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The prosecution began their closing statements in the Derek Chauvin trial Monday, prompting legal experts to summarize and explain why it's ok to believe the police and still vote to convict.
"You can believe your eyes that it's a homicide," prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell explained in opening statements.
In the statements, he walked through all of the people encouraging Chauvin to stop, including his own colleagues, who could be overheard on bodycam video asking if they should roll George Floyd on his side.
Chauvin pleaded not guilty to three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
See the comments from legal experts responding to the closing argument and including info below:
Prosecutors must lead jurors to water AND make them drink by walking them through statutory elements. You NEVER wa… https://t.co/2ZGs9zrF9H— Laura Coates (@Laura Coates)1618847444.0
"No compassion was shown on that day." "George Floyd needed oxygen that day more than he needed compassion."— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang)1618843184.0
Prosecution: George Floyd did not get a trial when he was alive & he’s not on trial here.— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene)1618844105.0
Graham v. Connor comes up again #DerekChauvinTrial Remember you judge Chauvin’s force not from HIS or bystanders’… https://t.co/6iGlKeLEpR— Laura Coates (@Laura Coates)1618847838.0
Impressed with prosecution’s closing argument here. He methodically uses evidence to show Floyd’s repeated complian… https://t.co/i7NmcMJSZr— Barb McQuade (@Barb McQuade)1618845388.0
"Believe your eyes. You can rely on the experts who testified, too."— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang)1618845267.0
“Make no mistake, this is not a prosecution of the police. This is a prosecution of the defendant. And there’s noth… https://t.co/dZ766lG1i0— Josh Campbell (@Josh Campbell)1618843690.0
George Floyd’s final words to “Mr. Officer”, as he referred to Chauvin, were, “Please, I can’t breathe.”— Glenn Kirschner (@Glenn Kirschner)1618843142.0
“Mr. Officer” 💔— Preet Bharara (@Preet Bharara)1618843056.0
“A pain compliance technique used without the opportunity to comply is simply the infliction of pain and not an aut… https://t.co/hV8klRa5gu— Laura Coates (@Laura Coates)1618847988.0
#DerekChauvinTrial https://t.co/XfEhRyv6bs— NovEmma (@NovEmma)1618848728.0
Second Degree Murder: Defendant caused Floyd's death. The fact that other causes may have contributed to his death… https://t.co/69JavV470x— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang)1618845417.0
Name the trial where the jury deliberated during riots & a Congresswoman demanded the jury convict or the riots wou… https://t.co/gQh4AcPuxZ— Robert Barnes (@Robert Barnes)1618719726.0
Prosecution’s reminds the jury about the use of force continuum: Force must be reasonable when it starts. Force mu… https://t.co/DWKW6OBhVO— Laura Coates (@Laura Coates)1618848457.0
Watching closing arguments in the Chauvin case: “Face down on the pavement for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The paveme… https://t.co/twREBA7ixV— Glenn Kirschner (@Glenn Kirschner)1618843047.0
This is not an anti-police prosecution. This is a pro-police prosecution. Again, his calculation is that a normal… https://t.co/MDxa9pCgL9— Harry Litman (@Harry Litman)1618843870.0
Prosecution brushes off unruly crowd defense, says Chauvin is trying to put the blame on the bystanders for showing… https://t.co/y6o5LSUEe8— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene)1618848149.0
Here’s how the prosecutor began his closing arguments: His name was George P. Floyd, Jr. and he was born on Octobe… https://t.co/smi2D6crT1— Laura Coates (@Laura Coates)1618842767.0
#DerekChauvinTrial Prosecution much more comfortable arguing the Third - Degree murder charge than the Second-Degre… https://t.co/AwkqJDEbxq— Shanlon Wu (@Shanlon Wu)1618847971.0
I watch these videos and keep thinking that this was all over an allegedly counterfeit $20 bill.— Asha Rangappa (@Asha Rangappa)1618844707.0
Prosecution just reminded jurors that this all began w/ an alleged counterfeit $20 bill, & asked jury to question w… https://t.co/NVjgCn3O9j— Laura Coates (@Laura Coates)1618848624.0
The prosecutor is doing a really solid job here. not exactly low-key but not swinging for the fences. if anything… https://t.co/5ZyrWIFTzN— Harry Litman (@Harry Litman)1618844508.0
“This is not an anti-police prosecution. This is a pro-police prosecution.” Smart framing.— Asha Rangappa (@Asha Rangappa)1618843920.0
"We don't need to show that the defendant intended to cause George Floyd harm." — Prosecution describing their burden under the law— Adam Klasfeld (@Adam Klasfeld)1618846774.0
Prosecution closes: “This wasn’t policing. This was murder”— Joyce Alene (@Joyce Alene)1618848813.0
It was as if George Floyd's left lung had been surgically removed, that's how much the lung capacity was reduced.— Harry Litman (@Harry Litman)1618845964.0
State has concluded its Closing Argument: “This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you sa… https://t.co/AXC2eji2oY— Katie S. Phang (@Katie S. Phang)1618849123.0
The Supreme Court surprised pro-gun supporters on Monday by refusing to hear appeals over a federal law that bans people convicted of nonviolent crimes from purchasing a gun, reports USA Today.
That lifetime ban would include Americans convicted of "driving under the influence, making false statements on tax returns and selling counterfeit cassette tapes from owning a gun," the report states.
The report states that the decision "surprised" Second Amendment advocates hoping the court might chip away at some of the restrictions.
"The decisions Monday, which were handed down without explanation, are the latest in a series of instances in which the Supreme Court has skirted Second Amendment questions. The high court last issued major guns rights rulings in 2008 and 2010, cases that struck down handgun restrictions in the District of Columbia and Chicago," the report states.
"In one of the cases before the court, a Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to driving under the influence in 2005 challenged the ban on purchasing or owning a gun. In another, a Pennsylvania woman who pleaded guilty to making a false statement on her tax returns sued over the ban. In a third, a man who pleaded guilty to counterfeiting and smuggling cassettes in the 1980s challenged the firearms ban," the report states.
For the high court to take up the appeal, five justices would have to signal their willingness to consider them -- which was not the case on Monday.
The court's decision comes after days of mass shootings ranging from one at an Indianapolis FedEx facility to a grocery store in Boulder to massage parlors in Atlanta.
You can read more about the lawsuits here.
A prosecutor told the jury that former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin betrayed his badge and murdered George Floyd in last year's deadly arrest as closing arguments began on Monday in Chauvin's trial.
Over and over again, Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor with the Minnesota attorney general's office, repeated a phrase: "Nine minutes and 29 seconds," - the length of time Chauvin was captured on video on May 25, 2020, kneeling on the dying Floyd's neck.
Schleicher emphasized that the jury was weighing the guilt of only one man, although their verdict will nonetheless be widely seen as a reckoning in the way the United States polices Black people.
"This is not a prosecution of the police," Schleicher told jurors. He cited the motto of the Minneapolis Police Department, which fired Chauvin and three other officers involved the day after Floyd's arrest: "To protect with courage and to serve with compassion."
"George Floyd was not a threat to anyone," Schleicher said. "Facing George Floyd that day that did not require one ounce of courage, and none was shown on that day, no courage was required. All that was required was a little compassion and none was shown on that day."
Chauvin, who is white, pushed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed Black man, for more than nine minutes outside the grocery store that had accused Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes.
"He was trapped with the unyielding pavement beneath him, as unyielding as the men who held him down," Schleicher said, before playing some of the extensive video of Floyd's death. "What the defendant did not was not policing. What the defendant did was assault."
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree "depraved mind" murder and second-degree manslaughter. He waived his right to testify before the jurors, and his lead lawyer, Eric Nelson, was due to present his own closing argument later on Monday.
A bystander's video of Floyd begging for his life before falling limp scandalized people around the world. An image of Floyd's face has since been elevated to an icon for the largest protest movement in the United States in decades.
The Hennepin County chief medical examiner ruled Floyd's death a homicide at the hands of the police.
Prosecutors say Chauvin used unreasonable, and therefore illegal, force in compressing Floyd's neck and torso against the road in a way that starved him of oxygen.
Chauvin's lawyers argued that he correctly followed the training he received over 19 years with the Minneapolis Police Department and sought to raise doubts about the cause of Floyd's death.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill defined some important terms for the jurors in the charges before them, such as "great bodily harm" and "cause of death."
"The fact that other causes contributed to the death does not relieve the defendant of criminal liability," Cahill said, reading from written jury instructions, copies of which were also provided to jurors.
National news networks carried live broadcasts of much of the testimony after the first of more than 40 witnesses took the stand three weeks ago, though the coverage was sometimes interrupted by fresh episodes of police violence caught on camera.
The closest instance occurred just a few miles from the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis when a white police officer fatally shot a Black motorist, Daunte Wright, on April 11 in the suburb of Brooklyn Center after trying to arrest him on the belief he had missed a court appearance. The officer, Kimberly Potter, had meant to use her Taser to stop him driving away but pulled out the wrong weapon, police say. She has been charged with manslaughter.
As angry protests swelled, Minneapolis and state officials have ramped up security precautions in the city. The tower in which the courtroom sits is ringed by barbed wire, high barriers and armed soldiers from the National Guard, and nearby businesses have boarded up their windows. Giant drab-colored military vehicles have become a common sight in city streets.
For the second-degree murder charge, 12 jurors will have to agree that prosecutors proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin committed a felony, in this case assault, that was a substantial cause in Floyd's death. They do not have to find that Chauvin intended to kill Floyd.
That crime carries a punishment of up to 40 years in prison, although Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for a shorter sentence of up to 15 years for someone such as Chauvin with no prior convictions. Prosecutors have asked Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to depart from those guidelines and give Chauvin more time if convicted.
The jury, along with two alternates, is comprised of six white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman and two multiracial women, according to court records. Once they receive the case, they will be sequestered in a hotel outside of deliberation hours.
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