Trial begins for Derek Chauvin, white US officer who killed George Floyd

2021-03-30 18:30:45
Trial begins for Derek Chauvin, white US officer who killed George Floyd

The former US police officer who killed George Floyd by pressing his knee on the Black man’s neck for over nine minutes went on trial Monday on charges of murder and manslaughter.

The white officer "didn't let up" even after a handcuffed Floyd said 27 times that he couldn't breathe and went limp, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury in his opening statements.

"He put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him, until the very breath -- no, ladies and gentlemen -- until the very life was squeezed out of him," the prosecutor said.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson countered by arguing: "Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career."

Floyd, 46, died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds while he was handcuffed and lying on the ground during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, which carries up to 40 years in prison, as well as third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He and the three other officers on the scene were fired the day after Floyd’s death.

The killing triggered protests and civil unrest across the US and countries around the world over widespread racial injustice and police brutality in America and other Western nations.

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