Chauvin informed the choose — earlier than the jury returned to the courtroom — that it was his determination and his determination alone. It was one of the uncommon instances the public heard from the ex-cop, who did not show any emotion as he scribbled on a notepad throughout practically three weeks of testimony.
“If you were to try to think about all the different ways in which he could answer the question that’s burning on the jury’s mind … Why didn’t you just get off of George Floyd’s neck? Why didn’t you render aid?” NCS senior authorized analyst Laura Coates mentioned of the defendant.
“Remember, all of his potential responses will actually be the opposite of the testimony they’ve already seen — from law enforcement experts, from his own police chief, from experts who talk about the notion to have to render aid even if somebody is in your custody.”
Still, Coates added, that Chauvin “essentially was his last and best and perhaps only hope” to confront the “mountain of evidence” towards him.
“Of offering an explanation, if not, a justification for what he did, which could be enough to plant some — not only seed of reasonable doubt in a juror’s mind — but some seed of empathy,” she mentioned.
After Chauvin invoked the Fifth, the protection rested its case in the carefully watched trial. The jury might be sequestered throughout deliberations next week.
“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” Judge Peter Cahill informed jurors. “Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count.”
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not responsible to second-degree unintentional homicide, third-degree homicide and second-degree manslaughter costs.
During closing arguments, Coates mentioned, the prosecution should join the proof with the particular felony costs the jury will contemplate.
“They’re going to get three charges — the elements are going to be written out for the jurors,” she mentioned Friday. “They’re going to have to figure out what part and what aspects of the prosecution’s case lines up with particular elements.
“That’s going to be the onus persevering with on the prosecution in this case — to verify they’re clear the jurors aren’t left to scratch their heads or marvel, ‘Did this truth go to this? Did this witness convey this level up? Which proves this?’ That might be half of what the closing argument have to be about.”
If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. The charges are to be considered separate, so Chauvin could be convicted of all, some or none of them.
Here are highlights from the final week of testimony:
Pulmonologist takes the stand a second time
Dr. David Fowler, who retired as Maryland’s chief medical examiner at the end of 2019, introduced a novel defense argument: Carbon monoxide from the squad car’s exhaust may have contributed to Floyd’s death. Fowler admitted no data or test results could back up his claim.
Tobin, in a short rebuttal, told the jury the carbon monoxide theory is proven wrong by a different blood test that showed Floyd’s blood oxygen saturation was 98%. That meant his carbon monoxide level could at most be 2% — within the normal range.
Defense puts forth three-prong legal strategy
At the heart of defense attorney Eric Nelson’s case is the argument that medical reasons, not Chauvin’s actions, caused Floyd’s death that evening. In other words, Floyd’s use of methamphetamine and fentanyl, his initial resistance to officers and preexisting heart problems all conspired to kill him.
“Their objective was to throw a bunch of arguments on the market and hope that one thing resonated with the jurors, however I simply suppose it is an excessive amount of to beat with that video,” NCS legal analyst Jennifer Rodgers said. “Their witnesses I feel weren’t as sturdy as the prosecution. The cross examination was very efficient.”
Fowler testified that a sudden heart issue — not the police restraint — killed Floyd.
“In my opinion, Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, or cardiac arrhythmia, because of his atherosclerosis and hypertensive coronary heart illness … throughout his restraint and subdual by the police,” the forensic pathologist told the jury.
Floyd had narrowed coronary arteries, known as atherosclerosis, according to Fowler. His heart was enlarged due to his high blood pressure, or hypertension.
Fowler also testified that Floyd’s fentanyl and methamphetamine use, exposure to the squad car’s exhaust, and a tumor known as a paraganglioma also contributed.
Baker mentioned the paraganglioma was an “incidental” tumor that did not issue in his death.
But Baker told the jury that other “important situations” contributed to Floyd’s death, including hypertensive heart disease and his drug use. Some of Floyd’s blood vessels were severely narrowed, and Baker testified that he did not find evidence at autopsy to support a finding of asphyxia.
The Hennepin County medical examiner said Floyd’s blood had about 11 nanograms of fentanyl per milliliter — more than in some overdose cases Baker has seen.
Expert: Chauvin justified in kneeling on Floyd
Barry Brodd, a former police officer and use-of-force expert called by the defense on Tuesday, testified that Chauvin was justified in kneeling on Floyd for more than nine minutes and did not use deadly force.
“I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified and was appearing with goal reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department coverage and present requirements of legislation enforcement in his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” Brodd informed the jury.
Brodd mentioned he didn’t contemplate placing a handcuffed Floyd in the “inclined management” position on the street to be a use of force. In fact, he suggested, it was safer for the person because if they get up and fall they might hurt their face.
“It would not harm,” Brodd said. “You’ve put the suspect in a place the place it is protected for you, the officer, protected for them, the suspect, and also you’re utilizing minimal effort to maintain them on the floor.”
On cross, Brodd said that he doesn’t consider the prone control position to be a use of force because it does not cause pain.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher showed Brodd a still image of Chauvin’s knee digging into Floyd’s neck. He asked whether that position might cause pain. Brodd said it “might,” so Schleicher asked him if that means Chauvin’s action was a use of force.
“Shown in this image, that could possibly be a use of power,” Brodd mentioned.
Brodd admitted he was not particularly conscious of Minneapolis Police Department’s definition of power, which defines it as a restraint that causes harm or ache. He additionally acknowledged that placing somebody in the aspect restoration place is easy and fast.
At one level, Brodd mentioned Floyd was resisting officers for a “couple minutes” after being taken to the ground. Prosecutors played several video clips of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd. Brodd then admitted he wasn’t sure if Floyd was struggling with police or writhing on the ground.
“I do not know the distinction,” he mentioned.