In May 2020, Chauvin made an arrest that resulted in the death of George Floyd.
Jurors took about 10 hours to reach the verdict, and two alternate jurors were dismissed before the deliberations were made. This was done when jurors were sequestered.
The prosecution argued that Chauvin murdered Floyd. However, the defense insisted that the former police officer used reasonable force and that other factors contributed to the man’s death.
Over the course of the trial, several expert witnesses were brought to testify over the case. The witnesses admitted that Floyd’s death was caused by Chauvin’s knee pressing on his neck.
Therefore, the man’s death had nothing to do with Floyd’s drug use or his underlying heart condition.
Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, was among the most prominent witnesses at the trial. He testified that even a healthy person would have died under the conditions Floyd went through.
However, a defense witness, Dr. David Fowler, argued against Dr. Martin’s opinion by saying that carbon monoxide from the police officer’s car exhaust might have had something to do with Floyd’s death.
In his court report, Dr. Fowler suggested that they test his blood for carbon monoxide levels.
The prosecution tried to prove that Floyd’s carbon monoxide levels were normal by submitting relevant evidence. Unfortunately, the judge ruled that the submission came too late, and he, therefore, barred them from referencing the report.
Bodycam footage of Floyd’s May 2019 was also submitted by the defense. That’s a year before his fatal arrest a year later.
During the 2019 arrest, police officers allegedly found several opioid pills and cocaine in Floyd’s possession. The man was also hospitalized after he reportedly swallowed several pills.
The defense claimed that the May 2019 and May 2020 videos were very similar and proved that Floyd tended to act out during arrests with the hope of ending up in the hospital rather than getting locked up in jail.
The defense also pointed out that during Floyd’s arrest in May 2020, there was a white residue around him, which suggested he had swallowed at least one opioid pill. This was apparently evident in the body cam video.
In 2020, Minneapolis police officers were shown in a video arresting 46-year-old Floyd based on the suspicion that he had used a counterfeit bill at Cup Foods supermarket.
The police officers pulled him out of his car and put him in cuffs. Chauvin was also recorded forcing his knee into his neck for over nine minutes.
Before losing consciousness and dying, Floyd was heard gasping for air and saying that he could not breathe.
According to official autopsy reports from Hennepin County, Floyd’s blood had a fentanyl concentration of 11 nanograms per milliliter. The medical examiner explained that the concentration was high and potentially fatal, but that did not mean that Floyd died of an overdose.
As per the report, there was no evidence showing that he had died of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. In addition, an independent autopsy confirmed that Floyd had sustained forceful pressure on his neck and back, which ultimately caused his death.
Still, both the county and the independent report confirmed the presence of drugs in Floyd’s system. Nevertheless, they all agreed that his death was a homicide and not the result of a drug overdose.
The defense had argued that a “speedball,” which is an opioid and stimulant combination, together with hypertension, resulted in Floyd dying of cardiac arrhythmia during his arrest.
However, the prosecution claimed that the video footage proved that he had not died of a drug overdose and that the only reason he died was that Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes and cut off his air supply.
Chauvin’s trial was separate from that of former colleagues present during the fatal arrest. The other three former officers involved in the fatal arrest will begin their trial this summer.