Derek Chauvin Trial: Live Updates

Derek Chauvin Trial: Live Updates


April 14, 2021, 5:05 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 5:05 p.m. ET

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Fowler Says He Would Classify Floyd’s Death as ‘Undetermined’

Dr. David Fowler, former Maryland chief medical examiner, testified on Wednesday that he would classify George Floyd’s death as “undetermined,” with a primary cause of cardiac arrhythmia during police restraint.

So in my opinion, Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, or cardiac arrhythmia, due to his atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, or you can write that down multiple different ways. During his restraint and subdual by the police or restrained by the police, and then his significant contributory conditions would be, since I’ve already put the heart disease in part one, he would have the toxicology, the fentanyl and methamphetamine. There is exposure to a vehicle exhaust. So potentially carbon monoxide poisoning or at least an effect from increased carbon monoxide in his bloodstream and a paraganglioma or the other natural disease process that he has. So all of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd’s death. This is one of those cases where you have so many conflicting … … different manners, the carbon monoxide would usually be classified as an accident. Although somebody was holding him there, so some people would say you could elevate that to a homicide. You’ve got the drugs on board. He’s got significant natural disease, certainly the heart, the paraganglioma. You know, you can certainly consider it as a potential exacerbating process, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of the list. Then he’s been restrained in a very stressful situation and that increased his fight-and-flight type reaction, and that was during restraint would be considered a homicide, and you put all of those together, it’s very difficult to say which of those is the most accurate. So I would fall back to undetermined.

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Dr. David Fowler, former Maryland chief medical examiner, testified on Wednesday that he would classify George Floyd’s death as “undetermined,” with a primary cause of cardiac arrhythmia during police restraint.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

In the longest testimony of the day, Dr. David Fowler, an expert witness called by Derek Chauvin’s defense team, said on Wednesday that cardiac arrhythmia was the primary cause of George Floyd’s death, building on the defense’s argument that Mr. Floyd’s death should not be blamed on the actions of the police officers.

Listing myriad factors involved — including Mr. Floyd’s enlarged heart, drug usage, carbon monoxide and the “stressful situation” in which he was restrained — Dr. Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of Maryland, said he would classify Mr. Floyd’s death as “undetermined” rather than a homicide.

“At some point the heart has exhausted its reserves of metabolic supply and went into an arrhythmia and stopped pumping blood,” he testified.

Dr. Fowler also argued that carbon monoxide exposure may have contributed to Mr. Floyd’s death as his face was angled toward the rear exhaust pipe of the police car while the officers pinned him down. This was the first mention of potential carbon monoxide poisoning in the trial.

Any carbon monoxide exposure would have taken away “additional oxygen carrying capacity,” he said. But Dr. Fowler acknowledged that there was no record of Mr. Floyd’s blood ever having been tested for carbon monoxide.

During cross-examination, Dr. Fowler said that he had not seen emissions data from the car or seen the car in person and that carbon monoxide poisoning was not mentioned in the autopsy.

Dr. Fowler said he eliminated asphyxia as a cause of death, contradicting the argument made by prosecutors. After citing numerous studies that found that the prone position is not usually dangerous, Dr. Fowler asserted that the positioning and weight of Mr. Chauvin’s knee on Mr. Floyd’s neck did not injure him. The prosecution later raised questions about the reliability of the study’s findings.

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Defense’s Medical Expert Testifies Chauvin’s Knee Did Not Injure Floyd

Dr. David Fowler, an expert for Derek Chauvin’s defense team, testified that the weight of Mr. Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck did not injure him. Several experts for the prosecution said it was enough to asphyxiate him.

“In terms of the placement of Officer Chauvin’s, excuse me, knee to Mr. Floyd, is it your opinion that Mr. Chauvin’s knee in any way impacted the structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck?” “No, it did not. None of the vital structures were in the area where the knee appeared to be from the videos.” “And what injuries did you observe in the photographs of Mr. Floyd?” “All of his injuries were in areas where the knee was not. In other words, they were on the front of his body, his face, his — places where he was restrained. But there was absolutely no evidence of any injury on the skin to the subcutaneous tissue or the deeper structures of the back or the neck.” “You reference the back of Mr. Floyd. Did you see any bruising to the skin?” “I did not see bruising or abrasion to the skin.” “Did you see any bleeding into the subcutaneous tissues of the neck and back?” “Not on the autopsy photographs, nor was it documented in the autopsy.” “How about to the muscles?” The same.” “So in your opinion, the absence of such injury, how does that speak to the cause of death?” “It speaks to the amount of force that was applied to Mr Floyd was less than enough to bruise him.”

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Dr. David Fowler, an expert for Derek Chauvin’s defense team, testified that the weight of Mr. Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck did not injure him. Several experts for the prosecution said it was enough to asphyxiate him.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

The absence of injuries on the back of his body indicate that “the amount of force applied to Mr. Floyd was less than enough to bruise him,” he said.

During cross-examination, Dr. Fowler acknowledged that the studies did not replicate the situation of Mr. Floyd and that none of the tests were run for more than nine minutes, the amount of time that Mr. Floyd was pinned to the ground.

The defense showed Dr. Fowler a still photo from a police body camera, in which Dr. Fowler said it appeared that there was a white object in Mr. Floyd’s mouth. Mr. Nelson inferred that the white substance may have been the partial pills found in the car.

But during cross-examination, Jerry Blackwell, a lawyer for the prosecution, showed footage from inside Cup Foods, which appeared to show Mr. Floyd chewing a similar looking white object. Dr. Fowler agreed that it looked similar and acknowledged he could not say that the white object was a pill.

Mr. Blackwell asked Dr. Fowler if he believed Mr. Floyd should have been given life-saving measures.

“As a physician, I would agree,” Dr. Fowler said.

April 14, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The judge is adjourning for the day, with the next witness expected to testify tomorrow, which could be when the defense wraps up its case.

April 14, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

And the big thing we all want to know is whether Derek Chauvin will take the stand in his own defense. If it happens, it probably would tomorrow.

April 14, 2021, 4:44 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 4:44 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Dr. Fowler, the defense medical expert, finishes testifying with prosecutor Jerry Blackwell seemingly upset that he could not get the doctor to say whether he believed Derek Chauvin played a role in George Floyd’s death. Fowler earlier called Floyd’s cause of death “undetermined.”

April 14, 2021, 4:28 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 4:28 p.m. ET

Reporting on medicine, science and health

There have been repeated references during the defense medical expert’s testimony today to the use of methamphetamine in medical settings, and a so-called “therapeutic dose.” While better known as a street drug, in fact methamphetamine may be prescribed by doctors in some cases to treat attention deficit disorder with hyperactivity, and to promote weight loss in obesity. Doctors are warned about its “high potential for abuse,” and the possibility of sudden death if misused; they are urged to use the smallest possible dose.

April 14, 2021, 4:15 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 4:15 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Coming back from the break, let’s take stock of the big points that the prosecution appears to have scored so far today: Dr. David Fowler, the defense medical expert, has acknowledged that George Floyd died “long, long before” he reached the hospital, that his cardiac arrest was reversible, and that he should have been given immediate medical aid.

April 14, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 4:00 p.m. ET

The court is taking its afternoon break after detailed cross-examination of the defense’s medical expert, Dr. David Fowler, whose testimony will continue when the jury returns.

April 14, 2021, 3:32 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 3:32 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Blackwell, the prosecutor, is drawing a stark contrast between Dr. Fowler, the defense expert, who has just acknowledged that he did not determine the time of what he has called a “sudden death,” and the first doctor that the prosecution put on the stand, Martin Tobin, who had pinpointed to the second what he said were the exact times that Floyd suffered brain injury, stopped breathing and lost all oxygen in his body.

April 14, 2021, 3:34 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 3:34 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Dr. Fowler concedes under cross examination that George Floyd should have gotten immediate medical attention to reverse his cardiac arrest. That seems to be a suggestion — from an expert called by Derek Chauvin’s defense — that life-saving efforts should have begun long before they did.

April 14, 2021, 3:27 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 3:27 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

One name that Dr. Fowler, the defense medical expert, keeps citing is that of Mark Kroll, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. Kroll has performed numerous studies discrediting the notion that restraining a suspect in a prone position can cause asphyxia, and defending its use as necessary for officer safety. He also serves on the board of Axon Enterprise, the manufacturer of Tasers, and helps defend against claims that Tasers have caused deaths.

April 14, 2021, 3:25 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 3:25 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Blackwell, the prosecutor, has peppered his questions and statements during this cross-examination of the defense’s medical expert by saying he doesn’t want to confuse the jury. The state is trying to get across their argument, in the broadest way possible, that the defense case is an attempt to divert the jury from what prosecutors have said is simple, and what they have seen over and over again on video. Recall the comment to the jury from Blackwell’s opening statement: “Believe your eyes.”

April 14, 2021, 3:26 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 3:26 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

It seems today that the prosecution is showing the power of having called so many medical experts from so many specialties. Their collected knowledge could outweigh the defense’s medical expert, who does not have all of their specific training.

April 14, 2021, 3:19 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 3:19 p.m. ET

Reporting on medicine, science and health

As someone who trained as a physician and medical scientist, I’m impressed at the precision of prosecutor Jerry Blackwell’s references to the medical literature. He projects confidence as he uses a science-based approach in his questioning of the defense’s medical expert, Dr. David Fowler. It reminds me of doing rounds as a trainee and having an attending physician fire questions at us, exposing the gaps in our knowledge.

April 14, 2021, 3:02 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 3:02 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The position of Derek Chauvin’s left knee has been an issue throughout the trial. The defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, has suggested that it was on George Floyd’s shoulder, not his (more vulnerable) neck. But Dr. Fowler, the defense’s own medical witness, just acknowledged that it was on Floyd’s neck.

April 14, 2021, 2:57 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 2:57 p.m. ET

The medical examiner called by the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial has been highlighting factors that he believes may have contributed to George Floyd’s death, in addition to his bodily restraint and neck compression. These have included autopsy evidence of pre-existing heart disease and a potentially hormone-secreting tumor, and the findings of an opioid drug, fentanyl, and methamphetamine in Mr. Floyd’s bloodstream.

On Wednesday, Dr. David Fowler, a former Maryland chief medical examiner, testified for the defense that the poisonous gas carbon monoxide was being emitted from a squad car tailpipe close to where the police held Mr. Floyd on the ground and that it might also have played a role in his death, while not being its exclusive cause. In his opinion, Mr. Floyd’s manner of death was undetermined.

Even if jurors believe that some of these factors increased the likelihood that Mr. Floyd would die under the conditions of restraint, they would likely still be instructed to find Mr. Chauvin criminally responsible as long as his actions made a substantial contribution to Mr. Floyd’s death.

“That’s all that’s required,” said Mary Moriarty, a former chief public defender of Hennepin County in Minnesota. “Yes, there may be other contributing factors, but if the accused’s actions are a substantial cause of it, it doesn’t matter.”

“The defendant finds the victim as they are,” said Mike Padden, a Minnesota attorney who has handled cases against the police. For example, if a victim in a bar fight is punched, falls down and dies because an underlying condition made the victim more vulnerable, “the defendant can still be charged with the death even though that result could not be expected in the typical human being.”

An analogous concept in personal injury law is known as the “eggshell skull rule.”

The jury could always disregard these instructions — ignoring the law — or decide to convict on a lesser charge. But contributing causes are most likely to become relevant at a later stage in the judicial process. “It’s a point that can be made as a mitigating factor when it comes to sentencing,” Mr. Padden said.

April 14, 2021, 2:42 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 2:42 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

In post-court commentary yesterday, prosecutor Steve Schleicher got high marks for his questioning of the defense’s use-of-force expert, Barry Brodd. Today’s prosecutor, Jerry Blackwell, looks like a cat that swallowed a canary as he begins going after the defense’s forensic pathologist, Dr. Fowler.

April 14, 2021, 2:45 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 2:45 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Like yesterday, Blackwell is likely to take a long, surgical approach to attempting to dismante each aspect of Fowler’s testimony, so it could be a long afternoon. Fowler has long been anticipated as Derek Chauvin’s best chance of raising reasonable doubt about Floyd’s cause of death.

April 14, 2021, 2:36 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 2:36 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Cross-examining the witness after the lunch break, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell gets in the first zinger for the prosecution, forcing Dr. David Fowler, a defense medical expert, to acknowledge that he failed to factor in the gear that Derek Chauvin carried when he calculated the weight of the officer on George Floyd’s body.

April 14, 2021, 2:38 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 2:38 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Second zinger on the witness’s theory that Floyd was exposed to carbon monoxide by the exhaust of the squad car he was restrained next to: Dr. Fowler acknowledges that he never saw the car, or emissions data from the car.

April 14, 2021, 2:28 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 2:28 p.m. ET

Downtown Minneapolis, where many businesses are boarded up, was quiet on Tuesday, two days after a Brooklyn Center police officer fatally shot a 20-year-old Black man. 
Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

Carl Mitchell spent Sunday nailing wood to the windows of the Amstar convenience shop he manages in North Minneapolis. Hours earlier, Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, had been shot by the police 10 miles north. With the trial of the former officer Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd, heading into its third week, Mr. Mitchell didn’t want to take any chances.

Mr. Mitchell, 26, saw last year just how quickly protests can escalate when the O’Reilly’s Auto Parts across the street from his shop burned down at 4 a.m. after a night of protests following Mr. Floyd’s death. Only the walls of the auto shop remain.

“We weren’t ready last time,” he said as customers paid for gas on Wednesday. “We have already boarded. We pray. Not much else we can do.”

As Minneapolis and its suburbs prepare for a verdict in Mr. Chauvin’s trial, business owners are hoping they won’t have to relive the weeks of protests from last year that sparked a nationwide discussion about race and policing. At home, it led to damage estimated at about $300 million. Businesses, already hurting from the pandemic, closed.

In downtown Minneapolis, near the site of Mr. Chauvin’s trial, construction workers were putting up more fencing and boarding and widening the security perimeter around the courthouse where Mr. Chauvin is on trial. Public areas with park benches are now closed off by metal grates, fencing and jersey barriers. One worker called the area a “ghost town.” A Caribou Coffee had so much wood up that regular customers thought it was closed until workers spray painted OPEN on the sheets.

Curfews have been in place in much of the Metropolitan area since Sunday, with protests mostly occurring in Brooklyn Center, where Mr. Wright was shot. In the main drag of businesses there, only two gas stations were open late Tuesday. Every other shop was boarded and closed.

Back in North Minneapolis, groups of National Guard troops could be seen patrolling late Tuesday night and during the day on Wednesday. Of the dozens of stores in strip malls, most had wood nailed to the windows. Some stores never reopened after last summer’s protests, Mr. Mitchell said.

Mr. Mitchell, a Black father of two, said he wasn’t worried about his own safety. But now in addition to his shop, his mind was on Brooklyn Center and neighboring areas, including Brooklyn Park, where he lives

“And now I need to worry about what’s going on at home,” he said.

April 14, 2021, 1:33 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 1:33 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

We are now on a lunch break. Since we have different reporters representing the news media in the courtroom every day, it’s difficult to say how the jury’s reaction to the defense experts we have heard over the last two days compares to their reaction to the prosecution’s experts. But according to two pool reports from the journalists in the courtroom this morning, jurors were grateful for a break: “Jury overall appears pretty low energy/burned out” and “the jury seems drained.”

April 14, 2021, 1:34 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 1:34 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

I also love these two descriptions from the pool report: “Juror 13, per usual, seems to have fallen asleep a few times.” And: “When break is called approx. 10:50 they seem relieved.”

April 14, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

And there it is — Dr. Fowler, the defense’s medical expert, sums up his testimony by saying there were so many factors that George Floyd’s cause of death is “undetermined.” The defense has to sow reasonable doubt as to what caused Floyd to die. So this is the defense’s effort to do so.

April 14, 2021, 1:21 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 1:21 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The defense is showing still images, drawn from police body camera footage, of George Floyd with a white object in his mouth as the first police officers on the scene approached his car. Investigators later found half-chewed pills in the squad car that the officers tried to place him in, with Floyd’s DNA and saliva on them. The argument is that he ingested the pills, which contained meth and fentanyl, just before his death.

April 14, 2021, 1:02 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 1:02 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Several medical experts for the prosecution argued that the absence of bruises from Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd was meaningless. The weight of Chauvin pressing down on Floyd was still enough to asphyxiate him, they said. Now Dr. David Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of Maryland, is suggesting for the defense that if Chauvin exerted significant pressure, there would be bruises. This might be where the prosecution calling so many experts helps their case. It’s the defense’s one expert versus the prosecution’s many.

April 14, 2021, 1:05 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 1:05 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The defense is essentially using one medical expert here to touch on so many different things. The prosecution, meanwhile, had all sorts of specialists — including both a pulmonologist and a cardiologist.

April 14, 2021, 12:52 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:52 p.m. ET

The area outside Cup Foods, where George Floyd was arrested, is now known as George Floyd Square.
Credit…Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

The defense began presenting its witnesses on Monday, after more than 30 witnesses took the stand for the state during the first two weeks of the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Witness testimony for the defense is expected to last at least through the end of the week before the trial moves into closing arguments and, finally, jury deliberation. Mr. Chauvin, 45, faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in the death of George Floyd.

Judge Peter A. Cahill said this week that if the defense’s case continues ahead of schedule, the court would not convene on Friday so that closing arguments would not happen until Monday. As soon as closing arguments are finished, the jury will be sequestered and can take as long as it needs to deliver a verdict.

Jury selection — eight days of intense questioning to potential jurors about their political biases and views on racism and policing — began on March 9. Ultimately, 12 jury members and two alternates were chosen.

Both sides delivered opening statements on March 29, which were followed by the prosecution calling their witnesses to the stand. Each witness is questioned by the state, then cross-examined by the defense. Questioning goes back and forth between the state and the defense.

Each side submitted a list of potential witnesses to the judge ahead of the trial: The state submitted the names of 363 potential witnesses, and the defense listed 212, but it was unclear how many would actually appear.

April 14, 2021, 12:41 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:41 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Dr. Fowler, the defense medical expert, said he has eliminated asphyxia as a cause of death for George Floyd. He hasn’t exactly explained why yet. But that is the heart of the prosecution’s case — that Floyd died of asphyxia.

April 14, 2021, 12:45 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:45 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Dr. Fowler is now talking about studies finding that suspects being restrained by the police are not in danger when they are placed in the prone position with weight applied, as George Floyd was by Derek Chauvin. The prosecution experts were already asked to critique these studies, and said that they did not replicate real-world conditions.

April 14, 2021, 12:34 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:34 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

A snapshot of what this moment is like right now in Minneapolis: I’m watching the Chauvin trial on a local news station, and at the bottom there is a red ticker with the breaking news that the police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright on Sunday in nearby Brooklyn Center, Minn., has been charged with second-degree manslaughter. Such an exhausting moment around the country, but especially for Twin Cities residents.

April 14, 2021, 12:32 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:32 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

If you’re watching this medical testimony for the defense and asking, how does the carbon monoxide argument help Derek Chauvin, we hear you. We’ll have to wait for the defense’s closing arguments to hear how Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, pulls this all together as part of his theory of the case.

April 14, 2021, 12:27 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:27 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Dr. David Fowler, the defense’s medical expert, is advancing a theory on the stand that George Floyd was exposed to carbon monoxide from the police car’s tailpipe as he was held on the ground, contributing to his death. But he has just acknowledged that Floyd’s blood was not tested for carbon monoxide.

April 14, 2021, 12:30 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:30 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

I’m wondering whether the jury is going to buy the defense experts’ contentions so far — that Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck was not a use of force, that if Floyd had been compliant he would have been “resting comfortably” on the street face down in handcuffs, and now this novel idea that Floyd was exposed to carbon monoxide from the squad car’s tailpipe.

April 14, 2021, 12:06 p.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 12:06 p.m. ET

Several signs in George Floyd Square in Minneapolis honored Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was fatally shot by a police officer this week.
Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. — The white Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, after appearing to mistake her handgun for her Taser will be charged with second-degree manslaughter, a prosecutor said on Wednesday, following three nights of protests over the killing.

The planned charge against the officer, Kimberly A. Potter, was announced a day after she and the police chief both resigned from the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Hundreds of people have faced off with the police in Brooklyn Center each night since Mr. Wright’s death, demanding that the former officer be charged, and residents across the region are preparing for a verdict next week in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged with murdering George Floyd.

Pete Orput, the top prosecutor in Washington County, said in an email to The New York Times that the complaint would be filed later on Wednesday. Ms. Potter’s lawyer, Earl Gray, did not respond to a request for comment.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the state agency that investigates police killings in Minnesota, said that Ms. Potter had been arrested and taken into custody on Wednesday morning and would be booked into the Hennepin County Jail.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Wright family, said in a statement: “While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back. This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate, and unlawful use of force.”

Ms. Potter, 48, worked for the Police Department for 26 years and was training other officers on Sunday afternoon when they pulled Mr. Wright’s car over. Officials have said that he had an expired registration on his car and something hanging from his rearview mirror. When officers found that Mr. Wright had a warrant out for his arrest and attempted to arrest him, he twisted away and got back into his car.

Ms. Potter warned that she would use a stun gun on him and then shouted “Taser!” three times before firing a bullet into his chest, killing him. “I just shot him,” Ms. Potter can be heard saying, in body-camera footage that was released on Monday. Tim Gannon, who resigned as chief of police, described the killing as an “accidental discharge.”

Under Minnesota statutes, second-degree manslaughter can apply in cases where someone has created “unreasonable risk” and kills another person through their negligence. The maximum punishment for a second-degree manslaughter conviction is 10 years in prison, though sentencing guidelines call for about four years for someone with no criminal history.

Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer, was charged with second-degree manslaughter in Mr. Floyd’s death, but he also faces second-degree murder and third-degree murder and faces as many as 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge.

For several nights, the death of Mr. Wright has brought hundreds of people to the police station in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb, where they have been met by Minnesota National Guard members and State Patrol troopers who have fired tear gas, rubber bullets and other projectiles at the crowd. Some of the demonstrators have launched fireworks and thrown rocks and bottles of water at the police. Officers arrested 79 people on Tuesday night. Dozens of businesses in the region were broken into earlier in the week.

Katie Wright, Mr. Wright’s mother, has said that Mr. Wright called her after the police had pulled him over and said that they had stopped him because of an air freshener dangling from his rearview mirror. She said he had been driving with his girlfriend at the time, and that she could hear “fear in his voice” when he called. Mr. Wright was the father of Daunte Jr., who is almost 2.

Relatives and friends of Mr. Wright have mourned during vigils in recent days; among those in attendance was Courteney Ross, Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend, who was a former teacher of Mr. Wright’s.

The local government in Brooklyn Center, a city of about 30,000 people, has also been in crisis. The City Council gave the mayor more authority in the wake of Mr. Wright’s death and the city manager, who had previously overseen the Police Department, was fired.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, a state agency that investigated Mr. Floyd’s death in May, has led the inquiry into the killing.

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs reported from Brooklyn Center, Minn., and Julie Bosman from Chicago.

April 14, 2021, 11:49 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:49 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

A lot of very technical discussion this morning between Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, and Dr. David Fowler, a medical expert for the defense. But it all seems to come back to the defense trying to make the point that drug use and a struggle with the police caused George Floyd’s heart to give out. This is a moment when the defense is trying to make this trial not about police tactics, but about medical complexities.

April 14, 2021, 11:55 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:55 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Dr. Fowler really tried to make a distinction for the jury between homicide, a manner of death determined by medical examiners, and murder, a criminal act as determined by the court. “There is some value to the homicide classification towards reducing the public perception that a cover-up is being perpetrated by the death investigation agency,” he said.

April 14, 2021, 11:34 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:34 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The prosecution in this case presented 38 witnesses. Dr. David Fowler, on the stand now, is the seventh witness — and among the last — for the defense. The burden of proof is on the prosecution; the defense does not have to “prove” that Derek Chauvin is innocent.

April 14, 2021, 11:36 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:36 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Still, in the trial of Jason Van Dyke, a police officer who was convicted of murder in the 2014 on-duty killing of Laquan McDonald in Chicago, the prosecution presented 24 witnesses, and the defense called 20.

April 14, 2021, 11:28 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:28 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Connecting the dots here on some fairly in-depth medical testimony for the defense: Dr. Fowler, Maryland’s former chief medical examiner, is saying that George Floyd’s methamphetamine use contributed to heart disease, which caused his death.

April 14, 2021, 11:23 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:23 a.m. ET

From the beginning, the death of George Floyd disrupted the field of forensic pathology in much the way it challenged policing, with critics saying that findings that his underlying conditions and drug use contributed to his death reflected racial bias.

The public outcry helped expose long-simmering tensions within the small but influential world of medical examiners, drawing in some of the experts who consulted on the case, including Dr. David Fowler, a forensic pathologist who is the first medical expert to testify for Derek Chauvin’s defense.

Dr. Fowler and others have vigorously attacked a study that said medically irrelevant information, like the race of the victim, could sway medical examiner determinations.

April 14, 2021, 11:08 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:08 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Dr. David Fowler, Maryland’s former chief medical examiner, testifies for the defense that George Floyd had a cardiac arrhythmia caused by his underlying health conditions while he was restrained by the police, contradicting prosecution experts who testified that Derek Chauvin’s restraint cut off Floyd’s oxygen supply, causing his heart to stop.

April 14, 2021, 11:09 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 11:09 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Fowler said Floyd’s health conditions “contributed to Mr. Floyd having a sudden cardiac arrest in my opinion. That’s how I would read it.”

April 14, 2021, 10:59 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 10:59 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The prosecution is expected to go hard after Dr. Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of Maryland testifying now for the defense. So one of the important things for Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, to do is to try to bolster Fowler’s credentials as much as possible. Some experts say establishing that George Floyd’s cause of death was something other than Chauvin’s knee on his neck is the crux of the defense case.

April 14, 2021, 10:36 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 10:36 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

At the end of the court session yesterday, the defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, complained that the prosecution had just dumped a huge pile of material on him that they could potentially use to impeach his witnesses — presumably including Dr. David Fowler, the former chief medical examiner of Maryland who is now on the stand. Dr. Fowler has been criticized for some of his findings regarding previous deaths in police custody.

April 14, 2021, 10:28 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 10:28 a.m. ET

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Fowler Says He Would Classify Floyd’s Death as ‘Undetermined’

Dr. David Fowler, former Maryland chief medical examiner, testified on Wednesday that he would classify George Floyd’s death as “undetermined,” with a primary cause of cardiac arrhythmia during police restraint.

So in my opinion, Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, or cardiac arrhythmia, due to his atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease, or you can write that down multiple different ways. During his restraint and subdual by the police or restrained by the police, and then his significant contributory conditions would be, since I’ve already put the heart disease in part one, he would have the toxicology, the fentanyl and methamphetamine. There is exposure to a vehicle exhaust. So potentially carbon monoxide poisoning or at least an effect from increased carbon monoxide in his bloodstream and a paraganglioma or the other natural disease process that he has. So all of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd’s death. This is one of those cases where you have so many conflicting … … different manners, the carbon monoxide would usually be classified as an accident. Although somebody was holding him there, so some people would say you could elevate that to a homicide. You’ve got the drugs on board. He’s got significant natural disease, certainly the heart, the paraganglioma. You know, you can certainly consider it as a potential exacerbating process, but I wouldn’t put it at the top of the list. Then he’s been restrained in a very stressful situation and that increased his fight-and-flight type reaction, and that was during restraint would be considered a homicide, and you put all of those together, it’s very difficult to say which of those is the most accurate. So I would fall back to undetermined.

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Dr. David Fowler, former Maryland chief medical examiner, testified on Wednesday that he would classify George Floyd’s death as “undetermined,” with a primary cause of cardiac arrhythmia during police restraint.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Derek Chauvin’s defense called on Dr. David Fowler, who retired as Maryland’s chief medical examiner in 2019 and has a history of involvement with high-profile police use-of-force cases, to testify on Wednesday as an expert witness.

At the request of Eric J. Nelson, a lawyer for Mr. Chauvin, Dr. Fowler said he reviewed medical, police and ambulance records, as well as toxicology reports and video footage, among other information in the George Floyd case.

Dr. Fowler explained that a death certificate includes a primary cause of death as well as other significant conditions contributing to a person’s death, per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

He said it was his medical opinion that Mr. Floyd suffered cardiac arrhythmia, which was contributed to by his underlying health conditions, including heart disease, drug use and exposure to carbon monoxide from the exhaust pipe during his restraint by the police.

“All of those combined to cause Mr. Floyd’s death,” he said.

While he was chief medical examiner of Maryland, Dr. Fowler ruled that the death of Anton Black, a Black teenager who was killed during an interaction with the police in 2018, was an accident, The Baltimore Sun reported. No one was charged.

In December, Mr. Black’s family filed a federal lawsuit against Dr. Fowler, the officers involved in the incident and others.

“Two years before George Floyd died after being restrained and pinned down by police, 19- year-old Anton Black (‘Anton’ or ‘Decedent’) was killed by three white law enforcement officials and a white civilian in a chillingly similar manner on Maryland’s Eastern Shore,” the lawsuit reads.

According to the lawsuit, officers restrained Mr. Black in a prone position for around six minutes after he had been Tasered and handcuffed as he “struggled to breathe, lost consciousness and suffered cardiac arrest.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which is part of the plaintiffs’ legal team, released a statement Wednesday. “Under Dr. Fowler’s leadership, the Maryland Office of the Medical Examiner has been complicit in creating false narratives about what kills Black people in police encounters,” it said. “The medical examiner blamed Anton for his own death — peppering its report with false claims about laced drugs, a heart condition, and even Anton’s bipolar disorder — instead of the police who killed him. The family was forced to pay for outside experts’ help to understand what really killed Anton.”

In 2015, Dr. Fowler’s office issued a homicide ruling in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man from Baltimore who died of a spinal cord injury after a widely circulated cellphone video showed him being dragged screaming into a police transport van.

In that case, six officers were initially charged with crimes including manslaughter and murder; the first trial ended in a hung jury, and three more officers were acquitted after trials before a judge.

Dr. Fowler was also an adjunct associate professor of pathology and pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and has taught at The Johns Hopkins Hospital and other universities around Maryland. He serves as the National Association of Medical Examiners representative for the Forensic Science Standards Board. He also serves as a forensic pathology consultant for the Forensics Panel, a national organization that performs peer review for cases.

April 14, 2021, 10:16 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 10:16 a.m. ET

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Witness With George Floyd Before His Arrest Will Not Take the Stand

Morries Lester Hall, who was in a car with George Floyd before his arrest, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was called to testify on Wednesday in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial.

“Mr. Hall cannot answer any of the questions that defense put forward, and I’m happy to expand on the reasons why he can’t answer any of those questions.” “Let’s just focus on how Mr. Floyd looked in the S.U.V. because that was the very limited group of questions that I thought might not incriminate him.” “Absolutely, Judge. And if you look at the list that defense proposed, I think that really starts getting into that topic at Question 7. So Question 7 proposed by the defense was, ‘After conducting your business in Cup Foods, did you return to the vehicle with Mr. Floyd?’ Mr. Hall cannot answer that question. Mr. Hall cannot put himself in that car with Mr. Floyd. Again, this was a car that was searched twice and drugs were recovered twice. If Mr. Hall puts himself in that car, he exposes himself to constructive possession charges of the drugs that were found in that car.” “You’ve had a chance to look at the questions that were proposed by both sides?” “I have.” “Would you be willing to answer those if I were to put you on the stand and swear you in as a witness?” “No, I’m not.” “OK, and why would you not answer those?” “I’m fearful of criminal charges going forward. I have open charges that’s. not settled yet. I’ve got personal stuff.” “So basically, you are invoking your Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination?” “Yes, sir. All right. Thank you, sir. You can have a seat.”

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Morries Lester Hall, who was in a car with George Floyd before his arrest, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was called to testify on Wednesday in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Morries Lester Hall, who was in a car with George Floyd outside of Cup Foods in Minneapolis moments before the police pulled Mr. Floyd out of the car and later pinned him to the ground for more than nine minutes, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when he was called to testify on Wednesday.

Mr. Hall’s lawyer, Adrienne Cousins, said testifying about his actions, or even about being in the vehicle with Mr. Floyd on May 25, could potentially incriminate him.

“If he puts himself in that car, he exposes himself to possession charges,” Ms. Cousins said Wednesday, noting that drugs were found in the car in two searches.

Judge Peter A. Cahill granted Mr. Hall’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment right, calling his reasoning valid.

Judge Cahill had ordered Derek Chauvin’s lawyer to draft a narrow list of questions that Mr. Hall might be able to answer without incriminating himself. Like Tuesday’s questioning of Shawanda Hill, who was also in the car with Mr. Floyd when he was arrested, the defense had hoped to ask about Mr. Floyd’s demeanor and behavior right before the arrest to bolster its argument that a drug overdose caused his death.

But Ms. Cousins said even answering those questions had the potential to incriminate him, and Judge Cahill agreed.

In her testimony, Mr. Floyd’s former girlfriend, Courteney Ross, said she and Mr. Floyd had purchased drugs from Mr. Hall in the past.

Mr. Hall has appeared in body camera footage throughout the trial, and on Tuesday, newly released footage showed him standing alongside Ms. Hill after Mr. Floyd had been taken away by officers.

According to a Minnesota official, Mr. Hall provided a false name to officers at the scene of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. At the time, he had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession.

Mr. Hall was a longtime friend of Mr. Floyd’s. Both Houston natives, they had connected in Minneapolis through a pastor and had been in touch every day since 2016, Mr. Hall said in an interview with The Times last year. Mr. Hall said that he considered Mr. Floyd a confidant and a mentor, like many in the community.

April 14, 2021, 10:06 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 10:06 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Morries Hall himself has taken the stand and told the judge that he has reviewed the list of questions the lawyers want to ask him, and he doesn’t want to answer them, invoking his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself.

April 14, 2021, 10:08 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 10:08 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Judge Cahill grants Hall his Fifth Amendment privilege, quashing the subpoena for him to testify. It’s another example of the judge thwarting the defense in its desire to present more evidence of George Floyd’s drug use.

April 14, 2021, 9:59 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 9:59 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Up next will be a decision on whether Morries Lester Hall will be required to testify. His lawyers are arguing that he should not be ordered to take the stand, saying he could incriminate himself. He was in the car outside Cup Foods with George Floyd when police pulled Floyd out to arrest him.

April 14, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 10:00 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Floyd’s girlfriend has already testified that Hall sometimes sold drugs to Floyd. In Minnesota, people can be charged with third-degree murder if they provide drugs that result in someone’s death.

April 14, 2021, 9:55 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 9:55 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The day begins early with the defense lawyer, Eric Nelson, asking for a judgment of acquitttal — that means the case would not even go to the jury because the state has itself introduced reasonable doubt as to Chauvin’s guilt. Nelson cites the testimony of Dr. Andrew Baker, the medical examiner, saying he ruled George Floyd’s death a homicide “for medical purposes” only.

April 14, 2021, 9:57 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 9:57 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

It’s common for defense lawyers to make such a motion before the trial gets to the jury. As expected, Judge Peter A. Cahill denies it.

April 14, 2021, 9:41 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 9:41 a.m. ET

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the police station in Brooklyn Center, Minn., for the third consecutive night on Tuesday to protest the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright.

April 14, 2021, 7:51 a.m. ET

April 14, 2021, 7:51 a.m. ET

The lawyer Eric J. Nelson and his client, the former officer Derek Chauvin, on Tuesday.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

The defense for the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is expected to call medical witnesses to the stand as soon as Wednesday, in the hopes of combating the claims of earlier witnesses who testified that George Floyd died from a deprivation of oxygen.

For the first time in the trial, a witness testified on Tuesday that Mr. Chauvin was justified when he knelt on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes. But the defense will want to broaden its case by calling medical witnesses who can provide expert testimony on Mr. Floyd’s cause of death.

Several witnesses called by the prosecution have testified that Mr. Floyd died from a lack of oxygen, and that they saw no evidence of a drug overdose or a heart attack. Those other potential causes of death have been the primary focus of the defense from the outset of the trial.

The trial moves forward amid continued fallout from the recent shooting of a Black man by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb. On Tuesday, the police officer who shot and killed Daunte Wright, 20, resigned, along with the department’s police chief.

The fate of Mr. Chauvin, who is charged with murdering Mr. Floyd, rests largely on how jurors answer two questions: whether his actions caused Mr. Floyd to die, and whether he violated use-of-force policies when he kept his knee on Mr. Floyd for nine and a half minutes.

The defense’s key witness on Tuesday, Barry Brodd, a use-of-force expert, began his testimony with unequivocal support of Mr. Chauvin, cross-examination by a prosecutor exposed some inconsistencies with his position.

Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Mr. Brodd initially testified that Mr. Chauvin’s restraint was not a “use of force” at all, but rather a restraint that was considered safe and generally painless. When a prosecutor pushed him on the issue, though, Mr. Brodd conceded that the restraint was a use of force according to the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department.

He also later admitted that the restraint could cause pain and went back and forth with a prosecutor who played a video of the arrest that captured Mr. Floyd saying, “Everything hurts,” along with other exclamations of pain.

Mr. Brodd said he had heard those comments during his review of the arrest but had not “noted it.” He also said that, in his opinion, Mr. Floyd continued to resist the officers even when he was handcuffed and facedown on the street, pinned under the knee of Mr. Chauvin. The prosecutor, Steve Schleicher, asked whether Mr. Floyd was actually “writhing on the ground because he can’t breathe.”

The cross-examination of Mr. Brodd could be costly for the defense if jurors decide that he lost some credibility by backtracking on the use-of-force issue.

Jurors also heard on Tuesday from Shawanda Hill, who was in the car with Mr. Floyd when he was first approached by officers. Ms. Hill said he was “happy, normal, talking, alert” in the Cup Foods convenience store in the minutes before he was arrested. Once Mr. Floyd was in the vehicle, Ms. Hill said he fell asleep. Other than being tired, though, she said Mr. Floyd seemed normal and in good health.

April 13, 2021, 9:36 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 9:36 p.m. ET

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Protests Continue in Minnesota

Protesters gathered for a third day outside the police station in Brooklyn Center, Minn., after a white officer fatally shot Daunte Wright, a Black man, during a traffic stop on Sunday.

Now he finally got a job for.

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Protesters gathered for a third day outside the police station in Brooklyn Center, Minn., after a white officer fatally shot Daunte Wright, a Black man, during a traffic stop on Sunday.CreditCredit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Law enforcement fired projectiles into a crowd of hundreds outside the Brooklyn Center police station after declaring the protest unlawful on Tuesday, the third consecutive night of demonstrations after an officer fatally shot Daunte Wright.

For about 45 minutes, Minnesota State Patrol officers intermittently ordered people to leave over a loudspeaker, specifically demanding that reporters leave the scene. Police officers and National Guard troops were lined up in front of the police station as protesters chanted and threw full water bottles.

Then, just after 9:30 p.m., State Patrol officers fired several flash bangs into the air and rushed a group of people at the front of the crowd who had been shielding themselves from police projectiles with umbrellas. Law enforcement had fired chemical spray, flash bangs and paintballs to disperse the crowd.

The efforts pushed a significant number of people out of the area, and the police appeared to detain several people as a line of Patrol officers stood guard.

Alyah Jacobson, 21, and Dimitri Pickett, 22, were among the protesters who left the area surrounding the police station before debating whether to regroup elsewhere.

The couple had driven in from the St. Paul suburb of Mahtomedi and said they were not deterred by the police response. “I didn’t feel threatened, and I’m not scared. I’ll come back,” Ms. Jacobson said. She added, of their 2-year-old daughter, “I’m not going to let her grow up in this kind of world.”

Humvees and National Guard vehicles circled neighborhood streets before the start of a 10 p.m. curfew in Brooklyn Center that also applied in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Dozens of people were arrested on Monday for violating an earlier curfew.

April 13, 2021, 5:35 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 5:35 p.m. ET

A still image from body camera video footage of George Floyd’s arrest was shown in court on Tuesday.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

For the first time in the trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin, a witness explicitly defended his actions when he knelt on George Floyd for nine and a half minutes.

Barry Brodd, an expert on the use of force who was called to testify by the defense, said on Tuesday that Mr. Chauvin had been justified in his actions, and that he did not consider the restraint that Mr. Chauvin used — keeping Mr. Floyd pinned under his knee while handcuffed and facedown on the street — a use of force. (Mr. Brodd later acknowledged that the restraint did qualify as a use of force under the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department.)

Mr. Brodd’s testimony contradicted that of numerous witnesses who were called by the prosecution, including other use-of-force experts and the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department.

The defense also called several other witnesses, including a woman who was in the car with Mr. Floyd just before police officers arrived.

As the defense called its witnesses to the stand, officials in Minnesota scrambled to deal with the fallout from the fatal shooting of a Black man by a police officer in suburban Minneapolis over the weekend. The officer who fired the fatal shot, as well as the police chief for Brooklyn Center, the suburb where the shooting happened, both resigned on Tuesday.

Here are key takeaways from Day 12 of the trial.

  • Mr. Brodd said that the officers who arrested Mr. Floyd had acted appropriately every step of the way. “I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, and was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” he said. Mr. Brodd also said that Mr. Chauvin’s actions did not qualify as a use of force at all, and that the fact that Mr. Floyd died did not mean Mr. Chauvin had used “deadly force.” He compared the situation to that of a police officer who uses a Taser, only to have the suspect fall back, hit their head and die. Though the suspect died, the initial use of force could still be reasonable, he said. Mr. Brodd also said the prone position in which Mr. Floyd was kept for nine and a half minutes was safe, did not typically hurt suspects and was an accepted way to control someone during an arrest.

Credit…Still image, via Court TV
  • During cross-examination, Mr. Brodd acknowledged that Mr. Chauvin’s restraint qualified as a use of force under the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department, though he had previously said it was not a use of force. In addition, he had initially said that the prone position in which Mr. Floyd was placed was unlikely to hurt suspects. During cross-examination, though, a prosecutor played body camera footage from the arrest which captured Mr. Floyd explicitly saying, “Everything hurts,” along with other exclamations of pain. Mr. Brodd said that he had heard these exclamations during his review of the tapes, but that he didn’t “note it.”

  • The prosecution and Mr. Brodd appeared to view the videos of the arrest from completely different perspectives. On several points, common ground was hard to find. For example, when watching video of Mr. Floyd pinned to the ground, Mr. Brodd said he thought that Mr. Floyd was resisting. The prosecutor, though, said Mr. Floyd was “writhing on the ground because he can’t breathe.”

  • Jurors also heard from a woman who was with Mr. Floyd just before police officers approached his vehicle, and they saw new body camera footage from Peter Chang, an employee of the Minneapolis Park Police and a licensed peace officer who responded to the scene of the arrest. Both witnesses provided new insight on Mr. Floyd’s condition before he was taken to a police cruiser and eventually pinned to the ground.

Credit…Still image, via Court TV
  • The woman, Shawanda Hill, said Mr. Floyd was “happy, normal, talking, alert” while in the Cup Foods convenience store before he was arrested. Ms. Hill said that Mr. Floyd had offered to give her a ride home, and they went to a vehicle together. Mr. Floyd then fell asleep while she took a phone call in the vehicle, she said. Other than being tired, Ms. Hill said, Mr. Floyd seemed normal, never complaining of shortness of breath or chest pains; the defense has suggested that Mr. Floyd died of complications from drug use and a heart condition.

  • In Mr. Chang’s body camera footage, Mr. Floyd can be seen handcuffed and sitting on the street as a police officer asked him for his name and birthday. Mr. Floyd answered the officer coherently and did not try to flee. The footage could benefit the prosecution, which has argued that the officers, particularly Mr. Chauvin, acted unreasonably during what should have been a routine interaction.

April 7, 2021, 2:54 p.m. ET

April 7, 2021, 2:54 p.m. ET

Judge Peter A. Cahill during former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial at Hennepin County District Court.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

A common sight during the trial of Derek Chauvin has been the judge, the prosecutors and Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer putting on headphones and carrying on a conversation that cannot be heard on the livestream.

What is happening here is a common part of a court hearing, known as a sidebar. These are usually brief discussions between the lawyers and the judge about scheduling, a point of law or a matter that they do not want the jury to hear, such as arguments over whether an objection to a line of questioning will be sustained or overruled.

Traditionally, such discussions happen with the lawyers and the judge huddled together and speaking in hushed tones. But because of coronavirus protocols in this trial, the answer to the question, “May I approach the bench?” is a definite “No.” So by using microphones and headsets, and by playing white noise to the jurors, the sidebar can happen with the participants at a safe distance.

“Please understand we are not attempting to conceal anything from you which it is necessary for you to hear,” Judge Peter A. Cahill told the jury at the beginning of the trial.

And, he added, “Please do not attempt to listen in.”

March 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ET

March 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ET

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How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody

The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

It’s a Monday evening in Minneapolis. Police respond to a call about a man who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Seventeen minutes later, the man they are there to investigate lies motionless on the ground, and is pronounced dead shortly after. The man was 46-year-old George Floyd, a bouncer originally from Houston who had lost his job at a restaurant when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Crowd: “No justice, no peace.” Floyd’s death triggered major protests in Minneapolis, and sparked rage across the country. One of the officers involved, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. The Times analyzed bystander videos, security camera footage and police scanner audio, spoke to witnesses and experts, and reviewed documents released by the authorities to build as comprehensive a picture as possible and better understand how George Floyd died in police custody. The events of May 25 begin here. Floyd is sitting in the driver’s seat of this blue S.U.V. Across the street is a convenience store called Cup Foods. Footage from this restaurant security camera helps us understand what happens next. Note that the timestamp on the camera is 24 minutes fast. At 7:57 p.m., two employees from Cup Foods confront Floyd and his companions about an alleged counterfeit bill he just used in their store to buy cigarettes. They demand the cigarettes back but walk away empty-handed. Four minutes later, they call the police. According to the 911 transcript, an employee says that Floyd used fake bills to buy cigarettes, and that he is “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.” Soon, the first police vehicle arrives on the scene. Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng step out of the car and approach the blue S.U.V. Seconds later, Lane pulls his gun. We don’t know exactly why. He orders Floyd to put his hands on the wheel. Lane reholsters the gun, and after about 90 seconds of back and forth, yanks Floyd out of the S.U.V. A man is filming the confrontation from a car parked behind them. The officers cuff Floyd’s hands behind his back. And Kueng walks him to the restaurant wall. “All right, what’s your name?” From the 911 transcript and the footage, we now know three important facts: First, that the police believed they were responding to a man who was drunk and out of control. But second, even though the police were expecting this situation, we can see that Floyd has not acted violently. And third, that he seems to already be in distress. Six minutes into the arrest, the two officers move Floyd back to their vehicle. As the officers approach their car, we can see Floyd fall to the ground. According to the criminal complaints filed against the officers, Floyd says he is claustrophobic and refuses to enter the police car. During the struggle, Floyd appears to turn his head to address the officers multiple times. According to the complaints, he tells them he can’t breathe. Nine minutes into the arrest, the third and final police car arrives on the scene. It’s carrying officers Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin. Both have previous records of complaints brought against them. Thao was once sued for throwing a man to the ground and hitting him. Chauvin has been involved in three police shootings, one of them fatal. Chauvin becomes involved in the struggle to get Floyd into the car. Security camera footage from Cup Foods shows Kueng struggling with Floyd in the backseat while Thao watches. Chauvin pulls him through the back seat and onto the street. We don’t know why. Floyd is now lying on the pavement, face down. That’s when two witnesses begin filming, almost simultaneously. The footage from the first witness shows us that all four officers are now gathered around Floyd. It’s the first moment when we can clearly see that Floyd is face down on the ground, with three officers applying pressure to his neck, torso and legs. At 8:20 p.m., we hear Floyd’s voice for the first time. The video stops when Lane appears to tell the person filming to walk away. “Get off to the sidewalk, please. One side or the other, please.” The officers radio a Code 2, a call for non-emergency medical assistance, reporting an injury to Floyd’s mouth. In the background, we can hear Floyd struggling. The call is quickly upgraded to a Code 3, a call for emergency medical assistance. By now another bystander, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, is filming from a different angle. Her footage shows that despite calls for medical help, Chauvin keeps Floyd pinned down for another seven minutes. We can’t see whether Kueng and Lane are still applying pressure. Floyd: [gasping] Officer: “What do you want?” Bystander: “I’ve been —” Floyd: [gasping] In the two videos, Floyd can be heard telling officers that he can’t breathe at least 16 times in less than five minutes. Bystander: “You having fun?” But Chauvin never takes his knee off of Floyd, even as his eyes close and he appears to go unconscious. Bystander: “Bro.” According to medical and policing experts, these four police officers are committing a series of actions that violate policies, and in this case, turn fatal. They’ve kept Floyd lying face down, applying pressure for at least five minutes. This combined action is likely compressing his chest and making it impossible to breathe. Chauvin is pushing his knee into Floyd’s neck, a move banned by most police departments. Minneapolis Police Department policy states an officer can only do this if someone is, quote, “actively resisting.” And even though the officers call for medical assistance, they take no action to treat Floyd on their own while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Officer: “Get back on the sidewalk.” According to the complaints against the officers, Lane asks him twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side. Chauvin says no. Twenty minutes into the arrest, an ambulance arrives on the scene. Bystander: “Get off of his neck!” Bystander: “He’s still on him?” The E.M.T.s check Floyd’s pulse. Bystander: “Are you serious?” Chauvin keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost another whole minute, even though Floyd appears completely unresponsive. He only gets off once the E.M.T.s tell him to. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, according to our review of the video evidence. Floyd is loaded into the ambulance. The ambulance leaves the scene, possibly because a crowd is forming. But the E.M.T.s call for additional medical help from the fire department. But when the engine arrives, the officers give them, quote, “no clear info on Floyd or his whereabouts,” according to a fire department incident report. This delays their ability to help the paramedics. Meanwhile, Floyd is going into cardiac arrest. It takes the engine five minutes to reach Floyd in the ambulance. He’s pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 9:25 p.m. Preliminary autopsies conducted by the state and Floyd’s family both ruled his death a homicide. The widely circulated arrest videos don’t paint the entire picture of what happened to George Floyd. Crowd: “Floyd! Floyd!” Additional video and audio from the body cameras of the key officers would reveal more about why the struggle began and how it escalated. The city quickly fired all four officers. And Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting murder. But outrage over George Floyd’s death has only spread further and further across the United States.

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The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 to report that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

By combining videos from bystanders and security cameras, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Mr. Floyd’s death. Our video shows officers taking a series of actions that violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and turned fatal, leaving Mr. Floyd unable to breathe, even as he and onlookers called out for help.

March 29, 2021, 8:15 a.m. ET

March 29, 2021, 8:15 a.m. ET

Live coverage of the trial is shown on a phone outside of the courthouse where Derek Chauvin’s trial is being held in Minneapolis.
Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times

The trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is unusual for many reasons: It is being livestreamed from Minneapolis, attendance is severely limited because of the coronavirus and the public’s interest in the case may make this one of the highest-profile trials in recent memory.

The trial can be watched on nytimes.com, via a livestream provided by Court TV, which is also airing the trial in full. Witness testimony and lawyers’ presentations of evidence should last several weeks before the jury begins to deliberate over the verdict.

Among the people allowed in the courtroom, on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center, are: the judge, jurors, witnesses, court staff, lawyers, Mr. Chauvin and only a handful of spectators.

The judge, Peter A. Cahill, wrote in an order on March 1 that only one member of Mr. Floyd’s family and one member of Mr. Chauvin’s family would be allowed in the room at any time. Two seats that are reserved for reporters and various journalists, including from The New York Times, will be rotating throughout the trial.

The lawyers, spectators, jurors and witnesses are required to wear masks when they are not speaking. Spectators are prohibited from having any visible images, logos, letters or numbers on their masks or clothing, according to Judge Cahill’s order.



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