MINNEAPOLIS, (KTTC) — The Derek Chauvin murder trial officially began Monday at the Hennepin County Government Center.
Chauvin is the former Minneapolis police officer that faces charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter and third-degree murder for the death of George Floyd.
Opening statements began in the morning. The attorneys laid out what the jury can expect to see, and who they will hear from throughout the trial.
The prosecution presented its statement first. Attorney Jerry Blackwell presented the state’s opening statement. He showed the bystander video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
Blackwell also told the jury that Floyd was pinned down for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. It was previously reported that Floyd was pinned down for 8 minutes 46 seconds. Blackwell also stated Floyd told officers 27 times that he could not breathe.
“The force that Mr. Chauvin was using was lethal force. It was force that was capable of killing a human, or putting his or her life in danger. The evidence is going to show you that there was no cause in the first place to use lethal force against the man who was defenseless, who was handcuffed, who was not resisting,” Blackwell said.
On the defense side, Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson said this case is about the evidence and that the case is about more than those 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
The defense said the Hennepin County medical examiner’s report showed Floyd did not die from asphyxiation.
Nelson said evidence will show Floyd died of cardiac arrhythmia from hypertension coronary disease, meth and fentanyl, and adrenaline.
“There were no bruises to Mr. Floyd’s neck, either on his skin or after peeling his skin back to the muscles beneath. There was no petechial hemorrhaging. There was not evidence that Mr. Floyd’s airflow was restricted,” Nelson said.
Following opening statements, the first witness was called.
Witness #1: Jena Scurry, 911 dispatcher
Scurry was working the day of the incident and dispatched officers to 38th and Chicago. Scurry said she was able to see the incident through a street camera.
“They had come from the back of the squad car to the ground. And my instincts were telling me that something was wrong. Something was not right,” Scurry said.
She said her concern pushed her to call a sergeant. She informed the court that dispatchers call sergeants for use of force incidents involving officers. The prosecution played a sound clip of Scurry’s call to the sergeant.
“They got something out of the back of the squad and all of them sat on this man,” she said.
Witness #2: Alisha Oyler, bystander
Oyler is a former employee at the Speedway, the gas station across the street from Cup Foods. She recorded multiple videos of the incident on her cell phone.
“I always see the police messing with people. And its wrong and its not right,” Oyler said.
Witness #3: Donald Williams II, bystander
Williams is a professional fighter who has training in doing a chokehold.
“The more you seen Floyd fade away, slowly fade away. And like a fish in a bag, you see his eyes slowly pale out and again slowly roll to the back of his eye,” Williams said.
The court will finish questioning Williams on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.