Closing arguments in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin began on Monday morning (April 19) before the jury heads into deliberation. Prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher went first and reminded the jury that Chauvin is on trial and not George Floyd.
“We’ve heard some things about George Floyd — that he struggled with drug addiction, that he was being investigated for allegedly passing a fake $20 bill, that there was never any evidence that he knew it was fake in the first place, but he is not on trial,” Schleicher said.
Schleicher also reminded the jury that the Minneapolis Police Department and policing itself is not on trial.
“You met several Minneapolis police officers during this trial. You met them. They took the stand. They testified and make no mistake, this is not a prosecution of the police,” he said. “It is a prosecution of the defendant. And there is nothing worse for good police then a bad police.”
Schleicher also argued to the jury that Chauvin “betrayed the badge” and “abandoned his values” as a Minneapolis police officer when he kneeled on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.
“... What the defendant did here was a straight-up felony assault,” he said. “This was not policing. It was unnecessary, it was gratuitous, it was disproportionate. And he did it on purpose. No question. This was not an accident.”
“He did not trip and fall and find himself upon George Floyd’s neck. He did what he did on purpose and it killed George Floyd,” he added.
After the jury hears closing arguments from both Schleicher and Chauvin’s defense attorney, they will be sent to the Hennepin County Government Center for deliberation. The jury will need to decide whether or not prosecutors “proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that Chauvin is guilty of his charges, which include second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Watch the trial’s closing arguments below.