Eric Nelson told jurors that Floyd died of cardiac arrhythmia, which he blamed on preexisting conditions of hypertension and coronary disease as well as his use of methamphetamine and fentanyl. He also cited increased levels of adrenaline.
“Common sense is the application of sound judgment based upon a reasoned analysis, and that’s what this case is ultimately about; it’s about the evidence in this case,” Nelson said.
Nelson also said that Chauvin was “doing exactly what he had been trained to do” in the arrest of Floyd.
The attorney said that officers’ attention “from the care of Mr. Floyd” was diverted to the bystanders who had gathered around them.
PREVIOUSLY: Major broadcast and cable networks carried the opening arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd during his arrest in May.
Special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell opened by showing a graphic video, running more than nine minutes, in which Chauvin is shown with his knee on Floyd’s neck. The networks aired the video in full.
Floyd was heard moaning that he could not breathe and, “Please, please,” while onlookers shout at the officers. Then Floyd goes silent and unconscious, before an ambulance arrived. Floyd was pronounced dead about an hour later.
“The three most important numbers in the case: Nine minutes and 29 seconds is how long that went on,” Blackwell told the jurors. “Mr. Floyd was unconscious, breathless, pulseless.”
Floyd’s death last spring sparked national outrage and protests, as well as a new reckoning over racial injustice.
“He died one breath at a time,” Blackwell told the jurors, as he said that the prosecution would show that Floyd was a victim of excessive use of force, not a drug overdose.
Among the broadcast networks, CBS News started coverage at 10 AM with a special report from anchor Norah O’Donnell. ABC and NBC started broadcast coverage about 25 minutes later, as opening arguments were about to begin.
On NBC News, Lester Holt anchored, as correspondent Gabe Gutierrez, reporting from outside the Hennepin County Government Center, had to talk over the sound of a speaker on a bullhorn as well as a siren. Gutierrez and NBC News reporter Shaq Brewster will report from Minneapolis throughout the trial.
After the opening arguments, ABC News’ David Muir said that the video played “was no easier to watch than when we were reporting on it nine months ago.”
Chauvin faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Chauvin has pleaded not guilty. Three other officers who were involved in the arrest of Floyd also have been charged, but they face a trial later this year.
The judge is allowing the trial to be streamed, even though there is limited access to the courtroom, in a first for a Minnesota case. Chauvin’s legal team supported having camera and audio coverage of the proceedings,
Court TV and HLN are planning gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial, as well as a number of streaming sites including Law & Crime. CBSN, the CBS streaming service, will provide carriage of the trial via a stream from CBSN Minnesota. The network’s broadcast coverage also featured Jeff Pegues, chief justice and homeland security correspondent, from washington, as well as national correspondent Jamie Yuccas in Minneapolis, legal analysts Rikki Kleiman and Joe Tamburino, and Keith Mayes, an expert on African American history at the University of Minnesota.
Other highlights of coverage: Fox News’ Martha MacCallum will anchor The Story from Minneapolis later today, as the network plans live reports throughout the week. She will be joined by Fox News contributor and civil rights attorney Leo Terrell and former Washington D.C. homicide detective Ted Williams. Mike Tobin, Matt Finn, and Jeff Paul will provide updates throughout the week from Minneapolis.
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