Police Shooting Protests Live Updates

Key Updates:

A woman stands in front of the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Thursday,
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Daunte Wright’s death brought hundreds of people to protest outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department in Minnesota on Thursday night, but fresh on many people’s minds was another police killing nearly 400 miles away.

A Chicago police officer’s killing of Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old who had dropped a gun and raised his empty hands as he was shot last month, fueled the frustration of many in the crowd, who said that the release of body camera footage had made them even more resolute in their activism.

“The 13-year-old, the 20-year-old, that’s a life — that’s a human life,” said Mercedes Thomas, who works with a Minneapolis organization that helps mothers with basic needs. Mr. Wright was 20 when a Brooklyn Center police officer fatally shot him on Sunday after officials said she mistakenly reached for her handgun instead of her Taser.

“We’re not standing for it,” said Ms. Thomas. “We’re exercising that right to protest. Anything peaceful, we’re here for it.”

Even as they felt more motivated to show up after the video of the Chicago shooting was released, some protesters in Minnesota also said the continuing police killings made them feel hopeless at times.

“I feel like stuck,” said Alycia Harris of Minneapolis, who attended the protest with two friends. “We can only do so much before it becomes something that the government has to deal with.”

 Activist gather at Millennium Park in down town Chicago to demonstrate the police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo. 
Credit…Carlos Javier Ortiz for The New York Times

Chicago was tense but peaceful on Thursday evening as a small group of mourners gathered in the alley where Adam Toledo was shot on the city’s West Side, lighting candles and placing flowers at a small roadside memorial.

“It really hurts seeing this,” said Sergio Montano, 20, who said he was a friend of Adam’s. “I guess you can say it’s PTSD and I try not to think about it. I won’t ever come back to this spot.”

On Thursday, Chicago officials released footage from body-worn cameras showing the shooting by the police last month.

In the early-morning hours of March 29, two officers were responding to reports of gunfire when they saw two people in an alley and started to chase them. Prosecutors said that Adam, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Gary Elementary School, was holding a gun when he ran down the alley as an officer commanded him to stop and drop the weapon. In an analysis of the video footage by The New York Times, Adam is raising his arms and appears to be empty-handed as an officer fires the single shot.

At the vigil on Thursday evening, local television news cameras were set up nearby, but there was no visible police presence. A couple passing motorists honked in support. Down the street, a woman was having a garage sale.

Downtown, often the center of protest activity, police cars with blue lights activated were parked along North Michigan Avenue just before 7 p.m., and windows were boarded up at an AT&T store. Large city trucks were parked near Chicago River bridges, which were lifted during unrest last summer but were filled with cars on Thursday.

A large office building was boarding up its street-level windows. So was a Verizon store and a nearby bar. “Chicago businesses are boarding up and the city is deploying garbage and water trucks to use as a blockade on wheels,” Gregory Pratt, a reporter with The Chicago Tribune, wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

But most of the city’s shopping district looked almost normal: Pedestrians carrying shopping bags. Uncovered glass windows. Slow-moving traffic. Still, Chicagoans were grieving, and many spoke angrily about what the body camera footage showed.

“He was told to stop. He stopped. He was told to raise his hands. He raised his hands,” Alderman Andre Vasquez said in a statement. “Adam Toledo, a scared kid, complied with those instructions, and he was still shot by police even though his hands were in the air.”

Azi Paybarah contributed reporting.

Protesters hung air fresheners from the fence in front of the police station in Brooklyn Center, Minn.
Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Dangling from a fence outside the Brooklyn Center, Minn., police station is an unlikely symbol of protest and grief: dozens of colorful air fresheners, the type generally hung by motorists from their rearview mirrors.

The symbolism is unmistakable: Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old Black man fatally shot by a white police officer this week, had told his mother that air fresheners were the reason he had been stopped in the first place.

“He said they pulled him over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror,” Katie Wright, who spoke to her son by phone shortly before he was killed, told reporters this week. The police have said they stopped Mr. Wright because of an expired vehicle registration.

The grim memorial has grown over several days.

Officials in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, anticipating a fifth night of protests on Thursday, erected jersey barriers and additional fencing in strategic locations, making it impossible for protesters to reach the sidewalk next to the police station that has been the site of demonstrations all week.

In Chicago, demonstrators on Thursday carried a Spanish-language banner demanding that the Police Department “stop killing our sons” after video footage of Adam Toledo’s death was released.
Credit…Tyler Lariviere/Chicago Sun-Times, via Associated Press

American cities, already on edge waiting for a verdict in the murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin, prepared for renewed protests on Thursday after Chicago officials released video of a 13-year-old boy who was fatally shot by the police.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago called for “calm and, importantly, peace” on Thursday as she described what she called an “excruciating” video of Adam Toledo, 13, being shot by a police officer last month. In Minneapolis, National Guard soldiers roamed downtown as Mr. Chauvin’s defense rested its case on Thursday. And in nearby Brooklyn Center, the police braced for a fifth night of protests following the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, by a white police officer.

In Chicago, community leaders called for protests on Thursday night in Millennium Park and in Little Village, the predominantly Latino neighborhood where Adam Toledo was shot on March 29.

Last summer, George Floyd’s arrest, recorded by bystanders, and punctuated by his yelling for his mother as officers knelt on him for more than nine minutes, became a clarion call for action across the country, stirring the nation’s biggest protests since the civil rights era. They led to curfews throughout the United States, including in Los Angeles and New York, as well as sporadic violence and rioting in a nation already struggling with the coronavirus pandemic.

Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois urged protesters to remain peaceful and Chicago to deliver justice for the family of Adam Toledo, who was Latino and killed by a white officer. He said Adam was part of a line of lives “lost to brutal acts of racial injustice” that included Laquan McDonald, Breonna Taylor, Mr. Floyd and Sandra Bland.

“In the midst of the trial of Derek Chauvin and the fatal shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, Chicago has come to face the shocking fatal shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo,” he said, adding, “The evidence shows that we are dealing with a system of justice that isn’t being applied equally — and we need to change that.”

Judge Peter A. Cahill said the length of deliberations is in the hands of the jurors, who must come to unanimous decisions.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Before Judge Peter A. Cahill sent jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial home on Thursday, he gave them short and vague instructions on what they might need to pack for deliberations next week.

“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” he said. “Basically, it’s up to the jury how long you deliberate, how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count. And so because that’s entirely up to you — whether it’s an hour or a week — it’s entirely within your province.”

After jurors hear closing arguments from both sides and receive further instructions from the judge on Monday, they will seclude themselves for deliberations, where they are tasked with coming to a unanimous verdict based on the evidence and arguments presented in court.

The jury will remain sequestered in a hotel, ideally secluded from outside influences, until reaching a verdict. If the jury is hung, or cannot reach a decision on one or more charges, the judge may declare a mistrial.

During deliberation, the jury will have access to the evidence and exhibits that were presented in court. On Thursday, Judge Cahill said that jurors would be given laptop computers to view the video that had been presented.

So how long could the deliberations take? It could be minutes, hours, days or weeks.

Eric Anderson, senior trial counsel at Early Sullivan Wright Gizer & McRae in California and a former prosecutor, said that jury deliberation lengths vary widely.

“There’s no way of telling how long this will take, particularly when I think that the jurors will try to do the right thing, whatever they think that is,” he said. “And to get to the right thing, they’re going to want to look very closely at the evidence. They’re going to want to look closely at every possible angle.”

It took a jury in Chicago less than eight hours in 2018 to convict Jason Van Dyke, a former Chicago police officer, of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the death of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was carrying a knife but heading away from the police.

In the case of Mohamed Noor, the former Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk in 2017, jurors took 11 hours to reach a verdict, MPR News reported. They found him guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter but not second-degree murder.

After this afternoon’s brief on-the-record session about the jury instructions, Judge Peter Cahill has recessed the court for a long weekend. He promised the lawyers he would get them a draft of the instructions by tomorrow morning, so they can consult them as they craft their closing arguments, which will take place on Monday. The case will then go to the jury.

On Monday, the judge will read the jury instructions being discussed now aloud to the jury. Each side’s proposed version is 13 pages long. These arguments — about things like exactly how to define assault — sound really technical, but of course each side is arguing for the instructions that would best support its own case.

Speaking for the prosecution by phone is Sundeep Iyer, a lawyer in private practice who has been working behind the scenes on motions for the prosecution. Iyer was a clerk for two Supreme Court justices, Stephen Breyer and David Souter, as well as a third, Brett Kavanaugh, before he joined the top court.

The jury instructions, being discussed now outside the hearing of the jurors, are really important because they help the jurors navigate key issues during deliberations, such as how to weigh cause of death when there might be multiple factors, and how to evaluate the actions of police officers. (They are told to put themselves in the moment and not to use the benefit of hindsight.)

For example, on the second-degree murder charge that Derek Chauvin faces, the jury will be told that Chauvin is liable if his actions were a “substantial causal factor” of George Floyd’s death, but not if a there is a “superseding cause,” defined as something that comes after the defendant’s acts, alters the natural sequence of events, and produces a result that would not otherwise have occurred. Minnesota has guidelines for instructions, but each side can argue for changes. When the lawyers say “CRIMJIG,” they’re talking about the guidelines.

The court just sent out an email to reporters to say they will be back in session and on the record at 3 p.m. local time. Earlier today, the judge said court would be in recess until Monday.

After court recessed this morning, the lawyers went into the judge’s chambers to discuss the instructions that Judge Peter A. Cahill will give to the jury next week after closing arguments, before deliberations begin. We expect the court now to put at least part of that discussion on the record.

Philonise Floyd, center, the brother of George Floyd, passes through security upon arrival at the Hennepin County Government Center earlier this month.
Credit…Jim Mone/Associated Press

With a verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin set to come as early as next week, the city of Minneapolis is already preparing for protests and civil unrest. The plan, which includes nine state and local agencies, called Operation Safety Net, is one of the biggest in the state’s history, likely only trailing the response to the 2007 collapse of the Interstate 35 bridge and the protests after George Floyd died in May.

While National Guard troops are already patrolling downtown Minneapolis, where the trial is going on, more are on call. And security has been ramped up, with additional barriers placed near the courthouse and streets surrounding police precincts being closed.

The mission of Operation Safety Net “is to preserve and protect lawful First Amendment non-violent protests and demonstrations,’’ Scott Wasserman, a public information officer for the group, said in an interview. “They will work to prevent large-scale violent civil disturbances, assaultive actions, property damage, fires, and looting to government buildings, businesses, and critical infrastructure.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • National Guard: More than 3,000 members of the Minnesota guard have been called up and are already working in the Twin Cities and metropolitan area. There are more on standby if needed.

  • Street closures: Streets around some police precincts, which were targeted last year, have been shut. If necessary, there will be more closings.

  • Curfews: While much of the metropolitan area was under curfews during the worst of the protests last year, there are no plans yet for a curfew after the verdict. The decision to set one will likely fall to the city of Minneapolis.

  • Local law enforcement: More than 1,100 officers from agencies including the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office, Minneapolis Police Department and other local agencies are part of the mission. About 450 of them are from the Minnesota State Patrol. More are on standby if needed.

  • Briefings: Officials, including the Gov. Tim Walz and others will lead briefings as necessary.

Black Lives Matter initials, written in chalk on the plaza outside the Hennepin County Government Center, on Thursday.
Credit…Jim Mone/Associated Press

The presentation of evidence in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, concluded on Thursday without testimony from Mr. Chauvin himself.

Lawyers will give their concluding arguments on Monday, and then the jury will begin its own deliberations. Whether Mr. Chauvin would testify was a major question in this trial, one of the most-viewed in decades. Though the death of Mr. Floyd sparked a national reckoning around the intersection of race and policing — and ignited a wave of protests that rocked big cities and small towns across America — the public has heard very little from the former officer.

Throughout the trial, Mr. Chauvin displayed little, if any, emotion. (With a face mask, it can be more difficult to see a person’s expressions.) He listened and took notes as people who watched the arrest in person broke down in tears on the stand, and as numerous expert witnesses from the prosecution placed the blame of Mr. Floyd’s death squarely on his shoulders.

Mr. Chauvin’s defense team called two expert witnesses to the stand this week, along with a handful of other witnesses, most of whom spoke only briefly. A use-of-force expert testified that he acted within the bounds of normal policing when he knelt on Mr. Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds, and a medical expert said the restraint was not a contributing factor in Mr. Floyd’s death.

Both witnesses faced dogged cross-examination from prosecuting attorneys. And on Thursday, prosecutors called back to the stand Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist, who refuted a notion pushed by the defense’s medical expert that carbon monoxide from vehicle exhaust contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. Here are the takeaways from Mr. Chauvin’s defense.

  • Mr. Chauvin told the judge on Thursday that he would not testify, invoking his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination. He faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges for the death of Mr. Floyd. Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s attorney, said they had several discussions about whether he should testify, including one lengthy meeting on Wednesday. Judge Peter A. Cahill told Mr. Chauvin that the jurors would be instructed to not hold his decision to avoid testifying against him.

  • Prosecutors called Dr. Tobin, the pulmonologist, back to the stand on Thursday to rebut the notion that vehicle exhaust contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. One of the two expert witnesses from the defense, Dr. David Fowler, a former chief medical examiner of Maryland, testified on Wednesday that carbon monoxide from the exhaust of the police cruiser that Mr. Floyd was pinned next to might have been a contributing factor. He placed more emphasis on drug use and pre-existing heart conditions, saying there were likely many factors at play. Ultimately, he said Mr. Floyd’s manner of death was “undetermined.”

    Dr. Tobin said the carbon monoxide argument was “simply wrong.” He said tests performed by Hennepin County showed that Mr. Floyd had a normal level of oxygen saturation in his blood, and that his level of carboxyhemoglobin — something formed in the blood during by carbon monoxide poisoning — could not have been more than 2 percent; Dr. Fowler said it might have been as high as 10 to 18 percent, though he acknowledged he had not seen any tests to confirm his assumption.

  • One of Dr. Fowler’s primary assertions was that the prone position where Mr. Floyd was kept for nine and a half minutes was safe. He cited several studies to support this notion, and said there was no hard evidence that putting someone in a prone position with their hands cuffed behind their backs for an extended period of time could be dangerous. Some prosecution witnesses criticized the studies that Dr. Fowler cited, saying they do not reflect real-world policing. They also said that it is well-known among police officers that suspects should not be kept in the prone position for too long because it can make it harder to breathe, particularly when the suspect is being pinned down under the weight of an officer. In a win for the prosecution, Dr. Fowler said Mr. Floyd should have been given medical aid.

  • The other primary witness from the defense was Barry Brodd, an expert on the use of force whose testimony contradicted that of several witnesses called by the prosecution, including the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department. Mr. Brodd testified that the officers who arrested Mr. Floyd had acted appropriately every step of the way, and even said that the restraint used by Mr. Chauvin did not constitute a “use of force” at all.

    During cross-examination, though, he conceded that the restraint did qualify as a use of force under the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department. He also said that the prone position does not typically hurt suspects and that it was an accepted way to control someone during an arrest. But he faced tough cross-examination on this point, when a prosecutor played body camera footage from the arrest which captured Mr. Floyd saying, “Everything hurts,” and crying out in pain. Mr. Brodd said that he had heard these exclamations during his review of the tapes, but that he didn’t “note it.”

  • While the two expert witnesses gave testimony that supported Mr. Chauvin, it is unclear what impact they will have on jurors. Cross-examination from prosecutors was effective in that it drew some concessions from both witnesses on the stand. And the defense was less thorough than the prosecution. The prosecution called several medical specialists to the stand, including a cardiologist and a pulmonologist, and allowed its experts to walk through the arrest moment by moment, identifying key points and breaking down the video tapes in meticulous detail. The defense witnesses spoke more broadly, and appeared less knowledgeable about the particulars of the arrest.

Memorials to George Floyd near where he was arrested. Some activists in Minneapolis said watching the murder trial of Derek Chauvin was “exhausting.”
Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

By the time George Floyd died in May, Leslie Redmond was a veteran of protests in Minneapolis. In 2015, she was one of the people who occupied a police precinct for 18 days. In 2020, she was the leader of the local chapter of the N.A.A.C.P., organizing marches and meeting with community leaders.

But even though she is accustomed to standing up for what she believes in, Ms. Redmond said it was difficult to watch the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who is charged with murdering Mr. Floyd.

“Here we are in 2021, waiting to see if we get justice,” she said, referring to other cases in Minneapolis in which police officers have been acquitted in the death of Black men. “I was exhausted last May. You can only imagine how exhausted I am now. It is unbearable. I constantly get emotional.”

Ms. Redmond, 29, said she was focused on using her new organization, Don’t Complain, Activate, to help heal a community that has been repeatedly traumatized, especially these past few weeks while having to rewatch Mr. Floyd’s death over and over during the trial.

Less-experienced activists, many spurred to act for the first time after Mr. Floyd’s death, are feeling the same exhaustion as Ms. Redmond. In nearby Minnetonka, Minn., Ahlaam Abdulwali, 17, says she has seen little change in her mostly white school district after presenting officials with a 10-page document describing racist experiences in September.

“The murder of George Floyd showed me I can’t depend on others for change,” said Ms. Abdulwali, who is Somali-American and Muslim. “At this point, almost a year later, trying to pressure the school district, and nothing has changed. It’s a disappointment.”

For Rafael Forbush, who founded the Multiracial Jewish Association of Minnesota after Mr. Floyd’s death, the last year has been challenging. At first, larger Jewish organizations rarely responded to calls to discuss the issues of racism and anti-Semitism that Jews of color face, Mr. Forbush, 35, said. Now, almost a year later, they are more receptive. But the feeling of despair sometimes sets in, he says.

This past week has shown us how tiring, how exhausting this work is, even if we feel we have made progress,” said Mr. Forbush, who identifies himself as half Black. “It makes it so much more difficult, and feels like we haven’t done anything. The last year has been exhausting. Minneapolis being under the international spotlight hasn’t made it easier.”

While downtown Minneapolis, especially near the courthouse, has been heavily fortified during Mr. Chauvin’s trial, with National Guard troops patrolling the streets every night, there have been few protests there this week. Instead, protesters have descended on Brooklyn Center, a suburb where a white police officer fatally shot Daunte Wright, a Black man, on Sunday.

Ms. Redmond said she has prayer and reflection sessions planned for Saturday as part of her new foundation. And if there are calls for protests because of an acquittal, she said she will join them. But for now, she is focused on healing after a year in which Minneapolis has been under the world’s gaze.

The local CBS station in Minneapolis covering the trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin. 
Credit…Still image, via WCCO

Viewers tuning into the Minneapolis NBC affiliate expecting to see Hoda Kotb or Jenna Bush Hager on the “Today” show are instead seeing the inside of a courtroom and hearing experts discuss police use of force.

For three weeks, KARE, the affiliate, has packed its daytime schedule, usually full of morning shows and soap operas, with legal experts giving analysis of the trial of the former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin. It’s the same on the local FOX station: gavel-to-gavel coverage starting at about 8:30 a.m. every morning until the judge sends the jury home. That’s usually followed by a panel discussing takeaways from the day’s testimony. CBS and ABC affiliates are interrupting programming for key developments.

It’s less Nancy Grace of Court TV fame and more a sober examination of legal concepts, medical theories and testimony. On Thursday, Mary Moriarty, the former chief public defender in Hennepin County, explained the morning’s events, including why Mr. Chauvin had invoked his Fifth Amendment right to not testify and why the prosecution submitted new evidence about a medical report it just found.

The defense rested on Thursday, and the jury is expected to start deliberating on Monday. And while Minneapolis residents are closely watching coverage of the trial, there is one group that isn’t allowed to. Every night, Judge Peter A. Cahill thanks the 12 jurors for their service and leaves them with a thought about the TV coverage.

“Have a good night,” he says. “And don’t watch the news.”




Pulmonologist Testifies That Car Exhaust Did Not Kill George Floyd

Returning to the stand for the state on Thursday, Dr. Martin J. Tobin referenced tests done on Mr. Floyd’s blood and called the statement by Dr. David Fowler, a defense witness and forensic pathologist, that carbon monoxide could have killed him “simply wrong.”

“Mr. Floyd, when he went to Hennepin County, he had an arterial blood gas obtained, so that’s sticking a needle into the artery at the wrist, and you take out the blood. And you get all these different measurements, and you also get the oxygen saturation. And that is the, how much of the hemoglobin, the protein in the blood that carries the oxygen, how much of that hemoglobin is saturated with oxygen. And we know in Mr. Floyd that it was 98 percent saturated.” “So 98 percent saturated with oxygen.” “With oxygen, when they measured it in Hennepin County.” “Does that tell us anything whatsoever about what the carbon monoxide content could have been at a maximum?” “Yes, it does. It tells us that if the hemoglobin is saturated at 98 percent, it tells you all all there was for everything else is 2 percent. And so the maximum amount of carbon monoxide would be 2 percent. That tells you the maximum amount of carboxyhemoglobin. That was what was mentioned yesterday. The maximum amount is 2 percent, it doesn’t even tell you that it is 2 percent — it could be something else. But 2 percent of carboxyhemoglobin is within the normal range. You and I have levels of carboxyhemoglobin of somewhere between 0 and 3.” “And so, in other words, as to the statement that his carboxyhemoglobin could have increased by 10 to 18 percent, in your view, that’s not possible.” “It’s simply wrong.” “And it was, at most, 2 percent.” “At most 2 percent.” “Normal.” Very, I mean, which is normal.”

Video player loading
Returning to the stand for the state on Thursday, Dr. Martin J. Tobin referenced tests done on Mr. Floyd’s blood and called the statement by Dr. David Fowler, a defense witness and forensic pathologist, that carbon monoxide could have killed him “simply wrong.”CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a prosecution medical expert, returned to the stand on Thursday as a rebuttal witness for the state, providing the final testimony that jurors heard in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Dr. Tobin, a pulmonologist who testified last week, was brought back by prosecutors to offer a counter opinion to testimony given yesterday by Dr. David Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of Maryland. Dr. Flower said he believed that George Floyd died from a cardiac arrhythmia, which was caused by multiple factors including heart disease, drug use and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning.

During Dr. Fowler’s testimony, he acknowledged that he had not seen any testing of Mr. Floyd’s blood that showed carbon monoxide poisoning, but said he believed that Mr. Floyd’s carboxyhemoglobin, the combination of carbon monoxide and hemoglobin, could have increased by 10 to 18 percent because he was being restrained near the exhaust pipe of a police squad car.

During his rebuttal testimony, Dr. Tobin said that the idea that carbon monoxide caused Mr. Floyd’s death was “simply wrong.” Tests performed by Hennepin County after his death showed that Mr. Floyd had a 98 percent oxygen saturation, Dr. Tobin said.

That means the maximum amount of carboxyhemoglobin in his blood could not have been greater than 2 percent, he said, which is “within the normal range.”

Judge Cahill tells the jury to “plan for long and hope for short” when it comes to deliberations. They will be dismissed shortly until Monday, when they will hear closing arguments from each side. They will then start deliberation.

Before dismissal, the judge tells the jury how much to pack. After closing arguments, the jurors will be sequestered in a hotel until they reach a verdict (or fail to do so).

“The evidence is now complete for this case,” Judge Peter Cahill tells the jury as both the prosecution and the defense rest.

Arthur Reed, Philonise Floyd,  Adner Marcelin, and the Rev. Greg Drumwright walking to the Hennepin County Government Center earlier in the trial.
Credit…Octavio Jones/Reuters

A cousin of George Floyd, Arthur Reed, said he was not surprised when Derek Chauvin opted on Thursday morning not to testify, according to John Eligon, a New York Times journalist acting as the pool reporter inside the courtroom.

The prosecution “would have chopped him down second by second,” about why he knelt on Mr. Floyd for so long, Mr. Reed said. “We didn’t think they were going to put him on at all.”

Mr. Reed was in the one seat that the Floyd family has allocated to it in the courtroom each day. “We’re just ready to get this over with, make sure he gets the justice he deserves,” he said. “We think the state has put on an excellent case.”

Zinger here: In a rebuttal of defense testimony, Dr. Tobin, the prosecution medical witness, says that it’s so obvious that pressure on the neck would narrow the airway that no one even does research on it. After his brief questioning, the court takes another break.

Dr. Martin Tobin testified earlier in the trial as well.
Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press

The pulmonologist who broke down in agonizing detail George Floyd’s last moments, pinpointing his final breath, returned to the witness stand on Thursday.

Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist who specializes in the mechanics of breathing, was recalled by prosecutors to rebut defense claims that carbon monoxide from the police car could have contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death. Dr. Tobin said he found no evidence of carbon monoxide poisoning in Mr. Floyd’s blood.

The defense argued against Dr. Tobin’s return, saying the prosecution just wanted to get the pulmonologist “in front of the jury again to talk about things he’s already talked about.”

Previously, Dr. Tobin testified that he pinpointed the exact moment that Mr. Floyd died, and prosecutors slowed down the video to show jurors when Mr. Floyd’s eyes fluttered open and then closed for good.

“That’s the moment the life goes out of his body,” Dr. Tobin said.

We’re back from break, and the defense has officially rested its case.

One thing I’m thinking about as the case winds down is how little we’ve heard from, or even really about, Derek Chauvin. The prosecution could have presented previous incidents, one in which Chauvin used restraint on a suspect who was not resisting, and one in which he was said to have saved a man’s life by placing him in the side recovery position — a contrast to how he handled George Floyd. But they opted not to.

So with the exception of a few exchanges captured on video, and his pleading the Fifth and declining to testify this morning, the man whose face was strikingly impassive as he knelt on Floyd’s neck remains a silent figure.

The former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager during testimony in 2016.
Credit…Pool photo by Grace Beahm

Although Derek Chauvin has opted not to testify in his defense against charges that he murdered George Floyd, police officers have taken the stand in their own defense. The results have been mixed. Here are a few examples:

Jason Van Dyke, on trial in Chicago in 2018 for the murder of Laquan McDonald, gave testimony that some said dehumanized the victim. “His face had no expression,” Mr. Van Dyke said of Mr. McDonald. “His eyes were just bugging out of his head. He had these huge white eyes just staring right through me.”

His account contradicted the video. “The video doesn’t show my perspective,” he told the jury.

Outcome: Convicted of murder, sentenced to nearly 7 years.

Mohamed Noor, on trial in Minneapolis in 2019 for the murder of Justine Ruszczyk, who had called 911 to report hearing a potential sexual assault, described his anguish after learning that he had shot an unarmed resident. “It felt like my whole world came crashing down,” he said.

On cross-examination, he was forced to admit that he had never seen Ms. Ruszczyk’s hands. “I had to make a split-second decision,” he said.

Outcome: Convicted of murder, sentenced to 12 years.

Michael Slager, on trial in Charleston, S.C., in 2016 for the murder of Walter L. Scott as he fled from a traffic stop, told the jury that he had nightmares after the shooting. “I fired until the threat was stopped, like I’m trained to do,” he said.

Outcome: Hung jury. Mr. Slager pleaded guilty to a federal civil rights violation and was sentenced to 20 years.

Betty Jo Shelby, on trial in Tulsa, Okla., in 2017 for the shooting death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed driver, said she did what she was trained to do if she believed someone had a gun.

“I have all the indications that he has a gun,” she said. “I do not pull a Taser out, which is less lethal. I meet a gun with a gun.”

Outcome: Acquitted.

Jeronimo Yanez, on trial in St. Paul, Minn., in 2017 for the shooting death of a motorist, Philando Castile, said he feared for his life.

“I had no other choice. I was forced to engage Mr. Castile. He was not complying with my directions,” Mr. Yanez said. Mr. Yanez was on the lookout for suspects in an armed robbery, and said that Mr. Castile “gave me a deer-in-the-headlights look. It’s a trigger.”

Outcome: Acquitted.

Court is in a 15-minute recess before the prosecution calls Dr. Martin Tobin back to the stand to rebut some of yesterday’s medical tesimony for the defense.

During this recess, the state is talking to Dr. Tobin and warning him not to mention anything about the new evidence that surfaced about George Floyd and carbon monoxide poisoning. The state will be very careful in its questioning of Dr. Tobin after Judge Cahill warned of a mistrial.

Judge Cahill is upset that the medical examiner’s office did not turn over all of its test results until the 11th hour, and says the prosecution cannot bring up the newly disclosed evidence regarding carbon monoxide levels in George Floyd’s blood if they put their expert medical witness, Dr. Martin Tobin, back on the stand. “If he even hints that there are test results that the jury has not heard of, it’s going to be a mistrial,” the judge says.

Though the prosecution wants to cover every possible base, it’s not clear that this decision will be a big blow to their case, because Dr. Fowler, the defense medical expert, listed carbon monoxide poisoning as only one of several possible factors in Floyd’s death, and the state already undermined that theory on cross-examination.




Derek Chauvin Declines to Testify in Murder Trial

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his own defense on Thursday.

“You understand that you have a Fifth Amendment privilege to remain silent. Do you understand that?” “Yes.” “You understand that if you choose to exercise that right to remain silent, neither the state nor the court can comment on your silence as a sign or an indication of your guilt? Meaning they can’t say he didn’t get up and defend himself, so equate your silence with guilt. You understand that?” “Yes.” “All right. Now, you also understand that you can waive that right and testify?” Do you understand that?” “Yes, I do.” “Have you made a decision today whether you intend to testify or whether you intend to invoke your Fifth Amendment privilege?” “I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today.” “Mr. Chauvin, I’m going to address you directly because the decision whether or not to testify — I’m going to take this off — is entirely yours. In other words, it’s a personal right. Mr. Nelson makes a lot of the decisions in trial, but one he cannot make for you is whether or not you testify, and he can give you advice and you can take that advice or reject that advice. But the decision ultimately has to be yours and not his. Is this your decision not to testify?” “It is, your honor.” “All right. Do you have any questions about your right to remain silent or to testify on your own behalf?” “Not at this time, I don’t.” “Has anyone promise anything or threatened you in any way to keep you from testifying?” “No promises or threats, your honor.” “Do you feel that your decision not to testify is a voluntary one on your behalf?” “Yes, it is.”

Video player loading
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the killing of George Floyd, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify in his own defense on Thursday.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

For the first time in nearly three weeks of testimony, the former officer Derek Chauvin spoke in the courtroom. Nearing the end of the defense’s case, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, asked Mr. Chauvin whether he would like to testify in his own defense.

Mr. Nelson said he and Mr. Chauvin have had repeated conversations on the matter, including a “lengthy meeting” Wednesday night. Mr. Chauvin, who removed his mask to answer Mr. Nelson’s questions, chose to waive his right to testify.

“I will invoke my Fifth Amendment privilege today,” he said.

Judge Peter A. Cahill also described to Mr. Chauvin the instructions that he would give the jury before they begin deliberations. The judge will instruct jurors that Mr. Chauvin has a right not to testify and they cannot hold Mr. Chauvin’s decision not to testify against him.

Mr. Chauvin, 45, faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.

It appears that Dr. Andrew Baker, the local medical examiner, heard the testimony yesterday from the defense medical witness, Dr. David Fowler, suggesting that George Floyd might have suffered carbon monoxide poisoning from car exhaust, and called prosecutors to tell them he had some relevant test results. Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer, is complaining that the state had ample time to come up with this evidence previously.

The prosecution is now talking about “newly discovered evidence” regarding George Floyd and carbon monoxide from exhaust of the police car he was restrained next to, an issue that came up yesterday with the defense’s medical expert, Dr. David Fowler. The state is expected to bring back to the stand today Dr. Martin Tobin, one of its experts who testified last week, to rebut some of yesterday’s testimony by Dr. Fowler.

The judge is questioning Derek Chauvin to make sure that it is his decision not to testify, and that the decision is entirely voluntary. This is to prevent any later claim that he was ill-advised by his defense, or that his failure to testify was a result of an ineffective lawyer.

Judge Cahill also discussed the jury instructions with Chauvin. He says the jury will be told that Chauvin has a right not to testify in the case, and that they should not hold it against him.

I think we just heard Derek Chauvin’s voice in the courtroom for the first time, other than on video. His laywer, Eric Nelson, is asking him about his decision on whether to testify.

Chauvin says he is not going to take the stand, invoking his Fifth Amendment right. Outside of the hearing of the jury, he is being questioned by Nelson about the discussions they have had — many times, they say — about whether he will testify.

Protests erupted near the Brooklyn Center Police Department for a fourth night Wednesday after Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was fatally shot by an officer on Sunday. Kimberly A. Potter, the officer who shot Mr. Wright, was arrested Wednesday and charged with second-degree manslaughter. The shooting has become another flash point in the protests for racial justice that have swept the country.

Shared From Source link Breaking News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *