In the trial of the high-profile death of the black American George Floyd, it is the jury‘s turn. The jurors have isolated themselves to consider whether ex-Agent Derek Chauvin is guilty of Floyd’s death during his arrest in Minneapolis last year.
It is still unclear when the jury of twelve citizens comes to a decision on the three charges against 45-year-old Chauvin. In case of a conviction, the fired officer could be sentenced to decades in prison.
The prosecutor stated in his closing plea that Floyd “asked for help with his very last breath” and that he was not a threat to anyone. “George Floyd begged until he couldn‘t say anything more,” he said to the jury. “All that was needed was a little compassion. That was not shown that day.”
Chauvin’s attorney came last to speak on Monday and asked for acquittal. He described his client as a “reasonable policeman” when dealing with a “big” man like Floyd, who did not cooperate with his arrest when Chauvin came to the scene as a backup.
Chauvin, who was a cop for 19 years, did not exercise his right to make a statement in court. Over 40 witnesses have spoken in the Minneapolis Courts over the past few weeks. Among other things, contradictory statements were made about Floyd‘s cause of death. The prosecutors said Chauvin went too far in the arrest, while the defense pointed to the detainee’s heart problems and drug use. Also, the exhaust gases from a car that was at Floyd were brought in.
Floyd was arrested for paying cigarettes in a supermarket with a $20 counterfeit banknote. During the arrest, Chauvin pressed his knee on Floyd‘s neck for over 9 minutes. The images of the 46-year-old being restrained in handcuffs on the ground and repeatedly saying he can’t breathe, went over the world.
His death led to great unrest in and outside the United States. Floyd became the face of the so-called Black Lives Matter protests against racism, just like other black Americans who died of police brutality. In several American cities, protests ended several times in looting and riots. To prevent such events surrounding the Floyd process, thousands of additional soldiers and members of other security forces have been stationed in Minneapolis.