Derek Chauvin trial: State rests its case, defense calls first witnesses
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The state rested its case Tuesday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, and the defense called its first witnesses. The trial is being broadcast live, gavel to gavel, on FOX 9 and streaming live at fox9.com/live.
Trial Judge Peter Cahill laid out what he expects to be the schedule for the rest of the trial on Monday, telling jurors they might get Friday off before closing arguments on Monday, April 19. After that, the jury will be sequestered until they reach a verdict.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May.
Here are the witnesses the defense has called to testify so far on Tuesday:
- Barry Brodd, a paid use of force expert. According to media reports, Brodd previously testified in the Jason Van Dyke/Laquan McDonald deadly shooting in Chicago, concluding the shooting was justified.
- Officer Nicole Mackenzie, of the Minneapolis Police Department, was recalled by the defense. Both sides asked her about the "excited delirium" training Officer Thomas Lane received.
- Officer Peter Chang, Minneapolis Park Police. Chang testifies from his perspective across street from Cup Foods, crowd of bystanders watching Floyd's arrest grew "more loud and aggressive," noting some were yelling. Chang testifies he was concerned for the officers directly handling Floyd.
- Shawanda Hill, who was with Floyd the night of his deadly arrest outside Cup Foods.
- Michelle Monseng, retired Hennepin EMS paramedic. She testified about Floyd's drug arrest in May 2019, telling the court Floyd's blood pressure was extremely high. She said Floyd told her he had taken a bunch of pills, reportedly said he was addicted.
- Scott Creighton, a retired MPD officer. Creighton was part of Floyd's 2019 drug arrest. Judge Cahill has allowed Chauvin's defense attorney permission to play a short clip from officer Creighton's body worn camera footage from the 2019 arrest, showing Creighton's approach only until Floyd gets out of vehicle and is handcuffed.
Defense and state question use of force expert
The defense called use of force expert Barry Brodd to the stand and questioned him about Derek Chauvin's tactics used on George Floyd. Brodd said he thought they were justified and reasonable. Brodd stated that the crowd became a threat as they started to grow in size and became more vocal. He also determined the arrest was not a deadly use of force and compared the situation to an officer deploying a taser on a domestic violence call with the suspect then slamming their head as they fall, dying from the injury.
During the state's cross-examination, attorney Steve Schleicher played clips from the officers' body cameras, noting moments Floyd was in distress. He asked Brodd about his testimony in which he stated that it wasn't a use of force because there was no pain involved. Then, he noted the times in the videos that Floyd complained about pain and asked if Brodd had seen the autopsy photos.
New bodycam video from Minneapolis Park Police officer
The jury saw new video on Tuesday from the body camera of Minneapolis Park Police Officer Peter Chang, who was nearby when officers J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane’s calls for assistance went out and went to the scene to help.
Chang was tasked with keeping track of Floyd’s companions, Morries Hall and Shawanda Hill while the other officers were with Floyd across the street.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Chang to describe the people who were gathered around 38th and Chicago at the time. He said they were "very aggressive towards the officers."
"I was focused on the car, but then it distracted me and I was concerned for officer safety too so I just kept an eye on the officers, the car, the individuals, the passengers," Chang said.
Nelson has focused on the crowd at many points during his questioning of witnesses, at times calling it an angry crowd.
Shawanda Hill says Floyd fell asleep in SUV
The defense called Shawanda Hill, who was in the SUV with George Floyd outside Cup Foods on May 25, 2020, to the stand on Tuesday morning, their third witness of the day. Hill told the court she ran into Floyd outside Cup Foods and he offered to give her a ride home.
She described Floyd as "happy, normal, talking, alert" in Cup Foods. She said he fell asleep in the SUV as she took a phone call.
She said she and others tried several times to wake him up when the two store clerks approached the SUV about the counterfeit $20 bill, but they could not get him to stay awake.
Hill said Floyd eventually woke up as she tried one more time and police approached, with a gun at the window.
Nelson appeared to be trying to make a connection to the jurors that Floyd falling asleep could have been a sign of a fentanyl overdose.
Under questioning from prosecutor Matthew Frank, Hill confirmed Floyd did not complain of shortness of breath or chest pains prior at the time.
When asked if Floyd seemed startled when Officer Thomas Lane pulled his gun on him, she testified, "Very."
State rests its case
The state called its final witnesses on Monday, including Floyd's brother, Philonise, who gave what is called "spark of life" testimony. He told the jury about his brother who loved sports, video games and had a "one of a kind" relationship with their mother.
Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and current professor at the University of South Carolina, testifed as a paid use of force expert for the state. He concluded there was no threat from bystanders gathered around the scene of Floyd's deadly arrest outside Cup Foods.
During a motions hearing Monday, defense attorney Eric Nelson requested an immediate sequestration of the jury following the deadly police shooting of a Black man in Brooklyn Center on Sunday. Nelson said one of the jurors lives in Brooklyn Center and several others have connections to the city. He worried about the influence of the police shooting and subsequent unrest on the jury’s willingness to acquit Chauvin.
Trial Judge Peter Cahill denied the motion, saying "this is a totally different case."
TIMELINE: George Floyd's death to Derek Chauvin's trial
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