World Events

The Chauvin trial resumes this morning. Here’s what happened last week in court.

Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, right, attends court proceedings on Friday, April 9. Pool

It is day 11 of testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged in the death of George Floyd.

The prosecution’s portion of the trial will continue today with testimony from a physician.

If you’re just reading in, here’s a recap of what happened last week in court:

  • Monday: Three witnesses took the stand. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck was not a trained tactic and was a violation of the policies around de-escalation, objectively reasonable use of force and requirement to render aid. Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld treated Floyd and said the “more likely possibility” of Floyd’s cardiac arrest was hypoxia, or lack of oxygen. Minneapolis Police Inspector Katie Blackwell, who recently served as commander of the department’s training division, looked at a photo of Chauvin on Floyd’s neck and told the court that it was not in line with department training. “I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is,” she said. “It’s not what we train.” 
  • Tuesday: Four police officials testified in court. Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that the force used by Chauvin on Floyd was excessive. Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force instructor with the department’s training unit, said Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck is not a trained neck restraint tactic. Minneapolis Police Officer Nicole Mackenzie, a medical response coordinator, testified that officers are required to render first aid and request emergency services when someone needs medical help. Chauvin took a 40-hour course on crisis intervention training in 2016 in which actors portrayed people in crisis and officers had to de-escalate the situation, said Minneapolis Police Sgt. Ker Yang, the department’s crisis intervention training coordinator.
  • Wednesday: Several investigators and forensic scientists testified about what they found at the crime scene, including Floyd’s blood stains and a few white pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. A Los Angeles Police Department use-of-force expert hired by the prosecution testified that Chauvin had used excessive and deadly force on Floyd when none was needed. The special agent who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into Floyd’s death also struggled to make sense of a short phrase Floyd said last May as Derek Chauvin kneeled on him.
  • Thursday: Prosecutors shifted into the third phase of their case and focused on the medical analysis of Floyd’s cause of death. A renowned pulmonary critical care doctor testified Floyd died from a “low level of oxygen” when Chauvin pinned him to the street and restricted his ability to breathe. Also on Thursday, another doctor seconded Tobin’s conclusion and a forensic toxicologist discussed the drugs found in Floyd’s system.
  • Friday: The medical examiner who performed Floyd’s autopsy testified that Floyd’s heart disease and use of fentanyl were not the direct cause of his death. Baker ruled Floyd’s death last May a homicide and identified the cause as “cardiopulmonary arrest” that occurred during “law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” Forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas — who has reviewed various records, including the medical examiner’s autopsy — agreed with Baker’s finding in the cause of death, adding she believed the “primary mechanism of death is asphyxia or low oxygen.”

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