The trial against Derek Chauvin , the former white Minneapolis police officer charged with the death of George Floyd , a black citizen, is in its final stretch. This Thursday, and as expected, Chauvin declined to testify , invoking a right against self-incrimination protected by the fifth amendment to the United States Constitution, and the defense ended its call for witnesses.
The 12 members of the jury will hear the Monday ‘s closing arguments of both parties and that day will begin its deliberations , a process during which, unlike so far, when after each session they could return to their homes, they will remain isolated. According to the instructions Judge Peter Cahill has given them, they must pack their bags ” planning for long (time), hoping it will be short .” Your decision must be unanimous.
Expectation and tension
The expectation with which the trial is being followed is enormous throughout the United States , where Floyd’s death on May 25 of last year unleashed a national wave of protests , reactivated a collective spirit of denouncing racial injustice and police brutality against minorities not seen in decades in the country and placed proposals for police reforms at the center of the national debate .
The wait is particularly tense in Minneapolis, a city where tempers have flared again after this Sunday another white agent shot dead.in an arrest for a minor offense against another black citizen, 20-year-old Daunte Wright . The police have been arrested and charged with reckless homicide and released on bail.
At the close of the session this Thursday, the prosecution has once again called an expert, pulmonologist Martin Tobin, to testify to try to dismantle the suggestion made the day before by a defense witness that Floyd’s death was influenced by the carbon monoxide from the exhaust of the police car next to which Floyd was kept handcuffed, immobilized lying face down on the asphalt and, for nine minutes and 29 seconds , with Chauvin’s knee on his neck.
Although at the request of the defense the judge has rejected a request to include data from the autopsy that had not been detailed before in the process, and although Tobin has also been prevented from talking about these data, the expert has categorically ruled out the possibility that carbon monoxide was a factor in the cause of death .
This Friday the prosecution and defense will participate, without the jury present and also with Chauvin absent, in his case by his own decision, in a session to determine exactly the language of the instructions that the jury will receive on Monday on how to address the charges. Chauvin is charged with murder in the second and third degree, as well as reckless manslaughter .