Topline

After two weeks of testimony and evidence from the state, Derek Chauvin’s defense team began making its case for the former Minneapolis Police officer Tuesday by calling to the stand two witnesses to testify about a 2019 arrest of George Floyd with which it is hoping to establish a pattern of behavior.

Key Facts

The first witness, Minneapolis Police Officer Scott Creighton, testified that Floyd, who was the passenger in a red Ford Explorer he pulled over, was “unresponsive and noncompliant” to his commands and that Creighton had to reach in and put Floyd’s hands on the dashboard.

Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson also showed jurors police body-camera footage of the arrest, in which Floyd appears to panic, as he did during his arrest last May, saying: “Please, I don’t want to be shot.” 

Also called to testify was Michelle Moseng, a retired Hennepin County paramedic, who detailed how Floyd was taken to the hospital after the 2019 arrest, during which she was concerned he was going to suffer a heart attack because of high blood pressure. 

Moseng said Floyd told her he was taking multiple opioid pills every 20 minutes and had taken another one as the officers came up to him. 

During cross-examination, the prosecution was quick to highlight that Floyd’s respiratory rates and heart rhythm were normal during the 2019 arrest, and that he was monitored for two hours at the hospital “and released right after.”

Crucial Quote 

“You indicated that you were worried about high blood pressure and the possibility of a stroke, but he didn’t have a stroke, right?” asked prosecutor Erin Eldridge, to which Moseng agreed. 

Key Background 

Prosecutors attempted to block the defense team from presenting these witnesses and the video footage, describing it as an attempt to “smear Mr. Floyd’s character by showing what he struggled with, an opioid addiction like so many Americans do.” However, Judge Peter Cahill permitted the defense to move forward, with limitations on their testimony. 

What To Watch For

A decision in Chauvin’s trial is expected to come next week as Judge Peter A. Cahill marked Monday as the start of jury deliberation. Chauvin, a 19-year Minneapolis Police Department veteran, faces charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. 

Further Reading 

“‘These Are Difficult Cases To Win’: Here’s What Legal Experts Think About Prosecution’s Case Against Derek Chauvin” (Forbes)