Death of George Floyd: "justified" gestures, according to Derek Chauvin's lawyers

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Sophie-Hélène Lebeuf (access the author's page)

At the end of two weeks of pleadings by the prosecution, the lawyers of the former police officer Derek Chauvin in turn began on Tuesday to present their arguments. His actions were "justified", they argued.

After seeing the thirty or so witnesses called by prosecutors, jurors began to hear the version put forward by lawyers of Derek Chauvin, accused of second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter in connection with the death of George Floyd, which occurred in May 2020.

At the indictment of the prosecution, which attributed the death of the African-American forties to the disproportionate "lethal force" used by the accused and a lack of oxygen, the defense presented a completely different picture.

Far from being attributable to the actions of Derek Chauvin, who rested his knee on George Floyd's neck for 9 minutes 46 seconds while the latter was handcuffed, George Floyd's death was due to other factors, instead claimed the lawyers of the former agent.

<q data-attributes = "{" lang ": {" value ":" fr "," label ":" Français "}," value ": {" html ":" I believe that Derek Chauvin's interactions with Mr.Floyd were justified and that he was acting in an objectively reasonable manner, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current law enforcement standards "," text ":" I believe that Derek Chauvin's interactions with Mr. Floyd were justified and that he was acting in an objectively reasonable manner, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current law enforcement standards "}}" lang = "en”>I believe that Derek Chauvin's interactions with Mr. Floyd were justified and that he was acting in an objectively reasonable manner, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current law enforcement standards., notably supported one of their witnesses, Barry Brodd, an expert in the use of force.

On several occasions during his testimony, the former police officer characterized the force deployed by Derek Chauvin against George Floyd asobjectively reasonable.

His analysis, however, is contradicted by several testimonies previously presented by prosecutors – that of several Minneapolis police officers, including the police chief, as well as law enforcement trainers and other use of force experts. -, who for their part asserted that the actions of the accused were not justified.

Derek Chauvin and the other police officers did not use lethal force when they held him down with his stomach against the asphalt, his hands cuffed behind his back, putting pressure on his back, neck and his ribs, further estimated Barry Brodd.

He compared the situation to that of a person apprehended by police using an electric pulse pistol and who died after falling and banging his head on the ground. This is not an incident of the use of lethal force. This is an accidental death incident, he said.

On cross-examination, he admitted, based on the evidence he studied, that Derek Chauvin had not relaxed the level of force deployed when George Floyd became more cooperative, however refusing to say that he had shown himself cooperative as attorney Steve Schliecher argued.

A cooperative person would have both hands on the lower back and rest comfortablyhe replied, seeming to dumbfound Steve Schliecher. <q data-attributes = '{"lang": {"value": "fr", "label": "Français"}, "value": {"html": "Did you say: "Would rest comfortably"? "," Text ":" Did you say: "would rest comfortably"? "}} 'Lang =" en”>Did you say "would rest comfortably"?

Or lie down comfortably, replied the witness. The prosecutor again returned to the charge: Rest comfortably on the sidewalk?

You have to put yourself in the shoes the ex-policeman at the center of the trial, argued Brodd.

Barry Brodd also took issue with the fact that George Floyd was unable to breathe, as the African American himself repeatedly yelled at the three policemen who were immobilizing him.

The words hammered out by George Floyd – I can not breathe – had become a rallying cry during the wave of protests against police brutality last year.

I certainly don't have a medical degree, but (…) I think it's a reasonable guess that if (you say): "I'm suffocating, I'm suffocating", well, you're not choking, because you can breathe.

A quote from:Barry Brodd, Defense Paid Use of Force Expert

The hostile attitude of passers-by gathered near George Floyd and the police complicated the situation, added Brodd.

A police officer, who is not the subject of any charge, has for his part indicated to have come in reinforcement. Arriving at the scene with George Floyd already handcuffed and sitting on the sidewalk, Peter Chang said the crowd was very aggressive towards the police. In clips of his intervention camera video, people could be heard shouting for the police to release George Floyd, according to the Minnesota daily. Star Tribune.

One of the two people in the vehicle driven by George Floyd during his arrest, Shawanda Hill, for his part said that the latter appeared to be in a normal state and was alert when she met him and that he told him. offered to escort her. It was however sleeping once on board, and the police could not wake him.

She then woke him up herself by saying that the police were there, she testified, adding that the policeman near the window had drawn his gun. Please, please don't shoot me!, he would have said.

In his initial statement last month, attorney Eric Nelson argued that his client had <q data-attributes = "{" lang ": {" value ":" fr "," label ":" French "} , "value": {"html": "does exactly what he has been trained to do in his 19years of career "," text ":" does exactly what he was trained to do in his 19 year career "}}" lang = "en”>does exactly what he's been trained to do in his 19-year career to apprehend a recalcitrant suspect.

George Floyd was suspected of having used a fake $ 20 bill to buy cigarettes.

Another interaction with the police raised

Six witnesses have so far taken the stand for the defense during this first day of defense pleadings.

Two of them, a retired Minneapolis police officer and a former paramedic, testified to an arrest of George Floyd linked to a traffic stop in May 2019.

Former police officer Scott Creighton described a man demonstrating behavior very nervous and restless who did not comply with (his) orders.

The second said George Floyd was suffering from high blood pressure at the time and feared he might have a stroke. He himself has said he is addicted to opioids, Michelle Monseng reported. He was upset and confused, she also related.

Justice Peter Cahill ordered jurors to consider these two testimonies in light of the impact of opioids on the George Floyd's physical well-being and not to assess his character.

Both testimonies are part of the defense strategy, which is based, among other things, on the premise that George Floyd's death was due to his drug use and heart problems.

From its opening statement, the defense more specifically attributed his death to a cardiac arrhythmia caused by hypertension, coronary heart disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl as well as the adrenaline it secreted.

A few days ago, the coroner who carried out the autopsy of the victim ruled out these reasons as direct causes of George Floyd's death, citing instead the violence of the arrest.

Ms Monseng also told prosecutors that George Floyd was alert, obeying orders and that his breathing and heart rate were normal.

Another witness, Nicole Mackenzie, Medical Support Coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, was questioned by Mr. Nelson on the excited delirium. This syndrome can lead to psychotic behavior, agitation, inconsistent speech, increased strength and hyperthermia, she explained.

Pleadings likely to end quickly

The forensic photo of Derek Chauvin, in which we see him from the front, then in profile.

Derek Chauvin faces three counts.

Photo: Reuters / Hennepin County Sheriff's Office

At the end of the hearings, the judge indicated that the defense could complete its pleadings on Thursday and that the trial would not resume until Monday with closing pleadings.

The verdict is not expected until the end of April.

On Monday, the judge rejected the defense's request to isolate the jury, amid tensions over the death of Daunte Wright, another black man killed by law enforcement during a traffic stop in a suburb of Minneapolis.

They will, however, be isolated during their deliberations.

Derek Chauvin faces a 40-year prison sentence.

His three former colleagues involved in the death of George Floyd, accused of aiding and abetting murder, will stand trial in August.

Read also :

  • Derek Chauvin trial: witnesses to George Floyd's death on the stand
With information from Washington post

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