Sunday, October 17

The trial for the death of George Floyd begins: the keys to the process | International

This Monday begins in Minneapolis (Minnesota) the trial against former police officer Derek Chauvin, the white man who on May 25 stuck his knee in George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds while he claimed that he could not breathe. The African American died that same as a martyr of the racial movement and Chauvin was charged with three criminal charges. Amid enormous expectation, the judicial process against the former agent – which will be broadcast on television – marks a milestone in the fight against police brutality towards blacks and the African-American community hopes that the sentence will be a settlement of accounts.

Where and when

The trial begins today in the courtroom on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center (Minneapolis). It will be broadcast live on Court TV. Witness testimony and presentation of evidence will last for several weeks before the jury deliberates on the verdict. In the room will be Judge Peter Cahill, jurors, witnesses, court staff, attorneys and Chauvin. Due to the pandemic, only one member of the Floyd’s family and one member of the defendant’s family may be present.

The charges

Former police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, faces charges of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. To convict him of second-degree murder, prosecutors must show that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death, even if it was unintentional. If the crime was committed by someone without a criminal record, as is the case, they could face up to 12.5 years in prison.

To convict him of third degree murder, prosecutors must prove that Chauvin’s actions responded to “a depraved mind” and were “eminently dangerous to others.” They could ask you up to 25 years in prison.

To be convicted of manslaughter, prosecutors must show that the ex-agent was negligent. Without a criminal record, he could be sentenced to four years in jail.


The lawyer for the former police officer, Eric Nelson, will argue that Floyd’s death was due to two reasons: his poor coronary health and the use of drugs (fentanyl, methamphetamine and THC), which the autopsy identified in the blood.

The Hennepin County Prosecutor’s Office, led by Keith Ellison, will defend that the coroner qualified the death as a homicide. The report details that he suffered a “cardiopulmonary failure” due to complications due to the actions of the police and the pressure on his neck. The greatest weapon of the prosecution are the videos recorded by the security cameras, of the policemen involved, and that of a passerby.

The judge

The selection of the jury took more than two weeks after undergoing extensive questionnaires on whether those chosen could judge the facts only on the evidence presented in court and not on the prior information they knew. There are 14 members: 12 will deliberate — two white men, four white women, three black men, one black woman, and two mestizo women; two are substitutes — two white women and one white man. The jury will be more diverse than Minneapolis, whose black population is 20%.

The witnesses

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, who referred to Floyd’s death as a “murder”; the coroner who performed Floyd’s autopsy, Andrew Baker; and Darnella Frazier, the 17-year-old teenager who recorded Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck with her mobile. Chauvin’s defense will call their own medical expert to testify and will likely question the coroner’s findings. The prosecution intends to include friends and family of Floyd who give an account of his “spark of life.” Minnesota allows this type of testimony to humanize a victim of a crime before a jury.

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