George Floyd sought help with his 'very last breath'

Brunilde Fioravanti
Aprile 20, 2021

Medical experts for the prosecution said Floyd died from a lack of oxygen from Chauvin's knee on his neck and that drugs were not a factor.

What did the prosecution argue?

"All that was required was a little compassion and none was shown on that day".

Mr Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd, who was pinned facedown handcuffed on the ground for more than nine minutes complaining "I can't breathe". He rebutted arguments made by the defense that other factors contributed to Floyd's death, such as his narrowed arteries, drug use and possible carbon monoxide poisoning from a nearby auto tailpipe. Jurors have spent hours rewatching the videos in the courtroom. Thus we heard state prosecutor Steve Schleicher's mantra to the jury to "believe your eyes", and his repeated references to the video evidence as well as his use of visual aids through which Schleicher listed and then checked off each legal element of each offense as he reminded the jury of the evidence proving them.

"It's exactly what you knew, it's what you felt in your gut, it's what you now know in your heart".

"Unreasonable force, pinning him to the ground - that's what killed him".

Floyd "asked for help with his very last breath", the prosecutor said, but Chauvin did not provide assistance.

The defense also called a retired police officer who said Chauvin's use of force against Floyd was "justified".

"He was not trying to hurt anyone".

His defense lawyers argued Chauvin acted reasonably against a suspect who was struggling, and that Floyd died because of an underlying heart condition and drug use.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson in his closing argument focused on how "a reasonable police officer" would have handled the situation.

"This wasn't policing, this was murder".

"You have to take into account that officers are human beings, capable of making mistakes in highly stressful situations", he argued.

"He did not purposefully use unlawful force.

Hold police officers accountable".

Forty-seven percent of registered voters in the April 16-19 survey said Chauvin should be found guilty while 20 percent said he should be found innocent.

Nelson added that prosecutors were wrong to dismiss his theory that carbon monoxide poisoning from the nearby police car's exhaust may have contributed to Floyd's death.

Chauvin, dressed in a light grey suit and dark blue shirt and blue tie, took off his face mask to listen to closing arguments.

He spoke only once - and that was out of the presence of the jury - when he invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his own defense.

The trial has been broadcast live by TV networks in the United States since the more than 40 witnesses took the stand beginning three weeks ago, though the coverage was sometimes interrupted by fresh episodes of police violence caught on camera.

Jurors will now be asked to deliberate and consider their verdict.

A conviction on any of the charges - second-degree murder, third-degree murder or manslaughter - will require the jury to return a unanimous verdict.

Nelson brought up the comments after the jury was sent to deliberations Monday, saying he interpreted them "to be threats against the sanctity of the jury process" by "demanding that if there's not a guilty verdict that there would be further problems".

The most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison.

The racially diverse jury is made up of six white women, three Black men, three white men, two mixed race women and one Black woman.

The case is being seen as a wider assessment of the state of race relations in the USA, although prosecutors repeatedly played down that view in their closing arguments. "Hold police officers accountable".

Floyd's death helped spark Black Lives Matter demonstrations worldwide amid global outrage at his treatment at the hands of Chauvin. "We will continue to encourage peaceful protests, but we're not going to get ahead of the verdict", spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

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