Derek Chauvin Trial

April 20th, 2021 2:45pm PDT Update:

Former member of the Minneapolis Police Department, Derek Chauvin, is on trial for the death of George Floyd. Floyd died during an arrest made by Chauvin and 3 other officers, sparking months of protesting and unrest across the United States. 

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. His trial is expected to last several weeks, and has already sparked a number of demonstrations in downtown Minneapolis. Minnesota National Guard have been deployed ahead of anticipated unrest, and fencing and barricades have been erected around the Hennepin County Government Center and all police precincts.

Day 16 Highlights (4/20/21):

  • Jury resumes deliberation in Derek Chauvin Trial 
  • A verdict has been reached in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, according to a notice posted on the Hennepin County Court’s website. “A verdict has been reached and will be read between 3:30-4:00 p.m. Tuesday, April 20″ (4:30-5:00 p.m. ET), according to the notice.

  • Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted on all charges by a jury in the Hennepin County court.   

    The 12 jurors found him guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd’s death in May 2020.

Day 15 Highlights (4/19/21) Closing Arguments:

  • Prosecuting attorney Steve Scleicher began closing arguments by talking about George Floyd and his family.
  • Following the closing arguments, the jury must deliberate whether or not the prosecution “proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is guilty of three charges; Second-degree unintentional murder, Third-degree murder, and Second-degree Manslaughter
  • Prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher told the jury during “this case is called the state of Minnesota versus Derek Chauvin. This case is not called the state of Minnesota versus the police.”
    • “Proof beyond reasonable doubt, it is a high standard. The highest standard. A standard that the state has met here,” Schleicher said.
  • Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked the jury to consider the information that Derek Chauvin had before he arrived at the scene and ask how a “reasonable officer” would react to the situation.
  • Defense attorney Eric Nelson told the jury during his closing argument that only considering the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was on top of George Floyd is not “proper analysis” to decide the case.
  • Defense attorney Eric Nelson said during his closing argument that Derek Chauvin’s own use of force trainer at the Minneapolis Police Department testified that placing the knee on the neck of a suspect “is not an unauthorized move.”
  • Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell has concluded his rebuttal argument.
  • Judge Peter Cahill is reading instructions to the jurors before they leave the courtroom to begin their deliberations. They will remain sequestered for deliberations and will stay in a hotel at night.

Day 14 Highlights (4/15/21):

  • Ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin just said he will invoke the Fifth Amendment and not testify at his murder trial.
  • After the defense rests its case, Judge Peter Cahill will allow the prosecution to call a witness to rebut some of the testimony by defense expert witness, Dr. David Fowler. But the judge said that he will limit what the witness can testify about.
  • Defense attorney Eric Nelson just rested the defense’s case in the Derek Chauvin murder trial.
  • The prosecution has called Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, as a rebuttal witness at the Chauvin trial.
    • As the prosecution recalled Dr. Martin Tobin as a rebuttal witness at the Chauvin trial, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates says the pulmonologist will have to be on the “on the shortest, tightest leash possible” to ensure the judge does not declare a mistrial.
  • Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, said during rebuttal testimony that the opinion of defense expert witness Dr. David Fowler regarding George Floyd’s potential level of carbon monoxide in his blood was “simply wrong.”
  • Following the rebuttal testimony from Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist, both the defense and prosecution rested. Closing arguments are set for Monday, April 19th at 10:00am EDT

Day 13 Highlights (4/14/21):

  • The defense will continue presenting its witnesses today during the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin. Defense attorney Eric Nelson has not explicitly laid out who will testify, but the witnesses are likely to further the broad themes of his case to acquit Chauvin.
  • In opening statements and cross-examinations, Nelson has focused on three main arguments:


    George Floyd died of drug and health problems, Chauvin’s use of force was ugly but appropriate, and the crowd of bystanders became hostile and distracted Chauvin from taking care of Floyd

  • The defense has called its next witness: Dr. David Fowler, a retired forensic pathologist. Prior to retirement, Fowler worked at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the state of Maryland.

  • Dr. David Fowler, testified that it is his opinion that the cause of Floyd’s death should be “undetermined.” “I would fall back to undetermined, in this particular case,” Fowler testified.

Day 12 Highlights (4/13/21):

  • Defense attorney Eric Nelson has called his first witness — former Minneapolis Police officer Scott Creighton. Creighton said he worked for the MPD for 28 years. He is now retired. Before he began testimony, the judge informed the jury that Creighton would be testifying about an earlier incident involving George Floyd on May 6, 2019.

  • The defense’s second witness is retired paramedic Michelle Monseng, who worked in in Hennepin County, Minnesota, for almost 34 years. She is testifying about providing treatment to George Floyd during an incident on May 6, 2019.

  • The next witness is Shawanda Hill. She was subpoenaed by the defense to testify. On May 25, 2020, she was at Cup Foods. She ran into George Floyd in the store. She testified that Floyd was “happy, normal, talking, alert” when she saw him.

  • Peter Chang, a Minneapolis Park Police officer, is now testifying and being questioned by the defense attorney. Chang said he was on duty on May 25, 2020, and responded to a call at Cup Foods.

  • Minneapolis Police Officer Nicole MacKenzie, the department’s medical support trainer, testified that one of the officers at the scene, Thomas Lane, received training to detect a condition called “excited delirium” syndrome in a suspect.
    • Asked by the prosecutor if an officer would defer to an “emergency room doctor” on whether someone is actually experiencing delirium, MacKenzie said, “Absolutely. Not our place to diagnose that.”
  • Defense expert witness Barry Brodd testified that ex-cop Derek Chauvin’s actions were “justified.”
    • “I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified with acting with objective, reasonableness following Minneapolis Police Department policy. And current standards of law enforcement and his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” Brodd testified.

Day 11 Highlights (4/12/21):

  • Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich is currently on the stand. He said he currently practices at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago but is appearing “as an expert cardiologist to provide my opinion as to how George Floyd died.” 

    • “Mr. George Floyd died from a cardiopulmonary arrest. It was caused by low oxygen levels and those low oxygen levels were induced by the prone restraint and positional asphyxiation that he was subjected to.”
    • “After reviewing all of the facts in evidence of the case, I can state with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a primary cardiac event and he did not die from a drug overdose,” Rich said.
  • Judge Peter Cahill just ruled that Morries Hall will not testify in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. Hall is George Floyd’s friend and was in the car with him the day he was confronted by police – and ultimately died.

  • George Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, has now taken the stand in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.
  • Seth Stoughton, associate professor from the University of South Carolina school of law, who is also an affiliate professor in the university’s department of criminology and criminal justice, is now testifying.
    • Stougton said, “it’s clear from the number of officers and Mr. Floyd’s position and the fact that he’s handcuffed and has been searched, he doesn’t present a threat of harm.”

Day 10 Highlights (4/9/21):

  • Dr. Lindsey Thomas, a forensic pathologist, is now testifying.
  • Dr. Lindsey Thomas said the “primary mechanism” of George Floyd’s death was “asphyxia or low oxygen.” 
  • Dr. Lindsey Thomas clearly told the court that she ruled out drugs as a factor in George Floyd’s death.
  • A member of the jury in the Derek Chauvin trial was questioned Friday morning by Judge Peter Cahill about “some concerns expressed” over outside influences, according to reports from two courtroom pool reporters.
  • Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker, who performed George Floyd’s autopsy, has taken the stand.
    • “I was aware at least one video had gone viral on the internet. But I intentionally chose not to look at that until I had examined Mr. Floyd. I did not want to bias my exam by going in with preconceived notions that might lead me down one pathway or another,” Baker said.
  • The underlying heart disease George Floyd suffered from “contributed” but was not “the direct cause” of his death, Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner who performed Floyd’s autopsy, testified in court today.
    • “My opinion remains unchanged. It’s what I put on the death certificate last June. That’s cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual restraint and neck compression. That was my top line then and it would stay my top line now,” Baker said during the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin today.
  • Court is adjourned until Monday (4/12/21) morning

Day 9 Highlights (4/8/21):

  • Dr. Martin Tobin, a physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine, has taken the stand and is being questioned by the prosecuting attorney.
  • Dr. Martin Tobin said George Floyd died from a “low level of oxygen.”
  • Tobin said that George Floyd’s leg movements during the incident shows evidence that he was experiencing a seizure while Chauvin was holding him down.
  • The next witness to testify at the trial is Dr. Daniel Isenschmid. He is a forensic toxicology from NMS Laboratory in Horsham, Pennsylvania
  • Three forensic scientists on Wednesday testified that several white pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in George Floyd’s vehicle, and a smaller pill with Floyd’s saliva on it was found in the back of the police squad car.
  • Dr. William (Bill) Smock, emergency medicine physician with specialized training in forensic medicine, testified today that George Floyd died in May 2020 because of a lack of oxygen in his body.
  • Court is adjourned until tomorrow morning (4/9/21) when testimony is expected to resume in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.

Day 8 Highlights (4/7/21):

  • LAPD Sergeant Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified today that “no force should have been used” by former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin once George Floyd was handcuffed and lying on his stomach on the ground.
  • James Reyerson, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, has taken the stand to testify in the Derek Chauvin trial.
  • McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, has taken the stand to testify.
  • Breahna Giles, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is now testifying in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
  • Susan Neith, a forensic chemist at NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, is now testifying in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Day 7 Highlights (4/6/21):

  • Minneapolis Police Department Sgt. Ker Yang is now testifying. Yang is the crisis intervention training coordinator for the training unit and has been with the department for about 24 years.
  • Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil has now taken the stand to testify. He has been with the department since 1996 and said he currently is on medical leave.
  • Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil testified today about the use of neck restraints by police officers at the department. He said that a neck restraint is defined as “constricting the sides of a person’s neck and they refer to it as a neck restraint.

  • While showing the witness an image of Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd’s neck while Floyd was handcuffed, prosecuting attorney Steve Schleicher asked if “the subject was under control and handcuffed would this be authorized?” “I would say no,” Mercil said.

  • The prosecuting attorney questioned Minneapolis Police Officer Nicole Mackenzie.
  • Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified today that the force used by former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on George Floyd was excessive.

Day 6 Highlights (4/5/21):

  • Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo read the guidelines officers follow to determine “reasonable use of force in reference to the Graham vs. Connor case.”
  • Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo described how he found out about the incident involving George Floyd and the steps he took after being notified about the incident. 
  • Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Derek Chauvin “absolutely” violated the department’s neck restraint policy. 
  • Minneapolis Police Commander Katie Blackwell is testifying (CNN).  

Day 5 Highlights (4/2/21):

  • Jon Curtis Edwards, a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police, just took the stand in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged in the death of George Floyd.
  • Minneapolis Police Lt. Richard Zimmerman took the stand in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, and he is being questioned by the prosecution.
  • The most senior officer on the Minneapolis police department testified Thursday that actions like those used on George Floyd are not part of police department training, saying “if your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill them.”
  • Proceedings in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin have wrapped for the day. The trial will resume Monday at 9:15 a.m. local time.

Day 4 Highlights (4/1/21):

  • George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, is testifying as the 13th prosecution witness. 
  • Prosecution questions paramedic who treated George Floyd
  • The man who was sitting in a car with George Floyd when police approached and removed them from the vehicle says he will not testify in the trial. Morries Hall will invoke the Fifth Amendment and not testify if he is called to the stand, according to a filing submitted by his public defender Adrienne Cousins.
  • Retired Sgt. David Pleoger of the Minneapolis Police Department testified today about a phone call he had with former police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin kneeled on George Floyd’s neck.

Day 3 Highlights (3/31/21):

  • Cup Foods employee Christopher Martin was questioned today at trial about a possibly counterfeit $20 bill that George Floyd used to buy cigarettes inside the store on May 25, 2020
  • The next witness testifying is Christopher Belfrey, a Minneapolis resident who was parking his car on the street corner when he saw officers approach George Floyd’s vehicle
  • Witness Charles McMillian testified that he had seen former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in South Minneapolis five days before the incident involving George Floyd. “I had seen him through the community, I didn’t know him,” he added.
  • The prosecution’s next witness is Minneapolis police lieutenant James Rugel. He manages the police department’s business technology unit. He said his team manages the police department’s technology equipment, software, and systems that officers use on patrol and investigations. (CNN Live Updates)
  • Prosecutors presented previously unseen footage from Chauvin’s body camera during the arrest (CNN). 

Day 2 Highlights (3/30/21):

  • 3 witnesses testified on Tuesday morning, including Darnella Frazier, the teenager that captured the video of George Floyd’s death
  • Judge Peter A. Cahill ruled that four witnesses under the age of 18 will be allowed to testify remotely. They’re testimony will still be broadcast live. 
  • An activist has chained themselves to the fence surrounding Hennepin County Government Center in protest of current police reform efforts.


Possible Demonstrations and Unrest:

Minneapolis officials have been having weekly meetings with regional 911 leaders, purchased two additional sets of back up equipment and are creating a dedicated line of communication, should more unrest happen during the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin (Pine Journal)

  • Business owners fear repeat of unrest destruction during Derek Chauvin Trial (CBS Minnesota
  • West Philadelphia businesses prepare for potential civil unrest from trial over George Floyd’s killing (The Philadelphia Tribune
  • Key events since George Floyd’s arrest and death (Spectrum News NY 1)
  • National Guard deployed as Philadelphia prepares for possible unrest following Chauvin Trial verdict (Philadelphia Inquirer
  • Minnesota National Guard members patrol Lyndale Avenue S. near Lake Street. There are signs of militarization throughout the city: barricades, barbed wire and military patrols. (StarTribune

With jury deliberations in Derek Chauvin’s trial in the death of George Floyd underway, it’s not just Minneapolis preparing for protests and possible civil unrest — cities around the US are on alert, too. (CNN)

Here’s how some of the biggest cities are preparing:

  • In Los Angeles, police have stepped up community outreach efforts and planned to make additional officers available, according to Capt. Stacy Spell. “We are also strongly encouraging that if those people who want to express themselves see something, that they say something,” he said. “We don’t want small groups of individuals with malicious intent to hijack what would otherwise be a peaceful demonstration.”
  • In San Francisco, police said discretionary days off for officers have been canceled and additional officers will be deployed.
  • The Atlanta Police Department said in a statement that it’s coordinating efforts with local, state, and federal law enforcement and have officers prepared to respond quickly.
  • In New York City, police were preparing for protests. “We’re in constant, literally daily conversations,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “Obviously, so much will happen based on what the verdict is and how it’s expressed.” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the city has averaged 10 to 20 protests a day basically since last year. “It’s never really ended,” he told 1010 WINS radio.
  • The Philadelphia Police Department said it is prepared “with additional personnel to secure and patrol strategic locations.”
  • In Washington, DC, the Metropolitan Police Department will be “fully activated with members on 12-hour shifts starting Monday,” according to spokesman Hugh Carew. (CNN)


  •  Protesters Are Chaining Themselves to the Fence Outside Derek Chauvin’s Trial (Vice)
  • Protesters take to Minneapolis street on Day 1 of Chauvin trial (CBS Minnesota)
  • Protesters, National Guard spar over locks on fence outside Chauvin courthouse (NY Post)
  • $1M for Minneapolis fences, barricades for Floyd death trial (Pioneer Press)
  • Minneapolis increases security ahead of Derek Chauvin trial (KARE 11)
  • Minnesota National Guard ‘ready’ to keep peace for Derek Chauvin trial (Star Tribune)