(CNN) — A lawyer representing George Floyd’s family told CNN on Sunday that being in the courtroom for the trial of the ex-cop accused of killing Floyd has been “heartbreaking.”
Derek Chauvin’s highly anticipated trial began Monday with a video showing Floyd’s final moments. Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges of willful manslaughter, second degree manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter.
Only a member of the Floyd and Chauvin families will be able to attend the trial in Minneapolis due to restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a judge ruled in the case.
Ben Crump, who represents George Floyd’s family, told CNN’s Jim Acosta that as a black man, who has also been a civil rights lawyer his entire professional life, he believes Chauvin will be convicted.
“My heart has been broken before, dealing with the American legal system,” Crump said.
Crump said he was shocked when defense attorneys began blaming the crowd outside Cup Foods and that “the only thing that killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force.” Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that bystanders at Floyd’s death scene had turned into a threatening crowd. This, in turn, distracted officers, Nelson said.
One thing Crump found compelling, he said, was the testimony of Jena Scurry, a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher who directed agents to the Cup Foods store, the place of Floyd’s death. Scurry called a police sergeant to express concern about the arrest the day George Floyd died, saying “I don’t know if they had to use force or not.”
“My instincts were telling me that something was wrong. Something was wrong. I don’t know what, but something wasn’t right, ”Scurry said, thinking as he watched the video. “It was a long period of time.”
Crump described Scurry’s comments as “bombastic testimony.” Crump also referred to testimony from Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the chief homicide detective for the Minneapolis Police Department, who said that Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck after handcuffing him was “totally unnecessary.”
“It says something when the highest ranking police officers in the Minneapolis Police Department also say it is going too far,” Crump said. You knew you weren’t supposed to keep a human being upside down like that where they couldn’t breathe. And yet you did it and you did it even after he was knocked unconscious.
What Crump said he didn’t like during the first week of the trial was the defense’s strategy in bringing up Floyd’s drug use. Fentanyl and methamphetamine use were among the “major conditions” found in George Floyd’s autopsy. His girlfriend, Courteney Ross, 45, said in her testimony that she and Floyd were addicted to opioids.
“They are going to be antagonized over and over again when (defense attorneys) try to say that the cause of death was not what they saw in this video, but some traces of drugs that were found in their system,” Crump said. The family is waiting for him, he added, and they are prepared for the defense strategy.
Chauvin’s trial is scheduled to continue on Monday.
CNN’s Ray Sanchez, Eric Levenson, and Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism