Welcome back to our live coverage of the Derek Chauvin trial. Closing arguments in the murder case against the former Minneapolis police officer are scheduled to begin at 9am local time in Minneapolis.
Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police department officer, faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the 25 May 2020 death of George Floyd. During an arrest, Chauvin pressed his knee against the neck of Floyd, who was Black, for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
Floyd was pushed against the pavement, restrained and subdued while Chauvin kept his knee in place. Floyd died. He was 46. His death stoked protests for racial justice around the world.
Chauvin’s trial began in earnest on 29 March with opening statements and featured 14 days of witness testimony. The jury will start to deliberate once closings conclude and will be sequestered until it reaches a verdict.
The prosecution and Chauvin’s attorney have focused on two main themes: use-of-force and cause of death.
Prosecutors contend that Chauvin’s use of force was excessive, veering from department policy and national policing standards. They also maintain Floyd died from a lack of oxygen that resulted from police restraint.
Eric Nelson, who represents Chauvin, has posited that Floyd died from an acute cardiac event that stemmed from underlying heart conditions, methamphetamine and fentanyl use and/or a combination of these factors. Nelson has also claimed proper use of force is situational and that actions which look bad might be lawful and justified. The attorney has also said that a crowd near the arrest scene posed a risk to officers.
As Minneapolis awaits a verdict, this city and others across the US are bracing for possible protests. Demonstrations against police killings took place across the US this weekend, tensions heightened further by two recent killings.
Daunte Wright, 20, was fatally shot in a Minneapolis suburb by a white police officer during an 11 April traffic stop. The recent release of body camera footage showing the killing in Chicago of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, who had his hands up, has also spurred extensive protests.
We will bring you breaking news as it happens, as well as analysis and reports from our reporters on the ground.