Jurors are set to begin deliberations Monday in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin over George Floyd’s death.
Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill has scheduled closing arguments in the case at 10 a.m. Eastern time, followed by instructions to the jury before it begins deliberating on the charges.
The jury consists of three black men, a black woman, four white women, two white men and two women who identify as multiracial.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s police-custody death during his arrest May 25.
Forty-five witnesses were called to the witness stand over nearly three weeks of testimony in Hennepin County District Court — 38 of them brought to the stand by state prosecutors.
The four-member prosecution team, led by Assistant State Attorney General Matthew Frank, focused repeatedly on viral video footage of Floyd’s death, which included Chauvin pressing his knee on the man’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Prosecutors contend that Floyd died of asphyxiation as a result of the restraint, with Chauvin seen keeping his knee on his neck even after paramedics arrived at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue and found Floyd had no pulse.
But Chauvin lawyer Eric Nelson hinged his case on three assertions: that Floyd died due to drug use and a heart ailment; that an unruly crowd of bystanders posed a threat and distracted the cop and that Chauvin followed his training in using the restraint.
The two sides presented contrasting testimony from medical experts on Floyd’s cause of death.
The city’s medical examiner testified that neck compression killed him, although Floyd had several underlying conditions that contributed to his death.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin violated department policy and training during the fated fatal encounter.
On the final day of trial, Chauvin told the judge he would not testify in his own defense and instead invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
The trial took place under heavy security and barricades placed outside the courthouse in anticipation of unrest — with officials now on high alert with the verdict looming.
Police in cities throughout the US, including the Big Apple, are also braced for potential protests over the verdict.
Meanwhile, the police shooting death of Daunte Wright — a 20-year-old black man killed earlier this month when a cop allegedly mistook her gun for her Taser in the neighboring city of Brooklyn Center — has sparked a new round of violent protests, heightening tensions.