Prosecution closes case in Chauvin murder trial with tearful testimony from Floyd’s brother

Prosecution closes case in Chauvin murder trial with tearful testimony from Floyd’s brother

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A cardiologist said George Floyd’s death was “absolutely preventable”. Another witness told the court that no reasonable agent would have used the force that was applied Floyd.
But as the prosecution ended its case in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Monday, it was Floyd’s younger brother who provided the moving testimony, bursting into tears as he described the relationship. of his older brother with their now deceased mother.

“He’s my older brother George. I miss them both, ”Philonise Floyd said in Hennepin County District Court in downtown Minneapolis, when she was shown a photo of her brother as a young boy with their smiling mother.

WATCH | George Floyd’s brother testifies at Derek Chauvin murder trial:

Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, bursts into tears as she tells the jury about her brother’s grief over the death of their mother. 1:59

“It would always be on our mother. He was mom’s big boy. I cried a lot. But George, he loved his mother. “

George Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pressed a knee to the back of his neck for about nine minutes as two other officers held him down. He had been detained outside a convenience store after being suspected of paying with a fake ticket.

Chauvin is on trial for unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in connection with the death of the 46-year-old black man.

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill told jurors closing statements could begin next Monday. (Court TV / The Associated Press)

Video captured by a spectator shows the handcuffed Floyd repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe.

The outcome of the high-profile trial is being watched closely after the video sparked widespread outrage, sparking protests against race and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Judge Peter Cahill told jurors the trial could end this week, with closing statements starting April 19.

Play video games

Philonise spoke about growing up in poverty in Houston: how they would play video games together; how her brother, who couldn’t cook, always made the best banana syrup mayonnaise sandwiches.

George, he said, was a gifted athlete who tried to teach him to catch a soccer ball not by throwing it straight at him, but out of the way.

Philonise shed tears as she spoke of their mother’s death in 2018; how hurt her brother was that he couldn’t see her in Houston before she died.

“It hurt him a lot. And when we went to the funeral … George set right there at the coffin. Over and over, he would just say ‘Mum, Mum’ over and over again … And I didn’t know what to do say because I was in pain too. We were all hurt and he was just kissing her, and just kissing her. He didn’t want to leave the coffin. ”

In some of the videos of his arrest, Floyd can be heard screaming, “Mom! Over and over and saying, “Mom, I love you!” Although it is not known who he was referring to, the court heard from Floyd’s girlfriend that this was a name he also used for her.

Philonise has been authorized to testify as a “spark of life witness,” a doctrine in the state of Minnesota that allows the prosecution to call in people who can speak in court to humanize the victim of a crime.

Defense begins Tuesday

The defense begins to make its case on Tuesday, when Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson attempts to prove that Floyd was, in fact, not a victim, at least not of his client.

Nelson will spend the next few days trying to convince the jury that Chauvin’s actions were justified, that he did what his training taught him. And he will raise the possibility, as he did in cross-examination, that it was a combination of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions, drug use, and the adrenaline circulating in his system that caused him. finally killed.

On Monday, however, two expert witnesses for the prosecution tried to unravel these theories.

Cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich testifies in the trial of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin. (Court TV / The Associated Press)

Dr Jonathan Rich, a cardiology expert at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, echoed previous witnesses in claiming that Floyd died of low oxygen levels because of the way he was held by police.

Although Floyd suffers from narrowing of the arteries and high blood pressure, Rich said it is extremely common. Floyd also had a slightly thickened or slightly enlarged heart, he said, which would be normal in someone with high blood pressure.

Indeed, Rich testified, Floyd had an unusually strong heart and there was no indication that he suffered a heart attack on the day of his death.

« I can say with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die of a primary cardiac event and that he did not die of a drug overdose, ”he said.

“I believe the death of Mr. George Floyd was absolutely preventable,” he said.

If Floyd hadn’t been subjected to the initial stomach restraint, as he was handcuffed and shoved his face first into the sidewalk, “I don’t think he would have died,” Rich said.

Also, when he complained, he couldn’t breathe anymore, which put him in a position where he could have started dilating his lungs again, “I think it would most likely have saved his life as well,” Rich said.

In cross-examination, Rich agreed with Nelson that Floyd would have survived had he “just sat in the back seat of the patrol car.”

But he added: “If he hadn’t been held back as he was, I think he would have survived that day. I think he would have gone home, or wherever he was going to go. ”

The court also heard use of force expert Seth Stoughton who said that no reasonable agent would have believed that Chauvin’s actions constituted “an appropriate, acceptable or reasonable use of force”.

He said it was also unreasonable to think Floyd could injure police officers or escape after being handcuffed to the ground.

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