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After two weeks, here is everything we know so far about the murder case against Derek Chauvin

Twin Cities - Killing of George Floyd
With Minnesota State Troopers watching, protesters hold a sign in honor of George Floyd during a Justice For George Floyd Rally & Protest at the State Capitol in St. Paul on Friday, Aug. 7, 2020. George Floyd’s death on May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody has sparked worldwide protests against police brutality. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)

This week marks the end of the second week of the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin’s over the death of George Floyd, a week which saw many important witnesses called before the court.

On April 5th the Minneapolis Police Chief testified that Chauvin violated the agency’s policy on force during the arrest of Floyd. Chief Medaria Arradondo said that the way Floyd was restrained “is not part of our training” and “certainly not part of our ethics and our values.”  The Chief told the court that Floyd shouldn’t have been restrained by the officers after he stopped resisting “and certainly {not} once he was in distress.” That same day the court also heard from Dr Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld who pronounced Floyd dead 30 minutes after he arrived in Hennepin County Medical Centre, he told the court that he believed Floyds death was caused by a lack of oxygen. 

On April 6th the Minneapolis Police Dept’s medical coordinator, Officer Nicole MacKenzie testified that Chauvin had completed in-service training in CPR and first aid several times. Yet on the day he arrested Floyd, he and other officers failed to apply their training. Wednesday {April 7th} saw the court hear from Susan Neith, a forensic chemist at NMS labs in Pennsylvania. She said that the pills tested contained a methamphetamine concentration of 1.9-2.9%, which she described as “street” meth. The court heard from world renowned pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin on April 8th.He led the jury through a series of illustrations which concluded that he died from lack of oxygen. He then dissected video footage to show how that Chauvin’s knee {placed on Floyds neck} would have narrowed the hypopharynx in his throat, restricting his ability to take in air.

As the trial resumed on April 9th, two key witnesses were called before the court. The first was Dr. Andrew Baker, the Hennepin County chief medical examiner who performed George Floyd’s autopsy. He decided that Floyds death was caused by “cardiopulmonary arrest”. When under cross examination Baker told the court that Floyds heart disease and use of fentanyl also likely contributed to his death. He then acknowledged that the main factor which “precipitated the death” of Floyd was Chauvin’s restraint, saying that “Mr Floyd’s use of fentanyl did not cause the subdual or neck restraint. His heart disease did not cause the subdual or the neck restraint.” Baker said that he classifies Floyds death as a homicide, and that his opinion on the matter remains unchanged.

The second key witness was forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas. She testified that the “primary mechanism of death is asphyxia or low oxygen,” caused by the restraint and that Floyds position left him “unable to get enough oxygen”. Thomas then explained what the wording of Dr. Bakers findings in the cause of Floyds death meant to her, saying “What it means to me is that the activities of the law enforcement officers resulted in Mr Floyd’s death.” She later added that there’s no evidence “to suggest he would have died that night except for the interactions with law enforcement.” Chauvin’s trail is expected to last for at least a month, with the defence due to begin arguing its case before the court next week. 

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ARTICLE: NATHAN REID

POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: PIONEER PRESS

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