Minneapolis, April 16 2021: On trial for murdering George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis last year, Derek Chauvin the former police officer has plead the 5th amendment, invoking his right not to testify at his own trial.
In another incident of police force in Minneapolis that resulted in the death of another Black resident, Daunte Wright in Minneapolis suburbs, Kim Potter, the officer who shot the victim fatally, appeared in a Zoom hearing for a charge of second degree murder. Her trial will begin on the 17th of May this year. She faces 10 years if convicted.
The incident in which Potter claims she mistakenly fired her gun thinking it was a taser has fueled inter racial tensions in Minneapolis. Both Chauvin and Potter are white while Floyd and Wright were African Americans.
“Over and over again, they come up with justifications,” said Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Wright family. “We’re done accepting the justifications, America.”
In the Chauvin trial, the prosecution and defense rested on Thursday and Judge Cahill gave the jury a day off on Friday and said closing arguments would be held on Monday. The judge reminded the jurors that they would be sequestered while they made their decision.
In a video recording that later went viral, at the time of the incident, 45-year-old Chauvin was recorded kneeling on the neck of the 46-year-old Floyd for more than nine minutes during his May 25, 2020 arrest for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit bill.
The mid-western city of Minneapolis saw multiple demonstrations following Daunte Wright’s shooting, some of which turned violent. The victim’s mother, Katie Wright thanked the protestors but she and the family lawyer Ben Crump urged them to obey the law. She says even if there is 100% accountability and justice prevails, at the end of the day, she still has to bury her son who is still dead.
The defense in the Chauvin trial meanwhile are building a case for death resulting from complications resulting from interaction of fentanyl, methampehtamine and an underlying heart condition. Meanwhile, another witness, called by the defence, former chief medical examiner, David Fowler, said Floyd was facing the exhaust from a police car and the presence of Carbon Monoxide may have been a potential factor in his death. Fowler said he did not believe Floyd died of carbon monoxide poisoning but it was potential factor nonetheless.
The prosecution also called a final rebuttal witness on Thursday. Martin Tobin who is a pulmonologist said there is no evidence of carbon monoxide poisoning in Floyd’s bloodstream and that his death was caused by a “low level of oxygen” from Chauvin’s neck restraint and not due to drugs or pre-existing conditions as shown by the autopsy.
Along with medical experts, several police officers also testified that excessive force was used on Floyd while Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin had violated the department’s training policies and its “values.”
If convicted on his charge of murder in the second degree, Chauvin, a 19 year veteran of the force, faces up to 40 years in prison. The conviction however requires a unanimous verdict from the jury to stand.
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