Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said in court that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin crushed George Floyd “until the very life was squeezed out of him.”
During opening statements in Chauvin’s trial on murder and manslaughter charges on Monday, Blackwell played a famous video taken by a bystander showing the officer pinning Floyd to the pavement outside a Minneapolis store last May.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson countered that Chauvin was doing “exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career.” Nelson said Floyd died from pre-existing health problems complicated by drug use and adrenaline, not from asphyxiation during the attempted arrest.
How long before a verdict? The trial is expected to last four weeks. The court is streaming and broadcasting the proceedings—a first in Minneapolis history. The judge allowed it because COVID-19 rules restrict the number of people who can watch the trial in person.
Dig deeper: Read Sophia Lee’s report on efforts to abolish or reform the police following the protests over Floyd’s death.