Minnesota v. Derek Chauvin: Daily Trial Highlights

Posted at 7:09 AM, April 1, 2021 and last updated 1:45 PM, June 21, 2023

MINNEAPOLIS (Court TV) — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 44, has been found guilty in the May 25, 2020, murder of George Floyd, Jr.


DAY 16 4/20/21

  • After more than 10 hours, a jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts:
    • Count 1: Second-degree unintentional murder
    • Count 2: Third-degree murder
    • Count 3: Second-degree manslaughter
  • Chauvin’s bail is revoked and he is remanded into the custody of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office; sentencing is scheduled for 8 weeks from now
  • WATCH: 4/20/21 MN v. Chauvin: Verdict 

DAY 15 4/19/21

  • Both sides deliver closing arguments
  • The defense moves for a mistrial twice; Judge Cahill denies both motions:
    • Defense attorney Eric Nelson accuses the state of prosecutorial misconduct for “belittling” the defense in rebuttal by characterizing the defense argument as “stories,” “nonsense” and fabrications
    • Defense attorney Eric Nelson claims Congresswoman Maxine Waters’ comments about the case may have been heard by the jury – Judge Cahill calls her behavior “abhorrent,” and beseeches elected officials to stop talking about the case
  • WATCH: 4/19/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 15 in Review

DAY 14 4/15/21

  • Defendant Derek Chauvin invokes his Fifth Amendment right not to testify. The defense rests.
  • The prosecution briefly recalls pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin to rebut testimony of defense pathologist Dr. Andrew Fowler on several points, including the amount of carbon monoxide in George Floyd’s blood
  • The prosecution rests. The jury is dismissed until Monday, April 19, when closing arguments will begin
  • Attorneys make final arguments on the definition of assault and other points of law for inclusion in jury instructions
  • WATCH: 4/15/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 14 in Review

DAY 13 4/14/21

  • Retired forensic pathologist Dr. David Fowler opined that George Floyd died of sudden cardiac arrest due to heart disease
  • Fowler cited the presence of fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s body, carbon monoxide exposure from the squad car tailpipe and a tumor in Floyd’s lower abdominal area as “significant” contributors to his death
  • Fowler also said Chauvin’s knee placement appeared to be toward the back right side of Floyd’s neck, “no way close his airway”
  • Fowler agreed with the prosecution’s contention that it he was “critical” of the officers’ failure to render immediate aid, especially after Floyd no longer had a pulse
  • WATCH: 4/14/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 13 in Review

DAY 12 4/13/21

  • The State rested their case-in-chief
  • The defense’s first witness, Officer Scott Creighton, arrested George Floyd during a May 2019 traffic stop – the jury sees bodycam video from the arrest
  • Shawanda Hill, a friend of George Floyd who was in the car during the May 2020 incident, took the stand
  • Minneapolis Park Officer Peter Chang, who responded to the scene to assist, expressed concern for the officers’ safety in the face of the growing crowd
  • WATCH: 4/13/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 12 in Review

DAY 11 4/12/21

  • Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testified George Floyd died of cardiopulmonary arrest due to low oxygen induced by the prone position and officer restraint
  • George Floyd’s brother, Philonese Floyd, gave tearful testimony while recalling memories of his big brother – he is the State’s only ‘spark of life witness’
  • Law professor Seth Stoughton, a use of force expert for prosecutors, said, “No reasonable officer would think that was an appropriate and reasonable use of force” after reviewing key portions of the bodycam video
  • WATCH: 4/12/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 11 in Review

DAY 10 4/9/21

  • Retired forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Carol Thomas opined that George Floyd died as result of asphyxia, in agreement with pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin and forensic medicine specialist Dr. William Smock
  • Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner who preformed the autopsy on George Floyd, testified he believes Floyd died from a cardiopulmonary arrest brought on by the stress of his encounter with police, and not by lack of oxygen as claimed by three other prosecution experts
  • WATCH: 4/9/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 10 in Review

DAY 9 4/8/21

  • Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist & critical care specialist, opined that George Floyd died from low oxygen – the result of Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck
  • Forensic toxicologist Dr. Daniel Isenschmid, who analyzed Floyd’s hospital blood and urine, testified that he found methamphetamine, fentanyl and norfentanyl in Floyd’s blood. He also detected morphine in Floyd’s urine
  • Dr. William Smock, a forensic medicine specialist, testified he believes Floyd died as a result of positional asphyxia
  • WATCH: 4/8/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 9 in Review

DAY 8 4/7/21

  • During the cross-examination of two state witnesses, defense attorney Eric Nelson played a clip from Alexander Kueng’s bodycam, in which he claimed George Floyd said, “I ate too many drugs.”
  • Forensic scientist McKenzie Anderson testified one of the pills found in Chauvin’s patrol car was found to have George Floyd’s saliva and tests proved the pills contained a mixture of methamphetamine and fentanyl
  • WATCH: 4/7/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 8 in Review

DAY 7 4/6/21

  • Morries Hall, a friend of George Floyd and passenger in the vehicle the day of May 25, 2020, appeared via zoom for a motion to quash a defense subpoena
  • Minneapolis police supervisor Sgt. Ker Yang testified that Chauvin was trained in crisis intervention and MPD medical training coordinator Officer Nicole Mackenzie testified Chauvin was certified in CPR and capable of administering first aid
  • Minneapolis police supervisor Lt. Johnny Mercil testified that “knee on the neck would be something does happen in the use of force,” but when the subject has been brought under control and handcuffed, this manner of restraint would not be reasonable and not approved
  • Also on cross, Lt. Mercil agreed with the defense that at several points during Chauvin’s hold on Floyd, it appeared his knee was resting across Floyd’s shoulder blades and not on his neck
  • The prosecution began their direct examination of Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use of force expert
  • WATCH: 4/6/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 7 in Review

DAY 6 4/5/21

  • Dr. Bradford Wankede Langenfeld, who treated George Floyd at Hennepin County Medical Center, testifies he thought Floyd’s heart stopped as a result of hypoxia or asphyxia
  • On cross, Dr. Langenfeld agreed with defense attorney Eric Nelson’s suggestion that the hypoxia that caused Floyd’s heart to stop could also result from Fentanyl intoxication
  • Minneapolis Police Chief Mederia Arrodando testified that Derek Chauvin violated the department’s policies, including ignoring the sanctity of life and using excessive and unnecessary force in restraining George Floyd, and failing to administer aid when it was clear Floyd was in medical distress
  • Defense attorney Eric Nelson raised the concept of camera angle bias during the cross-examination of Police Chief Arrondanodo; playing side by side clips of bystander video and Officer Kueng’s body camera, suggesting that from Keung’s point of view, Chauvin appeared to be on Floyd’s shoulder blade and not his neck
  • On re-direct, prosecutor Steven Schleicher pointed out the knee position on the shoulder appeared only after the paramedics arrived
  • WATCH: 4/5/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 6 in Review

DAY 5 4/2/21

  • Two supervising officers testified the level of force used to restrain George Floyd was unnecessary and any force should’ve ceased once Floyd was prone and handcuffed
  • Senior officer Lt. Zimmerman said, “I saw no reason why these officers felt they were in danger and they would have to feel that way to use that level of force.”
  • WATCH: 4/2/21 MN v. Chauvin Day 5: Three Big Moments

DAY 4 4/1/21

  • George Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross gave emotional testimony, recalling how the couple met and their struggle with drug addiction
  • On cross, Ross told defense attorney Eric Nelson that Floyd was hospitalized at one point for a suspected heroin overdose
  • Paramedics Seth Bravinder & Derek Smith, who responded to the scene, testify that Floyd was unresponsive and pulseless
  • Chauvin’s then-supervisor Sgt. David Pleoger testifies he reviewed bodycam footage and since the suspect died, the case review was sent to more senior managers
  • When asked for his opinion on when the restraint should’ve ceased against Floyd, Pleoger told the prosecutor, “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could’ve ended the restraint.”
  • WATCH: 4/1/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 4 in Review

DAY 3 3/31/21

  • Cup Foods employee Christopher Martin tells the jury about the incident that led to Floyd’s arrest; the jury sees store surveillance video
  • Eyewitness Charles McMillian, who is heard on video telling Floyd ‘you can’t win,’ gives emotional testimony
  • The jury sees never-before-seen footage from Derek Chauvin’s bodycam
  • WATCH: 3/31/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 3 in Review

DAY 2 3/30/21

  • Eyewitness Donald Williams completed his testimony
  • Jurors heard from traumatized teenagers and first responder Genevieve Hansen, who described how they watched Floyd’s life ebb away under the pressure of Chauvin’s knee
  • Hansen was rebuked outside the presence of the jury for arguing with defense attorney Eric Nelson and the court during her testimony
  • WATCH: 3/30/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 2 in Review

DAY 1 3/29/21

  • Both sides deliver opening statements
  • Minneapolis 9-1-1 dispatcher Jena Lee Scurry takes the stand; jury sees new video evidence from the city’s surveillance camera
  • Eyewitness Alisha Oyler says she made 7 cell phone recordings of the incident
  • Eyewitness Donald Williams, a professional fighter trained in mixed martial arts, describes the hold Chauvin administered as a blood choke and a shimmy
  • Williams also says based on his experience, Chauvin’s neck and back restraints were life threatening because they were designed to cut off oxygen and blood flow
  • WATCH: 3/29/21 MN v. Chauvin: Day 1 in Review