Former police officer accused of murdering George Floyd 'betrayed his badge'


In the video, the jury could hear Floyd, handcuffed and pressed to the pavement, moaning and gasping for breath while bystanders urged Chauvin to let up.

Mr Chauvin was seated at the defense table, dressed in a gray suit with a blue shirt and blue tie.

Philonise Floyd, a brother of George Floyd, said before the service began that he had faith that prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney general's office would see Chauvin convicted.

"Nine-two-nine", prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told jurors during his opening statement.

He said Chauvin "betrayed his badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force on the body of Mr George Floyd".

"That he put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him, until the very breath, no ladies and gentlemen, until the very life was squeezed out of him", Blackwell said.

The May 2020 incident - in which Mr Chauvin was captured on video kneeling on the neck of Mr Floyd, who is black, in the city of Minneapolis - sparked protests in the U.S. and across the world against police brutality and racism.

Floyd's death led to protests, mostly under the "Black Lives Matter" movement, across the world.

Protesters march through downtown Minneapolis a day before jury selection is scheduled to begin for the trial of Derek Chauvin the former Minneapolis policeman accused of killing George Floyd in Minneapolis Minnesota
Floyd family, supporters kneel in protest ahead of Minneapolis trial

Before opening statements, lawyers and advocates for the Floyd family, including Benjamin Crump and the Rev. Al Sharpton, held a press conference outside the courthouse.

Outside the courthouse Monday ahead of opening statements, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump said the trial would be a test of "whether America is going to live up to the Declaration of Independence".

Mr Floyd was resisting arrest, and Chauvin arrived to assist other officers who were struggling to get him into a squad auto as the crowd around them grew larger and more hostile, Mr Nelson said.

It prompted calls for the country to confront racism and police brutality.

When jurors weigh the evidence and the law and "apply reason and common sense", Nelson said, "there will only be one just verdict, and that is to find Mr. Chauvin not guilty".

Chauvin is standing trial on charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Prosecutors say Chauvin is responsible for killing Floyd, but the defense says that Floyd's health issues and drug use aggravated a heart condition and that Chauvin should be absolved.

The lawyer leading the defence said in his opening statement: "Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career". "The facts are simple".

He added that he was confident the trial of the police officer involved in Floyd's death would result in a conviction.

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Floyd, who was Black, was being arrested by Chauvin and other officers because he was suspected of using a fake $20 bill to buy groceries.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson (left) with his client, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on Monday.

Floyd, 46, had none of the telltale signs of asphyxiation and had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, Nelson said.

"There is no political or social cause in this courtroom", Nelson said.

Mr Blackwell said he was not trying to put all police on trial, only Mr Chauvin, who was sacked from the Minneapolis police department.

One juror - who was a back-up option in case a juror dropped out before proceedings began - is expected to be dismissed on Monday, and the trial is expected to go ahead with 12 jurors and two alternates.

The panel of 15 jurors includes nine people who are white and six who are Black or multiracial, according to the court.

Police officers are rarely convicted in the United States when charges are brought against them.

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For blocks around, businesses are closed and windows boarded up, amid fears of a repeat of the arson and other property damage that occurred after Mr Floyd's death.

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