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National Review

Prosecutor: Chauvin “doesn’t give up and doesn’t get up” as George Floyd died slowly.

The murder trial of police officer Derek Chauvin, who was dismissed for the death of George Floyd, began Monday morning with a very effective opening statement by Minnesota prosecutor Jerry Blackwell. Indeed, Blackwell had a lot of work to do. The highlight of his presentation was a video with audio recorded by a bystander when Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck. The prosecutor insisted. “Nine to Nine,” Blackwell repeated several times, referring to 9 minutes and 29 seconds after the encounter. It was at the same time fascinating and unbearable evidence of audio-video. Floyd begged Chauvin to stop. According to the prosecutor, he said he had breathing problems over and over again. He shouted for his mother, shouted in pain, and shouted, “They are going to kill me.” It was painful to see the tragic end of this episode. Still, that way it was pale compared to the last four and a half minutes of horror highlighted by the state. At that time, Floyd’s life seemed to slip down in front of us. Blackwell said Floyd’s speech stopped before it was silenced. He completely fainted — no breathing or pulse. Still, the prosecutor repeated, Chauvin did not give up and did not get up. Bystanders, including off-duty firefighter Genevieve Hanson (testimony), desperately asked and insisted that Chauvin remove his knees from Floyd’s neck and lay him on his side so he could breathe. , And finally requested. They continued to point out that Floyd “did not even resist the arrest” and “did not respond.” Still, Chauvin didn’t give up and didn’t get up. Chauvin kept holding Floyd’s neck for another minute, even when the rescue workers finally arrived and began checking Floyd. Blackwell foresaw three categories of important evidence beyond video and audio evidence. The first is the witness testimony, some of which have already been mentioned. The prosecutor was impressed when he noticed that the jury heard from a very diverse group of witnesses, young and old, people of different races and backgrounds. Still, they all had one thing in common. It happened to what was happening between George Floyd and the police, and he immediately felt something deep, deep and wrong. These people included Jenna Scurry, a 9-1-1 police dispatcher who watched the incident unfold from a surveillance camera in Minneapolis. She was very confused about holding Chauvin’s neck for a long time and asked if the video malfunctioned in freeze frame mode. No, she was told, and so she noticed that Chauvin was planted on Floyd’s neck for minutes in a row. So she did something she had never done before. As Blackwell said, she “called a police officer to a police officer.” That is, she reported to the supervisory sergeant that the police could be illegal. And she wasn’t the only one desperately informing the police of what the police were doing to Floyd. Some of the bystanders did so — and many of the bystanders begged Chauvin’s three fellow police officers, all of whom would be prosecuted and tried later this year, to stop Chauvin. did. Later in the opening session of the trial, Scully was the first prosecution witness. The second category of evidence, which appears to be cut in favor of the prosecution, is testimony about police training. Blackwell is confident that experienced police officers from Minnesota and elsewhere will explain that what Chauvin did was blatantly overkill and he had to know it. I seemed to have it. This is important because excessive police force is an assault. The state’s theory of a second murder is that Chauvin killed Floyd while committing a criminal assault. How much of this expert’s testimony will ultimately be granted to Judge Peter Cayhill? The prosecution hopes to draw the conclusion of testimony from police forces-using experts that Chauvin used excessive force. This is an important factual issue in this case. Courts are usually dissatisfied with getting experts to come to a conclusion on such an “ultimate” issue. The proper usefulness of expert testimony is to arm the jury with the criteria they must understand in order to judge issues outside the scope of the general public. In effect, it does not deprive the jury of the fact-finding role by presenting the findings of the jury’s decision on the matter. a) There is expert testimony on either side of the matter, or b) By cross-examination and instructions from the judge, the jury accepts expert testimony on the ultimate issue of fact (or, for that matter, others). About that). However, I hope that expert testimony and its proper use will be fiercely contested. The final category of important evidence is evidence of medical problems, the “cause” question labeled by the prosecutor. Blackwell strongly suggested that the prosecution did not want the jury to think too much about George Floyd’s mind. Of course, it shows that defense must be planning to attach great importance to it. And in fact, Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson later confirmed in his opening statement. The defense wants to suggest to the jury that Floyd died of chronic heart problems and was exacerbated by substance use and arterial blockage. Nelson said: “Evidence shows that Mr. Floyd died of high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, methamphetamine and fentanyl intake, and cardiac arrhythmias resulting from adrenaline flowing through his body. Of course, the prosecution has downplayed these issues. Obviously, this tragic test will not help in many light moments. But Blackwell has a folk way about him, so when he dismissed the medical report’s explanation of the cause of Floyd’s death, cardiopulmonary arrest, I laughed despite myself. It was. He was translated into English, meaning that his heart and lungs stopped. .. .. This means that Floyd shares the same cause of death with everyone in human history. So, about causality, Blackwell’s message was, “You can believe in your eyes.” That is, the jury needs to trust what they see in the video and what the witnesses see with their own eyes. Prosecutors briefly touched on why the state believes evidence dispels the theory that Floyd died of heart arrhythmias, heart attacks, arterial occlusions, or drug overdose. But relatively speaking, this is the weakest part of the case of prosecution. It is simply true that Floyd had serious medical and substance abuse problems. In addition, there are some differences (of controversial importance) in the conclusions drawn by the Inspector General, which the defense will utilize. It poses an interesting dilemma for prosecutors. On the other hand, they will tell the jury to rely on police force-using experts without hesitation. Meanwhile, they tell the jury not to worry too much about medical professionals — just watch the video and use common sense. The evidence in the video, and the fact that Derek Chauvin never gives up or gets up during these 9 minutes and 29 seconds, is probably enough to steer the prosecutor through these complications. But they are complicated. In this case, the state should dominate, especially in light of the ruling that revived the “corrupted indifference” murder (see my column here). But that is not certain.