Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd’s death

honig and defense split
See ex-prosecutor's reaction to Chauvin's defense
07:43 - Source: CNN

What we covered here

  • Jurors heard opening statements and witness testimony during the first day of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in the death of George Floyd. 
  • Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died in May 2020 after Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck while he pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”
  • His final moments, recorded on video, led to widespread protests against police brutality and racism under the Black Lives Matter banner as well as incidents of unrest and looting.

Our live coverage of the trial has ended for the day. You can watch live coverage of the trial on HLN starting at 10 a.m. ET daily.

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Court adjourns after "major technical glitch"

The trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin will resume tomorrow after witness testimony was cut short when a “major technical glitch” interrupted a video feed to other rooms in the courthouse where family members were watching, Judge Peter Cahill said.

Donald Wynn Williams II, who testified that he witnessed George Floyd’s death, will resume his testimony tomorrow.

Williams testified that he was going to Cup Foods when he came upon Floyd being restrained by police. He testified that he watched Floyd gasping for air, his eyes roll to the back of his head, and blood start to come out of his nose.

“Just hearing people, different people, actually vocalizing their concerns to the officer, and hearing George on the ground, pretty much pleading for his life,” Williams said. 

Williams said he was among the bystanders vocally pleading for Floyd’s life. He testified that Officer Tou Thao said “this is what drugs do to you.”

Williams, who said he was a high school and college wrestler who pursued mixed martial arts, testified that he has experience with chokeholds. He testified he had 10 amateur mixed martial art fights and 20 professional ones since 2009.  

He said he also worked with police officers in his security job and trained with them in mixed martial arts at a gym.  

Williams told prosecutor Matthew Frank that there were different types of chokeholds and he has been subjected to them in his mixed martial arts training and career.

He said the move Chauvin was using on Floyd looked like a “blood choke.”

Williams, who was shown a bystander video during his testimony, said it appeared that Chauvin was trying to “shimmy” his knee to make the hold tighter.

“Every time his shoulders move, he is pushing that pressure down on his neck,” Williams testified.

Re-living what happened to George Floyd can be difficult. Here are some resources that may help.

It’s the first day of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial in the death of George Floyd.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell this morning presented video evidence from the day George Floyd was killed. The graphic footage showed former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Floyd could be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”

The video can be hard to watch as is the testimony, dissecting a second-by-second account of the circumstances surrounding Floyd’s death.

Here are some resources that may help:

You can contact any of the organizations above to find peer groups and other group counseling services. These organizations often have affiliates in cities that host group meetings. They offer coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

It’s always important to speak to someone and not feel that you’re facing this alone.

You can find more CNN resources that may help here.

Witness says Floyd was not resisting arrest when officers brought him across the street

The second prosecution witness has concluded her testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin. 

Alisha Oyler shot seven video clips of Floyd’s arrest. She was working the cash register at a Speedway, located across the street from where the arrest took place.

On cross examination Oyler acknowledged that more people were gathering as the incident progressed and the crowd became angry.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson also pointed out a discrepancy between her testimony and an earlier statement she gave to investigators where she said there was a female officer on scene.

On redirect examination she told prosecutor Steve Schleicher that Floyd was not resisting when officers brought him across the street. 

A 911 dispatcher was the first witness in today's trial. Here's how she laid out the sequence of events.

Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry concluded her testimony earlier this afternoon in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin. 

She dispatched Chauvin and other officers to Cup Foods the day George Floyd died.

During cross examination defense attorney Eric Nelson questioned her about how the dispatch center is setup and the sequence of events that evening.    

Here are some key things she shared:

  • Squad car 320 responded to the call at Cup Foods backed up by car 330 and park police car 830.
  • Scurry noted that officers Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng were in squad car 320 and were backed up by officers Chauvin and Tou Thao in squad car 330.
  • Scurry said she dispatched the additional officers for backup when Lane and Kueng said they were taking someone out of the police car and she heard a loud noise on the radio. 
  • To the defense, Scurry noted that at one point squad car 330, either Chauvin or Thao, called for a faster ambulance response.
  • Scurry said she is not familiar with the use of force requirements and did not hear any radio call for a sergeant to review the use of force.
  • She reviewed the video for the defense and noted that it showed the police car rocking back and forth when officers were struggling with Floyd. 
  • She noted she did not hear any audio from that camera. 

On redirect examination, Scurry told prosecutor Matthew Frank she has not changed her mind about seeing potential excessive force which motivated her to call a police sergeant. 

Earlier in her testimony, Scurry said that while watching footage of the arrest and Floyd on the ground, her instincts were telling her “that something’s wrong, something is not right.”

Witness testifies she recorded 7 videos of Floyd arrest

Witness Alisha Oyler testified that she recorded seven cell phone videos of George Floyd’s interaction with Minneapolis officers.

She was working the cash register at a Speedway when she noticed police “messing” with Floyd near a store across the way.

Oyler testified that Floyd was in handcuffs and police eventually placed him inside a police car.

Soon after, she started recorded with her cell phone. Two of the seven videos she recorded were taken from inside her workplace. The rest of the videos were taken outside.

Why you keep hearing references to 9 minutes and 29 seconds at this trial

Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over pre-trial motions prior to opening statements on March 29.

The murder trial of Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, kicked off this morning with prosecutors’ and the defense team’s opening statements.

In both opening statements, attorneys referenced the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck — correcting the 8:46 timing that has become a symbol of police brutality.

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell repeatedly emphasized the new 9:29 timing, telling jurors they were the “three most important numbers in this case.”

He broke down the timing of Chauvin’s kneeling into three sections: 4 minutes and 45 seconds as Floyd cried out for help, 53 seconds as Floyd’s flailed due to seizures and 3 minutes and 51 seconds as Floyd was non-responsive.

Chauvin’s defense similarly accepted the new timing as accurate to support its own arguments. “The evidence is far greater than 9 minutes and 29 seconds,” attorney Eric Nelson said in his opening, noting the many interviews and documents that he said would prove Chauvin is not guilty.

The 43-second difference between 8:46 and 9:29 has little impact on the case itself, but the 8:46 number had taken on a power of its own since Floyd died under Chauvin’s knee on May 25, 2020.

Protesters, including Democratic members of Congress, have held moments of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, kneelings and “die-ins.” Comedian Dave Chapelle released a standup special about police violence and anti-Black racism titled simply “8:46.” The number even has its own Wikipedia page.

So where did the incorrect timing come from? The 8:46 timing initially was included in a criminal complaint against Chauvin

That number was based on bystander video of Floyd’s death that went viral and led to public outrage. The video, which is over 10 minutes long in all, begins with Chauvin already on Floyd’s neck, so it was not immediately clear how long he had been on Floyd prior to the video’s start.

You can read more about the timing here.

The trial has resumed

Testimony has resumed in the Derek Chauvin trial.

911 dispatcher Jena Scurry is on the stand. She is being cross-examined by defense attorney Eric Nelson.

911 dispatcher testifies she called sergeant to voice her concerns about police response

911 dispatcher Jena Scurry testified that after she became concerned about what she was seeing on the video feed from George Floyd’s arrest she decided to call a police sergeant.

The prosecution played Scurry’s call for the jury.

On the call she tells the police sergeant, “I don’t know if they had to use force or not. They got something out of the back of the squad and all of them sat on this man. So I don’t know if they needed to or not but they haven’t said anything to me yet.”

Scurry testified that the purpose of the call was “voicing my concerns.”

She said that she has never made a call like this to a police sergeant.


00:53 - Source: CNN

911 dispatcher: "My instincts were telling me that something's wrong" while watching video feed

911 dispatcher Jena Scurry is testifying about what she saw on a video feed from the scene at 38th and Chicago where George Floyd was being taken into custody on May 25, 2020.

She testified that she recalled watching police attempt to put Floyd into the backseat of a police car. She said that she went back and forth between looking at the television and her computer screen.

Scurry said during her testimony that she was watching the footage on one of the TVs that is mounted on the wall inside the dispatch center where she works.

She testified at one point she looked up, and that police had Floyd on the ground. She said that as time passed she began to wonder why the image on the screen — with police holding Floyd on the ground — hadn’t changed. She said that her first thought was that the screen had frozen. Then she saw people moving on the screen and thought “something might be wrong.” 

“They had come from the back of the squad car to the ground and my instincts were telling me that something’s wrong, something is not right,” Scurry said. 

Watch the moment:

02:18 - Source: CNN

President Biden is "closely" watching the trial

President Biden is “closely” watching the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday as testimony was underway.

“He certainly will be watching closely, as Americans across the country will be watching. You know, at the time of George Floyd’s death, he talked about this as being an event that really open up a wound in the American public, and it really brought to light for a lot of people in this country, just to kind of racial injustice and inequality that many communities are experiencing every single day,” Psaki said, noting that the trial is working through the legal process.

Chauvin knelt on 46-year-old Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes on May 25, 2020 as Floyd told Chauvin and three other officers he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

Psaki outlined how the death of Floyd has impacted Biden’s own agenda.

The killing and resulting protests “certainly impacted how he’s thought about in his own government, making equity central to what we do,” she said, noting that racial injustice is a priority for Biden and one of the “key crises that he believes he is facing.”

Psaki said she was unaware of any additional calls between Biden and the Floyd family, with whom he spoke last spring, but said the White House is pushing for police reform legislation working through Congress named in Floyd’s honor. 

Biden believes, Psaki said, “That there needs to be accountability, and there needs to be systems in place to ensure that and laws changed to ensure that that can be carried out.”

Pressed by CNN’s Phil Mattingly on why the administration hasn’t moved on the national policing oversight commission promised within the first 100 days, she said they are “working closely with outside advocacy groups… and we’re looking for the most effective means to get that done, and the George Floyd bill has an opportunity to do exactly that, so that is where we are putting our energy and efforts at this point.”

Minneapolis 911 dispatcher is now testifying about sending police to the scene

The first witness called by the prosecution is Jena Lee Scurry, who has worked as a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher for almost 7 years.

Scurry testified that she dispatched police to Cup Foods, at the intersection of 38th and Chicago in Minneapolis, on May 25, 2020.

Scurry testified that a call came in about a suspect providing a counterfeit bill at Cup Foods that afternoon. She said that in response, she dispatched a squad car to the location.

Prosecuting attorney Matthew Frank is questioning Scurry.

Watch Minneapolis 911 dispatcher describe her decision to dispatch police to the scene:

03:11 - Source: CNN

The trial is back in session, and the first witness is testifying

The murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in the death of George Floyd, is back in session following a short recess.

Jena Scurry, a 911 dispatcher in the city, is now testifying.

The trial is taking a short break

Judge Peter Cahill just announced the court is taking a 20 minute break in the the first day of the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Earlier this morning, prosecutors and defense attorneys gave opening statements in the case.

Chauvin faces murder charges in the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died in May 2020 after Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd pleaded, “I can’t breathe.”

Defense attorney: Chauvin "did exactly what he had been trained to do" as a police officer

Defense attorney Eric Nelson said that questions about the reasonable use of police force will be a theme of the trial.

He said that the jury will learn about authorized use of force and other Minneapolis police department policies for its officers.

“The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing,” he added.

Watch the moment:

01:01 - Source: CNN

Defense attorney says case "more than about 9 minutes and 29 seconds"

Defense attorney Eric Nelson said during his opening argument that “this case is clearly more than about 9 minutes and 29 seconds,” referencing the amount of time that the prosecutor said would be significant for the jury as it relates to George Floyd’s final moments.

Nelson said that the number of documents in the case numbered in the tens of thousands, and hundreds of people had been interviewed as potential witnesses in the lead up to trial.

Nelson told the jury “I suggest that you let common sense and reason guide you” during the trial.

Some more background: Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

Defense attorneys plan to make the case that Floyd died of unrelated medical issues and drug use, and they have argued Chauvin was following proper police protocol.

CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed reporting to this post.

Prosecution in Derek Chauvin trial: "It's a homicide. You can believe your eyes.”

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell laid out his case against former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin during his opening statement, saying it’s clear that George Floyd’s death was a homicide. 

“You can believe your eyes, that it’s a homicide. You can believe your eyes,” the prosecutor said during his opening arguments. “You’ll be able to hear his voice get deeper and heavier his words further apart, his respiration is more shallow. You’ll see him when he goes unconscious, and you’ll be able to see the uncontrollable shaking he’s doing when he’s not breathing anymore.”

The prosecutor says policing experts will testify holding Floyd to the ground was unnecessary and deadly. 

“You’re also going to hear from Lieutenant Johnny Mercil of the Minneapolis Police Department, the Minneapolis Police Department’s use of force training coordinator. He’s going to tell you about what training Mr. Chauvin had to see, but he’s also going to tell you that he knows of no training that would suggest that kneeling on somebody’s neck, as Mr. Chauvin was doing, was proper,” Blackwell said.

“You will learn that Mr. Floyd was in handcuffs already, so they didn’t need to put him on the ground, to get him into — to get him under police control,” Blackwell said. “You’ll hear from a number of experts on the stand that putting a man in the prone position with handcuffs behind his back, somebody on his neck and back pressing down on him for nine minutes and 29 seconds is enough to take a life.”

Floyd did not die an instant death from a heart condition or a death from an opioid overdose, Blackwell told the jury. 

“You’ll be able to see for yourself that Mr. Floyd did not die an instant death. He died one breath at a time, over an extended period of time. It does not at all look like the way that one dies from a fatal arrhythmia,” Blackwell said. “You will also learn, ladies and gentlemen, that George Floyd struggled with addiction. He struggled with it. You will learn that he did not die from a drug overdose, he did not die from an opioid overdose. Why? Because you’ll be able to look at the video footage and you see it looks absolutely nothing like a person who would die from an opioid overdose.”


01:27 - Source: CNN

Prosecutor: 911 dispatcher will testify "she called the police on the police" during the incident

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell said that they will call to testify a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher who watched the incident from a feed from a fixed police camera located in the neighborhood.

“You’ll learn that what she saw was so unusual and for her so disturbing that she did something she had never done in her career. She called the police on the police,” he said.

Blackwell said that the 911 dispatcher called a police sergeant because she was disturbed by what she was watching.

“She will tell you she felt she saw man literally lose his life,” he said.

Prosecutors show video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell is showing video evidence from the day George Floyd was killed.

The graphic footage shows former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck. Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe.”

Blackwell said the the footage would allow jurors to see for themselves what happened, “without lawyer talk” and “without lawyer spin.”

He added that the prosecution team plans to show more videos throughout the trial.

Here is who the prosecution expects to call as witnesses in the case

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell presented a list of witnesses that the prosecution expects to call to make its case to the jury against former officer Derek Chauvin.

Blackwell said that they plan to call a number of police officers to testify, including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.

He also said that prosecutors plan to call “some of the bystanders” that were on the scene on May 25, 2020.

In addition, Blackwell said the prosecution will present expert testimony from medical professionals that will prove George Floyd’s death was from asphyxia.

These witnesses will include the county medical examiner who will “tell you what he found” after Floyd died.

Prosecutors plan to call on police to testify about officer training in providing care: "In your custody is in your care"

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell discussed how a core principle of the the Minneapolis Police Department is often described in a phrase “in your custody, is in your care” and how that plays a role in their case against Derek Chauvin, along with testimony from police officers about providing care.

“You’re also going to learn about another very important policy in the Minneapolis Police Department, that is a core principle of policing. You will hear this phrase that police have to live by in terms of how it is they relate to the public. ‘In your custody, is in your care. In your custody, is in your care.’ Meaning if you have an officer have an individual, a subject that is in your custody, it is your duty to care for that person. And you will learn that caring, ladies and gentlemen, is not a feeling. It is a verb. It’s something you’re supposed to do to provide care for that person. You’re going to hear from any number of police officers who will talk about this duty to provide care,” Blackwell said during the prosecutions opening statement.

Prosecutor: Chauvin did not remove his knee after he was told Floyd didn't have a pulse

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell laid out the timeline for the jury of when former officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

Blackwell said that while Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck, he was told “twice” by other responders on the scene “that they can’t even find a pulse” on Floyd.

Despite that, Blackwell said, Chauvin did not remove his knee.

“You will be able to see for yourself what he does in this response. You’ll see that he does not let up. He does not get up. Even when Mr. Floyd does not even have a pulse, it continues on,” Blackwell said. 

Prosecutor: Chauvin "betrayed" his oath as a police officer to never employ unnecessary force

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell began his opening argument at former officer Derek Chauvin’s trial by displaying the Minneapolis Police Department badge for the jury

“What it means to be a public servant and have the honor of wearing this badge. It’s a small badge that carries with it a large responsibility and large accountability to the public. What does it stand for? It represents the very motto of the Minneapolis Police Department. To protect with courage, to serve with compassion, but it also represents the essence of the Minneapolis police department approach to the use of force against its citizens when appropriate.” 

Blackwell told the jury that during this trial, they will learn about the oath that Minneapolis officers take. “They take an oath that, ‘I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately and as you will learn, as it applies to this case, never employing unnecessary force or violence,’” he said. 

“You will learn that on May 25 of 2020, Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge,” he said.

Blackwell said that Chauvin “used excessive and unreasonable force” against Floyd.


00:52 - Source: CNN

Judge outlines key things jurors should not do during the trial 

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill outlined some rules the jury should follow throughout the extent of the trial. 

14 jurors, including two alternates, will hear the case, but Cahill wanted to select 15 in case any jurors were excused before the start of opening statements today.  

Cahill noted that although the trial is being broadcast live, the jurors will never appear on video.

Here’s a list of key things jurors should not do during the trial, according to Cahill:

  • “You’re not investigators. You’re not to go out and do any looking. You’re not to ask people about this matter.”
  • “You’re not to use the internet to look for information about the case or about the law. You should avoid all news if possible. But at the very least, you should avoid media coverage of this case.” The judge noted they should avoid news coverage in newspapers, radio, television, social media or any other media.
  • “Remember, you must not talk to anyone who is involved in the case. The attorneys, the witnesses, or spectators.”
  • “When you go home during the trial, family and friends will be curious as to what you’re doing. You need to tell them you’re sitting as a juror in a criminal case and that’s all you should tell them.”
  • “I have to be realistic, and tell you that you can tell your immediate family in your household what you are doing. Because they will probably have figured it out by now. But in any case, feel free to share, but with no one else.”
  • “Please refrain from Facebook, and Twitter. You may access such absent tools but please do not publish any information.”
  • “Please disable any news feeds that may show up on social media accounts that may appear on this case.”

NOW: Opening statements are underway

Opening statements have begun in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.  

Chauvin knelt on 46-year-old George Floyd’s neck on May 25 as Floyd told Chauvin and three other officers he couldn’t breathe.

Judge Peter Cahill just heard a preliminary motion about what lawyers can say about George Floyd’s state of mind during the arrest. He also excused the 15th and final juror selected.  

Fourteen jurors, including two alternates, will hear the case, but Cahill wanted to select 15 in case any jurors are excused before the start of opening statements today.  

Juror 15 was a White man in his 20s.  

Of the remaining jurors, eight are white, four are Black and two are mixed race, according to information released by the court. Chauvin is White, and Floyd was Black so the makeup of the jury in predominantly White Minneapolis is being closely watched.   

Three jurors are in their 20s, 30s and 40s, four are in their 50s and one juror is in her 60s.