The jury in the murder trial against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin has begun deliberations after hearing closing arguments.
On April 19, the jury began considering a verdict over the death of George Floyd, a Black man, last May 25, as the trial against Chauvin, a white man, nears its end after over three weeks of testimony.
Judge Peter Cahill warned the jury to not allow “bias, prejudice, passion, sympathy, or public opinion” to influence their decision and to not consider any “consequences or penalties.”
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher urged the jury in his closing argument to focus on the video that showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck and back for over nine minutes, causing Floyd’s death.
“Believe your eyes,” Schleicher told the jury.
“This wasn’t policing. This was murder,” Schleicher also said.
Schleicher also said that Chauvin’s “ego, his pride” made him kept his knee on Floyd, even as bystanders told him to stop.
“He was not going to let these bystanders tell him what to do. He was going to do what he wanted… because he had the authority,” Schleicher said.
Meanwhile, Defense Attorney Eric Nelson said in his closing argument that Chauvin acted as a “reasonable officer” and that “officers are human beings, capable of making mistakes in highly stressful situations.”
Nelson also said that there was more to the incident prior to the over nine minutes of Floyd’s restraint.
However, Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell rebutted, “There really aren’t two sides of the story on whether this force is unreasonable.”
Blackwell told the jury that the case against Chauvin was “so simple that a child could understand it.”
Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.
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