we hope is heard clearly in every city and every state.”

Another of the family’s lawyers, Jeff Storms, said the jury had sent “a clear and direct message that this can never happen again”.

As the verdict was read, a crowd that had gathered on the spot where Mr Floyd died erupted in cheers.

A separate crowd outside the courthouse also celebrated, chanting “all three counts”.

Minnesota Attorney-General Keith Ellison, who had overarching responsibility for the prosecution, held a media conference.

“I would not call today’s verdict justice, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice,” he said.

“Now the cause of justice is in your hands. And when I say your hands, I mean the people of the United States.

“George Floyd mattered. His death shocked the conscience of our country. He was loved by his family and friends. He mattered because he was a human being.

Mr Ellison said the witnesses who filmed Mr Floyd’s death, and subsequently testified during the trial, had engaged in “simple yet profound acts of courage” by telling the world “the truth about what they saw”.

“We say, all of us, thank you,” he said on behalf of the prosecutors.

RELATED: ‘Stop talking’: Judge in Chauvin trial erupts

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris are expected to address Americans this evening. Both of them phoned the Floyd family after the verdict.

“We’re going to get a lot more done. We’re going to do a lot. We’re going to stay at it until we get it done,” Mr Biden told them.

Earlier today, in a separate call before the verdict, the President told the Floyd family he was praying for the “right verdict”.

“I can only imagine the pressure and anxiety they’re feeling,” Mr Biden told reporters.

“And so, I waited until the jury was sequestered, and I called.

“They’re a good family. And they’re calling for peace and tranquility, no matter what the verdict is. I’m praying the verdict is the right verdict. I think it’s overwhelming in my view. I wouldn’t say that unless the jury was sequestered now.”

Former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama released a statement saying the jury had done “the right thing”.

“But if we’re being honest with ourselves, we know that true justice is about much more than a single verdict in a single trial,” the Obamas said.

“True justice requires that we come to terms with the fact that black Americans are treated differently, every day.

“It requires us to recognise that millions of our friends, family and fellow citizens live in fear that their next encounter with law enforcement could be their last.

“While today’s verdict may have been a necessary step on the road to progress, it was far from a sufficient one. We will need to follow through with concrete reforms that will reduce and ultimately eliminate racial bias in our criminal justice system.”

Mr Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross spoke outside the courthouse.

“We needed it. This city needed it,” she said of the verdict.

“It’s a moment to celebrate. Take tonight, just to be glad that we have one day of victory. This battle is going to continue.”

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz labelled the verdict “an important step forward for justice”.

“The trial is over, but our work has only begun,” Mr Walz said.

“No verdict can bring George back, and my heart is with his family as they continue to grieve his loss. Minnesota mourns with you, and we promise the pursuit of justice for George does not end today.

“True justice for George only comes through real, systemic change to prevent this from happening again.

“Too many black people have lost, and continue to lose their lives at the hands of law enforcement in our state. Our communities of colour cannot go on like this. Our police officers cannot go on like this.

“The only way it will change is through systemic reform.”

THE FINAL ARGUMENTS

During yesterday’s closing arguments, prosecutor Steve Schleicher told the members of the jury to use their “common sense”, calling several of the defence team’s arguments “nonsense”.

Specifically, he dismissed the theory that Mr Floyd died because of drugs in his system or because of carbon monoxide from the tailpipe of the police car.

“Use your common sense. Believe your eyes,” Mr Schleicher said.

“The state does not need to prove its case beyond all doubt, or beyond unreasonable doubt. An unreasonable doubt is a doubt not based on common sense, but on nonsense. You are not required to accept nonsense.”

The defence has argued there was enough fentanyl in Mr Floyd’s system to kill him. Mr Schleicher said Mr Floyd’s history of drug use meant he had developed a high level of resistance, citing expert testimony.

“The experts all agree that George Floyd did not die the way someone who dies from a fentanyl overdose dies,” he said.

“This looked nothing like a fentanyl overdose.”

Mr Schleicher ran through each of the charges against Chauvin and the threshold for a guilty verdict, stressing that the prosecution did not need to prove there was intent to kill.

“If you commit a certain level of assault, a felony level assault, and a person dies as a result of your assault, you’re guilty of murder. It’s as simple as that,” he said.

“What the defendant did here was a straight up felony assault. This was not policing. It was unnecessary, it was gratuitous, it was disproportionate, and he did it on purpose.

“No question, this was not an accident. He did not trip and fall and find himself upon George Floyd’s neck. He did what he did on purpose, and it killed George Floyd.

“He betrayed the badge and everything it stood for.”

Mr Schleicher took issue with the defence’s claim that Mr Floyd was not complying with police when Chauvin held him down.

He went back to the start of the incident, when police found Mr Floyd sitting in a parked car. They had been called to deal with an allegation that Mr Floyd had paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 note.

“Within seconds, (an officer) pulls his gun and holds it inches from George Floyd’s face, and starts shouting profanities. ‘Show me your f***ing hands.’ Screaming. This was within seconds,” said the prosecutor.

“They tell him to put his hands on the steering wheel, he does. That’s not resistance, that’s compliance. They tell him to get out of the car, he does. That’s not resistance, that’s compliance.

“George Floyd was not a threat to anyone. He was not trying to hurt anyone.”

A struggle ensued as police tried to put Mr Floyd in the back of a squad car, and he ended up on the ground.

“Here is on his knees, he is not going anywhere. There are four officers,” Mr Schleicher continued.

“The reasonable officer, at that time, should have recognised he wasn’t trying to escape. He wasn’t trying to punch anyone or stab anyone.

“It was over. He was on his knees. But what did they do? They took him from this position, handcuffed on his knees, they pushed him down on to the ground. For what?

“Was George Floyd resisting when he was trying to breathe? No.”

Summing up the prosecution’s case, he pointed out that Chauvin continued to hold Mr Floyd down with his knee even after another officer had found no pulse.

“How can you justify the continued force on this man when he has no pulse? No pulse. Continued the restraint, continued grinding, twisting, crushing the life out of him. Past the point of finding no pulse, past the point when the ambulance arrives,” he said.

“What’s the goal? What are we trying to accomplish? This was a counterfeit $20 bill, allegedly. What is going on? Why hold him that long, past that point? Unreasonable force. Unreasonable. Not proportional. Excessive. It violated policy, it violated the law, it violated everything the police department stood for.

“This was not a justified use of force. You cannot justify it. It’s impossible. Not if you apply the rules, not if you apply the standards officers swore to observe.

“This wasn’t policing. This was murder. The defendant is guilty of all three counts.”

THE DEFENCE

The defence lawyer, Mr Nelson, spent much of his closing describing Chauvin’s actions as those of a “reasonable police officer”.

“The state has really focused on the nine minutes and 29 seconds. It’s not the proper analysis, because the nine minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 15 minutes and 59 seconds,” he said.

Mr Nelson said Chauvin had arrived on the scene to see “active resistance” from Mr Floyd, as officers tried to get him into the back of the car.

“The reasonable officer would look at the size of the person and assess that person’s size in relation to his own size. Because it’s a part of the risk-threat analysis,” said Mr Nelson.

“The reasonable officer would know that these are two rookies putting this man in the car.”

He suggested a reasonable officer would be sceptical of Mr Floyd’s claims that he could not breathe because suspects often “feign” medical distress in their efforts to avoid arrest.

“He’s going to compare those words to the actions of the individual. If my behaviour is inconsistent with what I am saying, the reasonable officer takes that into consideration,” said Mr Nelson.

“The amount of force being used by the other officers was insufficient, was not enough force, to overcome Mr Floyd’s resistance, to get him into the car.

“A reasonable police officer would understand this situation, that Mr Floyd was able to overcome the efforts of three police officers, while handcuffed.

“Not a single use of force expert that testified, not a single police officer, said that anything up to this point was unlawful or unreasonable.”

He argued that Mr Floyd’s protestations while he was on the ground were proof that he was, in fact, able to breathe.

“It takes a lot of oxygen to talk. You’re breathing fine if you can talk,” the lawyer claimed.

A recurring argument from the defence throughout the trial has been the role the crowd of bystanders played in the incident.

This featured again during Mr Nelson’s closing, as he came to the most “critical moment” in the case – the moment Mr Floyd took his last breath. He said Chauvin was distracted by the crowd at that point.

“You see Officer Chauvin’s reaction to the crowd is to pull his mace and shake it. He’s threatening the use of force, as is permitted,” he recounted as footage played for the jury.

“And (firefighter) Genevieve Hansen walks in at that time, startling him. All of these facts simultaneously occur at a critical moment. And that changed Officer Chauvin’s perception of what was happening.

“After this point, the crowd grows louder and louder.”

Mr Nelson said the position Mr Floyd was in throughout the nine minutes and 29 seconds – known as the “prone position” – was “not eminently dangerous”.

“People sleep in the prone position, suntan in the prone position, get massages in the prone position,” he said.

Finally, he addressed the medical evidence, telling the jurors the prosecution was asking them to disregard potential alternative explanations for Mr Floyd’s death.

“I have to address the cause of death,” he said.

“You have to be convinced that the defendant’s actions caused the death of Mr Floyd. And throughout the course of this trial, the state has tried – called numerous witnesses – to try to convince you that asphyxiation is the singular cause of death.

“They’re trying to convince you that Mr Floyd’s heart disease played no role in this case. The state must try to convince you that Mr Floyd’s history of hypertension played absolutely no role. That Mr Floyd’s toxicology played no role in his death.

“The state would have to convince you, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a combination of these pre-existing issues did not contribute to Mr Floyd’s death.

“If any of these other factors are substantial contributing factors, because they were not the natural result of the restraint – it’s the natural consequence of the deceased’s actions.

“I submit to you that the testimonies of (the experts) flies in the absolute face of reasoning and common sense. It’s astounding.

“They just want you to ignore significant medical issues.”

He said the medical examiner Dr Andrew Baker, in his autopsy, found no evidence of injuries to the neck consistent with the theory that Mr Floyd died from asphyxiation caused by Chauvin’s knee.

“The fact that he found this to be a homicide is a medical term,” he stressed, saying the conclusion did not imply “criminal intent” from Chauvin.

And Mr Nelson was heavily critical of the medical experts offered up by the prosecution, saying they ignored the influence of illicit substances in Mr Floyd’s system.

“It is a preposterous notion that this did not come into play here,” he said.

The defence lawyer argued the prosecution had called in so many outside experts because Dr Baker did not reach the conclusions they wanted.

THE REBUTTAL

Another member of the prosecution’s team, Jerry Blackwell, rose to deliver the rebuttal. He accused Mr Nelson of feeding the jury “stories” contradicted by the evidence.

“You didn’t get the whole truth,” he said.

Mr Blackwell specifically accused the defence of misdefining the law.

“When (Mr Nelson) was talking about causation, and he talks about fentanyl, heart failure, and he says that we have to show beyond a reasonable doubt that none of these were a factor. And that’s not the law.

“What we have to show is that the defendant’s actions were a substantial factor in the cause of death. The fact that other causes may have contributed to the death does not absolve Mr Chauvin of responsibility.”

He addressed Mr Nelson’s characterisation of Dr Baker’s evidence, saying the defence had “put words in his mouth”.

“Dr Baker said homicide means ‘killed at the hands of another’. And he was pretty clear in discussing the cause of death,” said Mr Blackwell.

“The direct cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest that was in the environment of the police subdual, restraint and neck compression.

“That was the precipitating point, and from there the stresses of Mr Floyd’s body ultimately resulted in his demise.

“We are only required to show you that Mr Chauvin’s conduct was a substantial cause, a substantial factor in Mr Floyd’s death.”

Mr Blackwell took on the defence’s argument that bystanders distracted Chauvin and the other police officers by being “unruly”.

“You’ve gotten to meet them,” he said of the witnesses.

“They came at different ages, different genders, different races, and they all focused together on the one thing. A human being they didn’t know was suffering, and they wanted to intervene to stop the suffering.

“They were in a very difficult spot. You saw them on the stand, in tears. They felt torn between their love for the sanctity of life itself and wanting to intervene, and on the other hand their respect for the authority that the badge represents.

“If those bystanders did not respect this badge, they could have taken the law into their own hands. None of them did that. Because they respected this badge.

“You will hear time and again, oh the crowd was getting louder, getting agitated. We can’t see, somehow, what it is they’re getting upset about? The fact that a man is literally losing his life in front of them and there’s nothing they can do.”

He dismissed the idea that Mr Floyd died due to a drug overdose.

“Mr Floyd does not fit the description of anybody who dies from a fentanyl overdose,” said the prosecutor.

“It does not look like somebody who’s saying, ‘I can’t breathe.’ That’s not what happens when somebody is dying from a fentanyl overdose. They are completely non-responsive.”

He said only a “minuscule amount” of meth had been found in Mr Floyd’s blood.

Mr Blackwell finished with a reference to the defence’s claim that Mr Floyd’s enlarged heart played a role.

“You were told that Mr Floyd died because his heart was too big. And after hearing all the evidence and seeing all the evidence, you know the truth,” he said.

“The reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr Chauvin’s heart was too small.”

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Derek Chauvin tells court he will not testify


“I will invoke my 5th Amendment privilege today,” Chauvin said.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing George Floyd, addressed the court on Thursday, telling the presiding judge that he has decided not to testify in his own defense.

“I will invoke my 5th Amendment privilege today,” Chauvin said, using a microphone in court.

Chauvin announced his decision after he and his defense attorney, Eric Nelson, had an open on-the-record discussion in court, in which Nelson emphasized, “This is your decision and your decision alone.”

Nelson said that he and Chauvin have had numerous conversations on whether or not he should take the witness stand, including a lengthy conversation Wednesday night.

Judge Peter Cahill questioned Chauvin about his decision, asking if he was pressured in any way in making it.

“No promises or threats, your honor,” Chauvin said.

Cahill said he will comply with Chauvin’s request to instruct the jury that they “should not draw any inference” on his guilt or innocence by exercising his right not to testify.

The development in the high-profile murder trial came as the defense prepared to rest its case Thursday.

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What We Learned from the Derek Chauvin Trial Today


Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger is sworn in before testifying today.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Witnesses called by the prosecution in the Derek Chauvin trial provided a deeper look at police policies on the use of force on Tuesday and gave the former Minneapolis police officer’s defense team some potential openings.

Mr. Chauvin’s defense, led by attorney Eric J. Nelson, tried to bolster its argument that the crowd that formed on the sidewalk during George Floyd’s arrest might have made it more difficult for Mr. Chauvin to render medical aid or to move his knee, which he held on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes.

While the first week of the trial brought emotional testimony from bystanders, Tuesday’s proceedings seemed to cement the trial into the second phase: focusing on whether Mr. Chauvin, who is accused of murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, violated police policy, or whether his actions lined up with his training. Here are the highlights from Tuesday.

  • Mr. Nelson found some testimony from prosecution witnesses that could support his arguments. Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, agreed with Mr. Nelson’s assertion that a crowd of vocal bystanders can make it difficult for an officer to render medical aid during an arrest. Lt. Johnny Mercil, a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department and use-of-force instructor, also said that hostile bystanders could raise alarm with officers. Mr. Nelson has suggested throughout the trial that the crowd outside the Cup Foods convenience store, which yelled at Mr. Chauvin as he knelt on Mr. Floyd for nine and a half minutes, might have hindered the former officer from helping Mr. Floyd once he became unresponsive.

  • Mr. Nelson hit on a similar theme during the questioning of Sgt. Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department. He asked whether an officer can “look bad” even when applying force that is lawful, and asked whether officers are tasked with weighing possible threats, such as a crowd of bystanders, when applying force. “You’re taking in a lot of information and processing it all kind of simultaneously through this critical decision-making model,” Mr. Nelson said. Sergeant Yang agreed.

  • Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told prosecutors that Mr. Floyd kicked at officers as a possible attempt to break free from their grasp. Still, Sergeant Stiger said that kick was the only such attempt by Mr. Floyd. He also said that, based on his review of body camera footage, Mr. Floyd seemed to comply with officers shortly after they placed him facedown on the pavement, with his hands cuffed behind his back.

  • When reviewing a picture of Mr. Chauvin pinning George Floyd to the ground, Lieutenant Mercil told prosecutors that Mr. Chauvin’s position was not consistent with the Minneapolis Police Department’s training on use of force. In addition, Lieutenant Mercil said that officers are trained to “use the lowest level of force possible” when controlling a subject. Mr. Chauvin kept Mr. Floyd pinned for several minutes even after he became unresponsive. Still, Mr. Nelson made some potential headway with the testimony of Lieutenant Mercil. Asked about neck restraints, Lieutenant Mercil said it generally takes less than 10 seconds for a person to become unconscious because of a neck restraint. The question could allow Mr. Nelson to argue that Mr. Chauvin’s knee did not qualify as a neck restraint, because it took several minutes for Mr. Floyd to lose consciousness.

On Day 7 of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd, people gathered outside the courthouse and in front of Cup Foods.

A patron of a laundromat near Cup Foods watching the Derek Chauvin trial on Monday.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Viewer interest in television coverage of the trial of Derek Chauvin has been high, according to ratings data from Nielsen.

Several cable channels, including CNN and MSNBC, have broadcast large portions of the trial live, and one cable network, HLN, has shown it in its entirety since the proceedings started on March 29. For several days last week, CNN’s highest ratings came in the afternoon, during witness testimony, rather than during its prime-time hours.

Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd last year, faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder.

On Thursday, roughly 3.7 million viewers were watching trial coverage on the three channels during the afternoon testimony of former Sgt. David Pleoger, who supervised Mr. Chauvin and testified that he should have “ended” his restraint after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive. That audience was larger than the number of people tuning into any other cable program that day. “The Rachel Maddow Show,” the most watched cable show on Thursday, drew three million viewers.

On Monday, the trial continued to attract a large viewing audience. CNN’s 3 p.m. hour, which featured testimony from Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, averaged 1.4 million viewers, the network’s highest total for the day, including its prime-time hours. HLN had an average of 470,000 viewers between 3 and 4 p.m. on Monday, also its most-viewed hour of the day.

The Nielsen figures do not reflect people who watched the trial on separate streaming outlets or on digital devices. Court TV is also broadcasting and streaming live trial coverage in its entirety. Fox News, the most-watched cable news network, has not been carrying the trial live.

HLN, a channel formerly known as CNN2 and CNN Headline News that is owned by CNN’s parent company, AT&T’s WarnerMedia, had its highest daytime ratings since 2013, when it covered the trial of George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer who fatally shot Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, according to Nielsen. HLN’s audience figures only continued to spike as the week went on.

“The numbers show that there is a high level of interest,” said Ken Jautz, an executive vice president of CNN, who oversees HLN, in an interview.

“This trial raises so many prominent and searing societal issues,” he continued. “Issues of policing practices, and how law enforcement treats people of color.”

On MSNBC, viewership figures for the morning portion of the trial went up throughout its first week. On March 29, 929,000 viewers watched the trial as it began just after 10:30 Eastern time. By Friday, the fifth day, MSNBC viewership figures for the morning portion had risen to 1.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The figures are nothing close to interest to the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial. Roughly 50 million people watched the trial’s conclusion from their homes, a figure that may have been three times that size if the number of people watching it at work, at school or in airports or restaurants had been factored in.

The Chauvin trial is expected to last several weeks, and the three cable news networks are likely to continue broadcasting significant portions of it.

After a private conference with lawyers for both sides, Judge Peter Cahill unexpectedly sends jurors home for the day an hour earlier than usual. He says witness testimony will resume on Wednesday at 9:15 Central, when Sgt. Jody Stiger of the Los Angeles Police Department, a use-of-force expert called by prosecutors, will return to the stand.

Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, testified on Tuesday in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer appeared to make some of his strongest arguments yet on Tuesday when he questioned a Minneapolis police officer who had been called by prosecutors to testify about training officers on providing medical care.

The officer, Nicole Mackenzie, who is the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, agreed with Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that a police officer could mistake gasping for air with breathing and that a hostile group of bystanders could make it more likely for a police officer to miss signs that a detainee was in distress.

The lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, has repeatedly sought to argue that the group of people who yelled at police officers as they saw Mr. Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd may have forced his attention away from Mr. Floyd’s worsening condition.

Officer Mackenzie said it could be “incredibly difficult” to provide medical treatment in front of a loud crowd, even if they were not interfering physically.

“If you had a very hostile or volatile crowd — it sounds unreasonable — but bystanders do occasionally attack E.M.S. crews,” she testified.

Prosecutors have argued that the people who witnessed Mr. Floyd’s arrest presented no threat to the officers and were simply distraught over what they saw. They called Officer Mackenzie to the stand to bolster their argument that Mr. Chauvin, who was fired from the department and is facing charges including murder, violated police policies that required him to administer care to people in his custody when it was safe to do so.

But when Mr. Nelson asked if the police policies that require officers to administer care are “contingent upon what’s going on at the scene at the time,” Officer Mackenzie agreed.

She also described what she said were the effects of “excited delirium,” a controversial diagnosis that is often ascribed to people who die in police custody. Officer Mackenzie said that people experiencing excited delirium could exhibit “superhuman strength” because they do not feel normal levels of pain.

Mr. Nelson also showed images from a training slide show that she delivered to officers on the use of naloxone, the overdose-reversing treatment often known by the brand name Narcan. In that training, Officer Mackenzie noted that only a small amount of fentanyl can have deadly effects.

Fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in Mr. Floyd’s system, and Mr. Nelson has argued that the drugs may have caused his death.

There were parts of Officer Mackenzie’s testimony that helped the prosecution.

As police officers were arresting Mr. Floyd in May, and he was telling them he couldn’t breathe, one officer said it takes “a lot of oxygen” to talk. But Officer Mackenzie testified that someone who is having trouble breathing could still be able to speak, and that officers should not assume someone can breathe because they are talking.

“Just because they’re speaking doesn’t mean they’re breathing adequately,” she said.

At the end of the officer’s testimony, Judge Peter A. Cahill told her that Mr. Nelson was planning to bring her back to testify when he begins to lay out Mr. Chauvin’s defense.

Officer Mackenzie was the eighth current or former member of the Minneapolis Police Department whom prosecutors have called to testify. She said that when she was a rookie, Mr. Chauvin had filled in as her training officer for a day when her regular trainer was out sick. Mr. Chauvin had also attended training that she provided to the department.

Prosecutors are now examining the officers’ actions last May during the arrest of George Floyd and their decision to place him on the ground, on his stomach, handcuffed. Sgt. Jody Stiger, an L.A.P.D. use-of-force trainer and expert, said that a kick from Floyd while handcuffed, visible on a police body-camera video, could have been an attempt to evade the officers’ grasp.

A Miami police officer taking part in a training exercise in 2018.
Credit…Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Much of Tuesday’s testimony has highlighted the training that the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin received. But one longtime issue in policing in Minneapolis and elsewhere is the difference between what officers learn in the academy and what they learn on the streets.

Law enforcement officials and criminal justice experts have said that while officers may learn things like de-escalation and community engagement in training, they can be highly influenced by whoever trains them on the job.

And sometimes those field-training officers may be from an earlier generation that employed a more aggressive approach. That divide has been a concern of Minneapolis police and city officials as they try to change the way their officers operate after the death of George Floyd.

Mr. Chauvin, who is facing murder charges after kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, was a field-training officer. He had supervised two of the rookie officers involved in Mr. Floyd’s arrest.

“Every police agency has a mission statement, but the culture is what is accepted by leadership on a day-to-day basis,” Sean Hendrickson, an instructor at Washington State’s police academy, told The New York Times in an article last year. “That gets backed up by other officers and is extremely deep and very difficult to change.”

Some activists have argued that the Minneapolis police — and other police agencies — were so irreparably broken that no amount of new training can reform them. Others have expressed concern that officers do not receive proper or enough training.

Most states require fewer minimum training hours to become licensed as a police officer than they do for barbers or cosmetologists. As of last year, for example, New York State law mandates 1,000 hours of training for massage therapists, compared with around 700 hours for officers. Hawaii has no minimum requirements for police officers, but manicurists must train for 300 hours.

Becoming a police officer in Minneapolis requires first getting a peace officer license from the state, which entails as many as 1,050 hours of training. Once recruits obtain their licenses, they have to go through additional training run by the Minneapolis Police Department that includes 19 weeks in the academy.

After completing the academy, new officers spend five months on the streets with a field training officer, who is supposed to teach recruits how to translate what they learned in the academy to real-life situations. But current and former officers pointed to one of the first things that field training officers often say to new recruits: “Forget everything you learned in the academy.”

Jody Stiger, a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department, is the first use-of-force expert witness from outside of the Minneapolis Police Department that the prosecution has called to testify against Derek Chauvin. Stiger’s experience as an instructor in the L.A.P.D. is extensive; he testified that he has trained close to 3,000 police officers in use-of-force tactics.

Sgt. Stiger says he has closely examined Chauvin’s actions last May during the arrest of George Floyd and come to a conclusion: “My opinion was that the force was excessive.”

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Chauvin’s Use of Force Was ‘Excessive,’ L.A.P.D. Sergeant Says

Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told jurors on Tuesday that the former police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force on George Floyd during his arrest.

“I reviewed all the body-worn videos, all the other videos that were provided to me that were cellphone videos, pulled videos, things of that nature — reports, manuals from the Minneapolis Police Department, as well as the training materials.” “Based upon your review of these materials and in light of the Graham factors, what is your opinion as to the degree of force used by the defendant on Mr. Floyd on the date in question?” “My opinion was that the force was excessive. When Mr. Floyd was being placed in the backseat of the vehicle, he was actively resisting the officers. So at that point, the officers were justified in utilizing force to try to have him comply with their commands and to seat him in the backseat of the vehicle. However, once he was placed in the prone position on the ground, he slowly ceased his resistance and at that point, the officers, ex-officers, I should say, they should have slowed down or stopped their, their force as well.”

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Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, told jurors on Tuesday that the former police officer Derek Chauvin used excessive force on George Floyd during his arrest.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Sgt. Jody Stiger of the Los Angeles Police Department took the stand on Tuesday and was expected to be the only outside expert to testify for the state about police training and use of force.

Asked directly about former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s actions in the arrest of George Floyd, Sergeant Stiger was blunt: “My opinion was that the force was excessive.”

Sergeant Stiger, a former Marine, joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1993, according to a spokeswoman for the department. He holds the rank of sergeant II and serves as an aide to the office of the Inspector General, the body that oversees the police department and conducts performance audits, reviews use-of-force incidents and handles complaints of officer misconduct. He is the only sworn officer on staff.

He is also president of the Oscar Joel Bryant Foundation, which represents Black officers and civilian employees of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Sergeant Stiger served as a tactics instructor for in-service training for Los Angeles police officers for six years, during which he provided training regarding use-of-force policy and state law to about 3,000 officers, he said during his testimony.

He said he has conducted more than 2,500 reviews while working with the department and has consulted several entities on use-of-force reviews.

Sergeant Stiger was paid a flat fee of $10,000, as well as a trial fee, to review reports, video footage of the incident, training policies and other materials and ultimately make a judgment about whether the use of force by Mr. Chauvin was appropriate.

The defense has indicated it will recall Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, during Derek Chauvin’s portion of the trial, suggesting that Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, believes her testimony was helpful to his case.

Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, ended his cross examination of Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the police department’s medical trainer, with some strong points for the defense. She told him that it’s very difficult to focus on the patient when you have loud things happening around you, that it’s more difficult to assess a patient, and it makes it possible that you might miss signs of problems. This could all be used to argue that George Floyd’s death was manslaughter — more of a mistake on Chauvin’s part than a depraved crime.

The prosecution took a risk by calling so many use-of-force witnesses; now some of them are coming very close to bolstering key aspects of the defense’s case.

In his questioning of Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the Minneapolis Police Department’s medical response trainer, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer returns to a line of questioning that he has raised with several other expert witnesses, suggesting that the shouting bystanders at the scene last May were a factor in Chauvin’s decision to continue restraining George Floyd.

As police officers were arresting George Floyd and he was telling them he couldn’t breathe, video captured one officer telling him it takes “a lot of oxygen” to talk. But medical experts have said people can be struggling to breathe and still speak. Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains Minneapolis police officers in medical treatment, backed that up from the stand, testifying, “Just because they’re speaking doesn’t mean they’re breathing adequately.”

Now testifying after the court’s lunch break is Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, who is expected to testify about officers providing medical treatment to people who are having a crisis. She is the eighth member of the department to testify for the prosecution in this trial.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, prayed with relatives of George Floyd on Tuesday outside of the courthouse where Derek Chauvin is on trial.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

Relatives of George Floyd prayed outside the courthouse with the Rev. Al Sharpton on Tuesday, asking God for “justice” from the jury and for strength to continue closely watching the trial taking place on the 18th floor of the building behind them.

“Give this family strength that they can bear the recurring sight of seeing their brother with a knee on his neck,” Mr. Sharpton said. “A knee that represents the perpetual knee on the necks of all Black Americans.”

As he spoke, testimony continued inside the courtroom in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder in George Floyd’s death. Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said the family had been told that autopsy photographs may be shown in court on Tuesday.

Prosecutors have already shown several graphic videos of the police confronting Mr. Floyd and Mr. Chauvin kneeling on him for more than nine minutes. Mr. Sharpton said he was praying for everyone watching the trial who was “suffering with” the Floyd family.

In addition to Mr. Crump and Mr. Sharpton, several high-profile Black politicians and activists accompanied the Floyd family. Among them were David A. Paterson, the former governor of New York; Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 when a New York police officer put him in a chokehold; and Ray McGuire, who is running for mayor in New York and has secured Ms. Carr’s endorsement.

As two law enforcement officials in camouflage watched from a roof of the courthouse, several relatives of Mr. Floyd bowed their heads in prayer.

Afterward, Philonise Floyd, a brother of George’s, put his arm around Ms. Carr.

“We and Ms. Gwen Carr, after we get the verdict and we get this conviction, we’ll be able to breathe,” he said.

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Chauvin’s Use of Neck Restraint Was Unauthorized, Trainer Says

Lt. Johnny Mercil of the Minneapolis Police Department said Tuesday that neck restraints are sometimes allowed but that the former officer Derek Chauvin’s use of the technique on George Floyd was not appropriate.

“Is this an M.P.D.-authorized restraint technique?” “Knee on the neck would be something that does happen to use of force that isn’t unauthorized.” “And under what circumstances would that be authorized? How long can you do that?” “I don’t know if there’s a time frame. It would depend on the circumstance at the time.” “Which would include what?” “The type of resistance you’re getting from the subject that you’re putting it on.” “And so if there was, say, for example, the subject was under control and handcuffed, would this be authorized?” “I would say no.” “When we’re talking about prone handcuffing, this is a specific kind of photograph that demonstrates the placement of a knee as it applies to prone. Handcuff him, correct?” “Correct.” “And ultimately, if that person were to be handcuffed and circumstances dictated, the officer would be permitted to continue to hold his knee in that same position. Agreed?” “I would say yes. However, we’ve cautioned officers that — be mindful of the neck area, and to look for the shoulder, for placement.”

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Lt. Johnny Mercil of the Minneapolis Police Department said Tuesday that neck restraints are sometimes allowed but that the former officer Derek Chauvin’s use of the technique on George Floyd was not appropriate.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Lt. Johnny Mercil, the second witness of the day, is a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, a practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and a use-of-force instructor who has trained hundreds of police officers.

His testimony focused on a crucial argument for the prosecution: that Derek Chauvin’s actions last May were not consistent with how officers have been taught to restrain people who are resisting arrest.

Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor, displayed a picture of Mr. Chauvin pinning George Floyd to the ground and asked, “Is this an M.P.D.-trained neck restraint?”

“No, sir,” Lieutenant Mercil responded.

The lieutenant, who is currently on medical leave from the Minneapolis Police Department, is the seventh member of the department to testify for the prosecution in Mr. Chauvin’s trial.

But Eric J. Nelson, a lawyer for Mr. Chauvin, countered with a line of questioning emphasizing the unpredictability of people who are being taken into custody, the possibility that they could stop resisting arrest and then suddenly become violent, and the challenge for police officers in assessing a situation as circumstances shift.

He suggested that Mr. Chauvin’s knee was not the cause of Mr. Floyd’s unconsciousness, and asked Lieutenant Mercil whether a restraint requires pressure on both sides of the neck for the person to go unconscious. “That is what we teach, yes,” he said.

Mr. Nelson repeatedly invoked the chaotic scene around Mr. Chauvin last May, asking Lieutenant Mercil whether bystanders yelling insults at an officer would “reasonably tend to rise alarm in an officer.” He agreed that they would.

Mr. Schleicher, the prosecutor, then asked: “And if they’re saying, ‘Get off him, you’re killing him,’ should the officer also take that into account and consider whether their actions need to be reassessed?”

“Potentially, sir, yes,” Lieutenant Mercil said.

The testimony from Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force trainer with the Minneapolis Police Department, has wrapped up, and the court is taking a break for lunch.

Questions from the defense to Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force trainer with the Minneapolis Police Department, about whether unconscious people can suddenly regain consciousness and fight back are laying the groundwork to argue that Derek Chauvin was behaving reasonably when he continued to restrain George Floyd for more than nine minutes, even after he lost consciousness.

The fact that Lt. Mercil keeps agreeing with the defense lawyer on this line of questioning could present a problem for the prosecution.

Defense lawyer Eric Nelson seems to be laying the foundation to argue that Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck was not a neck restraint and did not cause Floyd to go unconscious. He asked use-of-force trainer Lt. Johnny Mercil whether a restraint requires pressure on both sides of the neck for the person to go unconscious. “That is what we teach, yes,” Mercil said.

Mercil also said that generally it takes less than 10 seconds for someone to go unconscious because of a neck restraint. That’s likely a point that Nelson will use to say that it took Floyd longer than 10 seconds to go unconscious.

Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, has just asked Johnny Mercil, a lieutenant and use-of-force trainer with the Minneapolis Police Department, if people on drugs can display “more strength than they would have otherwise.” Superhuman strength is associated with excited delirium, a controversial diagnosis that is often cited in autopsies after deaths in police custody.

Prosecutors presenting police guidance on the use of neck restraints during the trial of the former officer Derek Chauvin.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Even as several members of the Minneapolis Police Department have criticized Derek Chauvin’s use of force against George Floyd, they have acknowledged that using force is a necessary part of policing. And data shows that reports of force are extremely rare, although the outcome can sometimes be significant.

Since 2018, there have been 14 reported incidents of officers’ using neck restraints in which the person it was being used on became unconscious, according to data from the department. The most recent incident was in February 2020 in which a 20-year-old Black male was restrained during a traffic stop for “verbal noncompliance,” the data said. Since 2012, there had been 310 instances in which neck restraints were used and the subject did not lose consciousness.

A central question for jurors in this trial will be whether it was appropriate for Mr. Chauvin to kneel on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Johnny Mercil, a Minneapolis police lieutenant who provided use-of-force training to Mr. Chauvin, testified that officers were trained to “use the lowest level of force possible in order to meet those objectives.”

In many ways, this phase of the trial is putting police tactics on trial. Minneapolis residents, particularly African-Americans, have been highly critical of the Police Department, which they say has brutalized their communities. Since 2015, the Police Department has used force against Black residents at seven times the rate that it did against white residents, according to a New York Times analysis of police data last year.

About 20 percent of Minneapolis’s 430,000 residents are Black, but nearly 62 percent of the time that officers used force, it was against Black residents, according to the data.

Police officials argue that although the use of force may get a lot of attention, it is exceedingly rare. The data shows that there have been 4.3 million calls for service since 2008, but force was reported in just 13,472 of those instances, or just .31 percent of the time.

For residents who live in heavily policed areas, however, constant harassment by the police, even when force is not used, has left a bad impression. And shocking cases like Mr. Floyd’s can tend to overshadow the fact that force might be rarely used.

Johnny Mercil, a lieutenant with the Minneapolis Police Department, is explaining the use-of-force strategies that he teaches to police officers. His testimony here repeats a similar theme from earlier expert witnesses: When trying to control a subject, officers are trained to “use the lowest level of force possible in order to meet those objectives,” he says.

The prosecution is focusing its questions to Mercil on when it is appropriate for a police oficer to use a neck restraint on a suspect, as Derek Chauvin did on George Floyd. When shown a picture of Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground and asked, “Is this an M.P.D.-trained neck restraint?” the lieutenant responds, “No, sir.”

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Police Sergeant Testifies on De-Escalation Process During Arrests

Sgt. Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department, testified on Tuesday that officers have time to slow down, re-evaluate and reassess while arresting someone.

“Really, the ultimate goal in action — of somebody in a crisis — is to see if that person needs help and what kind of help. Does that person need to go to the hospital or does that person — can be turned over to somebody that has the authority to watch over that person?” “The crisis intervention policy actually defines crisis as having a trajectory, correct?” “Yes, sir.” “And that that trajectory can increase in its severity over time?” “Yes, sir.” “And that’s why it becomes important for an officer to create time and distance, right?” “Yes, sir.” “And creating time and distance for an officer is an important part of the de-escalation process, is it not?” “Yes, sir.” “And would you agree that you train police officers that as that intensity of crisis increases, the risk or threat to the officer grows greater?” “I don’t believe I train a specific like that, because as the intensity — my training is that as the intensity increases, and you have the distance and you, like you said, the time, you try to bring it down, not increase the intensity of it.”

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Sgt. Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department, testified on Tuesday that officers have time to slow down, re-evaluate and reassess while arresting someone.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Lawyers for both the prosecution and the defense continued to argue on Tuesday over whether Derek Chauvin violated police policy when he knelt on George Floyd, asking a range of questions to the day’s first witness, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department.

Prosecutors called the coordinator, Sgt. Ker Yang, 49, to the stand and walked through the various decisions that officers are expected to make while on the job. Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor, emphasized in his questions that the police are supposed to constantly re-evaluate a situation and act accordingly, to which Sergeant Yang agreed.

“When we talk about fast-evolving situations, I know that they do exist, they do happen,” Sergeant Yang testified. But in many situations, he added, “We have the time to slow things down and re-evaluate and reassess.”

His comments echoed those of Chief Medaria Arradondo, who on Monday testified that while Mr. Chauvin’s initial efforts to restrain Mr. Floyd may have been reasonable, he had violated policy by continuing to kneel on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes.

Mr. Schleicher noted on Tuesday that Mr. Chauvin had participated in a 40-hour crisis intervention training course in 2016.

Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, pressed his argument that bystanders at the scene of an arrest can have a large effect on how an officer acts, and that an officer can “look bad” even while using force that is lawful. He also emphasized that officers are not supposed to remain solely focused on someone they are arresting, but are also supposed to consider other parts of their surroundings.

“It’s not just one small thing that you’re focused only on the subject that you’re arresting,” Mr. Nelson said. “You’re taking in a lot of information and processing it all kind of simultaneously through this critical decision-making model.” Sergeant Yang agreed.

The next witness is Johnny Mercil, a police lieutenant who is currently on medical leave from the Minneapolis Police Department. He is a use-of-force trainer, and early in his career was assigned to the Third Precinct, whose station house burned down early in the protests following George Floyd’s death last year. His testimony will continue the focus on the training given to Minneapolis police officers.

He teaches officers Brazilian jiu jitsu and other hands-on tactics for subduing suspects.

It’s interesting to see Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer focus on how, as the intensity of a situation grows, the risk to an officer increases. I spoke with a former high-level Minneapolis police commander last year, and he told me that the constant focus among police officers on their safety could sometimes lead to actions that put them at odds with the communities they serve. His main point was that it’s a fine line between keeping oneself safe as an officer, but also not seeing everything and everyone around you as a threat or an enemy.

The defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, is now questioning Sgt. Ker Yang, the Minneapolis Police Department’s crisis intervention training coordinator, and he is trying to establish that police tactics can sometimes get messy, but they’re still allowed. “They still may be lawful even if they look bad?” Nelson asked. “Yes sir,” Yang responded. Of course, jurors will have to determine whether kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes was something that just “looked bad” or whether it was unlawful.

The first witness called by prosecutors today is Sgt. Ker Yang, 49, a crisis intervention training coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department. Prosecutors will likely use his testimony to try to show that Derek Chauvin had been trained in how to safely respond to people who were having various kinds of crises.

Prosecutors seem to be trying to establish with Sgt. Yang that the officers arresting George Floyd were trained to assess the situation and should have gone from using force against Floyd to trying to provide him with medical attention.

The judge is not going to rule today on whether Morries Hall, the friend of George Floyd’s who was with him in the moments before his death in May, can be forced to testify. The judge will likely rule later this week. Derek Chauvin’s lawyer has many questions for Mr. Hall, but almost all of them have the potential to incriminate him, and Mr. Hall has said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Before the jury is brought in this morning, court starts with an appearance from Morries Lester Hall, a friend of George Floyd’s who was in the car with him on May 25, the day Floyd died, in the moments before the police arrived. His lawyer says he does not want to testify and would invoke his Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself. This hearing is over whether he can be forced to testify against his will. He is currently being held in jail on charges unrelated to Floyd’s death and is appearing on video.

Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer has outlined a long list of questions that he wants to ask Hall. Among them are questions about his interactions with Floyd in Cup Foods, about Floyd’s use of drugs, about Hall’s decision to leave the state after Floyd’s death, and much more. Almost all of those things have the potential to incriminate Hall.

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Morries Hall, George Floyd’s Friend, Hopes to Avoid Chauvin Trial Testimony

Morries Hall, a friend of George Floyd who was with him when he was arrested, is hoping to avoid testifying. On Tuesday, Mr. Hall’s legal team stated he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

“At this point in time, Mr. Hall has no immunity. He has been provided no immunity, no protection for his testimony whatsoever. And because of that, Mr. Hall is invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination in several key areas of questioning that we believe he would face were he to be called to testify.” “The defense intend to inquire of Mr. Hall as to the following. Certainly any events leading up to their — Mr. Hall and Mr Floyd’s arrival at Cup Foods earlier in the day, where they were, what they were doing, Mr. Hall’s interactions with Mr. Floyd in the Cup Foods.” “We need to tread carefully, obviously, Fifth Amendment right is a broad one. And I agree the link — you have to worry about links to possible prosecution. But at the same time, if everything’s linked, then it’s a blanket prohibition, and that is not the case law. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to ask Mr. Nelson essentially to draft in written question form with the expected answer based on whatever statements were made on what that would be.”

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Morries Hall, a friend of George Floyd who was with him when he was arrested, is hoping to avoid testifying. On Tuesday, Mr. Hall’s legal team stated he planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Morries Lester Hall, a friend of George Floyd’s who was in a car with him on May 25, moments before the police pulled Mr. Floyd out of the car and pinned him to the ground, is hoping to avoid testifying in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin.

At a hearing on Tuesday morning over whether Mr. Hall must testify, his lawyer said that testifying about any of his actions on May 25 had the potential to incriminate him, and that Mr. Hall planned to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Mr. Hall, who is currently in jail on charges unrelated to Mr. Floyd’s death, appeared in court by video conference, though he spoke only to spell his name and confirm that he had conferred with his lawyer.

Judge Peter A. Cahill, who is overseeing the trial of Mr. Chauvin, did not rule on whether Mr. Hall must testify, but he ordered Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer to draft a list of questions by Thursday that Mr. Hall might be able to answer without incriminating himself. Videos from the scene show that Mr. Hall was sitting in the passenger seat of a car when the police initially confronted Mr. Floyd, shortly before he was pinned to the ground and died.

Adrienne Cousins, Mr. Hall’s lawyer, said that both prosecutors and Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, had subpoenaed Mr. Hall, though Mr. Nelson seemed more interested in calling him to the stand. Mr. Nelson said in court that he wanted to ask Mr. Hall a range of questions, including about whether he had given Mr. Floyd drugs, about the fake $20 bill that a convenience store clerk said Mr. Floyd used, and about why Mr. Hall left Minnesota after Mr. Floyd had died.

Ms. Cousins said that all of those questions could incriminate her client, and Judge Cahill largely seemed to agree. But the judge said there may be a narrow range of questions — possibly on how Mr. Floyd appeared to be acting in the car before the police arrived — that Mr. Hall might be able to answer without incriminating himself. Ms. Cousins strenuously disagreed, saying that even acknowledging that Mr. Hall was in the car with Mr. Floyd on May 25 could be used against him if he were to be charged with a crime based on his actions that day.

For their part, prosecutors seemed most worried about the prospect that Mr. Hall would take the stand and invoke his Fifth Amendment right in front of the jury, perhaps making them further question Mr. Floyd’s actions that day or making them concerned about what is being withheld.

The Hennepin County Government Center, where on Monday the prosecution began laying out the evidence that Derek Chauvin’s kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes violated department policy.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

The first week of the former police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial was emotional, marked by gut-wrenching eyewitness accounts, combative exchanges and vivid videos. But according to Justin Hansford, a law professor at Howard University, Monday marked the start of a more critical part of the trial.

The prosecution began laying out the evidence that Mr. Chauvin’s decision to kneel on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes violated department policy and that his actions led directly to Mr. Floyd’s death on May 25. That’s the “meat” of the prosecution’s case and is the only evidence that the jury can use to reach a verdict, said Mr. Hansford, who has been watching the trial daily.

Prosecutors should have started with “a more substantive argument early on, rather than an emotional one” because that is what the jurors are asked to consider in their decision, Mr. Hansford said. “We should be watching the expert testimony closely because that will be grounds” for the verdict, he said.

On Monday, the jurors heard none of the harrowing accounts of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. Instead, the prosecution guided the Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arrodondo, through more than two hours of questions about the law, police training and standards. Prosecutors followed that with questions to the Police Department’s former training director about how often Mr. Chauvin would have received guidance on tactics such as restraining suspects, use of force and medical aid.

Chief Arrodondo testified that Mr. Chauvin violated the department’s policy when he pinned Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes and failed to render aid.

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Minneapolis Police Chief Says Chauvin Violated Policy

Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.

“Is what you see in Exhibit 17, in your opinion, within the Minneapolis Police departmental policy 5-300, authorizing the use of reasonable force?” “It is not.” “Do you have a belief as to when this restraint, the restraint on the ground that you viewed should have stopped?” “Once Mr. Floyd, and this is based on my viewing of the videos, once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that — that should have stopped. And clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.” “And based these observations, do you have an opinion as to whether the defendant violated M.P.D. departmental policy 7-350 by failing to render aid to Mr. Floyd?” “I agree that the defendant violated our policy in terms of rendering aid.”

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Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Unequivocal condemnation from the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department has pushed the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer charged in the death of George Floyd, into new territory.

Questions about whether Mr. Chauvin violated department policy by keeping his knee on Mr. Floyd for nine and a half minutes will remain important as the trial moves forward on Tuesday. The judge, Peter A. Cahill, said he would limit the number of police officers who could testify about use of force, though one more officer is expected to answer questions on the crucial topic.

On Monday, Chief Medaria Arradondo rebuked Mr. Chauvin — saying he pinned Mr. Floyd for too long and failed to render aid — in a rare example of a police chief testifying against a police officer. Though Mr. Chauvin’s restraints may have been justified at first, “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped,” the chief said.

Other witnesses included an emergency room doctor and veteran officer.

Dr. Bradford T. Wankhede Langenfeld, who attempted to save Mr. Floyd’s life at a hospital for about 30 minutes before declaring his death, said he believed that asphyxia, or the deprivation of oxygen, was one of the more likely causes of death. The prosecution has sought to validate that claim, while the defense has pointed to complications from drug use and a heart condition.

Inspector Katie Blackwell, a veteran police officer in Minneapolis, told jurors that officers should move suspects who are facedown and handcuffed “as soon as possible” because the position can make it difficult to breathe. Mr. Floyd was kept on his stomach even after he lost consciousness.

Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, argued that officers sometimes have to juggle multiple things when applying force, such as possible threats from bystanders. Regarding Mr. Floyd’s cause of death, Mr. Nelson got Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld to confirm that drug use could cause asphyxia.

Ultimately, Monday’s testimony may prove problematic for the defense. The criticism by Chief Arradondo, in particular, could encourage the jury to break from the norm of giving police officers the benefit of the doubt when it comes to split-second decisions on when, and how, to apply force.

Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer, speaking at a rally in Minneapolis in November.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

During his testimony on Monday, Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, said that he learned about the widely seen bystander video when a community member called him close to midnight after George Floyd’s death and said, “Chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago?”

Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer, said in an interview on Monday that she was the community member who had that conversation with the chief about 10 months ago. She watched his testimony in the case of Derek Chauvin, the former officer accused of murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, and said she was pleased.

“He set a powerful example that police chiefs across the nation should follow when they know that their officers have violated people’s human rights and constitutional rights,” Ms. Armstrong said.

Residents and political leaders have been intensely debating the future of the city’s police department, with some activists and City Council members advocating the dismantling of the department and creating a new public safety agency that would oversee law enforcement. Some have said that the head of the new agency should not be a police officer, but Ms. Armstrong said that Chief Arradondo’s testimony instilled confidence in her that he should continue to lead law enforcement in Minneapolis.

“I think the fact that Chief Arradondo — not once, but twice — has been willing to break that blue wall of silence is incredibly important,” she said.

Other activists were not as impressed with the chief. D.A. Bullock is a local activist and filmmaker who said he favored defunding and dismantling the Police Department, and eventually abolishing it all together. He said he was disturbed that Chief Arradondo suggested that there were times when it was appropriate for officers to place their knees on the necks of suspects to get them under control.

That, Mr. Bullock said, “means to me that they are going to continue the practice of putting their knees on Black men’s necks.”

Like other supporters of efforts to defund the police, Mr. Bullock said he thought that Chief Arradondo was well intentioned. But he argued that the problems within the department were so systemic that there was little the police chief could do to make policing better.

“I encourage people again to look at the policy and not look at his performance,” Mr. Bullock said. “I don’t feel very confident in that testimony about actual changes in the Police Department.”

Prosecutors quizzed Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, on Monday about his department’s standards and training during the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

In testimony that often seemed more like he was teaching a criminal law class, the Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arradondo, spent more than two hours on Monday detailing the training his officers must complete and the standards they must comply with. Navigating jargon and statutes, his testimony in former officer Derek Chauvin’s trial is crucial in determining whether Mr. Chauvin is criminally responsible for George Floyd’s death.

The prosecution must show that Mr. Chauvin “acted unreasonably and out of the bounds” of his training and the standards set by Minnesota, said David Schultz, a law professor at the University of Minnesota. Prosecutors need to show he “went rogue.” If the defense can prove that Mr. Chauvin followed all protocols, then “the case is all over” for the prosecution, Mr. Schulz said.

Mr. Arradondo fired Mr. Chauvin and backed an F.B.I. investigation shortly after Mr. Floyd’s death, calling it a “murder.” His prior comments will very likely face scrutiny when Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, cross-examines him.

Proving that Mr. Chauvin broke policy is one of the two most important tasks for prosecutors, Mr. Schultz said. The other is proving that Mr. Floyd died as a direct result of Mr. Chauvin kneeling on his neck and restraining him. The defense has argued instead that Mr. Floyd died of a combination of factors, including an overdose, and that Mr. Chauvin was following Minnesota policing standards.

Minnesota has fairly clear and high standards for police officers, and unlike other states, it licenses and regulates its police officers, Mr. Schultz said. The defense will remind the jury that police officers across the country have statutory authorization to use force by way of a Supreme Court decision on qualified immunity, Mr. Schultz said.

“What Arradondo and the other police officers last week are doing is saying that Chauvin wasn’t a responsible police officer” based on the standards and training he had received, Mr. Schultz said. “This is what they have to do to show he engaged in criminal activity” and therefore lost his qualified immunity, he said.

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Prominent BLM Activist Threatens Cities ‘on Fire’ if Chauvin Walks



Maya Echols, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, threatened that cities will be “on fire” if Derek Chauvin is not convicted.

Side note: So what? I don’t live there.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is currently on trial for the murder of George Floyd.

“If George Floyd’s murderer is not sentenced, just know that all hell is gonna break loose. Don’t be surprised when buildings are on fire. Just saying,” Echols threatened in a since-deleted video.

Trust me, sweetheart, no one with an IQ above room temperature will be at all surprised.

Echols’ threat is one people need to take seriously because, as we all remember from last year, it was the left-wing domestic terrorists in Black Lives Matter and Antifa who rioted, burned, assaulted, and killed in dozens of American cities for months and months and months.

Which means there is simply no question that if Chauvin is acquitted — as I pointed out last week — that what Echols is threatening will indeed happen. Worse still, the left’s second round of mayhem and death will likely dwarf the original campaign of domestic terror launched by Black Lives Matter and Antifa.

The good news is that if there is a second wave of domestic terror, it will, just like the first one, occur exclusively in shithole cities full of Democrats and run by Democrats.

Sorry not sorry, but it is only Democrat-run shitholes that are plagued by riots and hate crimes and gun violence and pollution. In fact, it was in the Democrat-run shithole of Minneapolis where Chauvin was filmed kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for eight minutes.

Hey, have you noticed how almost every allegation against a police officer for excessive force and/or racism happens in a Democrat-run, shithole city?

This is not a coincidence.

Nevertheless, these idiot Democrats continue to vote for Democrats and then blame Trump voters for all their problems, even though we don’t live in their shithole cities. We live out in Rural America where there are no gun violence or hate crime crises.

The bottom line is monsters such as Maya Echols are destroying — I should say, further destroying —  their own neighborhoods and communities, while us Trump voters enjoy life in Rural America where we all own guns, but have no gun violence crisis; where we’re supposed to be the racists, but where all races live together with no racial tension; where we’re accused of being anti-environment, but our air and water and streets are clean.

If Chauvin is acquitted (from what I’ve read about the trial, it is my opinion he should not be acquitted), it’s going to be an acquittal in a Democrat-run city and a Democrat-run state full of Democrat voters. And then, the Democrat terrorists in Black Lives Matter and Antifa are going to run around and (once again) burn down Democrat-run cities full of Democrats.

This is not my problem. Because…

Out here in Rural MAGA Land — where our air and water and streets are safe and clean, and where people of all races and creeds live together in relative harmony — we’re just gonna sit back in our La-Z-Boys and watch terrorist Democrats terrorize Democrats and shake our heads at the ignorance and stupidity of it all.

The cities are lost, and I could not care less.

You get what you vote for and you assholes voted for this.

By the way… Maya Echols is not just a BLM activist. Per the Daily Wire, she’s a “social influencer” who signed a lucrative modeling contract with IMG Worldwide. In other words, the left is legitimizing this monster, which is just fine with me.

Like I said, it’s not my neighborhood being burned to the ground.

Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.



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George Floyd death: Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin released on $1m (€849,000) bail


The former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd has been released on bail, prompting Minnesota”s governor to ready the National Guard in the event of any protests.

According to court documents, Derek Chauvin posted a $1 million (€849,000) bond and was released from the state’s facility in Oak Park Heights, where he had been detained. Hennepin County jail records show he was released shortly before 11:30 am on Wednesday.

Floyd, a Black man in handcuffs, died May 25 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for several minutes as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. Floyd’s death was captured in widely seen bystander video that set off protests around the world. Chauvin and three other officers were fired. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter; Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Upon news of Chauvin’s release, Governor Tim Walz activated the National Guard to help local law enforcement. Walz said the Guard was mobilising 100 soldiers and providing equipment and facilities “out of an abundance of caution” in light of public safety concerns. Walz said 100 state troopers and 75 Department of Natural Resources conservation officers were also mobilised to help local authorities.

As darkness fell Wednesday evening, hundreds of people took to the streets in south Minneapolis where protests were centred in the days after George Floyd’s death. They marched several blocks and blocked an intersection for a time, with chants including, “No Justice, No Peace — Prosecute the Police.”

Floyd family lawyers Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci released a statement saying Chauvin’s release “is a painful reminder” that the family is far from getting justice.

“The system of due process worked for Chauvin and afforded him his freedom while he awaits trial. In contrast, George Floyd was denied due process, when his life was ended over a $20 bill. There was no charge, no arrest, no hearing, no bail. Just execution,” the lawyers wrote.

Floyd’s aunt, Angela Harrelson, told FOX-9 that she was still trying to process the news.

“It’s something that I’m not happy with. I’m not pleased with it. But I know I have to accept it because this is what the judge allowed to happen. … I know our family is not happy with this decision,” Harrelson said.

It was not immediately clear where Chauvin got the money to pay his bond. In Minnesota, someone who posts bond is required to pay 10%, in this case $100,000 (€84,000), to the bail bond company. Then, the company and the defendant work out an arrangement for collateral to back all or part of the rest of the bond amount, said Mike Brandt, a criminal defence attorney who is not connected to the case.

A message left with the company that posted the bond, Allegheny Casualty Company, was not immediately returned.

The Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which has a legal defence fund, did not provide any money for bail, a spokeswoman said. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Officers Federation, said his union was not involved.

The website GiveSendGo.com, which says it is a free Christian crowdfunding site, has a Derek Chauvin Bail Fund that says it was created by his family. According to the site, as of midday Wednesday that fund raised $4,198 (€3,500) of its $125,000 (€106,000) goal, with donations from more than 35 people. A posting on the site dated Sept. 12 said it took time to set up a fundraising effort due to the high-profile nature of the case.

Chauvin had the option of posting bail for $1.25 million (€1m) without conditions or $1 million (€849,000) with conditions. Under the conditions of his release, he must attend all court appearances, cannot have any direct or indirect contact — including social media contact — with any members of Floyd’s family, cannot work in law enforcement or security, and must not possess any firearms or ammunition.

Chauvin’s attorney had no comment Wednesday.

Chauvin’s wife, Kellie Chauvin, filed for divorce shortly after Floyd’s death. The records in that case have since been sealed and Kellie Chauvin’s divorce attorney didn’t immediately reply to a message seeking comment.

In July, the Chauvins were charged with multiple felony counts of tax evasion for allegedly failing to report income from various jobs, including more than $95,000 (€80,000) from Derek Chauvin’s off-duty security work. The criminal complaints in that case allege that from 2014 through 2019, the Chauvins under-reported their joint income by $464,433 (€394,000) and owe the state $37,868 (€32,000) in unpaid taxes, interest and fees.

The tax evasion case also listed other assets, including the couple’s second home in Florida and a $100,000 (€84,000) BMW.

The Chauvin home in the St. Paul suburb of Oakdale was sold on August 28 for $279,000 (€237,000), which was $26,000 (€22,000) less than the price it was listed at a month after Floyd’s death, according to online real estate records. It was not clear where Chauvin was staying after his release, but one of the conditions of his bail was that he not leave Minnesota without permission.

The other three officers charged in Floyd’s death had previously posted bond amounts of $750,000 (€637,000) and have been free pending trial. Currently, all four men are scheduled to face trial together in March, but the judge is weighing a request to have them tried separately.



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Bail set at $1 million for ex-officer Chauvin, while thousands mourn George Floyd in Houston


Derek Chauvin, an ex-police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, made his first court appearance on Monday.

His bail was set at approximately €900,000 ($1 million) with conditions, and at €1.1 million ($1.25 million) without conditions if he wants to be released on parole before his trial.

Derek Chauvin was filmed pressing his knee on the handcuffed 46-year-old African-American for nearly 9 minutes before he died after several cries of distress in Minneapolis on May 25.

The footage was captured by a passerby and sparked protests in the US and around the world, as well as calls for police reform in the United States.

The 44-year-old ex-police officer said little during an 11-minute hearing in which he appeared before Hennepin County Judge Jeannice M. Reding on closed-circuit television from the state’s maximum-security prison in Oak Park Heights.

He wore a mask and handcuffs as he sat at a table, where he answered “yes” or “no” to routine questions and confirmed the spelling of his name and address.

He did not enter a plea; a step that usually comes later in Minnesota courts.

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, did not contest the bail and didn’t address the substance of the charges, which also include third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Neither Nelson nor a prosecutor commented to reporters following the hearing.

Chauvin’s next appearance is set for June 29.

Three other ex-police officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged in the same case with aiding and abetting both second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Attorneys for Lane and Kueng made it clear at separate first appearances on Thursday that a key element of their defence will be to argue that their clients were rookies who tried to intervene verbally to help Floyd, but had no choice but to defer to Chauvin, the most senior officer at the scene.

Potential sentences for them depend on a conviction of Chauvin. If he is convicted of second-degree murder, they could face the same 40-year maximum.

Thousands attend Floyd’s memorial service in Houston

The last chance for the public to say goodbye to George Floyd drew thousands of mourners on Monday to a church in Houston, where the man grew up,

“It just hurts,” Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, said outside The Fountain of Praise church.

“We will get justice. We will get it. We will not let this door close.”

Under a blazing sun, people waited for hours to pay their respects as Floyd’s body, dressed in a brown suit, lay in an open gold-coloured casket.

Some sang “Lean on Me” and Houston’s police chief bumped fists and embraced others in line.

Funeral home spokeswoman La’Torria Lemon said at least 6,000 attended the service, including Texas Governor Greg Abbott.

The funeral is expected to begin at 11.00 am local time on Tuesday.

Around the same time, several French cities, including Paris, Lille, Grenoble, Dijon, Amiens, Bourges, Poitiers and Angers are set to host new rallies and tributes to Floyd.



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