Derek Chauvin, the police officer responsible for killing George Floyd by kneeling on his neck last May, is standing trial for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
By Ally Sullivan
The killing of George Floyd in May 2020, set off a catalyst of worldwide protests of police brutality toward Black Americans. The officer responsible for kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Derek Chauvin, entered Minneapolis court on March 29th, as the key actor in the homicide trial. The jury is addressing the issue of if Chauvin’s use of force exceeded what was necessary to make the arrest.
In the past week, Dr. David Fowler, former Maryland medical examiner, took to the stand to testify about contributing factors to Floyd’s death. Originally he testified that Floyd had unrelated factors to the kneeling on his neck, such as a fentanyl addiction, and methamphetamine in his blood system, as well as possible “carbon monoxide poisoning” from the exhaust of the police vehicle. However, prosecutors pushed back and brought up the effects of Floyd’s paraganglioma tumor. Fowler originally stated that the tumor could have secreted adrenaline that compromised Floyd’s heart, but he revoked that statement and answered that Floyd did not die from the tumor. The importance of Fowler's statement followed that sudden cardiac arrest is reversible and that Floyd should have been given medical attention immediately.
Dr. Fowler continued to argue that the prone position that Floyd was kept in for nine and a half minutes was indeed dangerous. Several other experts confirmed that the position is well known among police officers to be dangerous, and the way Chauvin executed holding Floyd to the ground was constituted “deadly force”.
On Thursday, April 15th, both the prosecutor and the defense rested their case, as Chauvin invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify. Whether he would testify was a major question going into the trial.
Monday, attorneys will give their concluding arguments, and leave the jury to begin its own deliberations.
Melanie Moyer '22,