The defense suffered yet another blow in its quest to free former police officer Derek Chauvin on Wednesday. His attorney, Eric Nelson, argued that the prosecution had not proven that the publicly disgraced Chauvin caused the death of George Floyd, reported the Associated Press.
The day before, Barry Brodd, a use-of-force expert, claimed Chauvin was justified in his use of force against Floyd. Brodd previously testified on behalf of former officer Jason Van Dyke who was ultimately convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in Chicago in 2018.
The move for acquittal, common in cases of this type, was entered two days into the defense’s presentation of its case. The prosecution’s case extended across 11 days and included 38 witnesses including use-of-force experts that attested to the inappropriateness of Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd.
Steve Schleicher, one member of the four-person prosecuting team, rebutted the argument saying that there was plenty of evidence that “clearly established that the defendant’s conduct was a causal factor in bringing about Mr. Floyd’s death.”
The police chief and several of Chauvin’s colleagues have testified that his conduct violated his training and was contrary to the creed of the Minneapolis Police Department. Several medical experts, including renowned pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin and Hennepin County medical examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, also attributed Floyd’s death to how he was restrained.
Floyd was killed when Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes on May 25, 2020. Police were called when a cashier received a counterfeit $20 bill from Floyd. The incident sparked a nationwide racial reckoning and there were weeks-long protests in cities across the world. Earlier this week, less than 12 miles from where the trial is being heard, Duante Wright was shot and killed by another Minnesota officer during a traffic stop. Though that officer has resigned and been charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter, the event adds steam to the evident racism in policing.
The City of Minneapolis eventually settled a lawsuit with Floyd’s family for $27M dollars.
Judge Peter Cahill, the jurist presiding over the case, has been praised for his reputation of fairness.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty. Three other officers will be tried jointly in August.