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Derek Chauvin murder trial: America braced for chaos as decision on George Floyd death looms

America has already seen scenes of chaos over the weekend, but an impending call in the George Floyd murder trial could send the nation over the edge. The USA has seen a weekend of unrest as the country gears up for a decision in the coming hours to see tensions boil over even further. Americans are now waiting for a verdict in the trial of the police officer charged with murdering George Floyd last year — a death that sparked a wave of protests nationwide.

Closing arguments are expected in the Derek Chauvin trial on Monday morning US time.

The most severe charge the former Minneapolis officer faces in Floyd’s death is second-degree murder. Still, the jury might find him guilty of third-degree murder or manslaughter or acquit him altogether.

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill has scheduled closing arguments in the case at 10 am Eastern time (midnight AEST), followed by instructions to the jury before deliberating on the charges.

The New York Post reports that the jury consists of three black men, a black woman, four white women, two white men, and two women who identify as multiracial.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Mr. Floyd’s police-custody death during his arrest on May 25.

Derek Chauvin

Forty-five witnesses were called to the witness stand over nearly three weeks of testimony in Hennepin County District Court — 38 of them brought to the frame by state prosecutors.

The four-member prosecution team, led by Assistant State Attorney General Matthew Frank, repeatedly focused on viral video footage of Floyd’s death, including Chauvin pressing his knee on the man’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

Prosecutors contend that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation due to the restraint, with Chauvin seen keeping his knee on his neck even after paramedics arrived at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue and found Floyd had no pulse.

But Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson hinged his case on three assertions: that Mr. Floyd died due to drug use and a heart ailment, that an unruly crowd of bystanders posed a threat and distracted the cop, that Chauvin followed his training in using the restraint.

The two sides presented contrasting testimony from medical experts on Mr. Floyd’s cause of death.

The city’s medical examiner testified that neck compression killed him, although Mr. Floyd had several underlying conditions contributing to his death.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin violated department policy and training during the fatal encounter.

On the final day of trial, Chauvin told the judge he would not testify in his defense and instead invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.

The trial took place under heavy security and barricades outside the courthouse in anticipation of unrest — with officials now on high alert with the verdict looming. Police in cities throughout the US are also braced for potential protests over the verdict — after a weekend that saw violence break out. The deaths of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, and 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago continued to spark outrage. Over the weekend, bottles were thrown at officers in Brooklyn Center. Two people were arrested in Chicago. Multiple fires were set in Portland, where authorities declared a riot. And windows were smashed in Oakland.

Molly Aronson

I'm an award-winning blogger who enjoys all things creative but is especially passionate about lifestyle design. I blog over at mehlogy.com I love that I get to share my passion for healthy living, fashion, fitness, and travel with readers from all over the world.

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