The Derek Chauvin Trial

Adeline Poindexter, Reporter

Derek Chauvin, a former American police officer in Minneapolis, is on trial for the death of George Floyd.  The story of Floyd’s death became viral via social media and news outlets, a video of the scene released where Floyd states “I can’t breathe.” The trial began on March 29, 2021 and is still ongoing.

 According to video evidence, George Floyd died on May 25, 2020 at hands of Minneapolis police officers, the video depicting officer Derek Chauvin to be holding Floyd down with his knee on his neck and applying pressure for a little over nine minutes. Floyd pleaded multiple times as being unable to breathe, but the officers involved where not shown to lose restraint. 

Many witnesses were at the scene, including a former MMA fighter, a firefighter and certified EMT, high school students, and a nine-year old girl. All testified in a Minneapolis court on Tuesday, March 30th. 

The nine year old witness stated, “I was sad and kind of mad,” “Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”

 MMA fighter Donald Wynn Williams II testified as being so disturbed he called 911. Williams stated, “I called the police on the police, I believed I witnessed a murder.”

Genevieve Hansen, a certified EMT and Minneapolis firefighter described herself as being desperate at the scene. Hansen was going for a walk when she discovered the scene, quickly inserting herself do to concern. Hansen repeatedly asked police to check pulse, to which they refused. Hansen testified, “I tried calm reasoning, I tried to be assertive, I pled and was desperate, I was desperate to give help.”

On April 1, 2021, statements were issued in court by a paramedic, fire captain, and Floyd’s girlfriend. The paramedic and fire captain both arrived at the scene and saw Floyd unresponsive. 

Paramedic Derek Smith stated “I walked up to the individual, noticed he wasn’t moving. I didn’t see any chest rise or fall on this individual. In lay terms, I thought he was dead.”

Fire Capt. Jeremy Norton testified, “I was aware that a man had been killed in police custody, and I wanted to notify my supervisors to notify the appropriate people above us in the city, in the fire department and whomever else, and then I also wanted to inform my deputy that there was an off-duty firefighter, who was a witness at the scene.”

Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross had been in a relationship with Floyd since August 2017 and were together until his death. Ross described Floyd as a “mama’s boy” and a caring individual. Ross also testified that they both struggled with opioid addiction, defense attorneys arguing that Floyd’s underlying cause of death may have been drug use or medical issues.

On Friday April 2, two high-ranking Minneapolis police officers testified. Lt. Richard Zimmerman, head of the homicide unit, testified that Chauvin’s actions were unnecessary and Chauvins restraint, “should have absolutely stopped once Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground.” Sgt. John Curtis Edwards testified that once he arrived at the scene he made contact with J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, two other police officers. Edwards testifies that although he had his body camera on, the other two officers did not. 

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo took the stand on day six of the trial, testifying that Chauvin’s kneeling on Floyd’s neck is not a trained tactic and was a violation of police procedures. Police inspector Katie Blackewell saw the photos of Chauvin leaning on Floyd’s neck, and testified that it was not in line with police training or guidelines. Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld who rendered Floyd aid testified that the “more likely possibility” of Floyd’s cardiac arrest was hypoxia (lack of oxygen.)

As of April 6th 2021, the trial is still ongoing. Day seven expects more witnesses and further examination on whether Floyd died from underlying conditions or by the conduct of Chauvin and the other officers. 

Works Cited

Levenson, Eric. “Firefighter, 9-Year-Old and Teens Give Powerful Testimony in Derek Chauvin Trial.” CNN, Cable News Network, 31 Mar. 2021, www.cnn.com/2021/03/30/us/derek-chauvin-trial-day-2/index.html.

Macaya, Melissa. “April 1, 2021 Derek Chauvin Trial Day Four News.” CNN, Cable News Network, 2 Apr. 2021, www.cnn.com/us/live-news/derek-chauvin-trial-04-01-21/index.html.

Macaya, Melissa, and Mike Hayes. “Derek Chauvin Is on Trial for George Floyd’s Death: Live Coverage.” CNN, Cable News Network, 6 Apr. 2021, www.cnn.com/us/live-news/derek-chauvin-trial-04-06-21/index.html.

“George Floyd” by chaddavis.photography is licensed with CC BY-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/