The world is turning to the United States of America on Monday morning as the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer accused of killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, is set to come to an end.
The prosecution and defense will deliver their closing arguments on Monday morning after resting their cases on Friday, following three weeks of expert opinions and emotional testimonies, giving both sides one final opportunity to win the jurors over. And it may just take a few hours or days to reach a verdict on three charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
The second-degree unintentional murder charge has a maximum sentence of 40 years behind bars, the third-degree murder charge attracts a maximum sentence of 25 years behind bars, and the third-degree manslaughter charge could put Chauvin behind bars for a maximum of 10 years with an option of a $20,000 fine without jail time.
“If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short,” Judge Peter Cahill told the jurors on Friday to prepare for a lengthy deliberation as they left for the weekend.
Cahill said it was up to the jury how long they wish to deliberate, “how long you need to come to a unanimous decision on any count.”
For the prosecution, Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck led to his death. Prosecutors relied on medical experts, video footage and eyewitness account to build their case against Chauvin.
Current Police officers, including Chauvin’s own bosses before his dismissal, testified that he used an excessive force when he knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds even as Floyd had his hands cuffed behind his back, was in prone position and repeatedly said he could not breathe.
Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County medical examiner who ruled Chauvin’s death a homicide, said he did not believe the drugs in Floyd’s system caused his death.
“In my opinion, the law enforcement subdual, restraint and the neck compression was just more than Mr. Floyd could take, by virtue of those heart conditions,” Baker told the court during his testimony.
The defense argued that Chauvin’s history of drug use and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning from the squad car exhaust were to blame, an attempt to sow doubt in the mind of the jurors who must render a unanimous decision on each charge.
The defense argued that “Mr. Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline flowing through his body.”
World’s renowned pulmonologist Martin Tobin whose book has been described as the “bible of mechanical ventilation” testified that Mr. Floyd died of low lever of oxygen caused by the knee on the neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Dr. Tobin, who was seen as one of the most compelling witnesses rejected the claims that carbon monoxide could have killed Floyd, arguing that Floyd had a carbon monoxide level below 2 percent, which falls within the normal range of between 0 and 3 percent for all human beings.
The trial of Derek Chauvin is coming to an end amid protests over the killings of other African American men at the ends of police.
Just about 10 miles from where Floyd was killed last year, Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old African American man was killed over a week ago by Kim Potter, a female police officer who claimed she mistook her taser for her gun following a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis.
Those protests are continuing to grow as the world awaits the verdict on George Floyd’s death. They are likely to grow louder if the former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin is acquitted.