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.
Special prosecutor Steve 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, attorney Eric 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 Guardsmen 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 Monday.
The jury resumed its deliberations Tuesday at 8 a.m. local time.