Jumat, 19 Maret 2021

George Floyd murder trial won't be moved from Minneapolis despite 'extreme publicity' - ABC News

A US judge says he won't delay or move the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, but he will allow limited evidence from a 2019 arrest.

Derek Chauvin's lead lawyer, Eric Nelson, complained to the court that publicity around the trial had tainted the jury pool in and around Minneapolis.

He cited the city's announcement last week that it would pay Mr Floyd's relatives $US27 million ($35 million) to settle their wrongful-death lawsuit, filing a 3,972-page document filled with thousands of different unflattering news articles about the 45-year-old, who is charged with murder and manslaughter.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill ruled against Mr Chauvin, saying that moving the trial or delaying it until next year would make it no easier to seat an impartial jury.

"I don't think there's any place in the state of Minnesota that has not been subjected to extreme amounts of publicity in this case," Mr Cahill said.

The judge, however, partially granted a separate request by Mr Chauvin to show the jury evidence of an earlier arrest of Mr Floyd.

That arrest, involving different officers, took place about a year before Floyd's death on May 25, 2020.

Jurors 'aware' of Floyd video

A courtroom sketch of a balding, middle-aged white man in a blue suit with serious expression.
Derek Chauvin is facing murder and manslaughter charges over the 2020 death of George Floyd.(

Reuters: Jane Rosenberg


Mr Cahill and the lawyers in the case have questioned 61 potential jurors in court since last week to weigh their impartiality as Mr Chauvin, dressed in a suit and tie, took extensive notes on a yellow legal pad.

All of them said they were aware of the video showing Mr Chauvin, with his knee on Mr Floyd's neck as the 46-year-old black man begged for his life.

Almost all said they had seen at least some of the footage, which sparked global protests against police brutality and racism.

Twelve jurors and one alternate have been seated so far.

They are five white women, two white men, three black men, one black woman and two multiracial women, according to court records.

The judge said he would resume jury selection on Monday with the hope of finding two more alternates before opening arguments planned for March 29.

'Virtually the same situation'

A black man in a hoodie sits on a platform with a poster in front of an ornate white building
The judge said the George Floyd murder trial was being closely watched outside of Minneapolis.(

Reuters: Nicholas Pfosi


Two autopsy reports concluded that Mr Floyd's death was a homicide, caused in part by the way the arresting officers held him on the ground.

Both reports noted Mr Floyd had underlying health conditions, including hypertension, and the drugs fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.

Mr Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

One of Mr Chauvin's main defences will be to dispute the cause of death, arguing that it was actually an overdose of fentanyl, an opioid, that killed Mr Floyd.

Prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney-general's office have complained the allegation is seeking to smear Mr Floyd's character and that his high blood pressure and drug use were irrelevant to the question of whether Mr Chauvin used excessive force.

Mr Nelson said a recent search he conducted of the police car where Mr Chauvin and other officers were trying to place Mr Floyd discovered a pill containing fentanyl and methamphetamine on the back seat that bore traces of Mr Floyd's saliva.

He argued that the new evidence meant the judge should reconsider an earlier decision not to allow Mr Nelson to show jurors evidence about a prior arrest on May 6, 2019.

An African American man in a cap and a t-shirt with security written across it
The death of George Floyd last May sparked a series of protests across the US.(

Christopher Harris via AP


A panicked Mr Floyd swallowed opioid pills as different police officers, including one with a drawn gun, approached the car he was in as part of a narcotics investigation.

Mr Floyd and the officers ended up speaking calmly and he was later taken to a hospital for treatment.

Prosecutors fought the defence effort, writing in a court filing on Thursday.

On Friday, Mr Cahill ruled that very limited evidence from the 2019 arrest could be shown, only as much as sheds light on the dispute over the cause of Mr Floyd's death a year later.

"The whole point there is we have medical evidence of what happens when Mr Floyd is faced with virtually the same situation: confrontation by police at gunpoint, followed by a rapid ingestion of some drugs," Mr Cahill said in his ruling.


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2021-03-20 05:06:40Z

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