The Derek Chauvin Trial

by | Apr 2, 2021 | Criminal Justice, News

Witnesses testimony concluded on Friday at the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 

 Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter after he was seen on video with a knee to 46-year-old George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes at a convenience store on E 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May, 25, 2020. 

In the nine minute video, Floyd is seen on his stomach, handcuffed and repeatedly telling Chauvin and other officers “I can’t breathe.” 

On May 25, 2020, Floyd was arrested for attempting to purchase cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. He was a native Texan and grew up in Third Ward, Houston. 

The trial is set to resume Monday, April 5 at 9 a.m. 

On day four of the trial Courtney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, testified that she and Floyd were like most couples who argue sometimes, but still loved each other. 

“We liked to go down to Lake Bde Maka Ska and enjoy the outdoors,” she said. “We liked to go to the sculpture garden and walk around.” 

When asked by Minnesota prosecutors, Ross said she and Floyd both struggled with an opioid addiction. 

 “Both Floyd and I stories are a classic story of how many people get addicted,” she said. “We tried really hard to break that addiction many times.” 

After Ross, two more witnesses testified including Hennepin County Paramedics Seth Zachary Bravinder and Derek Smith. 

Upon arrival at the scene, Bravinder and Smith said they noticed Floyd’s “limp” body with multiple officers on top of him. 

“I didn’t see any moving or breathing at that point,” Bravinder said.

After getting out of the ambulance, Smith said he checked Floyd for a pulse, which he didn’t have and noticed his pupils were “large” and “dilated.” 

“In lay terms, I thought he was dead,” he said. 

Smith and Bravinder said they decided to provide Floyd medical assistance inside of the ambulance instead of on the street because of the large crowd of bystanders nearby. 

“[H]e’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” he said. 

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense lawyer, asked Smith if police officers are required to perform medical assistance on suspects and if paramedics would allow police to assist. 

“Any lay person could have started chest compressions; there is no reason why Minnepolis [police] couldn’t have started chest compressions ” Smith said. 

Another witness on the stand Thursday was Sgt. David Pleoger, the MPD supervisor on duty the night of Floyd’s death. 

Pleoger said Chauvin did use excessive force on Floyd. 

“When Mr.Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint,” he said. 

On day two of the trial, Donald Williams, another witness on the scene, said Floyd was clearly trying to maneuver himself to be able to breathe. 

“You could see he was going through tremendous pain,”  Williams said. “You could see his eyes slowly rolling back to his head and him having his mouth open slowly with drool and slob on his mouth.”

Williams also said he felt the need to call the police. 

“I felt the need to call the police on the police because I believe I witnessed a murder,” he said. 

Just days before the trial, state lawmakers including the Texas Black Caucus held a hearing on the George Floyd Act which was initially introduced in Nov. 2020. 

Testimony was heard and the bill was left pending by the committee.

The bill focuses on police departments banning chokeholds, limiting the use of lethal force, and de-escalating high intensity situations.

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Kennedy is a recent graduate of the University of St.Thomas in Houston where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Celt Independent. Kennedy brings her experience of writing about social justice issues to the Texas Signal where she serves as our Political Reporter. She does everything from covering crime beats, Texas politics, and community activism. Kennedy is a passionate reporter, avid reader, coffee enthusiast, and loves to travel.

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