Opening statements at trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer in George Floyd's death

FILE PHOTO: The George Floyd Square is seen the day before open statements in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., March 28, 2021. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

(Reuters) - Attorneys for the prosecution and defense made their opening statements on Monday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of murder in the death of George Floyd during a widely viewed arrest last May.

Here are some quotes from prosecutor Jerry Blackwell of the Minnesota attorney general's office and from Eric Nelson, Chauvin's lead defense attorney, as they laid out their cases to jurors in a Minneapolis courtroom.


"You will learn that on May 25 of 2020 Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when (he) used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of Mr. George Floyd, that he put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him until the very breath, no ladies and gentlemen, until the very life was squeezed out.”

"The most important numbers you will hear in this trial are nine-two-nine. What happened in those nine minutes and 29 seconds when Mr. Derek Chauvin was applying this excessive force to the body of Mr. George Floyd.”

"You will see that he does not let up and he does not get up. Even when Mr. Floyd does not even have a pulse, it continues on."

"The evidence is going to show you that there was no cause in the first place to use lethal force against a man who was defenseless, who was handcuffed, who was not resisting."


"The evidence will show that when confronted by police, Mr. Floyd put drugs in his mouth in an effort to conceal them from the police."

“You will see that three Minneapolis police officers could not overcome the strength of Mr. Floyd. Mr. Chauvin stands five foot, nine (inches) (1.75 m) and 140 pounds (64 kg). Mr. Floyd is six (feet) three (inches) (1.9 m) and weighs 233 pounds (106 kg)."

“You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he was trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. The use of force is not attractive but it is a necessary component of policing.”

"What was Mr. Floyd’s actual cause of death? The evidence will show that Mr. Floyd died of a cardiac-arrhythmias that occurred as a result of hypertension, coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl and the adrenaline flowing through his body, all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart."

(Compiled by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Grant McCool)

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