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Senin, 29 Maret 2021

George Floyd trial hears opening statements, with Derek Chauvin accused of 'betraying the badge' - ABC News

Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin squeezed the life out of George Floyd while joining other officers in arresting him last May, a prosecutor has told jurors at Chauvin's murder trial.

But Chauvin's lead attorney, Eric Nelson, said in his opening statement that the former officer had simply followed his police training.

Jerry Blackwell, a prosecutor with the Minnesota attorney-general's office, told jurors that officers who wore the Minneapolis police badge pledged to never use "unnecessary force or violence".

"You will learn that on May 25, Mr Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of George Floyd," said Mr Blackwell, who addressed the jury for almost an hour.

He displayed a still image from a bystander's cellphone video of Chauvin, who is white, with his knee on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs.

A middle-aged man in grey suit and face mask sits beside another man in dark suit in courtroom.
Chauvin's lead attorney, Eric Nelson (left), said in his opening statement that the former officer (right) had simply followed his police training.

He said it showed Chauvin "grinding and crushing him until the very breath … the very life was squeezed out of him."

Mr Floyd's death ignited a global protest movement over police brutality against black people.

In the preceding two weeks of jury selection, many jurors told Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill that they recognised the scrutiny their deliberations would come under.

A young black woman wears face mask, hat and gloves and holds sign on cold day.
The George Floyd trial began in Minneapolis amid protests and tight security.(

Reuters: Nicholas Pfosi

)

Philonise Floyd, a brother of George Floyd, said he had faith that Chauvin would be convicted.

"The video is the proof," he said.

'Necessary force' used

Prosecutors played the most widely seen bystander video to jurors on Monday.

Chauvin, dressed in a grey suit and blue face mask, took pages of notes on a yellow legal pad as the dying moans of Mr Floyd and the yelling of horrified onlookers filled the courtroom.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

A courtroom sketch of a balding, middle-aged white man in a blue suit with serious expression.
Derek Chauvin, 45, faces four decades in jail if convicted.(

Reuters: Jane Rosenberg

)

His lawyers argue that he followed his training and that the main cause of Mr Floyd's death, which the county examiner ruled a homicide, was a drug overdose.

He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

The Minneapolis Police Department fired Chauvin and the three other officers involved the day after the arrest.

Defence lawyer Nelson used his opening statement to describe Mr Floyd's drug use and a chaotic scene during the arrest, saying the screaming of bystanders ended up "causing the officers to divert their attention from the care of Mr Floyd".

"Derek Chauvin did exactly what he was trained to do over the course of his 19-year career," Mr Nelson told the jury.

"The use of force is not attractive but it is a necessary component of policing."

A composite image shows a four mugshots of men wearing the orange uniforms of American detainees.
The Minneapolis Police Department fired Chauvin and the three other officers involved the day after the arrest.(

AP: Hennepin County Sheriff's Office/File

)

The jury, including three alternates, is made up of six white women, three white men, three black men, one black woman and two multiracial women, according to court records.

The courtroom in a tower in downtown Minneapolis was ringed with concrete barriers, barbed wire and soldiers from the state's National Guard.

For blocks around, businesses are closed and windows boarded up, amid fears of a repeat of the arson and other property damage that occurred after Mr Floyd's death.

Reuters/ABC

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2021-03-29 22:01:20Z
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