Three numbers make up the heart of the prosecution’s case against Derek Chauvin — 929
Three numbers make up the heart of the prosecution’s case against Derek Chauvin — 929.
Those were the nine minutes and 29 seconds the white police officer applied “excessive force” to the body of 46-year-old black man George Floyd.
The defence argued the case was greater than that; the now-fired Chauvin did “exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career”.
The decision to convict or acquit Mr Chauvin of murder, or the lesser charge of manslaughter, now lies with 12 jurors — six white people and six people who are black or multiracial.
Here is how the alleged murder happened according to the evidence revealed in court.
7:35pm — George Floyd buys cigarettes
Silent security camera video from the Cup Foods grocery shows the events that led up to Mr Floyd’s arrest on May 25, 2020, in Hennepin County, Minnesota.
In it, Mr Floyd, wearing a black singlet, appears to be filled with energy and constantly in motion, at one point almost dancing on the spot, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
Cashier Christopher Martin, 19, told the court Mr Floyd made friendly conversation and seemed to be under the influence of drugs.
Mr Floyd uses a $US20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes. He leaves the store at 7:44pm.
Mr Martin said he thought the bill was counterfeit and decided to tell his manager.
The manager tells Mr Martin to confront Mr Floyd, who has returned to a car across the street with two other passengers.
Mr Martin: “I thought that George didn’t really know it was a fake bill.”
“[He was] just kind of shaking his head and putting his hands in the air, like, ‘Why is this happening to me?'”
When Mr Floyd twice refuses to return to the store, Mr Martin’s manager tells a coworker to call the police.
8:02pm — First call to police
Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry sends a police car to Cup Foods after a report that a person provided a counterfeit bill to a business.
The suspect is described as a black male, six feet or taller, who is sitting on top of a blue SUV Mercedes and appears to be “under the influence”.
It is a “code three priority one” call, described by defence lawyer Eric Nelson as “lights and sirens, get there fast”.
8:08pm — Kueng and Lane arrive
Officers Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane arrive at Cup Foods.
Mr Lane’s body camera shows him approaching Mr Floyd’s car and tapping on the window.
Mr Floyd opens the doors and begins apologising.
Mr Lane draws his gun and tells Mr Floyd to put both hands up.
Mr Floyd begins crying: “Please Mr officer, don’t shoot me man … I didn’t know man.”
8:11pm — Floyd is handcuffed
Mr Lane pulls Mr Floyd from the car and handcuffs his hands behind his back.
Mr Lane: “Stop resisting.”
Mr Floyd: “I’m not.”
Mr Lane: “Yes you are”.
The officers walk the handcuffed Mr Floyd to their police car across the road.
8:14pm — Derek Chauvin arrives
Mr Kueng and Mr Lane try to get Mr Floyd into the back of the police car.
Crying and pleading, Mr Floyd repeatedly tells them he is claustrophobic.
Officers Derek Chauvin and Tou Thao arrive at the scene.
A panicked Mr Floyd is pushed into the back seat then pulled through the open door on the other side.
Mr Chauvin, Mr Lane and Mr Kueng pull Mr Floyd to the ground.
8:19pm — Chauvin kneels on Floyd’s neck
Mr Floyd is handcuffed on the ground, with Mr Chauvin kneeling on his neck and back.
Mr Chauvin’s knee remains there for nine minutes and 29 seconds.
It was initially believed the length of time was eight minutes and 46 seconds, which became a rallying cry after Mr Floyd’s death, but it was revised during the investigation.
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, the city’s first black police chief, testified there was an “initial reasonableness” to restrain a person on the ground to try get them under control “in the first few seconds”.
Chief Arradondo: “Once Mr Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalise that, they should have stopped.”
Homicide investigator Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, testified it was “totally unnecessary” for Mr Chauvin to put his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck.
Lieutenant Zimmerman: “I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt, and that’s what they would have to feel in order to use that kind of force.”
Defence witness Barry Brodd, a former police officer and an expert in the use of force, testified that Mr Chauvin’s actions were justified and he acted with objective reasonableness.
Mr Brodd: “Police officers don’t have to fight fair. They’re allowed to overcome your resistance by going up a level.”
During the initial four minutes and 45 seconds, Mr Floyd says “I can’t breathe” 27 times.
He also repeatedly cries out: “Mama, mama. Mama I love you.”
Mr Floyd’s partner, Courteney Ross, 45, testified Mr Floyd’s pet name for her in his phone was “Mama”, which called into question previous reports he had cried out for his mother while pinned to the pavement.
Bystanders shout at the police officers to get off Mr Floyd, saying he cannot breathe and is not resisting arrest.
One of the witnesses who later testifies in court is a nine-year-old girl.
Mr Floyd: “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please. Please. I can’t breathe officer.”
Mr Chauvin: “You’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of yelling.”
Mr Floyd: “I can’t breathe, they’re going to kill me man. They’re going to kill me man.”
Mr Chauvin: “Takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that.”
Intensive care doctor Martin Tobin testified Mr Chauvin was exerting 41.5 kilograms of downward pressure on Mr Floyd’s neck.
Dr Tobin unbuttoned his shirt collar and felt his neck to demonstrate how Mr Chauvin’s knee compressed the delicate tissue of the hypopharynx, blocking that part of the respiratory system in the lower part of the throat.
Dr Tobin: “It’s like the left side is in a vice. It’s totally being pushed in, squeezed in from each side, from the street at the bottom and then from the way that the handcuffs are manipulated.
It’s not just the handcuffs. It’s how the handcuffs are being held, how they’re being pushed, where they’re being pushed that totally interfere with essential features of how we breathe.”
Dr Tobin told the jury any “healthy person” would have died in a similar restraint.
8:20pm – Paramedics called
A minute after Mr Chauvin puts his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck, a call goes out to paramedics. It is a “code two” for a “not-life-threatening” incident.
It is upgraded to a “life-threatening” “code three” about a minute later.
8:24pm — Floyd’s final words
In his opening argument, prosecution lawyer Jerry Blackwell described how Mr Floyd’s voice got heavier and heavier, and his words further apart.
“You will see that his respiration gets shallower and shallower and finally stops when he speaks his last words: ‘I can’t breathe,'” Mr Blackwell said.
Mr Floyd remains silent with sporadic movement for 53 seconds.
Mr Lane says: “I think he’s passing out.”
8.24pm — Floyd is non-responsive
Off-duty firefighter and paramedic Genevieve Hansen can be heard on video screaming at the police to check Mr Floyd’s pulse.
Ms Hansen testified an officer at the scene told her: “If you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved.”
Mr Floyd is non-responsive for three minutes and 51 seconds.
Bystanders continue to beg police to get off him.
8:28pm — Paramedics arrive
Paramedic Derek Smith checks Mr Floyd’s pupils and pulse while the officers are still on top of him.
Mr Smith testified that he could not find a pulse and Mr Floyd’s pupils were “large” and “dilated”.
Mr Smith: “In lay terms, I thought he was dead.”
Paramedic Seth Bravinder testified he held his hands near Mr Floyd’s head to stop it from slamming into the pavement as they moved him to a stretcher.
Mr Bravinder: “He was, I guess, limp would be the best description. He was unresponsive and wasn’t holding his head up or anything like that.”
Mr Floyd is loaded into the ambulance. It stops two streets away so efforts to resuscitate Mr Floyd can continue.
Mr Bravinder testified he saw a flat line on Mr Floyd’s heart monitor.
8:37pm — Medical backup arrives
Jeremy Norton, a captain in the Minneapolis Fire Department who was requested as backup medical help, reaches the ambulance.
Mr Norton: “He was an unresponsive body on a cot.”
Paramedics spend 30 minutes attempting to resuscitate Mr Floyd.
8:55pm — Ambulance arrives at hospital
Mr Floyd is taken to Hennepin County Medical Center. He has no pulse and is in cardiac arrest.
Bradford Langenfeld, a senior resident on duty that night, testified he tried for about 30 minutes to resuscitate Mr Floyd.
Dr Langenfeld said it was “more likely” that Mr Floyd’s asphyxia, or a lack of oxygen, caused his cardiac arrest.
9:25pm — George Floyd declared dead
Dr Langenfeld pronounces Mr Floyd dead.
Two autopsy reports conclude Mr Floyd’s death was a homicide, caused in part by the way the arresting officers held him on the ground.
Both reports note Mr Floyd had underlying health conditions, including hypertension. Fentanyl (an opioid) and methamphetamine are found in his system.
Mr Floyd’s partner, Ms Ross, told the court they had both struggled with opioid addiction to treat chronic pain: hers in her neck, his in his back.
The jury is shown pictures of pills found in Mr Floyd’s car and pill remnants discovered in the police car.
Defence witness David Fowler, a retired forensic pathologist, told the trial Mr Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance as a result of his heart disease, not from having his neck knelt on.
Dr Fowler said the presence of Fentanyl and methamphetamine in Mr Floyd’s system, and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning from a car exhaust, were also contributing factors in his death.
Mr Chauvin declined to testify, citing his Fifth Amendment right to protection from self-incrimination.
The three other police officers are due to stand trial in August.