The parties present their final arguments in the process against police officer Derek Chauvin. The prosecution asks the jury to trust what their eyes saw in the videos of George Floyd’s arrest. The defense maintains that the agent acted “reasonably” in the face of the resistance presented by the suspect.
The most momentous trial of the last decades in the United States has been seen for sentencing today . After three weeks of hearings and testimonies of a high emotional tension, supported by the chilling videos that documented the death of the African American George Floyd almost a year ago in Minneapolis , the parties have presented this Monday the final arguments that will determine the fate of the policeman. white Derek Chauvin .
The verdict is in the hands of a jury made up of 12 people , who will withdraw at the end of the day to deliberate on the three charges of murder and reckless manslaughter that Chauvin, the man who duringNine minutes and 29 seconds he suffocated Floyd with his knee to his neck, the prelude to the biggest protests and race riots in a long time .
As blatant as the evidence may seem, police abuses in America rarely end in punishment . In the entire history of Minnesota , the state where the trial is held, only one police officer has been convicted of murder. On a national scale, it is not much different.
According to a Bowling Green State University study , of the 104 non-federal agents arrested for murder or manslaughter between 2015 and 2019, only four were convicted on the first count and 18 on the second.
This time the prospect that Chauvin could be exonerated has put the country on edge . The tension is extreme, particularly in Minneapolis, a city completely taken over by 4,000 military and police officers. The clashes with the forces of order have been happening there since last week, after the police killed the twenty-something black Daunte Wright at a traffic control .
Video emerged shortly thereafter of another similar incident in Chicago , in which a police officer shot and killed Adam Toledo , a 13-year-old Hispanic boy after he dropped his gun after a chase on foot.
“What they saw is what happened”
In the trial for Floyd’s death, become an emblem of police brutality towards African Americans , the prosecution seems to have it all on their side. Not only did it count on the testimonies of several forensics that supported the death by suffocation caused by Chauvin’s knee, but also by the Minneapolis police headquarters itself , which declared that the agent had violated all the protocols regarding the use of force.
“I ask you to use common sense , to believe what your eyes saw because what you saw is exactly what happened, ” said attorney for the prosecution, Steve Schleicher, referring to the arrest videos.
Schleicher described Chauvin’s actions as “extremely disproportionate” and described as “nonsense” the theories put forward by the defense , which attributed Floyd’s death to his heart problems , a possible drug overdose or even the inhalation of carbon monoxide that It was coming out of the tailpipe of the patrol car. “What killed him was the inadmissible force used to crush him to the ground,” added the prosecution attorney.
A “reasonable agent”
Before this final day, the defense had only used two days to present its arguments and call seven witnesses to testify, much less than the long thirty presented by the prosecution. On Monday he argued that the video of the knee in the neck does not tell the whole story of what happened that May 25, 2020.
“Do not let a fixed photograph confuse you. Put the evidence in its proper context,” wielded attorney Eric Nelson. The lawyer maintained that Floyd resisted the arrest and showed “signs of aggression”, which led Chauvin to behave as any other “reasonable agent” would have done , making use of the resources internalized during his 19 years in the police force.
The outcome of the trial is now in the hands of the 12 jurors : six of them, white; four, black and the remaining two, multiracial. There is no time limit on your deliberations, which could take hours, days, or weeks. What is clear is that they will have to reach a unanimous decision on each of the charges that Chauvin is pursuing for the agent to be convicted.