Tension, Emotions Run High on Trial’s First Day

Energy remains high throughout the city of Minneapolis with nearly a thousand protestors taking to the streets following the first day of the Derek Chauvin trial.

The prosecution held nothing back in opening statements, showing the viral video of George Floyd’s death to jurors within the first 30 minutes of the trial.

During the prosecution’s opening statements Attorney Blackwell presented a timeline that revealed Derek Chauvin kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than four minutes after he became unresponsive.

“He doesn’t get up even when the paramedics come to check his pulse and doesn’t find one, Mr. Chauvin doesn’t get up,” said Blackwell. “You’ll see the paramedic have taken the gurney out of the ambulance, have rolled it over next to the body of Mr. Floyd and you’ll be able to see Mr. Chauvin still doesn’t let up and doesn’t get up.”

The defense argued George Floyd was killed not by Derek Chauvin, but by a combination of the drugs in his system and pre-existing health issues.

Donald Williams, the last witness to take the stand on Monday, was a bystander who yelled for Chauvin to stop as he was kneeling on George Floyd’s neck. With a background of mixed martial arts Williams is being presented as an expert. He gave the jury a breakdown on the type of moves Chauvin was using, including what’s called a “blood choke,” and how he knew immediately that Floyd’s life was in danger.

“He was going through distress because of the knee, and he vocalized it – ‘I can’t breathe, I need to get up and I’m sorry,’” said Williams. “And his eyes slowly rolled to the back of his head.”

Members of George Floyd’s family, their lawyers and the Reverend Al Sharpton knelt in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in front of the federal courthouse this morning. They say while Derek Chauvin may be in the courtroom, it’s America’s justice system that is on trial.

Georgia Fort reporting for the Racial Reckoning project.