Witness for the Defense Calls Derek Chauvin’s Actions ‘Justified’

April 13, 2021, 2:42 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 2:42 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Barry Brodd, the defense use-of-force expert, laid the foundation for his analysis of Derek Chauvin’s actions by saying there was justification for George Floyd’s arrest. Many other experts have said Chauvin’s use of force was unreasonable because what Floyd was accused of doing was so minor — passing a fake $20 bill.

April 13, 2021, 2:45 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 2:45 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Brodd says suspects on drugs sometimes “don’t feel pain” and can have “superhuman strength.” These statements have often been heard in past police brutality cases when officers were charged with killing Black men.

April 13, 2021, 2:39 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 2:39 p.m. ET

Barry Brodd, a former police officer and expert on the use of force, testified for the defense Tuesday that Derek Chauvin was following his police training when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck while trying to arrest him last May.

I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, and was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis police department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd.

April 13, 2021, 2:23 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 2:23 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Barry Brodd refers to a tactic he has taught, called “verbal judo,” which he said was developed after the Rodney King case to teach officers to use “verbal skills” to deal with a suspect who is not complying with police orders.

April 13, 2021, 2:20 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 2:20 p.m. ET

The defense has called Barry Brodd, a former police officer and use-of-force expert, who specializes in police and civilian defense cases, to the stand.

Mr. Brodd, who has nearly 30 years of law-enforcement experience, previously testified in another highly publicized trial in which a white police officer was accused of using excessive force against a Black teenager.

In 2018, Mr. Brodd testified on behalf of Jason Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, in 2014. Mr. Van Dyke shot Laquan, who was walking down the street while holding a knife, 16 times. He was convicted of murder in 2018.

In that trial, Mr. Brodd testified that Mr. Van Dyke’s use of force was justified. To prove his point, he reenacted the circumstances of the shooting for the jury, using a tape measure to stand 13 feet from the defense attorney — the distance between Laquan and Mr. Van Dyke when the officer first shot him.

Mr. Brodd then rushed at the defense attorney while wielding a plastic knife and pretended to stab him multiple times.

April 13, 2021, 2:19 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 2:19 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

We are back from lunch, and the defense has called Barry Brodd, a use-of-force expert who specializes in police and civilian defense cases.

April 13, 2021, 2:22 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 2:22 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Notably, Brodd, who was a law enforcement officer for decades, appeared as an expert witness for the defense of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer convicted of murder for shooting and killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014. Brodd testified that the use of force was justified.

April 13, 2021, 1:40 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 1:40 p.m. ET

Kim Potter had been an officer with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years.
Credit…Bruce Bisping/Star Tribune, via Getty Images

Kim Potter, the police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minn., who fatally shot Daunte Wright on Sunday, has resigned from the Police Department, her union said in a statement on Tuesday.

The city’s police chief, Tim Gannon, also announced that he was departing.

In a letter that Ms. Potter sent to city officials on Tuesday, she said she was resigning immediately, the union said.

“I have loved every minute of being a police officer and serving this community to the best of my ability, but I believe it is in the best interest of the community, the department and my fellow officers if I resign immediately,” she wrote.

The union, Law Enforcement Labor Services, represents more than 6,400 members throughout Minnesota.

Ms. Potter, 48, had been an officer with the Brooklyn Center Police Department for 26 years. She was first licensed as a police officer in Minnesota in 1995, and graduated from Saint Mary’s College in Winona, Minn., in 1994 with a criminal justice major, school officials said.

Until her resignation, she had been placed on administrative leave within the department after shooting and killing Mr. Wright, 20. In a news conference on Monday, Chief Gannon said he believed from watching Ms. Potter’s body camera video that she was attempting to use a Taser on Mr. Wright and pulled her firearm instead, killing him.

April 13, 2021, 1:18 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 1:18 p.m. ET

Members of George Floyd’s family arriving at the Hennepin County Government Center in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Credit…Jim Mone/Associated Press

Victoria Knott, a criminal defense lawyer, gestured toward the empty streets in downtown Minneapolis on Tuesday, just before the start of the 12th day of the Derek Chauvin trial. There was barely any traffic, and nearly every building was protected with fencing and plywood.

A fresh round of protests had erupted in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on Monday night after a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, was shot by a police officer about 10 miles away on Sunday.

“We have seen this over and over again,” Ms. Knott, 34, said about the shooting of Mr. Wright. “This is exhausting. You can see how the city feels right now: No one wants to be here. This is taking a toll.”

Light flurries fell downtown as construction workers placed new plywood on the windows of the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. The area appeared deserted, with mostly essential workers heading into nearby office buildings.

A block away from where Ms. Knott was preparing to visit her clients, the public plaza in front of the federal courthouse, full of dozens of benches and bonsai-style trees, was completely cut off by almost eight-foot-tall metal fencing. The sound of church bells broke what little noise there was of construction crews.

Matthew Ellis, a 42-year-old drug and alcohol counselor, said that he felt some hope last year after George Floyd’s death fueled a national conversation about policing, but that it was dashed by Mr. Wright’s death.

“It feels like we are heading into the summer just like we were last year,” he said a block from the federal courthouse. “It’s a somber mood in the city. I think we are stuck.”

April 13, 2021, 1:02 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 1:02 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

After brief testimony from Officer Nicole Mackenzie on the concept of excited delirium and how Minneapolis police officers are trained to deal with it, the court has broken for lunch.

April 13, 2021, 1:01 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 1:01 p.m. ET

In newly shown footage, from the body camera of Officer Peter Chang of the Minneapolis Park Police, George Floyd is seen handcuffed and sitting on the street near a Chinese restaurant.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

In new body camera footage shown to jurors on Tuesday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, George Floyd is seen handcuffed and sitting on the street near a Chinese restaurant, giving his name and birth date to one of the first police officers who arrived at Cup Foods after a clerk called to report that Mr. Floyd had used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

The footage was from the body camera of Peter Chang, a Minneapolis Park Police officer who arrived to back up the two rookie officers who first responded to the scene, before Mr. Chauvin and his partner arrived. Officer Chang’s testimony was the first in the trial from an officer who responded to the incident before Mr. Floyd had died.

The new footage was shown on the first day of testimony presented by Eric J. Nelson, the lawyer for Derek Chauvin, and provided a new glimpse of events that day, mostly from the perspective of two of Mr. Floyd’s companions: Morries Lester Hall and Shawanda Hill. As the officers struggled with Mr. Floyd across the street, Mr. Chang remained behind and watched Mr. Hall and Ms. Hill, who seemed to have no idea about the gravity of what was unfolding.

On the video, Mr. Chang is heard telling Mr. Floyd’s friends that if they don’t have warrants out for their arrest, they can go “when all this is settled.” At one point, apparently after Mr. Floyd was taken away in the ambulance, Mr. Hall and Ms. Hill were told that their friend had been taken to the hospital. “What happened to him?” Ms. Hill frantically asked.

During Mr. Chang’s testimony before the body camera video was shown, Mr. Nelson asked about one of the key points of his defense: that the group of vocal bystanders who gathered around the officers as they struggled on the ground with Mr. Floyd became increasingly angry and represented a threat to the officers. “They were very aggressive,” Mr. Chang agreed.

Yet on cross-examination by Matthew Frank, a prosecutor, Mr. Chang seemed to undercut the defense’s point about the angry crowd. Mr. Chang said that while he remained across the street to watch Mr. Floyd’s friends, he assumed the officers struggling with Mr. Floyd had things under control and said they did not ask for help.

He also said that when he first arrived on the scene, Mr. Floyd was peaceful and responding to officers, another point that the state made in its cross-examination, an attempt to highlight that officers had already subdued Mr. Floyd — and drive home their argument to the jury that no more force was necessary to arrest him.

April 13, 2021, 12:56 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:56 p.m. ET

Throughout the trial the term “excited delirium” has come up, with the prosecution going out of its way to pre-empt any argument by the defense that George Floyd was experiencing it.

Body camera footage captured one of the officers at the scene saying that he was “concerned about excited delirium or whatever.” Police officers receive training on excited delirium even though it has often been dismissed as pseudoscience.

There is no generally accepted definition of excited delirium, according to a 2018 review of the scientific literature, but the term is used to describe someone who becomes distressed or aggressive from a mental illness or the use of stimulants like cocaine. Critics say it is not a real medical condition but simply an excuse for deaths in police custody.

It is not included in the International Classification of Diseases or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders but has been recognized by the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

According to a report by the Brookings Institution, the term is disproportionately applied to Black people and was first used in 1985 to explain a series of sudden deaths in cocaine users, occurring primarily while in police custody, and again to explain the deaths of 32 Black women in Miami in the 1980s, who were later determined to have been asphyxiated by a serial killer.

On the stand on Monday, Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, who tried to resuscitate Mr. Floyd in the emergency room and pronounced him dead, said he had considered but ultimately rejected excited delirium as a contributing factor in his death, conceding that it was a “controversial diagnosis.”

There was no report that Mr. Floyd had ever been “very sweaty” or “extremely agitated,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of cases of mental health crises or drug use leading to severe agitated states,” he said. “That is almost always reported by paramedics, and so the absence of that information was telling.”

April 13, 2021, 12:56 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:56 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:55 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:55 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

We are back after a break, and the defense has called Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department who has already testified for the prosecution. Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, wants to ask her questions about “excited delirium,” a contested condition often cited in police killings.

April 13, 2021, 12:57 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:57 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

One problem for the defense is that Floyd did not exhibit the signs of excited delirium. Office Nicole Mackenzie is explaining another: that officers are taught that people with excited delirium are vulnerable to cardiac arrest.

April 13, 2021, 12:51 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:51 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

We are back after a break, and the defense has called Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department who has already testified for the prosecution. Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, wants to ask her questions about “excited delirium,” a contested condition ofen cited in police killings.

April 13, 2021, 12:53 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:53 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Officer Mackenzie is here to explain what Minneapolis Police Department officers are taught about excited delirium. One of the officers involved in Floyd’s arrest, Thomas Lane, can be heard on body camera video saying he was concerned that Floyd was suffering from the condition. The signs are said to include removal of clothing, profuse sweating, superhuman strength and extreme agitation. Mackenzie is saying that officers are taught that someone with excited delirium is “unstoppable.”

April 13, 2021, 12:50 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:50 p.m. ET

Nicole MacKenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, returned to the witness stand on Tuesday for the defense, after testifying for the prosecution last week. 
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, returned to the witness stand Tuesday for the defense after testifying for the prosecution last week.

During Officer Mackenzie’s testimony, the defense suggested that Floyd was suffering from excited delirium, which is sometimes cited as a fatal condition to explain deaths in police custody. Excited delirium is controversial and not broadly recognized as a diagnosis.

When Officer Mackenzie testified for the state last week, she said that people experiencing excited delirium could exhibit “superhuman strength” because they do not feel normal levels of pain.

She also agreed with Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that a police officer could mistake gasping for air with breathing and that a hostile group of bystanders could make it more likely for a police officer to miss signs that a detainee was in distress.

Officer Mackenzie said it could be “incredibly difficult” to provide medical treatment in front of a loud crowd, even if they were not interfering physically.

“If you had a very hostile or volatile crowd — it sounds unreasonable — but bystanders do occasionally attack E.M.S. crews,” she testified.

In court, the defense presented training materials, used by the police department, that list pre-existing factors for excited delirium as cardiovascular disease, drug use and mental health issues. Much of the trial has centered on the condition of Mr. Floyd’s heart and his known drug use, and whether those two factors played a role in his death.

Signs of excited delirium include clothing removal, violence, increased strength, confusion or resistance to responding to commands, Officer Mackenzie said. The onset of signs can be abrupt, she added, and require additional resources, including emergency medical services.

Officer Mackenzie agreed with the defense that an officer should “control” someone with excited delirium, which might include the use of physical force, but said on cross-examination that officers are also trained to put people in the recovery position to assist with breathing and begin life saving measures if they become unresponsive.

April 13, 2021, 12:33 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:33 p.m. ET

Reporting from New Jersey

During cross-examination by the prosecution, Peter Chang, the Minneapolis Park Police officer who responded to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest and detained the friends who were in the car with Floyd, says the officers restraining Floyd never called for his help or further backup. He has left the stand, and the court is taking a short break to prepare for the next defense witness.

April 13, 2021, 12:15 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:15 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

On Officer Chang’s body camera video, as the ambulance leaves with George Floyd’s body, his friends step up their requests to take him his cell phone, which was inside his car. “He’s already gone,” Chang tells them. “He doesn’t need his phone.”

April 13, 2021, 12:05 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:05 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Officer Chang says that when he arrived at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, the other officers told him to watch Floyd’s car. We think this is the first time Chang’s body camera video has been made public. It shows the two passengers who were with Floyd, Shawanda Hill and Morries Hall, as they hear a crowd reacting to Floyd being restrained across the street.

April 13, 2021, 12:08 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:08 p.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

On the body camera video, Chang can be heard telling Floyd’s friends that if they don’t have any warrants for their arrest, they can go “when all this is settled.” Hall and Hill are being very compliant. Hall seems to ask permission before he opens his backpack and before he goes to the car to get a mask.

April 13, 2021, 12:01 p.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 12:01 p.m. ET

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Shawanda Hill, George Floyd’s Associate, Testifies in Derek Chauvin Trial

Shawanda Hill, an associate of George Floyd’s who was sitting in the back seat of the car when Mr. Folyd was arrested, testified on his demeanor before the arrest.

“When I tried to wake him up, he woke up the second time, I said, ‘Floyd, the police is here. It’s about the $20 bill wasn’t real.’ I kept saying, ‘Baby, get up, the police.’ So he looked, and we looked to the right and he had the police. He tapped on the window with a flashlight. And I’m like, ‘Floyd.’ So he turned back around again. ‘What, what, what?’ And I was like, ‘Baby, that’s the police. Open the door, roll down the window, whatever he told you to do.’ So he looked back and when he’d seen the man, the man had the gun at the window at — when we looked back to him. So he instantly grabbed the wheel and he was like, ‘Please, please don’t kill me. Please, please don’t shoot me. Don’t shoot me. What did I do? Just tell me what I did. Please don’t kill me.’” “During this time period, coming out from Cup Foods and being in the vehicle, did he complain of shortness of breath at all?” “No.” “Did he complain of chest pains at all?” “No.” “And other than being sleepy or nodding off a little bit, did he seem abnormal to you in any way?” “No, not at all.” “And did he seem startled when the officer pulled a gun on him?” “Very.”

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Shawanda Hill, an associate of George Floyd’s who was sitting in the back seat of the car when Mr. Folyd was arrested, testified on his demeanor before the arrest.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Shawanda Hill, an associate of George Floyd’s who was sitting in the back seat of the car when he was first approached by officers and arrested, testified for the defense on Tuesday, giving more insight into his demeanor before the arrest.

Ms. Hill said she ran into Mr. Floyd in Cup Foods, where he appeared “happy, normal, talking, alert,” she said. He offered to give her a ride home, so she went with him to the car and sat in the back seat.

Ms. Hill said she chatted for a few minutes with Mr. Floyd, and then took a phone call from her daughter, during which time Mr. Floyd fell asleep.

She said she tried to rouse him, and that he would “nod, do a gesture,” and then fall back asleep. He appeared to be asleep when the store clerk approached the car about the counterfeit $20 bill, she said.

When police officers approached the vehicle, Ms. Hill again tried to rouse Mr. Floyd.

“I kept telling him, ‘Baby get up,’” she said. The approaching officers, one with his gun already drawn, startled him, she said.

Ms. Hill told jurors Mr. Floyd’s behavior was normal, other than his being sleepy.

The defense has argued that Mr. Floyd’s drowsiness was a sign of drug use that may have contributed to his death. Prosecutors previously called several expert witnesses who denied that drugs caused Mr. Floyd’s death.

April 13, 2021, 11:58 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:58 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Officer Chang’s body camera footage shows George Floyd alive, handcuffed and sitting on the street, telling Officer Kueng his name and his birthdate. This is defense testimony, but here we see Floyd subdued and under control before he resisted being put in a squad car and officers pinned him to the street, which could potentially help the state’s case.

April 13, 2021, 11:52 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:52 a.m. ET

Peter Chang, an officer with the Minneapolis Park Police, said he was stationed at a nearby park when he responded to a call from the Minneapolis Police Department at Cup Foods.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Peter Chang, an employee of Minneapolis Park Police and a licensed peace officer, testified Tuesday that the crowd watching George Floyd’s arrest last May made him nervous.

“They were very aggressive,” he said.

The defense has suggested that the crowd distracted Derek Chauvin, the arresting officer who knelt on George Floyd’s neck and is now on trial for killing Mr. Floyd.

The defense played Mr. Chang’s body camera footage, which showed him looking up Mr. Floyd’s name on the computer in his police car after he arrived to help the arresting officers.

In a longer clip of the body camera footage, Mr. Chang appears to tell Shawanda Hill and Morries Hall, who gives a false name to Mr. Chang, to stay away from the car they had been sitting in with Mr. Floyd. In the video, Ms. Hill and Mr. Hall can be heard commenting on Mr. Floyd struggling with the police across the street.

“Stay put guys, you don’t want to be involved in all that,” Mr. Chang tells them.

Mr. Chang explained that he was pacing back and forth in the video because he was “concerned for the officers’ safety because of the crowd.”

April 13, 2021, 11:52 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:52 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

It’s key for the defense that Peter Chang, the Minneapolis Park Police officer who assisted at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, testifies that the crowd of bystanders made him concerned for the safety of the other officers. The defense has been trying to frame the bystanders as potentially dangerous or distracting. “They were very aggressive,” Chang says.

April 13, 2021, 11:41 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:41 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Peter Chang, a Minneapolis Park Police officer who came to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, has taken the stand for the defense.

April 13, 2021, 11:40 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:40 a.m. ET

Officer Rich Walker, left, Sgt. Anna Hedberg and Sgt. Sherral Schmidt, Minneapolis Police union leaders, spoke to State Senate committees last year about the death of George Floyd.
Credit…Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

As the defense began to present their case on Tuesday, Eric J. Nelson has so far been the only attorney to speak in court on behalf of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd.

But Mr. Chauvin is actually backed by the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, an organization of unions that has more than 10,000 members including police officers, correctional officers, dispatchers and firefighters.

As a police officer, Mr. Chauvin was a member of the Minneapolis Police Federation, one of the unions in the association, and his defense is being paid through the association’s legal defense fund, a spokesman for the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association said.

The spokesman declined to answer questions about the funding and use of the legal defense fund, stating that it was “confidential.”

Mr. Nelson is a private lawyer with Halberg Criminal Defense and is one of 12 lawyers connected with the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association, which assigns cases on a rotating basis, according to The Associated Press.

Brian Peters, the association’s executive director, told The Associated Press that four lawyers were assigned to the four officers charged in connection with George Floyd’s death, and that they have been collaborating behind the scenes.

“It may appear that it’s just Eric, but that is very far from the truth,” Mr. Peters told The Associated Press.

Mr. Nelson has also been accompanied in court by Amy Voss, a woman he identified as his assistant but who is also a licensed lawyer. She has been seated at a table behind Mr. Nelson and Mr. Chauvin throughout the trial. In addition, several other Minneapolis defense lawyers who typically represent police officers, including the attorneys for the three other officers who were on the scene when Mr. Floyd died and face aiding and abetting charges, are helping Mr. Nelson behind the scenes.

April 13, 2021, 11:39 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:39 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Shawanda Hill was called by the defense, but her sympathies clearly lie with the prosecution. She said George Floyd had no shortness of breath in the car outside Cup Foods, and was startled and scared when the police officers approached the car with their guns drawn. Just like the first two defense witnesses today, her testimony was brief.

April 13, 2021, 11:28 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:28 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Shawanda Hill, who was in the car outside Cup Foods with George Floyd on the day that he died, has taken the witness stand as a defense witness. The judge advised her outside of the jury’s hearing that she may be asked whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time, and that she has a Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself.

April 13, 2021, 11:36 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:36 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Hill told Eric Nelson, the defense lawyer, that Floyd was asleep in the car when the clerk from Cup Foods came to the car to complain about the suspected fake $20 bill that Floyd used to buy cigarettes. The questioning by Nelson was brief, but it looks like he is trying to suggest Floyd was asleep due to opioids, which could allow Nelson to say in his closing statement that this was a sign of an overdose.

April 13, 2021, 11:14 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:14 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The prosecution did not want the jury to hear about the 2019 arrest of George Floyd, but I’d rate it a win for them. They showed the arresting police officer approaching with his gun drawn and got him to admit that “it escalated real quick.” And the paramedic who treated Floyd at the scene emphasized that Floyd was addicted to Percoset and had been taking them every 20 minutes — not that he had swallowed them as the police approached, as the defense contends he did in May 2020 outside Cup Foods.

April 13, 2021, 11:09 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:09 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The first two defense witnesses were on and off very quickly, in line with the judge’s order that their testimony about George Floyd’s arrest in May 2019, when he had medical issues, be strictly limited. It’s hard to see how helpful it was to the defense, because the upshot is that during the May 2019 incident Floyd was taken to the hospital, and he lived.

April 13, 2021, 11:03 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 11:03 a.m. ET

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Michelle Moseng, a retired paramedic, testified about George Floyd’s condition after a prior arrest in 2019, saying Mr. Floyd told her he had been taking some form of opioid. Her testimony was limited to the physical effects of opioids on Mr. Floyd.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

Michelle Moseng, a retired paramedic for Hennepin County Medical Center’s emergency medical services, was called by the defense to testify on Tuesday morning.

Ms. Moseng’s testimony followed that of Scott Creighton, a retired Minneapolis police officer, who pulled George Floyd over for a traffic stop on May 6, 2019.

In court, she said she was summoned to the police precinct to tend to Mr. Floyd after he had been arrested in 2019. That day, she said, Mr. Floyd told her he had been taking some form of opioid “multiple, every 20 minutes” and another as the officers approached.

She recommended that he be transported to the hospital based on his elevated blood pressure. He was ultimately brought to the hospital, she said. She said that he told her he had been addicted to opioids, and that during treatment, he was alert, obeyed commands and had an appropriate response to stimulation.

April 13, 2021, 10:57 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:57 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer, calls Michelle Moseng, the paramedic who treated George Floyd after his May 2019 arrest, when he had medical issues. The judge again instructs the jury that the testimony about this arrest is limited to the physical effects of opioids on Floyd, not evidence about his character.

April 13, 2021, 10:51 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:51 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The proceedings are being frequently interrupted by sidebars because the judge has placed such narrow restrictions on what can be presented about George Floyd’s 2019 arrest, and the lawyers are arguing about the boundaries. The defense wants to allow as much in as they can.

April 13, 2021, 10:48 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:48 a.m. ET

The defense questioned Scott Creighton about an incident on May 6, 2019, a traffic stop during which a passenger, whom he identified as George Floyd, was not responsive to his commands.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Scott Creighton, a retired Minneapolis police officer, was the first defense witness called to testify in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Before he began his testimony on Tuesday, Judge Peter A. Cahill told the jury that they would hear evidence of an occurrence for the “limited purpose of showing the effects the ingestion of opioids may or may not have had on the physical well-being of George Floyd. This evidence is not to be used as evidence of the character of George Floyd.”

Mr. Creighton worked for the police department for 28 years, including 22 years as a street level narcotics investigator, he said.

The defense questioned Mr. Creighton about an incident on May 6, 2019, a traffic stop during which a passenger, whom he identified as Mr. Floyd, was not responsive to his commands.

“In my mind his behavior was very nervous, anxious,” he said, noting that he turned away continuously as he asked to see his hands.

April 13, 2021, 10:45 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:45 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Prosecutors tried hard to get this video and testimony about the May 2019 arrest of George Floyd excluded, but it could actually end up helping the state. In May 2019, officers sought medical care for Floyd after he swallowed drugs, and he survived.

April 13, 2021, 10:49 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:49 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

In arguments about this before jury selection, prosecutors described attempts to admit it into evidence as “the desperation of the defense to smear Mr. Floyd’s character by showing what he struggled with, an opioid addiction like so many Americans do, is really just evidence of bad character.” So far, we have just seen the arrest of Floyd. Later we will hear from the paramedic about how Floyd’s body reacted to drugs he took during the arrest in May 2019.

April 13, 2021, 10:44 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:44 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The May 2019 arrest being focused on now by the defense was similar in many ways to George Floyd’s encounter with the police outside Cup Foods. In both cases, he apparently took drugs and said he couldn’t breathe. The judge has limited testimony about the prior incident to Floyd’s physical reaction to taking drugs and encountering the police. A paramedic will testify, and a portion of bodycam footage from May 2019 is being shown to the jury.

April 13, 2021, 10:37 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:37 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The state has officially rested its case after calling almost 40 witnesses, and Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, has called his first witness to testify. He will try to demonstrate that drug use and a heart condition are to blame for George Floyd’s death, not Chauvin’s actions during his arrest.

April 13, 2021, 10:41 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:41 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

The first defense witness is a Minneapolis police officer who arrested Floyd in May 2019, almost a year before he died. The judge first instructs the jury that the testimony they are about to hear is not evidence about the “character” of Floyd.

April 13, 2021, 10:34 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:34 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

With the defense beginning to present its case today, one big question is whether Derek Chauvin himself will take the stand. The jury undoubtedly wants to hear what the former police officer was thinking as he restrained George Floyd for more than nine minutes. But there are many potential downsides — he could put jurors off, or open himself to a damaging cross-examination. During jury selection, Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, repeatedly stressed that jurors could not hold it against Chauvin if he did not testify.

April 13, 2021, 10:17 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:17 a.m. ET

Shawanda Hill, right, last year near the scene of George Floyd’s arrest.
Credit…Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The defense will begin making its case for the former officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday, and is expected to begin with the two other people who were in the car with George Floyd when he was first approached by officers.

There have been some difficulties for the defense with these two witnesses, whose testimonies may be crucial to its argument that Mr. Floyd’s drug use before the arrest may have caused him to overdose.

Shawanda Hill, an associate of Mr. Floyd’s who was sitting in the back seat of the car when he was first approached by officers and arrested, has been called to testify and is expected to be the first to take the stand Tuesday, but it is unclear whether she will show up.

In police body camera footage from the arrest, Ms. Hill can be heard from the back seat telling officers Mr. Floyd had been shot previously in a similar situation, however that was never confirmed. One of the officers, Thomas Lane, can also be heard asking Ms. Hill why Mr. Floyd was being so “squirrelly.”

“He’s got a thing going on, I’m telling you, about the police,” Ms. Hill said while pointing her finger to her head and making a circular motion with her finger.

Morries Lester Hall, who was sitting in the passenger seat beside Mr. Floyd, has said through his lawyer that he plans to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Mr. Hall is currently in jail for charges unrelated to Mr. Floyd’s death.

Mr. Hall’s lawyer has said that testifying about any of his actions on May 25 had the potential to incriminate him. Judge Peter A. Cahill, who is overseeing the trial of Mr. Chauvin, ordered Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer to draft a list of questions about that day that Mr. Hall might be able to answer without incriminating himself.

Judge Cahill is expected to make a decision Tuesday on whether to allow the defense to call him to testify.

April 13, 2021, 10:10 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:10 a.m. ET

Reporting from Minneapolis

Court is back in session this morning with lawyers from both sides arguing motions before the jury is brought in. The defense is expected to begin calling its first witnesses today, giving Derek Chauvin’s lawyers a chance to counter more than two weeks of extensive testimony that blame his actions for George Floyd’s death.

April 13, 2021, 10:05 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 10:05 a.m. ET

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department on Monday night to protest the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot by an officer during a traffic stop. In Portland, a candlelight vigil for Mr. Wright was held at Laurelhurst Park.

April 13, 2021, 7:50 a.m. ET

April 13, 2021, 7:50 a.m. ET

The lawyer Eric J. Nelson, left, and his client, the former officer Derek Chauvin. The defense will begin calling witnesses on Tuesday.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

Derek Chauvin’s defense team will begin calling its own witnesses on Tuesday, a key step for a trial that took on a heightened level of intensity after the fatal shooting on Sunday of a Black man by a police officer in a Minneapolis suburb.

Jurors have so far only heard from witnesses called by the prosecution, including bystanders who saw the arrest of George Floyd unfold, and medical and law enforcement experts. The defense of Mr. Chauvin, who is charged with murdering Mr. Floyd, has faced pointed rebukes from several witnesses, including an expert on the use of force who testified on Monday that the officers who arrested Mr. Floyd mishandled the situation on nearly every level.

Witnesses from the defense will take the stand as Minneapolis remains on edge, rocked by the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright on Sunday. Mr. Wright, 20, was shot by an officer who officials said meant to grab her Taser; she instead pulled her handgun and shot Mr. Wright when he re-entered his car while officers tried to arrest him for an outstanding warrant.

The shooting in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, led to both peaceful protests and clashes with the police and looting on Sunday night. On Monday, the city, along with others in the Twin Cities region, imposed a state of emergency and a curfew to curb the likelihood of civil unrest. Hundreds of protesters violated the curfew, surrounding the Brooklyn Center Police Department and chanting at officers who stood guard in riot gear beside newly erected fencing. The crowd eventually dispersed after a few hours.

While the death of Mr. Floyd sent the country into a fierce debate over the intersection of race and policing, the fatal shooting of Mr. Wright amplified tensions as the trial moves forward.

On Monday, jurors heard from Mr. Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd, who gave tearful testimony about George Floyd’s childhood and his relationship with his mother, who died in 2018. Testimonies like that of Philonise Floyd are generally not allowed, but Minnesota courts permit them to give jurors a fuller understanding of victims’ personalities and character.

Prosecutors also called a law enforcement expert and a cardiologist, who both gave testimonies that mirrored those of other expert witnesses. The cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Rich, said that Mr. Floyd’s death was “absolutely preventable” and that he saw no evidence that Mr. Floyd died from a drug overdose or a heart attack, as the defense has suggested.

Instead, Dr. Rich said Mr. Floyd died from a deprivation of oxygen, a conclusion reached by several other medical witnesses. “He was trying to get enough oxygen and because of the position that he was subjected to, the heart thus did not have enough oxygen,” he said.

Seth Stoughton, a law professor and use-of-force expert, testified that the prone position where Mr. Floyd was held for nine and a half minutes is meant to be transitional, typically used for applying handcuffs on a suspect. Police officers have known for decades that the prone position is dangerous if a suspect is kept there for long periods of time, he said, particularly if additional force is applied to their back or neck.

“No reasonable officer would have believed that was an acceptable, appropriate and reasonable use of force,” Mr. Stoughton said.

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