In this image from the video, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listens as his defense attorney Eric Nelson makes final arguments in the Hennepin County courthouse in Minneapolis on April 19. Court TV / AP
The jury in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has begun the second day of deliberations, according to the Hennepin District Court.
Yesterday, the prosecution and the defense made final arguments. The prosecutor said Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck and back for 9 minutes and 29 seconds because of his pride and ego in the face of concerned onlookers.
In response, defense attorney Eric Nelson said Chauvin acted as a “reasonable officer” in the situation and that there was no evidence that he intentionally or deliberately used violence that was unlawful. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell responded with a counter-argument denying the defense’s claim that Floyd died of an enlarged heart.
If you missed the final arguments, here is a recap of what both sides said:
Prosecution: In his final argument, Attorney Steve Schleicher spoke for an hour and 43 minutes to prove that Chauvin used excessive and unreasonable violence and caused Floyd’s death.
He contrasted Chauvin’s “ego-based pride” with the proper sense of pride in wearing a police badge and praised police work as a noble profession. He insisted that the state prosecute chauvin individually – generally not police.
“This is not a police prosecution, this is a police prosecution,” he said. “There is nothing worse for a good police force than a bad police force.”
Schleicher’s final argument relied on a series of video clips showing Chauvin’s actions that day and linking them explicitly to the language of each charge.
“George Floyd’s last words on May 25, 2020 were,” Please, I can’t breathe, “and he said those words to Derek Chauvin,” Schleicher told the jury. “All it took was a little compassion and none was shown that day.”
Schleicher urged the jury to reject defense theories and examine what they think happened.
Defense: Defense attorney Eric Nelson’s case of acquitting Chauvin was to argue that his use of force was appropriate, that he was distracted from the crowd of hostile bystanders, and that Floyd was blamed for the effects of using fentanyl and methamphetamine, his resilience against officials and his underlying health problems died.
He said prosecutors’ focus on 9 minutes and 29 seconds, rather than Floyd’s active resistance in the minutes before, was inappropriate.
“It’s not the right analysis because the 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignore the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds. They are completely ignored,” he said. “Human behavior is unpredictable and no one knows better than a police officer.”
Nelson argued that Chauvin had no intention of using unlawful violence and that he followed his training. He also highlighted Floyd’s use of fentanyl and methamphetamine and his heart problems, and expressed disbelief that prosecutors’ doctors dismissed these as the cause of his death.
He spoke for about two and a half hours before Judge Cahill forced him to take a break so the jury could have lunch. Nelson spoke for about 15 minutes after the break.
Read about yesterday’s final arguments Here.