The defense attorney of Derek Chauvin, the white police officer accused of killing George Floyd, is calling for the jury to hear additional information in their client’s forthcoming trial, the Associated Press reported.
During the second week of the jury selection process, Eric Nelson asked the judge to allow the discussion of Floyd’s prior arrest in 2019, which he believes will prove that Floyd’s activity was a contributing factor to his death.
According to Nelson, in both the May 2019 arrest and Floyd’s fatal encounter with Chauvin, there are similarities in the late man’s behavior toward officers.
In both arrests, Floyd allegedly disobeyed cops who reportedly pulled out their guns and attempted to remove him from a vehicle. He called out to his mother for his assistance in both occasions, and allegedly popped a controlled substance in his mouth. Floyd was also found with white residue his month, while drugs were discovered in his car.
“The similarities are incredible. The exact same behavior in two incidents, almost one year apart,” Nelson said, adding that the late man — who had high blood pressure — was aware that drug use could end in his hospitalization.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank claimed the motion was “the desperation of the defense to smear Mr. Floyd’s character,” while Judge Peter Cahill clarified that Floyd’s potential drug use shouldn’t take sympathy away from his death. “You don’t just dirty up someone who has died in these circumstances as a defense,” said the judge.
Cahill ultimately agreed that some evidence of Floyd’s prior arrest might be relevant in Chauvin’s trial, but shared his concerns that two incidents weren’t enough to display a consistency in Floyd’s behavior.
Fourteen jurors are required for trial, which will start this month on March 29. The judge is looking for five more jurors; the first nine selected in individuals will undergo another interrogation, per Nelson’s request. Nelson’s previous motion to delay the trial is still being considered.