The defense team of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin began their case on Tuesday, focusing on the previous arrests of George Floyd and the “very aggressive” mob that may have frightened the officers into the fatal arrest May 25.
“I was concerned about the officer’s safety because of the crowds so I wanted to make sure the police were okay,” Minneapolis Park police officer Peter Chang said on Tuesday, responding to the arrest. from Floyd to help other cops, to jurors in Hennepin County Court. , before saying that he thought the crowd was “very aggressive towards the officers”.
Chang’s testimony was part of the evidence presented by Chauvin’s defense team, which began their case by focusing on Floyd’s drug history and his frantic behavior during his arrest in May. Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, has previously argued that Floyd’s death was in part the result of health and drug issues – and that his client was simply doing what he was trained to do all along. his 19-year career ”.
Prosecutors called 38 witnesses over 11 days of powerful testimony, including the Minneapolis Police Chief, who said the former officer “absolutely” violated protocol, and three leading medical experts said Floyd had died of lack of oxygen caused by the actions of the cops alone, rather than drugs. or heart disease. Witnesses and other police officers said the crowd watching Floyd’s arrest was not so threatening as to warrant excessive force.
Chauvin, 45, is on trial for second and third degree murder as well as second degree manslaughter. Three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest – Tou Thao, Thomas K. Lane and J. Alexander Kueng – will stand trial in August for aiding and abetting second degree murder while committing a felony and aiding and abetting manslaughter. guilty in the second degree. with culpable negligence.
On Tuesday Shawanda Hill, who was in the car with Floyd on May 25 before his fatal arrest, described Floyd as “happy, talking, [and] alert ”when she met him at the Cup Foods store. After she started talking, Floyd offered to take her home, she said. By the time they got her car, Hill got a phone call from her daughter and walked away. Upon her return, she said Floyd fell asleep in the car and remained asleep even when Cup Foods employees came to his car to address the alleged fake $ 20 bill he used to buy cigarettes .
“They were trying to wake him up, trying to wake him up over and over again. He woke up, he’s going to say something, gave a little gesture and nodded back, ”Hill said, adding that she had told Cup Foods employees that she would make sure he go back inside the store.
She said he fell asleep again but woke up when the cops arrived. She said Floyd immediately put his hands on the wheel and started begging the officers not to shoot him.
Hill testified that she told Floyd, “’Baby, it’s the police. Go down the window. … The man had a gun at the window. [Floyd] immediately grabbed the steering wheel and said, ‘Please don’t shoot me.’
Eventually, officers removed Floyd from his car and put him in a squad car, triggering the chain of events that led to his death.
Chang testified on Tuesday that when he arrived at Cup Foods, Floyd was handcuffed and seated on the sidewalk. Soon after, Lane and Kueng began to wrestle with Floyd as they tried to load him into the team car – but Chang was told to stay near Floyd’s SUV.
In the unseen body camera footage of Chang, he can be seen speaking with Hill and Morries Hall, who was also in the car with Floyd but declined to testify. Hill is heard saying that Floyd is “going to jail.”
“Shit, he still won’t get in the car; sit down, George, ”Hill can be heard saying. “He’s fighting to get out, what’s he doing?” Now he’s going to jail.
The video shows several spectators shouting at Chauvin and the other officers to get off Floyd.
“Something is happening. They take pictures there, ”we have heard.
Some of these witnesses have already testified that they repeatedly asked Chauvin to remove his knee and check Floyd’s pulse. An off-duty Minneapolis firefighter and EMT testified that she was ignored after repeatedly offering to help, and an MMA fighter said he tried to explain that Chauvin’s choke cut off traffic from Floyd.
After the ambulance leaves with Floyd, who has no pulse, a witness can be heard telling Hill and Hall that they need to call Floyd’s family because he’s “fucked up”!
The Hennepin County medical examiner previously testified that Floyd died “of a cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement, restraint and neck compression” – which he said was “medical jargon. sophisticated for the heart and lungs arrested… as part of the subdual law enforcement, restraint and compression of the neck. He said heart disease, fentanyl consumption and methamphetamine use were “other important conditions.”
An independent report commissioned by Floyd’s family, which will not be presented at trial, concluded that he died of strangulation from the pressure on his back and neck. Both reports determined that Floyd’s death was a homicide.
On Tuesday, the defense also called retired Minneapolis policeman Scott Creighton to testify in his body camera footage of a Floyd arrest in May 2019. Floyd can be heard in the footage asking Creighton to don’t shoot him multiple times, as Creighton orders him to put his hands on the dashboard and another officer tells him to “spit” – meaning Floyd has ingested drugs.
Michelle Moseng, a 34-year-old retired Hennepin County medical paramedic, also testified that while treating Floyd after the 2019 arrest, he told her he was taking opioids “every 20 minutes” this that day and that he was taking it just before the police approached him. car.
“It was quite difficult to assess him. He was upset and confused, ”Moseng said, later adding that Floyd said he was“ addicted ”to opioids.
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