Opening statements are set to begin today (March 29) for the trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and third-degree murder for his role in George Floyd’s death 10 months ago.
Chauvin’s entire trial will be broadcast on live TV, which CNN notes is a first for the state of Minnesota. Prosecutors argue that Chauvin unintentionally killed Floyd while kneeling on his neck for over eight minutes last May. His attorney, Benjamin Crump, noted that Floyd’s family members will be “forced to endure” the disturbing footage of Floyd’s final moments, as the now-viral images are expected to be used during court proceedings.
Defense, on the other hand, reportedly plans to argue that Floyd died on May 25 from drug-induced medical issues. Speaking with NBC News’ TODAY on Monday morning, Crump said defense attorneys will try to “assassinate his character.”
“The fact that they found trace amount of drugs in his system is just a distraction because George Floyd was breathing, walking, talking just fine until Derek Chauvin put his face down with his knee on his neck,” Crump said. “The thing that killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force. This murder case is not hard. Just look at the torture video of George Floyd, and that’s what we need to start referring to it as — a torture video.”
Floyd’s brother, Philonise, also spoke with TODAY and said his family is feeling hopeful about the outcome of the trial.
“We know that this case, to us, is a slam dunk because we know the video is the proof,” he said. “That’s all you need. The guy was kneeling on my brother’s neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. A guy who was sworn in to protect; he killed my brother in broad daylight. That was a modern-day lynching. We feel good, and we will be there today to sit there and look and see what’s going on in the courtroom.”
As reported by REVOLT, only one member of Floyd and Chauvin’s families will be allowed in the courtroom at a time due to COVID-19 restrictions. The trial will be televised on Court TV and be streamed and televised on Law&Crime, which can be viewed on Peacock.