The jury of 12 people — six White, four Black and two multiracial — watched as both sides on Monday played back the viral footage of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd for more than nine minutes until the 46-year-old went limp.
Schleicher summed up weeks of damaging testimony from witnesses, medical experts and police officers by arguing to the jury that Chauvin “had to know” that he was killing Floyd when the officer had his knee on his back as the man was handcuffed, face down on the street, crying out for breath and for his dead mother. Schleicher on Monday pointed to Chauvin’s ego and refusal to take his knee off Floyd when onlookers yelled at him to do so as to why Floyd had died.
“Believe your eyes. What you saw, you saw,” Schleicher said. He added, “The defendant, he chose pride over policing.”
For the defense, Nelson asked the jury to consider the “totality of the circumstances,” including what happened before Chauvin arrived at Cup Foods. Throughout the trial, Nelson argued that Floyd died of a combination of drugs in his system and preexisting health issues, not his client’s knee. The defense attorney spent most of his closing arguments defending Chauvin’s use of force and behavior, saying Chauvin had behaved as any “reasonable officer” would.
“The nine minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds,” Nelson argued.
As Minneapolis braces for potential unrest — buildings have been boarded up and National Guard members are fanning out around the city — Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) and local officials sought to show solidarity with community activists and emphasize that they intend to prioritize de-escalation in the coming days.
“Our goal is de-escalation and nonconfrontation at all chances,” Walz told reporters.
On Tuesday, President Biden said he was praying for the “right verdict” in the trial.
“It is overwhelming in my view,” the president said.
Here are the three charges brought against Chauvin
Twelve jurors will decide whether Chauvin will be found guilty on any of the three charges he faces in the killing of Floyd.
The charges are second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Second-degree unintentional murder is the most serious charge brought against the former Minneapolis police officer. For a conviction, jurors must conclude that prosecutors showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death while kneeling on him for more than nine minutes last May.
Since Chauvin has no previous criminal record, the second-degree unintentional murder charge carries a presumptive prison sentence of 12.5 years, according to Minnesota sentencing guidelines. If he had a criminal past, Chauvin would have been looking at a maximum sentence of 40 years.
For the third-degree murder charge, the state attempted to prove that Chauvin caused Floyd’s death “by perpetrating an act eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life.” Cahill initially dismissed the charge, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the judge was wrong to do so. He reinstated the charge last month.
Like the other murder charge, third-degree murder in Minnesota carries a presumptive prison sentence of 12.5 years. Because Chauvin does not have a criminal record, he would avoid a maximum sentence of 25 years, according to the sentencing guidelines.
For second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors had to prove Chauvin was “culpably negligent” and took an “unreasonable risk” with Floyd’s life. The state did not have to prove for this charge that Chauvin’s actions intended to kill Floyd.
The charge carries a presumptive prison sentence of four years, according to the state, compared to 10 years if Chauvin had a criminal record.