chauvin trial
April 22, 2021

As an alternate juror in the Derek Chauvin trial, Lisa Christensen listened to all of the testimony and saw all of the evidence, without having a say in the verdict. Now that the trial is over, she has become the first person chosen for the jury to speak publicly, and in an interview with CBS This Morning on Thursday, Christensen said she believes Chauvin's conviction was fair.

"I felt he was guilty," she said. "I didn't know it would have been guilty on all counts, but I would have said guilty." Last May, Chauvin was recorded arresting George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man, after he was suspected of trying to pass a fake $20 bill. His knee was on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, and Christensen said she was moved by the testimony from prosecution witness Dr. Martin Tobin, a critical care physician and pulmonologist who is an expert in the physiology of breathing.

Tobin described how Chauvin's use of force slowly suffocated Floyd, who was pinned with his stomach on the ground and hands cuffed behind his back. That "really did it for me," Christensen said. "I understood it, down to where he said this was the moment that [Floyd] lost his life. That really got to me." As for the defense team, Christensen said they didn't have "a good impact," and attorney Eric Nelson "over-promised in the beginning and didn't live up to what he said he was going to do."

Christensen was dismissed on Monday when the jury went to deliberations. The next day, Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter; he will be sentenced in eight weeks. Christensen told CBS This Morning she is still trying to grasp how the situation escalated the way it did. "I just don't understand how it got from a counterfeit $20 bill to a death," she said. "It kind of shocks me." Catherine Garcia

April 21, 2021

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on Tuesday of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, but there is still another trial on the horizon — this time for the three other officers who were part of Floyd's arrest last May.

As it stands now, the trial for former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, 27, Thomas Lane, 38, and Tou Thao, 35, is set to start on Aug. 23, with the men facing charges of aiding and abetting in the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of Floyd. If convicted, they could face more than 16 years in prison. A hearing is scheduled for May 20 at the Minnesota Court of Appeals, with the state attorney general's office seeking to add a third-degree murder charge against Kueng, Lane, and Thao.

On May 25, 2020, the officers responded to a call at Cup Foods in Minneapolis, after it was reported that Floyd allegedly tried to pass a fake $20 bill. Footage of Floyd's arrest shows Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, and prosecutors say Kueng, who graduated from the police academy in 2019, at one point was between Chauvin and Lane, kneeling on Floyd's back. When Floyd became unresponsive, Kueng checked for a pulse, and reported that he couldn't find one.

Lane, who had been on the police force for just a few days, was the officer who told Floyd to get out of his car, and placed handcuffs on him. Prosecutors say Chauvin, Kueng, and Lane all used their weight to keep Floyd on the ground, after he resisted attempts to get into the back of a police car. Lane asked at one point if they should roll Floyd over, and Chauvin responded, "No, staying put where we got him."

Thao, who rejoined the force in 2012 after being laid off, arrived at Cup Foods with Chauvin, after Floyd had already been handcuffed. Prosecutors say that while Thao did not have any physical contact with Floyd, he could see how Floyd was being restrained, and did not try to intervene.

All of the officers were fired and arrested following Floyd's death. Kueng, Lane, and Thao are now out on $750,000 bail. In January, their trial was split from Chauvin's due to COVID-19 safety precautions. Catherine Garcia

April 20, 2021

After being criticized for her remarks about George Floyd "sacrificing" his life "for justice," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried again on Twitter.

"George Floyd should be alive today," Pelosi tweeted on Tuesday evening. "His family's calls for justice for his murder were heard around the world. He did not die in vain. We must make sure other families don't suffer the same racism, violence, and pain, and we must enact the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act."

Pelosi appeared at a press conference with the Congressional Black Caucus shortly after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man. Floyd's death gained worldwide attention, sparking global protests against police brutality, and during her remarks, Pelosi thanked Floyd "for sacrificing your life for justice." She added that because of him and "millions of people around the world who came out for justice, your name will always be synonymous for justice." Catherine Garcia

April 20, 2021

Darnella Frazier, the teenager who used her cellphone to record George Floyd's arrest last May outside of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, wrote on Facebook that she "cried so hard" on Tuesday when it was announced that former police officer Derek Chauvin had been found guilty of murdering Floyd, an unarmed Black man.

Frazier, then 17, had gone to the market with her younger cousin to buy a snack. The footage she captured, which showed Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, has been seen around the world; without it, there's widespread speculation Chauvin would have never been prosecuted. Frazier was one of the first witnesses to testify at Chauvin's trial, telling the court there have been "nights I stayed up apologizing and apologized to George Floyd for not doing more."

Frazier wrote on Facebook Tuesday that before the guilty verdict was announced, "my heart was beating so fast, I was so anxious," The Washington Post reports, and she thanked God for Chauvin being convicted on all charges. "George Floyd we did it!" Frazier wrote, adding, "Justice has been served."

After the verdict was announced, President Biden called Frazier "brave," as did Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D), who said Frazier and the other bystanders who pulled out their phones and started recording Floyd's arrest "performed simple yet profound acts of courage." Catherine Garcia

April 20, 2021

President Biden said it took "a unique and extraordinary convergence of factors" for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin to be found guilty of George Floyd's murder — a verdict that is "much too rare" when it comes to police brutality cases.

This was a "murder in the full light of day, and it ripped the blinders off for the whole world to see systemic racism," Biden said during a televised address. He praised the "brave young woman with a smartphone camera" who recorded Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, and said the police officers who testified against Chauvin "instead of just closing ranks" should be "commended." It took all of that, plus a "jury who heard the evidence and carried out their civic duty in the midst of an extraordinary moment," to deliver "just basic accountability," Biden said.

Most men and women in law enforcement "serve their communities honorably, but those few who fail to meet that standard must be held accountable, and today, one was," Biden said. The verdict sends the message that "no one should be above the law," yet "it's not enough," and "in order to deliver real change and reform, we must do more to reduce the likelihood that a tragedy like this ever happens again."

Biden called on state and local governments, as well as the federal government, to "step up" and take action to fix the racial disparities in policing and the criminal justice system. He ended his remarks on a hopeful note, saying, "This can be a moment of significant change." Catherine Garcia

April 20, 2021

Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday evening urged the Senate to pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, saying that it would "hold law enforcement accountable and help build trust between law enforcement and our communities."

The legislation should not be viewed as "a panacea to every problem, but as a start," Harris said during a televised address. "This work is long overdue. America has a long history of systemic racism. Black Americans and Black men in particular have been treated throughout the course of our history as less than human. Black men are fathers, and brothers, and sons, and uncles, and grandfathers, and friends, and neighbors. Their lives must be valued."

Racial injustice isn't just an issue for people of color, Harris said, it's "a problem for every American. It is keeping us from fulfilling the promise of liberty and justice for all, and it is holding our nation back from realizing our full potential. We are all a part of George Floyd's legacy and our job now is to honor it and to honor him." Catherine Garcia

April 20, 2021

In an emotional press conference on Tuesday evening, George Floyd's brothers discussed how relieved they are that Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering their brother, and shared their hope that this is a turning point for the United States.

"This is a victory for all of us," Rodney Floyd said. "There's no color boundary on this. This is for everyone who has been held down, pinned down. We're standing together in union."

The recording of Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd's neck showed people around the world a "life being extinguished," Philonise Floyd said. Even with this guilty verdict, "I'm going to put up a fight every day," he said. "Because I'm not just fighting for George anymore. I'm fighting for everybody around this world. I get calls, I get DMs, from people from Brazil, Ghana, Germany. They are all saying the same thing: We won't be able to breathe until you're able to breathe. Today we are able to breathe again." Philonese thanked the protesters, activists, and supporters "who stepped up," adding that "justice for George means freedom for all."

Terrence Floyd called the verdict "monumental," and said he was grateful for the time he had with his brother George, who showed him how to be "strong," "respectful," and to "speak my mind." He is going to "miss him," Terrence added, "but now I know he's in history. What a day to be a Floyd, man." Catherine Garcia

April 20, 2021

With the dust settled — for now — on the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who on Tuesday was convicted of murdering George Floyd, several journalists, including CNN's Jake Tapper, resurrected the original Minneapolis Police Department statement regarding Floyd's death last May.

The vague press release said only that a man had a "medical incident" during an arrest, officers called an ambulance, and the suspect died at a hospital. "At no time were weapons of any type used by anyone involved in this incident," the statement reads. There was no mention of Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

Some commentators said re-reading the statement nearly a year later "hits hard," while others cited it as an example of why readers should be skeptical of initial police statements on police-involved incidents. "This fabricated police story might have become the official account of George Floyd's death if concerned citizens had not intervened and recorded the police," Tapper's colleague Keith Boykin tweeted. Tim O'Donnell

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