UPDATE (4:35 p.m.): After law professor Seth Stoughton was excused from the witness stand, Judge Peter Cahill told the jury to expect to hear the defense’s case beginning Tuesday.
Cahill also said he predicts the defense could wrap up its case by the end of the week. He told the jurors to expect closing arguments Monday, with subsequent sequestration.
Court is in recess until Tuesday morning.
UPDATE (4:15 p.m.):Defense attorney Eric Nelson’s cross examination of law professor and use-of-force expert Seth Stoughton focused on the actions of “reasonable police officers” and what considerations they need to take into account when arriving to a scene and restraining a suspect.
Stoughton testified that putting George Floyd in a prone position when he was already handcuffed was “unreasonable,” and that the exact amount of time Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck is “irrelevant.”
“The knee should never be on the neck,” Stoughton said.
Nelson also asked about Stoughton’s process for reviewing use of force, noting that he does not perform his analysis in a “dangerous environment” and has the benefit of slow motion and other tools.
UPDATE (3:30 p.m.):State asks law professor Seth Stoughton if Derek Chauvin’s force used against George Floyd was “reasonable as viewed by a reasonable officer on the scene.”
“Both the knee across Mr. Floyd’s neck and the prone restraint were unreasonable, excessive, and contrary to generally accepted police practices,” Stoughton said.
Stoughton said that unreasonable force began when Floyd was put into the prone position and ended when the knee was lifted from Floyd’s neck and back.
“No reasonable officer would have believed that that was an appropriate, acceptable or reasonable use of force,” he said.
UPDATE (2:30 p.m.): Criminal law professor Seth Stoughton takes the stand. He runs state through his process of reviewing use-of-force cases.
Stoughton, who brings up U.S. Supreme Court case Graham Vs. Connor multiple times, talks about the differences of a threat and a risk when it comes to use of force. Threat is more justified than a risk.
In regards to the prone position, Stoughton says it is useful for handcuffing, but is supposed to be transitory. Once George Floyd was handcuffed, he should have been moved, he said.
In the George Floyd arrest, Stoughton said he didn’t see Floyd presenting as a threat, even though he was a larger person with physical ability. He says one of the officers asking if they should roll Floyd over means that at least one of the officers believed Floyd to not be a threat.
Stoughton described a timeline where he believed a reasonable officer could have done things differently.
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) April 12, 2021
UPDATE (1:30 p.m.): George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd gives emotional testimony of George Floyd’s character and background.
“He was a person that everybody loved around the community,” he said.
Philonise said his brother excelled in football and basketball, and loved to teach the game of basketball.
State went through various pictures of George Floyd throughout his life, including a picture of his mother. Philonise said George Floyd loved his mother and showed his siblings how to teach her with respect.
WATCH: George Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, was emotional on the witness stand while looking at pictures of George and their mother.
"I miss both of them."
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 12, 2021
Philonise said their mother’s passing was incredibly hard on George Floyd, who would speak with her on the phone while she was in hospice. He wasn’t able to reach her before she passed, and was very emotional during the funeral. George Floyd took a long time to leave his mother’s side at her casket.
Philonise said it was the last time he saw George Floyd alive.
UPDATE (11:52 a.m.): Under cross examination, Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist called by the state, told the court that if George Floyd had not been restrained that way he was on May 25, he would have survived that day.
His answer came after Eric Nelson, the defense attorney for Derek Chauvin, asked if Floyd would have survived if he simply had gotten into the squad car as officers had initially ordered. Rich did not frame his answer that way, choosing to focus on the officers’ restraint, in which Floyd was handcuffed in the prone position for nearly 10 minutes.
Asked about methamphetamine’s effects on the heart, Rich said that methamphetamine, if used over a long period of time, can contribute to coronary artery disease and constrict blood vessels. When asked if a blocked coronary artery can contribute to a fatal arrhythmia, Rich said that anyone can have a fatal arrhythmia, with or without coronary heart disease.
The doctor noted that Floyd had a history of high blood pressure. Earlier, he testified that Floyd has a slightly enlarged heart, likely caused by high blood pressure.
The court is currently taking its lunch break. Testimony is scheduled to resume at 1:30 p.m. The state is expected to call two more witnesses, a national use-of-force expert, Seth Stoughton, and Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd.
The judge is also expected to give an update on motions concerning the testimony of Morries Hall, the man who was with Floyd in a car before officers arrested him.
UPDATE (11:07 a.m.): Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago, testified that George Floyd died due to lack of oxygen due to the position he was placed in on May 25, when he was handcuffed while lying prone with former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck.
Under direct examination from the state, the doctor told the court that Floyd’s medical records showed no sign of heart conditions. He said that while Floyd’s heart was slightly enlarged, every indicator showed it was an “exceptionally strong heart.” Rich said that there’s no evidence Floyd died of a heart attack, adding that the autopsy showed no heart damage.
Asked about the possibility that Floyd died of a drug overdose, which the defense has been trying to argue, Rich said that there were no signs of fentanyl overdose. He also said that he was confident that the low degree of methamphetamine in Floyd’s system did not contribute to his death.
Rich testified that Floyd’s death was “absolutely preventable.” He said that Floyd might have lived if he was moved out of the prone position or if CPR was administered as soon as officers discovered that they couldn’t find a pulse.
Rich’s testimony was similar to the testimonies given last week by medical experts and the doctor who performed the initial autopsy on Floyd. They also said Floyd died due to a lack of oxygen and being restrained in the prone position.
The court is currently in its morning break. After, Eric Nelson, the defense attorney for Chauvin, is expected to cross examine Rich.
WATCH: Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich is asked whether George Floyd had any negative heart conditions.
“There was absolutely no evidence to suggest that at all.”
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 12, 2021
UPDATE (9:50 a.m.): Judge Peter Cahill denies the defense’s request to sequester the jury in light of the fatal police shooting Sunday in Brooklyn Center and subsequent civil unrest.
Eric Nelson, the attorney for Derek Chauvin, argued in a morning motions hearing that he’s concerned this separate case would make jurors worry about reaching a not guilty verdict. “This incident last night highlights and brings to forefront that a verdict in this case will have consequences,” he said.
Nelson also called for the jurors to be questioned about what they know about the Brooklyn Center shooting. He noted that one of the jurors is from Brooklyn Center.
Prosecutors said they were against sequestration, although they were not against telling jurors to avoid all media, but they did note that it’s a near impossible task.
The judge denied the requests for sequestration and for questioning the jurors. He said that sequestration at this time would only further aggravate any worries about their safety.
Additionally, Cahill noted that he plans to sequester the jury on Monday, when closing arguments are expected. The jury is set to be sequestered until they come to a verdict.
JUDGE DENIES motion to sequester the jury. Denies motion to ask them questions about it. Judge said it’s a separate case, the jurors were already aware of civil unrest after George Floyd’s death. They already had a concern, the judge said.
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) April 12, 2021
UPDATE (9:26 a.m.): In a motions hearing Monday morning, prosecutors and the defense made arguments over the state’s calling a second use-of-force expert, Seth Stoughton.
Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s attorney, argued that the testimony could be cumulative and repetitive, given how many police officers have testified so far. He said that the state was planning to go through the body-worn camera footage piece by piece.
Judge Peter Cahill ruled that Stoughton would be allowed to testify on national standards on threats to officers in given situations. Stoughton will not be allowed to testify on the disputed audio clip where Floyd says “I ate too many drugs” or “I ain’t do any drugs.”
Also, Cahill said that Morries Hall, the friend who was with Floyd in the car before he was arrested, will appear in court Tuesday to figure out what he can testify on. It will not be in front of the jury.
Last week, Hall’s public defender said that Hall would invoke his 5th Amendment right to protect against self-incrimination, as Hall could possibly face charges of third-degree murder.
Nelson said that the state has no intention of granting Hall immunity.
The judge said that he’ll give an update regarding Hall on Monday afternoon.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin is set to enter its third week on Monday, a day after another Black man was fatally shot by police in the Twin Cities, sparking unrest and looting along some of the same streets damaged after the death of George Floyd.
The recent police shooting happened Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn Center, a suburb just north of Minneapolis. According to local police, officers pulled over a man, later identified as 20-year-old Daunte Wright, and discovered he had an outstanding warrant. As officers attempted to arrest him, Wright got back into his car, at which point an officer shot him. Wright drove a few blocks before crashing into another car. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
With the Twin Cities already on edge amid the Chauvin trial, Wright’s death sparked protests and unrest in Brooklyn Center, with demonstrators clashing with police. A number of stores in the city were looted overnight, and the unrest spread to south Minneapolis, where some businesses along Lake Street were targeted. This was the same area that sustained significant damage last May in the nights following Floyd’s death.
Minneapolis police reported a number of shootings overnight. One of the shootings on the city’s south side left two men dead and another person injured. In response to the unrest, state officials have pushed Operation Safety Net, which was set up specifically for the Chauvin trial, into Phase 3. This means that all available officers — from the Minnesota National Guard to state and local agencies — will be deployed. Phase 3 was initially intended for closing arguments/deliberations in the trial.
On Monday, prosecutors in the Chauvin trial could rest their case after calling their final witnesses, who are expected to be another medical expert and one of Floyd’s relatives, who could give “spark of life” testimony. After that, the defense could begin making its case, calling experts and perhaps Chauvin himself.
Defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, says that it’s likely the former Minneapolis police officer will take the stand. “There’s a number of points that can only get across if he testifies,” Tamburino said. “Without his testimony, I think it’s going to be difficult [for the defense] to prove some things or establish certain points…Just in reality, that jury is going to want to hear from Chauvin.”
Court is slated to resume around 9:15 a.m., and WCCO-TV will be streaming full coverage on CBSN Minnesota. Jason DeRusha will anchor the gavel-to-gavel coverage while Tamburino provides legal analysis.
Last week, the state called a number of medical experts, use of force experts and Minneapolis police officers to the stand, including Chief Medaria Arradondo. The Minneapolis police chief said that Chauvin was breaking department policy when he knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes while Floyd lay prone and handcuffed outside a south Minneapolis convenience store, where he had allegedly tried to pass a fake $20 bill.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other former officers involved in the arrest are also charged with aiding and abetting Chauvin. Their trial is slated for August.
The defense is trying to argue that Floyd did not die because of Chauvin’s knee on his neck, but due to underlying health conditions and a drug overdose. Investigators told the court that they found pills in the squad car that officers tried to get Floyd into. The pills were shown to contain methamphetamine and fentanyl. Additionally, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy on Floyd said he suffered from an enlarged heart and hypertension.
Still, one of the medical experts who testified last week, Dr. Martin Tobin, a nationally renowned expert on the lungs and breathing, told the court that a healthy person restrained the way Floyd was would have died under Chauvin’s knee.