The punishment handed out Friday fell short of the 30 years that prosecutors had requested.
While the verdict was celebrated by activists and brought a sense of relief, talk soon turned to ambitions for greater change outside the courtroom.
The defense at the murder trial of former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd wrapped up its case Thursday without putting Chauvin on the stand, presenting a total of two days of testimony to the prosecution’s two weeks.
George Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm problem due to his heart disease while being restrained by police, a retired forensic pathologist testified for the defense Wednesday at former Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, contradicting several experts who said Floyd succumbed to a lack of oxygen.
Seth Stoughton, a professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law, judged Chauvin’s actions against what a reasonable police officer in the same situation would have done, and repeatedly found that Chauvin did not meet the test.
The chief medical examiner who ruled Floyd’s death a homicide testified that the way police held him down and compressed his neck “was just more than Mr. Floyd could take.”
Dr. Martin Tobin told the jury that Floyd’s breathing was severely constricted while former Officer Derek Chauvin and two other Minneapolis officers held him against the ground.
Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant, said that Chauvin applied pressure to Floyd’s neck area from the time officers began pinning him until paramedics began to move him to a stretcher.
Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force instructor, became the latest member of the Minneapolis force to take the stand in Chauvin’s murder trial. The former officer is charged in the death of George Floyd.
Continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training,” Chief Medaria Arradondo said.
Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who said he is the most senior person on the police force, also testified that officers have a duty to provide care for a person in distress, even if an ambulance has been called.
A Minneapolis police supervisory sergeant who was on duty the night George Floyd died noted that officers are trained to roll people on their side to help with their breathing after they have been restrained in the prone position.
Earlier Tuesday, a man who was among the onlookers shouting at officer Derek Chauvin to get off Floyd testified that he called 911 after paramedics took Floyd away “because I believed I witnessed a murder.”
Prosecutors showed the jury video of Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on the Black man’s neck for several minutes as onlookers yelled at him repeatedly to get off and Floyd gasped that he couldn’t breathe.
Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said it was the largest pretrial civil rights settlement ever and “sends a powerful message that Black lives do matter and police brutality against people of color must end.”