Trial over death of George Floyd nears conclusion

By Kenneth Crenshaw / Delta Staff Writer

After weeks of testimony, both the prosecution and defense have rested in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.

Chauvin is on trial for the murder of George Floyd. During the course of the trial new video was released from the body cam of the police officer showing the perspective of the entire altercation from the officer’s perspective. Prosecutors showed multiple body cameras from multiple officers during the altercation. The state has relied heavily on those videos to prove their case, causing many other witnesses to become emotional. Many had to leave the courtroom due to a distressed reaction. 

The police cam shows the fight that the police officers put George Floyd through while trying to put him into the squad car. Floyd requested to be put in the front of the car due to his claustrophobia. Floyd was then forced to the ground and detained by the knee gesture. Charles McMillan witnessed the entire altercation. This 61-year-old witness broke down in tears as he watched the murder again during trial. At the time, McMillan had confronted officers about their actions. 

The state also released the store footage from two hours before George Floyd’s death. Christopher Martin, the 19-year-old clerk who worked at the store and had a brief conversation with Floyd said it took him a long time to say what he had to say, indicating that he is high. He also stated disbelief and guilt.

“If he had simply not taken the fake $20 bill, this would all be avoided,” Martin said. 

Rodney Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, was among those in the courtroom while prosecutors played the disturbing police body cam video over and over, one after another. This was not just one cell phone video and there wasn’t anything out of view. What the prosecution was trying to show is that it was not George Floyd who escalated the situation; that there was an ability on the behalf of the police officers to try and resolve things another way. 

Eric Nelson, a defense attorney for Chauvin, said the protesters rioting outside Minneapolis may influence the jury to issue a guilty verdict.

“Fearing that not doing so could set off a rash of civil unrest,” he said.

The defense had argued unsuccessfully to sequester the jury after 20-year-old Daunte Wright was killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Minnesota.

Students at Missouri Valley College have been watching the trial and forming their own opinions.

Robert Strong shared his thoughts about the incident itself and the reactions of those watching the video.

“It’s a shame that even in the military, they treat prisoners of war better than our own officers treat our civilians,” Strong said. “A prisoner has to be fed, aircraft escorted, and cannot be placed on the front line.” 

Now that testimony has ended, the jury in the case is set to convene Monday to begin deliberations.

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