A physician and members of Floyd’s household are nonetheless anticipated to testify for the prosecution earlier than they provide the defense an alternative to name witnesses, which might come early this week. Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not responsible to second-degree homicide, third-degree homicide and second-degree manslaughter costs.

Defense lawyer Eric Nelson has not explicitly laid out who will testify, however the witnesses are probably to additional the broad themes of his case to acquit Chauvin. In opening statements and cross-examinations, Nelson has centered on three essential arguments: the “other causes” principle, the “force is unattractive” principle and the “hostile crowd” principle.

Here’s a better take a look at these arguments and the way witness testimony has alternately match and contradicted them thus far.

What is it? The defense’s major argument is that Floyd’s death was not due to Chauvin’s actions however occurred for different medical causes. The defense has emphasised Floyd’s drug use, his preliminary resistance to officers and his preexisting coronary heart issues.

“The evidence will show that Mr. Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline flowing through his body, all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart,” Nelson mentioned in opening statements.

Why does it matter? To get a conviction on any of the three costs, prosecutors have to show Chauvin’s actions have been a “substantial cause” of Floyd’s death. The defense is hoping to undermine that causal hyperlink.

What is the proof? The defense’s argument is largely based mostly on testimony from the physician who carried out the post-mortem in addition to testimony about Floyd’s drug use.

Heart disease, fentanyl contributed to George Floyd's death but were not main cause, medical examiner saysHeart disease, fentanyl contributed to George Floyd's death but were not main cause, medical examiner says
Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, who carried out Floyd’s post-mortem final May, testified Friday that Floyd’s death was a “homicide.” He recognized the reason for death as cardiopulmonary arrest — Floyd’s coronary heart and lungs stopped. That occurred throughout “law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

Still, he mentioned Floyd had different “significant conditions” that performed a job in his death, together with hypertensive coronary heart illness and his use of fentanyl and methamphetamine. He mentioned a few of Floyd’s blood vessels have been severely narrowed, and he didn’t discover proof at post-mortem to assist a discovering of asphyxia.

Baker acknowledged that the extent of fentanyl in Floyd’s blood, about 11 nanograms per milliliter, was greater than in some overdose circumstances he has seen.

The defense has additionally sought to spotlight different drug proof in the case. Several white tablets containing fentanyl and methamphetamine have been discovered in Floyd’s automobile, and a smaller tablet with Floyd’s saliva on it was discovered in the again of the police squad automobile, three forensic scientists testified.

The defense mentioned in opening statements it deliberate to solicit testimony from two passengers in the automobile with Floyd who would describe his response to taking medicine. One of these passengers, Morries Hall, has said he plans to plead the Fifth if referred to as to testify.

What do prosecutors say? Despite noting these well being points, Dr. Baker stood by his top-line discovering that the death was a murder due to police actions.

“In my opinion, the law enforcement subdual, restraint and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions,” he mentioned.

George Floyd's preexisting conditions and drug use had no impact on his death, doctor saysGeorge Floyd's preexisting conditions and drug use had no impact on his death, doctor says
In addition, the prosecution preemptively rebutted elements of Baker’s testimony with several doctors who explained that signs of asphyxia wouldn’t be evident in an post-mortem.

Dr. Martin Tobin, a famend pulmonary crucial care physician; Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist; and Dr. Bill Smock, the police surgeon for the Louisville Metro Police Department every testified Floyd died of axphyxia due to low oxygen due to Chauvin’s restraint. Based on their assessment of the video, post-mortem and different paperwork, they rejected theories that Floyd died of a drug overdose or due to his different well being points.

“A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died,” Tobin mentioned.

Prosecutors have additionally acknowledged Floyd struggled with opioid dependancy and prompt he could have constructed up a tolerance to larger doses of the drug.

The ‘pressure is unattractive’ principle

What is it? This principle argues that police use of pressure can look horrifying on bystander video, however that it is a vital a part of the job for law enforcement officials.

“You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career,” Nelson mentioned in opening statements. “The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing.”

Why does it matter? Prosecutors have argued he used “excessive and unreasonable force” and engaged in “eminently dangerous” conduct when he put his knees on a handcuffed Floyd’s neck and again, pinning him to the road in a susceptible place for over 9 minutes.

What is the proof? The defense has portrayed Chauvin’s kneeling on Floyd as a management transfer that is authorized by the police.

Lt. Johnny Mercil, a Minneapolis Police use-of-force coaching teacher, mentioned Chauvin’s place could be thought of “using body weight to control,” a tactic in which officers place a knee on a susceptible suspect’s shoulder blades in order to handcuff them.

Some nonetheless photographs of police body-camera footage present Chauvin along with his knee on Floyd’s shoulders, he testified.

'The lessons of this moment.' The testimony by police brass at Derek Chauvin's trial is unprecedented'The lessons of this moment.' The testimony by police brass at Derek Chauvin's trial is unprecedented

“However, I will add that we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible, and if you’re going to use body weight to pin, to put it on their shoulder and be mindful of position,” he mentioned.

Mercil mentioned that the place is transitory and is meant to finish as soon as the suspect is beneath management.

It’s not clear if Chauvin himself will testify, however he defended his actions as a vital restraint final May moments after Floyd’s limp physique was taken away in an ambulance.

“We had to control this guy because he’s a sizable guy,” Chauvin informed a bystander, according to audio captured on his own body camera. “It looks like he’s probably on something.”
He provided the same defense to his police supervisor in a phone call not lengthy afterward. “We just had to hold a guy down,” Chauvin mentioned. “He was going crazy. He wouldn’t … he wouldn’t go in the back of the squad–“

The audio then lower out. In the remainder of the cellphone name, Chauvin mentioned he and fellow officers had tried to put Floyd in the automobile, that he grew to become combative, after which after a wrestle, that he had a medical emergency, Sgt. David Pleoger testified.

What do prosecutors say? A sequence of police supervisors and training coordinators have sharply criticized Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd. They mentioned his actions have been violations of the policies round de-escalation, objectively cheap use of pressure and the requirement to render support. Foremost among the many critics was Chief Medaria Arradondo.

“That in no way shape or form is anything that is by policy. It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Arradondo mentioned.

In addition, Chauvin’s direct supervisor mentioned his use of pressure ought to have ended earlier, and the department’s top homicide detective testified that Chauvin’s actions have been “uncalled for” and “totally unnecessary.”

The ‘hostile crowd’ principle

What is it? A 3rd defense principle is that bystanders who frantically referred to as for Chauvin to get off Floyd have been potential threats and distracted him from caring for Floyd. Chauvin could not have performed precisely as educated, this principle goes, however the crowd’s hostility gives a non-criminal reason.

“They are screaming at them, causing the officers to divert their attention from the care of Mr. Floyd to the threat that was growing in front of them,” Nelson mentioned in opening statements.

Why does it matter? Chauvin’s mindset and intent is key to every of the fees in the case.

The second-degree murder cost says Chauvin deliberately assaulted Floyd, which brought about his death. The third-degree murder cost says Chauvin perpetrated an “eminently dangerous” act evincing a “depraved mind.” And the second-degree manslaughter cost says Chauvin’s “culpable negligence” brought about Floyd’s death.

What is the proof? In contentious cross-examinations, Nelson pushed a number of bystanders to admit they have been “angry” and that the group grew to become threatening as Chauvin kneeled on Floyd.

He repeatedly quoted a few of their expletive-laden feedback, together with MMA fighter Donald Williams II calling Chauvin a “bum” and a “tough guy.”
(*3*)

Both Williams and off-duty Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen straight rejected Nelson’s principle. Hansen mentioned she was determined, distressed and upset however not indignant. Williams, too, pushed again.

“I grew professional. I stayed in my body. You can’t paint me out to be angry,” he mentioned.

In separate testimony, Nicole Mackenzie, a Minneapolis Police medical assist coordinator and CPR teacher, mentioned {that a} hostile crowd might make it tough to give attention to a affected person.

“If you don’t feel safe around you, if you don’t have enough resources, it’s very difficult to focus on the one thing in front of you,” she mentioned.

The defense plans to name her again to the stand throughout their testimony this week.

What do prosecutors say? The bystanders testified that no person threatened the officers and that they raised their voices solely as a result of Floyd appeared to be in an more and more dire situation.

Prosecutors additionally sought testimony from three highschool women, a 9-year-old woman and a 61-year-old man to present the group was not a threatening bunch. Several bystanders mentioned they felt threatened by the officers, particularly when Chauvin and former officer Tou Thao put their fingers on their mace. “They were really hostile,” one 17-year-old excessive schooler mentioned.

Simply filming an arrest or name-calling officers doesn’t represent a menace, a number of policing specialists testified. Further, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant and use-of-force knowledgeable for the prosecution testified that he would not imagine Chauvin was distracted.

“In the body-worn video you can hear Mr. Floyd displaying his discomfort and pain, and you can also hear the defendant responding to him,” Sgt. Jody Stiger mentioned.

NCS’s Aaron Cooper, Brad Parks and Dakin Andone contributed to this report.



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