Watch live coverage as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin begins with prosecution and defense teams’ opening statements.
Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd.
Watch live here beginning about 10:15 a.m. Monday:
A former Minneapolis police officer goes on trial Monday in George Floyd’s death, and jurors may not wait long to see parts of the bystander video that caught Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck, sparking waves of outrage and activism across the U.S. and beyond.
Prosecutors have not said when they will play the video, but legal experts expect it to be early — maybe even in the prosecution’s opening statement — as they seek to remind jurors of what is at the heart of their case.
“If you’re a prosecutor you want to start off strong. You want to frame the argument -- and nothing frames the argument in this case as much as that video,” said Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor and managing director of Berkeley Research Group in Chicago.
Floyd was declared dead after Chauvin, who is white, pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. He held his position even as Floyd’s “I can’t breathe” cries faded and he went limp as he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach. Chauvin is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Almost all of the jurors selected during more than two weeks of questioning said they had seen at least parts of the video, and several acknowledged it gave them at least a somewhat negative view of Chauvin. But they said they could set that aside.
The trial is expected to last about four weeks at the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, which has been fortified with concrete barriers, fencing, and barbed and razor wire. City and state leaders are determined to prevent a repeat of damaging riots that followed Floyd’s death, and National Guard troops have already been mobilized.
The key questions at trial will be whether Chauvin caused Floyd’s death and whether his actions were reasonable.