Jurors end day one of deliberation
Prosecutors and Derek Chauvin’s defense presented their closing arguments Monday, and jurors ended the day at 8 p.m. CT after four hours of deliberation.
Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis Police officer, faces second-degree murder charges for the death of George Floyd.
Consistent with the prosecution’s opening, attorney Steve Schleicher argued Mr. Chauvin’s actions were inconsistent with his duty as a police officer.
“The biases and preconceived notions behind imagining a police officer committing a crime might be the most difficult thing you have to set aside… I’d say it’s difficult to set this aside and want you to consider that even after with the bystanders after they saw what they saw, after they saw this shocking display of abuse of police power and a man murdered in front of them, Genevieve Hanson, she called the police,” Mr. Schleicher said.
The fact that bystanders called the police was also emphasized in the opening remarks given by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell March 29.
Prosecutors defended the role of police officers, even as people call out police brutality in incidents nationwide.
Once again, defense attorney Eric Nelson contended that Mr. Chauvin did what a “reasonable police officer” would do.
He replayed body-camera footage showing a bystander stepping out as Mr. Floyd took his last breath, as estimated by the coroner.
Mr. Nelson argued the crowd’s pressure is part of the risk felt by Mr. Chauvin. In intense situations, he said, officers may not choose to remove handcuffs in order to perform medical aid.
“You have to take into account that officers are human beings, vulnerable to making mistakes in extremely difficult situations,” he said.
In a previous News-Press interview, interim police chief Bernard Melekian described Mr. Floyd’s death as a “tragedy.”
“Mr. Floyd’s death forces us to acknowledge that four decades of hard work will not erase four centuries of history,” he said, aware of public perception regarding policing.
The jury will reconvene today, and police nationwide are preparing for unrest following an impending decision.