After a week of often moving and at times explosive testimony, Derek Chauvin’s trial resumed Monday morning, with the prosecution continuing to present witnesses who they hope will support the murder charges in the death of George Floyd.
Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is accused of killing Mr. Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. The defense will claim that Mr. Chauvin received his police training and that drug use may have resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death.
Here are some key takeaways from the opening days of the trial.
The doctor who declared George Floyd dead said a lack of oxygen was the likely cause.
An emergency room doctor who tried to save Mr Floyd’s life for 30 minutes before pronouncing him dead testified on Monday that he believed Mr Floyd likely died from lack of oxygen.
Dr Bradford T. Wankhede Langenfeld, who was a senior resident at Hennepin County Medical Center, testified in court that Mr Floyd’s heart was not beating when he arrived at the hospital last May. His testimony followed that of two paramedics who said last week that Mr. Floyd’s heart stopped by the time they arrived at the scene of his arrest.
The doctor said that, based on information he had at the time, he believed oxygen deficiency, sometimes called asphyxiation, was “one of the most likely causes” of Mr. Floyd’s death.
Prosecutors said Mr Floyd died of asphyxiation, appearing to deviate from the county medical examiner’s decision who performed an autopsy on Mr Floyd and said he died “of cardiopulmonary arrest. “. This term, prosecutors said, applies to any death because it simply means that a person’s heart and lungs have stopped.
Eric J. Nelson, counsel for Mr. Chauvin, suggested that Mr. Floyd’s death was in part attributable to his underlying heart disease and to the fentanyl and methamphetamine that were in his system. In response to questions from Mr Nelson, Dr Wankhede Langenfeld agreed that many different things – including taking fentanyl and methamphetamine – can cause death that would always be considered asphyxiation.
Mr. Nelson used his interrogation to stress to Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld that naloxone, the anti-overdose treatment often known as Narcan, was never given to Mr. Floyd. Dr Wankhede Langenfeld said that even if Mr Floyd had suffered from an overdose, giving him naloxone would have had “no benefit” because his heart had already stopped.
Dr Wankhede Langenfeld said he considered overdose to be a less likely cause of Mr Floyd’s death at the time, in part because the paramedics who brought Mr Floyd to the hospital did not give no indication that he overdosed on it.
Dr Wankhede Langenfeld said he declared Mr Floyd dead after about 30 minutes in the emergency room. The official time of Mr. Floyd’s death is 9:25 p.m.
Jerry W. Blackwell, the prosecutor interviewing Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld, used some of his questions to point out that Mr. Chauvin and other police officers present at the scene had not provided medical attention to Mr. Floyd.
In response to questions, Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld noted that starting CPR as early as possible is essential for patients with cardiac arrest, as was Mr. Floyd. He said there is about a 10 to 15 percent decrease in a patient’s chance of survival for every minute that CPR is not given.
“It is well known that any amount of time a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate CPR dramatically decreases the chances of a good outcome,” said Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld. He noted that the term “cardiac arrest” only means that a patient’s heart has stopped, and not that the patient has necessarily suffered a heart attack.
The doctor, who is in his early 30s, graduated from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2016 and had received his license as a physician and surgeon just 18 days before May 25, when Mr. Floyd was rushed to hospital, according to state records.
The judge questioned jurors about a social media post.
The trial got off to a strange start on Monday. The entire jury was questioned and Judge Peter A. Cahill turned off the audio and video streams. But according to a reporter by the pool in the room, each of the jurors had a sheet of paper in front of them with a social media post that the judge asked them to read.
He noted that on the sheet there was a comment halfway there. He asked jurors if any of them made a statement, or something similar, which was apparently in the social media post.
Thirteen of the 14 jurors raised their hands to indicate that they had not said anything as stated (the specific statement was not shared publicly). The 14th juror shook his head and finally raised his hand.
The judge then turned the sheet over to them and asked them if they recognized the photo of the person on the sheet. The 14 jurors all raised their hands to indicate that they had not recognized the person. After the jurors left, the judge said he believed the jurors were credible.
“It was nothing more than a social media nonsense,” he said.
Jurors are not supposed to discuss the case with anyone – even among themselves – or read coverage of the trial as it unfolds.
“Believe your eyes” or more than it sounds: Lawyers have adopted opposing strategies.
The strategies outlined by the defense and prosecution teams in last week’s opening statements could be clearly seen when questioning witnesses.
Eric J. Nelson, Mr Chauvin’s lawyer, has made it clear that he will try to convince jurors that the videos of Mr Floyd’s death did not tell the whole story. The case “obviously lasts over 9 minutes and 29 seconds,” Nelson said, referring to the time during which Mr. Chauvin knelt on top of Mr. Floyd.
He reported that he intended to argue that Mr. Chauvin had completed his training, that his knee was not necessarily on Mr. Floyd’s neck and that Mr. Floyd’s death may have been caused by drugs.
Mr Blackwell, one of the prosecutors, urged jurors to “believe your eyes, that this is homicide – this is murder”. Prosecutors call all of their witnesses before the defense begins to make its case, so the first week of testimony was heavily geared towards the prosecution’s arguments.
Witnesses revealed a sense of shared trauma.
The trial began with powerful testimony from a series of witnesses to the arrest, many of whom broke down in tears as they recounted what they saw. They included several women who were under 18 at the time of the arrest, as well as a 61-year-old man who spoke to Mr Floyd while he was grounded.
From the Cup Foods convenience store clerk where Mr. Floyd bought cigarettes to a firefighter on leave who yelled at officers as Mr. Floyd grew numb, they conveyed a shared sense of trauma from what they saw That day.
Highlighting the emotional trauma Mr. Floyd’s arrest caused to witnesses, prosecutors apparently hoped to convince jurors that Mr. Chauvin’s actions had clearly been excessive for people who saw them in real time. A witness, Darnella Frazier, now 18, said she was haunted by what she saw, sometimes awake at night “apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more, for not interacting physically and not having saved his life ”.
The fateful arrest was replayed from all angles.
For the first time, the last moments before Mr Floyd’s arrest have been shown in detail. The Cup Foods surveillance video, along with the store clerk’s testimony, showed Mr. Floyd walking around the store, chatting and laughing with customers, then finally buying a pack of cigarettes with a $ 20 bill that the clerk suspected to be a fake.
Camera footage of the police corps then replayed the arrest from start to finish. It showed an officer approaching Mr. Floyd with his pistol drawn, and captured the audio of Mr. Floyd’s frightening reaction: “Please don’t shoot me,” he said. he says. Mr. Floyd appeared terrified, first of the gun and then of being held up in a police car.
As Mr. Chauvin tackled him to the ground, footage captured the moments when officers checked the pulse and found none, but took no action.