Tag Archives: police

Stress from scuffle with police ‘more than Mr. Floyd could take’, medical officer testifies

George Floyd’s scuffle with police, along with Derek Chauvin’s knee pressed into his neck, was too much for his underlying heart condition and caused the death of the 46-year-old Black man, the local county’s chief medical officer told a Minneapolis court on Friday.

“[The adrenaline is] going to ask your body for more oxygen so that you can get through that altercation,” said Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner who conducted the autopsy on Floyd and ruled his death to be a homicide.

Baker’s testimony marked the 10th day of the murder trail of Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer who is facing trial on charges of second-degree unintentional murder; third-degree murder; and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the death of Floyd.

“And in my opinion, the law enforcement subdual restraint and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take by virtue of those heart conditions,” Baker said.

Baker’s testimony veered somewhat from what the court had previously heard from other medical witnesses called by the prosecution.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pressed a knee on the back of his neck for around nine minutes as two other officers held him down.

Witness reaffirmed autopsy report

The outcome of the high profile trial is being closely watched after video of the arrest of Floyd captured by a bystander prompted widespread outrage, setting off protests over race and police brutality across the U.S. and around the world.


Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell questions Baker at the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. (Court TV/Associated Press)

The prosecution says Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck while detaining him on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, caused his death. But the defence argues Chauvin did what his training taught him and that it was a combination of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions, drug use and adrenaline flowing through his system that ultimately killed him.

The court has so far heard from prosecution medical experts, including a leading lung specialist, who have testified that Floyd died from asphyxia — or insufficient oxygen — because of the actions of police. Baker has not ruled asphyxiation to be a cause of Floyd’s death.

Previous witnesses had significantly downplayed Floyd’s pre-existing medical conditions and drugs found in his system as playing a role in his death. 

However, Baker reaffirmed the findings of his autopsy report. He said those elements were contributing factors, though not the primary cause of death.

Adrenaline impacts

Under questioning by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, Baker explained that Floyd had narrowed coronary arteries — about 75 per cent blockage in his left anterior descending artery and 90 per cent blockage in his right coronary artery. Floyd also had hypertensive heart disease, meaning his heart weighed slightly more than it should.


Chauvin’s defence attorney Eric Nelson cross-examines Baker. (Court TV/Associated Press)

Floyd’s confrontation with police, which included being pinned facedown on the pavement while Chauvin pressed his knees into his neck, produced adrenaline that made Floyd’s heart beat faster.

Baker testified that Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” 

Asked to explain cardiopulmonary arrest, Baker said that was “fancy medical lingo for the heart and the lungs stopped.”

He also explained the definition of “homicide” in an autopsy report, that it was a medical and not a legal term, which is applied when the actions of other people were involved in an individual’s death.

Cross-examination 

During cross-examination, Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson seized on the potential role played by Floyd’s heart condition and drugs found in his system.

“In your opinion, both the heart disease as well as the history of hypertension and the drugs that were in his system played a role in Mr. Floyd’s death?” Nelson asked Baker.

“In my opinion, yes,” Baker said. 


Chauvin takes notes at his trial in the death of George Floyd. (Court TV/Associated Press)

Baker also agreed that he had certified overdose as the cause of death in other autopsies where that individual had much lower levels of fentanyl in their system than was found in Floyd.

Nelson asked Baker if he recalled having conversations last year with prosecutors in which he described the level of fentanyl found in Floyd’s system was a “fatal level.”

“I recall describing it in other circumstances, it would be a fatal level,” Baker said.

But Baker also agreed that he had described Floyd’s s death as a “multifactorial process.”

He said drugs and hypertension were not “direct causes” but they were “contributing causes.”

The trial continues. 

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Chauvin violated policy in pinning Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, police chief testifies

The Minneapolis police chief testified on Monday that now-fired officer Derek Chauvin violated departmental policy in pinning his knee on George Floyd’s neck and keeping him down after Floyd had stopped resisting and was in distress.

Continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, “and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said.

Arradondo, the city’s first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd’s death last May, and in June called it “murder.” At that time, the police chief said Floyd’s death was not due to a lack of training and that “Chauvin knew what he was doing.”

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death on May 25. The white officer is accused of pinning his knee on the 46-year-old man’s neck for nine minutes, 29 seconds, as Floyd lay face-down in handcuffs outside a corner market, where had been accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $ 20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

De-escalating should be ‘layered’ into use of force

Under questioning from prosecutor Matthew Frank, Arradondo said it’s the police department’s policy that officers should consider minimizing physical force during an arrest even while force is being used to restrain a suspect.

“The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.” the police chief said.


Assistant Minnesota Attorney General Matthew Frank speaks as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discusses motions before the court on Monday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Chauvin, who had been on the force for 19 years, failed to follow his training in several respects, Arradondo said. He could tell from Floyd’s grimaces that Chauvin was using more than the maximum “light-to-moderate” pressure an officer is allowed to use on someone’s neck.

The officer did not relent in using force even as Floyd fell unconscious and he did not provide mandated first aid to a dying Floyd, Arradondo said.

“It’s contrary to our training to indefinitely place your knee on a prone, handcuffed individual for an indefinite period of time,” he said.

Arradondo’s testimony came after the emergency room doctor who pronounced Floyd dead testified that he theorized at the time that Floyd’s heart most likely stopped because of a lack of oxygen.

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident on duty that night at Hennepin County Medical Center and tried to resuscitate Floyd, earlier took the stand at the beginning of Week Two at Chauvin’s murder trial.

WATCH | ER doctor describes efforts to resuscitate George Floyd:

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld told the murder trial of a former Minneapolis police officer that paramedics found George Floyd without a pulse when they brought him to the ER. 1:59

Langenfeld said Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital. The doctor said that he was not told of any efforts at the scene by bystanders or police to resuscitate Floyd but that paramedics told him they had tried for about 30 minutes.

Under questioning by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, Langenfeld said that based on the information he had, death by asphyxiation was “more likely than the other possibilities.”

The defence argues that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions caused his death.

Chauvin lawyer Eric Nelson questioned Langenfeld about whether some drugs can cause hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen. The doctor acknowledged that fentanyl and methamphetamine, both of which were found in Floyd’s body, can do so.

The county medical examiner’s office ultimately classified Floyd’s death a homicide — that is, a death at the hands of someone else.

Opioid antidote of no use during cardiac arrest

The full report said Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” A summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.”

Under cross-examination from Nelson, Langenfeld said Floyd’s carbon dioxide levels were more than twice has high as levels in healthy person, and he agreed that that could be attributed to a respiratory problem. But on questioning from the prosecutor, the doctor said the high levels were also consistent with cardiac arrest — the stopping of the heart.

Langenfeld also testified that neither he nor paramedics administered a drug that would reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The doctor said giving Narcan once a patient is in cardiac arrest would provide no benefit.

The doctor also told the court that paramedics made no mention that Floyd may have suffered a drug overdose before he was brought to the hospital.

Floyd’s treatment by police was captured on widely seen bystander video that sparked protests that rocked Minneapolis and quickly spread to other U.S. cities and beyond and descended into violence in some cases.

WATCH | Knee on George Floyd’s neck ‘uncalled for,’ veteran officer says:

At the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, the officer with the most seniority on the Minneapolis Police Department said the use of force on George Floyd was ‘uncalled for’ and ‘totally unnecessary.’ 0:55

Langenfeld said that “any amount of time” a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate CPR decreases the chance of a good outcome. He said there is an approximately 10 per cent to 15 per cent decrease in survival for every minute that CPR is not administered.

The city of Minneapolis moved soon after Floyd’s death to ban police chokeholds and neck restraints. Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey also made several policy changes, including expanding requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents and documenting attempts to de-escalate situations.

Prosecutors have already called supervisory officers to build the case that Chauvin improperly restrained Floyd. A duty sergeant and a lieutenant who leads the homicide division both questioned Chauvin’s actions in pinning Floyd to the ground.

“Totally unnecessary,” Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-tenured officer on the force, testified Friday. He said once Floyd was handcuffed, he saw “no reason for why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt, and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.”

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Police could have ended George Floyd’s restraint after he was handcuffed, former sergeant testifies

A former Minneapolis police supervisor, on duty the night George Floyd died, says officers could have stopped restraining him after he was handcuffed and no longer resisting.

That testimony from David Pleoger, now retired, was a key part of the prosecution’s case on the fourth day of the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. It included a snippet of a call between Pleoger and Chauvin — in which Chauvin says he was going to call Pleoger and request that he come to the scene where Chauvin and three other officers had had their encounter with Floyd.

Jurors also heard the emotional testimony of Floyd’s former girlfriend along with evidence from two paramedics who attended to Floyd that day, one of whom said that when he arrived, he thought Floyd was dead.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — in the death of Floyd on May 25, 2020. The 46-year-old Black man died after Chauvin pressed a knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for around nine minutes as two other officers held him down. Video captured by a bystander showed the handcuffed Floyd repeatedly say he couldn’t breathe. 

Floyd had been detained outside a convenience store after being suspected of paying with a counterfeit bill. All four officers were later fired. The footage of the arrest prompted widespread outrage, setting off protests across the U.S. and around the world.

For the prosecution, Pleoger, who had worked with Chauvin for eight years, and whose duties as a sergeant included reviewing police use-of-force incidents, may have offered the most important evidence.


Courteney Ross, the former girlfriend of George Floyd, offers emotional testimony at the trial into his death. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Indeed, his opinion on the officers’ use of force against Floyd became a point of contention between the prosecution and Eric Nelson, defence counsel for Chauvin. 

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked Pleoger, based upon his review of this incident, if he believed the restraint on Floyd should have ended at some point.

That prompted Nelson to object, who argued that Pleoger, because of the “criticality” of the incident, had hiked the review of it up the chain of command, and that he had only reviewed the police officers’ body camera video.

But Judge Peter Cahill allowed Schleicher to ask one question about Pleoger’s view of the incident.

“Do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?” Schleicher asked.

Pleoger answered: “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended the restraint.”


Paramedic Derek Smith testified that he couldn’t find Floyd’s pulse upon arriving on the scene. ‘In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead,’ he told court. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Schleicher followed up: “And that was when he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resistant?” 

Yes, Pleoger replied.

Pleoger had gone to the scene after he was contacted by a dispatcher, who was concerned about what she had seen of the arrest on a city surveillance camera.

He testified that, after hearing from the dispatcher, the first person he called was Chauvin.

Chauvin told Pleoger: “I was just going to call you and have you come out to our scene here,” according to a clip of their conversation played in the Hennepin County District Court in downtown Minneapolis on Thursday.

“We just had to hold a guy down. He was going crazy. He wouldn’t go in the back of the squad,” Chauvin said, as the recording cut off. 

Pleoger described the rest of the conversation, saying that he believed Chauvin told him they had tried to put Floyd in the back of the squad car but that he became combative and injured his nose or mouth. He said Chauvin told him that, after struggling with Floyd, Floyd had suffered a medical emergency and the ambulance was called.

Court also heard from Seth Bravinder, a paramedic, who said when he arrived, he saw no signs that Floyd was breathing or moving, and it appeared he was in cardiac arrest. A second paramedic, Derek Smith, testified that he couldn’t find a pulse: “In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead.”

But the most emotional testimony came from Floyd’s former girlfriend Courteney Ross who chronicled some of their struggles with opioid addiction.

Ross wept through much of her testimony as she told the court about how she met Floyd, their relationship, and their battle with addiction to painkillers.

Floyd’s drug use is a central argument in Chauvin’s defence. The prosecution believes Chauvin’s knee pressing into Floyd’s neck as he lay handcuffed on to the pavement was the cause of his death. But the defence argues it was a combination of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions, drug use and adrenaline flowing through his system that ultimately killed him.

Under cross-examination, Nelson asked Ross about some incidents of Floyd’s drug use, including an overdose he suffered in March 2020. 

“You did not know that he had taken heroin at that time?” Nelson asked.

She said she didn’t.

Nelson also focused on pills they had purchased that same month that were different than other painkillers purchased in the past.

Ross testified that instead of relaxing her, they made her jittery, and she couldn’t sleep at night.

Ross also testified that in May, she used similar pills and that she experienced the same effects. Nelson reminded her that she has previously told FBI agents that the pill made her feel like she was going to die, although she said she didn’t recall saying that to the agents.

She said she noticed a change in Floyd’s behaviour about two weeks before his death. Court also heard that she had told FBI agents that the pills made Floyd bounce around and be unintelligible at times.

However, prosecutor Matthew Frank tried to downplay the potential toxicity of those pills, getting Ross to agree that, obviously, neither she or Floyd had died from ingesting them in March or May.

She said Floyd “had a lot of energy” after using them.

Court also heard that Floyd’s pet name for Ross in his phone was “Mama” — testimony that called into question the widely reported account that Floyd was crying out for this mother as he lay pinned to the pavement.

In some of the video, Floyd can be heard calling out, “Mama!” repeatedly and saying, “Mama, I love you! … Tell my kids I love them.”

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Former cashier felt ‘disbelief and guilt’ as police confronted George Floyd

A former Minneapolis convenience store cashier who claimed George Floyd gave him a counterfeit $ 20 bill testified on Wednesday he felt “disbelief and guilt” as he later watched the 46-year-old Black man being pinned to the ground by police.

“If I would’ve just not [taken] the bill, this could’ve been avoided,” said Christopher Martin, 19, who had been an employee at the Cup Foods store.

Martin was testifying on the third day of the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — in the death of Floyd. Floyd died after Chauvin pressed a knee on the back of Floyd’s neck for around nine minutes as two other officers held him down. Video captured by a bystander showed the handcuffed Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe. 

Chauvin, who was fired from the police force after Floyd’s death, is also charged with the lesser offence of second-degree manslaughter.

Along with Martin’s testimony, the Hennepin County District Court also saw about 10 minutes of video footage of Floyd inside the Cup Foods convenience store, where he had gone to buy some cigarettes.

In the video, Floyd can be seen walking through the store, waiting in line, laughing, and doing what appears to be a brief dance.

Martin testified that Floyd was very friendly, approachable and talkative and that he had asked Floyd if he played baseball.

‘Appeared he was high’

Floyd responded that he played football but it took him a little long to “get to what he wanted to say” and that it “appeared he was high,” Martin told the court.

Martin said he sold Floyd a pack fo cigarettes, at which time Floyd handed him a $ 20 bill. When Floyd left the store, Martin said he examined the bill and determined, because it had a “blue pigment” to it, that it was counterfeit.

Martin also noted that the store’s policy is that counterfeit bills that are accepted by the cashiers will come out of their salary.

He said he initially planned to just put the bill on his “tab” and that he thought Floyd “didn’t really know that it was a fake bill.”

However, Martin notified the store manager, who told Martin to go outside and ask Floyd to come back into the store.


Former convenience store cashier Christopher Martin testified that Floyd gave him a counterfeit $ 20 bill. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

Refused to come back

Martin said he attempted that twice, once with one co-worker, and a second time with two different co-workers. Both times, Martin said, Floyd refused to come back into the store.

It was after the second refusal that the manager told another co-worker to call the police.

After police arrived, Martin said he went outside as people were gathering on the curb and yelling at the officers who were confronting Floyd. He then called his mother, with whom he lived in an apartment upstairs, and told her to stay inside. He then took out his phone and began recording.

Martin testified he saw one of the officers, Tou Thao, push one of his co-workers. Martin said he also held back another man who was trying to defend himself after being pushed by Thao.

Under cross examination by Chauvin’s defence counsel Eric Nelson, Martin told court that Floyd had been in the store earlier with another man. That man, said Martin, had been caught trying to pass off a counterfeit $ 20 bill, one that looked similar to the bill Floyd had paid with, Martin said. 

The prosecution claims Chauvin crushed his knee into Floyd’s neck, an application of unreasonable force that it says led to his death later in hospital. But Chauvin’s defence argues the 19-year veteran police officer did exactly as he had been trained to do and that Floyd’s death was the result of a combination of underlying medical conditions and drugs in his system.

Three other officers at the scene were fired. Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter, and will go on trial in August.

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Off-duty firefighter ‘was desperate’ for police to let her aid George Floyd, court hears

A Minneapolis firefighter who saw George Floyd being pinned to the ground by police officers while she was off duty testified at the Derek Chauvin murder trial Tuesday that she felt “totally distressed” that she was prevented from providing the 46-year-old Black man medical aid.

Genevieve Hansen was one of a series of bystanders who testified in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis on the second day of the trial about what they witnessed on May 25, 2020, as police pinned Floyd to the ground after they detained him on suspicion of using a counterfeit bill at a convenience store.

That included the emotional testimony of Darnella Frazier, who was 17 when she took the viral video of Floyd’s arrest that sparked protests over police brutality and racial injustice around the world. 

Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges — second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder — in the death of Floyd. Chauvin, who was fired from the police force after Floyd’s death, is also charged with the lesser offence of second-degree manslaughter.

The prosecution claims Chauvin crushed his knee into Floyd’s neck, an application of unreasonable force that it says led to his death later in hospital. But Chauvin’s defence argues the 19-year veteran police officer did exactly as he had been trained to do and that Floyd’s death was the result of a combination of underlying medical conditions and drugs in his system. 

Hansen, who testified in her dress uniform and said she had emergency medical technician training, had been out for a walk when she came across the officers and Floyd.

She said she observed that Floyd needed medical attention and was in an “altered level of consciousness.”


This image from a police body camera shows people gathering as Chauvin presses his knee on Floyd’s neck outside the Cup Foods convenience story in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. Floyd later died in hospital. (Minneapolis Police Department/The Associated Press)

Would have checked for pulse

She told the court had she been allowed to assist, she would have requested additional help and had someone fetch a defibrillator from the nearby gas station.

She said she would have checked Floyd’s airway for any obstructions, checked for a pulse, and, if no pulse was found, would have started compressions.

But she said, the officers didn’t allow her to assist.

She was asked by prosecutor Matthew Frank how that made her feel.

“Totally distressed,” she said. 

“Were you frustrated?” Frank asked.

“Yes,” she said, as she broke into tears.

Frank later asked her to explain why she felt helpless.

“Because there was a man being killed, and had I had access to a call similar to that, I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities, and this human was denied that right,” she told the court.

She said she pleaded with police and “was desperate” for them to let her help. 

WATCH | Judge Peter Cahill rebukes witness over testimony:

Judge Peter Cahill admonished witness Genevieve Hansen for her responses to defence counsel. 0:50

When ambulance arrived and took Floyd, she called 911. The recording of that call was played in court Tuesday. In it, Hansen tells the dispatcher that she had just watched police officers not take a pulse or do anything to save a man.

But during cross-examination, she grew testy with Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson. When asked about the bystanders expressing their anger at police, she told Nelson: “I don’t know if you’ve seen anybody be killed, but it’s upsetting.”

“I’m going to just ask you to answer my questions as I ask them to you,” Nelson said.

Judge rebukes witness

Her responses to Nelson earned her a stern rebuke from Judge Peter Cahill, who, after the jury had been cleared for the day, warned her that she should not argue with the court or counsel and that they have the right to ask questions.

“I was finishing my answer,” Hansen said.

“I will determine when your answer is done,” Cahill said.

Earlier in the day, court also heard from Frazier, the teenager who shot the viral video, who testified that she had stayed up at night apologizing for not doing more to help him.

Frazier, acknowledging that that video has changed her life, was tearful at times and testified that any of her Black friends or family members could have been in Floyd’s position that day.

She said she has stayed up at night “apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, and not physically interacting, not saving his life.”

Then she added: “But it’s not what I should have done. It’s what he should have done,” in what appeared to be a reference to Chauvin.

Frazier told the court she had been walking to a corner store with her younger cousin on May 25, 2020, when she encountered police pinning Floyd to the ground.

“It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain,” she said.

WATCH | Teen who shot video of Floyd says she wishes she could have saved him

Darnella Frazier, the teenagers who shot the viral video of George Floyd, says she stays up at night apologizing for not doing more to help him. 1:07

She said she sent her cousin into the store because she didn’t want her to see “a man terrified, scared, begging for his life.”

Frazier said she took out her phone and began recording. She later posted the video on social media, where it went viral around the globe.

As Frazier recorded, she said she heard Floyd say that he “can’t breathe,” for the officer to “please get off of me,” and that he cried for his mom.

“He was in pain. It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering. This was a cry for help,” she said. 

As the crowd of bystanders became more hostile toward police, Frazier said that Chauvin applied more pressure with his knee to Floyd. 

She said Chauvin’s response to the crowd was a “cold look, heartless.

“He didn’t care. It seemed as if he didn’t care what we were saying.”


Witness Donald Williams says he called 911 after watching Chauvin shove his knee into Floyd’s neck because he believed he had witnessed a murder. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

‘I believe I witnessed a murder’

Court also heard from Donald Williams, another bystander and witness who continued his testimony from the first day of the trial.

Court heard a 911 recording of Williams, who testified he made the call because at the time, “I believe I witnessed a murder.”

“I felt the need to call the police on the police,” he said.

Williams can be heard on the call with a dispatcher, saying that Chauvin “just pretty much killed this guy who wasn’t resisting arrest.”


Defence attorney Eric Nelson, left, and Chauvin are seen in court on the second day of the murder trial into Floyd’s death. (Court TV/The Associated Press)

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‘My instincts were telling me something is wrong,’ Police dispatcher testifies at Chauvin murder trial

For nine minutes and 29 seconds, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, crushed his knee into the neck and back of George Floyd, an application of unreasonable force that led to the death of the 46-year-old Black man in May last year.

Or, the 19-year veteran police officer did exactly as he had been trained to do, and Floyd’s death was the result of a combination of underlying medical conditions and toxic drugs in his system. 

These were the competing narratives laid out by the prosecution and defence, respectively, in their opening statements at the Chauvin’s murder trial in Hennepin County District Court in Minneapolis Monday. 

Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, sparked a series of protests around the world against police brutality and racial injustice. 

Chauvin, 45, faces two murder charges: second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder. Chauvin is also charged with the lesser offence of second-degree manslaughter.

WATCH | Prosecution lays out case against Derek Chauvin:

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell outlined the state of Minnesota’s case against the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. 0:59

Prosecution focuses on use of force

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell wasted little time showing jurors the graphic bystander video footage of Chauvin, with his knee pressed into Floyd’s neck and back while Floyd shouted that he was in pain and could not breathe, until he eventually went motionless.

“He put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him, until the very breath — no, ladies and gentlemen — until the very life, was squeezed out of him,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell went through the nine minutes and 29 seconds that he said Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the ground, pointing out the former officer’s actions.

Chauvin “didn’t let up,” he told the court. “He didn’t get up,” even after Floyd, who was handcuffed on the ground, said 27 times that he couldn’t breathe, Blackwell said.

Indeed, for half of that time, while Floyd was either breathless or unconscious, Chauvin continued to apply pressure to Floyd, the prosecutor said.

Nor did Chauvin release Floyd, Blackwell said, when a paramedic arrived on the scene and checked Floyd’s pulse.

It was only when paramedics wanted to “move the lifeless body of George Floyd onto the gurney” that Chauvin released his hold on Floyd, Blackwell said. Floyd was pronounced dead in hospital later that night.

‘Check his pulse’

Blackwell said witnesses will also include bystanders who “called the police on police.” The prosecutor drew the jury’s attention to part of the video showing angry bystanders yelling at the officers.

One of those people was Donald Williams. He was one of three witnesses to testify Monday at the trial. Williams can be heard on the video yelling, “Check his pulse, check his pulse” to another officer at the scene.

Williams told the court he was trained in mixed martial arts, including choke holds and testified that Chauvin appeared to increase the pressure on Floyd’s neck several times with a shimmying motion.

Williams recalled that Floyd’s voice grew thicker as his breathing became more laboured, and he eventually stopped moving. He said he saw Floyd’s eyes roll back in his head, likening the sight to fish he had caught earlier that day.

Williams said he saw Floyd “slowly fade away … like the fish in the bag.”

Dispatcher called sergeant about arrest 

The trial also heard from Minneapolis police dispatcher Jena Scurry, who testified that she saw part of Floyd’s arrest unfolding via a city surveillance camera and was so disturbed that she called a duty sergeant.

Scurry said she grew concerned because the officers hadn’t moved after several minutes.

“You can call me a snitch if you want to,” Scurry said in her call to the sergeant, which was played in court.

She told the court Monday that she wouldn’t normally call the sergeant about the use of force because it was beyond the scope of her duties, but “my instincts were telling me that something is wrong.”

In his opening statement, Blackwell said that among the other witnesses scheduled, court will hear from one bystander and a fire department employee trained in first aid who wanted to check Floyd’s pulse but was warned off by Chauvin, who reached for his mace and pointed it in her direction.

In the coming days of the trial, Blackwell said the jury will also hear from use of force experts, including one who will testify Chauvin’s use of force was “capable of killing a human or putting his or her life in danger.”

WATCH | Chauvin’s lawyer gives overview of defence:

Attorney Eric Nelson presented his defence of the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. 1:00

Defence cites Floyd’s strength, health conditions 

But Eric J. Nelson, Chauvin’s lead defence counsel, told the jury that the “evidence is far greater than nine minutes and 29 seconds.”

Floyd was resisting arrest, and Chauvin arrived to assist other officers who were struggling to get Floyd into a squad car, Nelson said.

Three officers couldn’t overcome the strength of Floyd, he said.

“You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career,” Nelson said.

“The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing.”

Nelson said it was Floyd’s underlying health conditions, including a “compromised heart,” in combination with the fentanyl and methamphetamine he had ingested and the adrenaline flowing through his body that caused his death. 

Floyd’s friends, family gather outside court

Before opening statements began, Floyd’s friends and family gathered outside the courthouse entrance, kneeling for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time that it had initially been reported Chauvin had forced his knee into Floyd.

“If we can’t get justice for a Black man here in America, we will get justice everywhere else in America,” said Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother. “This is the starting point. This is not a finishing point.”

WATCH | George Floyd’s brother demands justice:

Philonise Floyd says his family will get justice as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin goes on trial in the death of his brother, George Floyd 1:29

Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said for all those people who continue to say that the murder trial is a difficult one, “we refute that.”

“We know that if George Floyd was a white American citizen, and he suffered this painful, tortuous death with a police officer’s knee on his neck, nobody, nobody, would be saying this is a hard case,” Crump said.

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10 people, including police officer, killed in Colorado supermarket shooting

Ten people, including one police officer, were killed in a shooting at a Colorado supermarket Monday afternoon and a suspect was in custody, authorities said.

“A painstaking investigation is already underway both at the crime scene and in interviews to make sure we receive all the accurate information,” said Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty.  Police say the investigation is likely to take at least five days. 

The police officer killed was the first officer on the scene Monday afternoon, according to Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold, who spoke to reporters late in the evening. Eric Talley, 51, had been with the department since 2010. 

The suspect was getting medical treatment and there was no further threat to the public, authorities said. Officers had escorted a shirtless man with blood running down his leg out of the store in handcuffs but authorities would not say if he was the suspect.

Earlier in the day, Boulder police Cmdr. Kerry Yamaguchi said police did not have any details on motive.


People are led out of the King Soopers grocery store after the shooting, Monday, March 22, 2021, in Boulder, Colo. (Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio via The Associated Press)

‘You need to surrender’

A man who had just left the store in Boulder, Dean Schiller, told The Associated Press that he heard gunshots and saw three people lying face down, two in the parking lot and one near the doorway. He said he “couldn’t tell if they were breathing.”

Law enforcement vehicles and officers massed outside the store, including SWAT teams, and at least three helicopters landed on the roof in the city that’s home to the University of Colorado and is about 40 kilometres northwest of Denver.

Some windows at the front of the store were broken. At one point, authorities over a loudspeaker said the building was surrounded and that “you need to surrender.” They said to come out with hands up and unarmed.

Sarah Moonshadow told the Denver Post that two shots rang out just after she and her son, Nicolas Edwards, finished buying strawberries. She said she told her son to get down and then “we just ran.”

Once they got outside, she said they saw a body in the parking lot. Edwards said police were speeding into the lot and pulled up next to the body.

“I knew we couldn’t do anything for the guy,” he said. “We had to go.”

James Bentz told the Post that he was in the meat section when he heard what he thought was a misfire, then a series of pops.

“I was then at the front of a stampede,” he said.

Bentz said he jumped off a loading dock out back to escape and that younger people were helping older people off of it.


Law enforcement officers sweep the parking lot at the site of a shooting at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colo., on Monday. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

Biden briefed on shooting

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis tweeted a statement that his “heart is breaking as we watch this unspeakable event unfold in our Boulder community.” He called it “very much an active situation” and said the state was “making every public safety resource available to assist the Boulder County Sheriff’s Department as they work to secure the store.”

Boulder police had told people to shelter in place amid a report of an “armed, dangerous individual” about five kilometres away from the grocery store but later lifted it and police vehicles were seen leaving the residential area near downtown and the University of Colorado. They had said they were investigating if that report was related to the shooting at the supermarket but said at the evening news conference that it wasn’t related.

The FBI said it’s helping in the investigation at the request of Boulder police.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the shooting.


Law enforcement officers rush to a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder. (Kevin Mohatt/Reuters)

In a statement, the King Soopers chain offered “thoughts, prayers and support to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation. We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and our store will remain closed during the police investigation.”

Kevin Daly, owner of Under the Sun Eatery and Pizzeria Restaurant a block or so from the supermarket, said he was in his shop when he saw police cars arriving and shoppers running from the grocery store. He said he took in several people to keep them warm, and others boarded a bus provided by Boulder police and were taken away.


Police on the scene outside the grocery store where the shooting took place. (David Zalubowski/The Associated Press)

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Swipe right to consent? Australian police commissioner’s proposed sexual-consent app met with criticism

A senior Australian police official who suggested an app could be used to document sexual consent in an effort to improve conviction rates in sex crime cases was met with a largely negative response Thursday.  

New South Wales state Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said that the same dating apps that have brought couples together could also provide clarity on the question of consent.

“Technology doesn’t fix everything, but … it plays such a big role in people meeting at the moment. I’m just suggesting: Is it part of the solution?” Fuller asked.

The commissioner said the number of sexual assaults reported in Australia’s most populous state was increasing while a prosecution success rate of only two per cent stemming from those reports showed the system was failing.

“Consent can’t be implied,” Fuller wrote in News Corp. newspapers. “Consent must be active and ongoing throughout a sexual encounter.”


New South Wales state Police Commissioner Mick Fuller addresses the media during a press conference in Sydney on Thursday. Fuller suggested a phone app be developed to document sexual consent in a bid to improve conviction rates in sex crime cases. (Dean Lewins/AAP Image/The Associated Press)

Skeptical response

Responses to the suggestion of a consent app have been largely negative or skeptical, with many saying technology was not the answer.

“It’s good (the NSW police are) acknowledging the need for affirmative consent, but this isn’t a safe way forward,” said Hayley Foster, the chief executive at Women’s Safety NSW, the state’s domestic violence service.

“The abuser can simply coerce the victim to use the app,” she tweeted in response to Fuller’s comments.

“I’m mystified by the ongoing belief that technology must be a good solution in situations where we are dealing with power, nuance and complex human behaviour,” said Annabelle Daniel, head of Women’s Community Shelters, a charity.

Catharine Lumby, a Sydney University specialist in ethics and accountability, described the app as a quick-fix that misunderstood the circumstances of sexual assaults.

“Fundamentally, what we are now having a reckoning with is the fact that there is a very small minority of men in this society who are opportunists, who make the decision to sexually assault women,” Lumby said.

“They don’t care where, how or why they do it. They will take the opportunity and I’m sure they are more than capable of manipulating technology,” Lumby said.

Lesley-Anne Ey, a University of South Australia expert on harmful sexual behaviour involving children, said she didn’t think the app would work.

“I don’t think they’re going to interrupt the romance to put details into an app,” Ey told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Meanwhile, State Premier Gladys Berejiklian congratulated Fuller on “taking a leadership position on having the conversation” about the sexual assault problem, but declined to share her opinion on the app.


A woman holds up a placard during a protest against sexual violence and gender inequality in Melbourne on Monday. (William West/AFP/Getty Images)

Top Australian officials accused of rape 

More than 100,000 women protested in rallies across Australia on Monday demanding justice while calling out misogyny and dangerous workplace cultures.

The public anger erupted after the Australian attorney general denied an allegation that he raped a 16-year-old girl 33 years ago. As well, a former government staffer alleged that she was raped two years ago by a colleague in a minister’s Parliament House office.

Fuller said his app suggestion could gain popularity in time.

“To be honest with you, the app idea could be the worst idea I have in 2021, but the reality is in five years, perhaps it won’t be,” he said. “If you think about dating 10 years ago, this concept of single people swiping left and right was a term that we didn’t even know.”

A consent app similar to Fuller’s proposal was launched in Denmark last month. But the app hasn’t been widely adopted, with fewer than 5,000 downloads, according to mobile intelligence site Sensor Tower.

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London police commissioner rejects calls to resign following clashes at Sarah Everard vigil

London’s police commissioner on Sunday defended her officers’ actions and said she didn’t intend to resign, after coming under heavy criticism for the way police treated some protesters during a vigil for a woman whom one of the force’s own officers is accused of murdering.

Hundreds defied coronavirus restrictions to gather and protest violence against women, but the event ended with clashes between police and those attending and many questioned whether the police force was too heavy-handed.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said scenes from Saturday’s vigil in south London were “upsetting” and she is seeking a full report on what happened from the Metropolitan Police.

The capital’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said the police response was “at times neither appropriate nor proportionate.”

Police were seen scuffling with some women at the event, and one woman was seen pinned to the ground by two officers. Video widely shared on social media showed a woman was pulled up from the ground by officers who then shoved her from the back. Several women were led away in handcuffs as other attendees chanted “Shame on you” at police. The force later said four people were arrested for violating public order and coronavirus regulations.

PHOTOS | Hundreds in the U.K. defy vigil ban to honour Sarah Everard:

On Sunday, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, who is the first woman to head the force, said she was personally appalled by the attack on Everard and she was more determined than ever to lead the organization. She said she fully understood the strength of feeling in response to Everard’s case, but stressed that Saturday’s vigil was an unlawful gathering and officers had been put in a “very difficult position” trying to police a protest during a pandemic.

She said that as big crowds gathered, officers needed to act to counter the considerable risk to people’s health. She added that she welcomed a review into her force’s operations.

Many of those attending the vigil were already wary of police because a serving Metropolitan Police officer, Wayne Couzens, was charged with the kidnap and murder of Sarah Everard, a 33-year-old woman who vanished March 3 while walking home in London. Her body was found a week later.

The case has sparked a national outcry and a heated debate on women’s safety. Organizers had planned an official vigil at Clapham Common, a park near where Everard was last seen alive, but were forced to cancel the event because of COVID-19 restrictions. A huge crowd turned up Saturday nonetheless.

Khan, London’s mayor, said Sunday the police force had assured him the vigil would be “policed sensitively” but that this wasn’t the case. He added he is asking for a full and independent investigation into the force’s operation on Saturday as well as the actions of individual officers at the vigil.


Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, left, and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick are seen in London in June 2017. (Isabel Infantes/AFP via Getty Images)

Jamie Klingler, who organized the cancelled “Reclaim These Streets” event, blamed police for denying women their right to have a silent vigil in the first place. The force got the angry reaction Saturday because they refused to facilitate a peaceful rally, she alleged.

“I think we were shocked and really, really sad and to see videos of policemen handling women at a vigil about violence against women by men … I think it was painful and pretty triggering to see,” Klingler said Sunday.

Patsy Stevenson, who was pictured pinned to the ground by two officers during Saturday’s clashes, said she was considering whether to challenge the 200-pound ($ 347 Cdn) fine she received.


Police detain a woman who was later identified in media reports and on social media as university student Patsy Stevenson. She said officers pinned her to the ground while arresting her at the memorial site on Saturday night. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

“We were there to remember Sarah, we all felt deeply saddened and still do that it happened, so I brought a candle with me but unfortunately wasn’t even able to light it to put it down because the police turned up and barged their way through,” she told LBC radio.

Couzens, 48, appeared in court Saturday for the first time. He was remanded in custody and has another appearance scheduled Tuesday at London’s Central Criminal Court.

The Metropolitan Police has said it is “deeply disturbing” that one of its own is a suspect in the case. The force said Couzens joined its ranks in 2018 and most recently served in the parliamentary and diplomatic protection command, an armed unit responsible for guarding embassies in the capital and Parliament.

Everard was last seen walking home from a friend’s apartment in south London at about 10:30 p.m. on March 3. Her body was found hidden in an area of woodland in Kent, more than 50 miles southeast of London, on Wednesday. 

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U.K. police officer charged with murder, kidnapping in Sarah Everard’s death

British police have charged an officer with the kidnap and murder of 33-year-old Sarah Everard, whose disappearance in London last week has sparked anger and fears among women about their safety.

Constable Wayne Couzens, 48, who guarded diplomatic buildings, will appear in court on Saturday. Everard disappeared while walking home from a friend’s house in south London on March 3.

The Metropolitan police had confirmed that a body found in a wood outside London was that of the missing woman.

Her case has led to an outpouring of personal accounts by women of their own experiences and fears of walking streets alone at night, and a campaign for action to address this.

“The investigation continues of course,” Assistant Commissioner Nick Ephgrave told reporters. “I would like to use this opportunity to encourage anyone that thinks they might have useful information to give, to get in contact with us.”


Police officers search a grassy area behind a house in Deal, U.K., on Friday. (Paul Childs/Reuters)

He had said earlier in the day that he understood the hurt and anger sparked by the case.

“Those are sentiments that I share personally,” Ephgrave said. “I also recognize the wider concerns that are being raised quite rightly about the safety of women in public spaces in London and also elsewhere in the country.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she would do all she could to protect women and girls following the outcry that has followed Everard’s disappearance.

“Every woman & girl should be free to walk our streets without the slightest fear of harassment, abuse or violence,” she said on Twitter.

However, police have been criticized by organizers of a planned “Reclaim These Streets” vigil on Saturday near to where Everard was last seen, after officers said it could not take place due to COVID-19 restrictions.

A woman in her 30s, who media said was the partner of Couzens, was released on police bail after having been detained on suspicion of assisting an offender.

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