Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Derek Chauvin trial: George Floyd ‘slowly faded away’ during police brutality

A witness has told of the last harrowing minutes of George Floyd’s life on the opening day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white American policeman accused of killing him. Donald Williams III, a witness for the prosecution, said Mr Floyd was “slowly fading away” during the nine minutes Mr Chauvin kneeled on his back and neck. Mr Chauvin’s lawyer argued his use of force was “unattractive but necessary”.

This trial is being seen by many as a pivotal moment in US race relations. The May 2020 incident – in which Mr Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd, a black man, in the city of Minneapolis – sparked protests in the US and across the world against police brutality and racism. The man accused of killing George Floyd The jurors who will decide Derek Chauvin’s fate Mr Chauvin, 45, who was dismissed from the police, denies murder and manslaughter charges, which carry sentences of up to 40 years in prison. Three other officers present – Tou Thao, J Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane – will go on trial later in the year.

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What was heard on the first day of the trial? Donald Williams, a 33-year-old entrepreneur, said he had been planning to enter the Cup Foods shop, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when he witnessed the arrest of Mr Floyd on 25 May 2020.

He said he decided against entering the shop because “the energy was off”, and instead began a conversation with the arresting police officers and urged them to check Mr Floyd’s pulse.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told jurors that Mr Floyd said 27 times that he could not breathe.

The tape proves Mr Chauvin was “engaging in behaviour that was imminently dangerous… without regard for its impact on the body of George Floyd,” Mr Blackwell said.

Defence lawyer Eric Nelson, in his opening statements, said that the evidence “is far greater than nine minutes and 29 seconds” of video footage.

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