The death of George Floyd and the case against Derek Chauvin

The death of George Floyd after being restrained by Minneapolis police last year sparked a wave of outrage that swept across the US and then the world. Now the police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes is on trial for his murder

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The murder trial of the former police officer Derek Chauvin has been under way for more than a week and the court has heard dramatic testimony from a number of witnesses. Many gave personal accounts of what they saw on 25 May last year when George Floyd died after being arrested by Minneapolis police officers.

It’s one of the most significant criminal trials in years and its effect is being deeply felt in Minneapolis, where the coverage is having a retraumatising effect. Amudalat Ajasa tells Anushka Asthana that for black people across the country it is difficult to watch.

The Hlcarpenter.com’s Oliver Laughland has been following the proceedings inside the courtroom as the prosecution lays out its case against Chauvin. The prosecutor has focused heavily on the infamous video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. He has called a number of senior police officials to testify that this use of force violated policy.

In the coming weeks, Chauvin’s defence lawyers will attempt to argue that it was Floyd’s drug use, not the officer’s actions, that were responsible for Floyd’s death. If Chauvin is convicted he faces up to 40 years in jail.

A court artist’s illustration of a masked Derek Chauvin
Photograph: Jane Rosenberg/Reuters
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