Derek Chauvin Trial Day 8: Lead Investigator Changes Answer On The Stand

The murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin entered its eighth day of testimony on Wednesday (April 7). State prosecutors continued calling law enforcement officers to the stand to offer their expert opinions in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd by Chauvin

Floyd’s murder sparked months-long protests around the world after video of Chauvin digging his knee into Floyd’s neck and back for more than nine minutes seared the reality of police violence in the US into the minds of people globally. 

The trial so far has included testimony from bystanders, the 911 operator who dispatched Chauvin and three other officers to 38th and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis where a convenience store manager accused Floyd of using a fake $20 bill. When the officers arrived, people from the community began recording, some asking the officers to stop kneeling on Floyd’s neck and back. 

An off-duty firefighter testified in court that she offered to render medical aid to Floyd, but officers refused. 

Prosecutors from Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office are building the case that Chauvin used unreasonable and unnecessary force on George Floyd. Several members of the Minneapolis Police Department, including Police Chief Medaria Arradondo, testified that what Chauvin did was not a part of MPD training protocols. 

Chauvin’s defense attorneys have continuously asserted several ideas including that bystanders distracted Chauvin by yelling at him and calling him names. They’ve also asserted that George Floyd’s drug use was the cause of his death, and not the body weight of four men while he lay handcuffed on the ground with his hands behind his back. 

To get a full recap of the last week of the trial please click here:

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 |

What Happened Today

Day 8 started with continued testimony from Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Jody Stinger who was brought in as an expert in the prosecution’s case. 

During his first court appearance on Tuesday (April 6), Stiger called Chauvin’s use of force “excessive.” 

“My opinion was that the force was excessive,” Stiger testified. Stiger continued providing his opinion on the murder based on several hundred pages of training materials he was given ahead of his testimony. 

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Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, asked Stiger what he could hear George Floyd saying in body cam footage. 

“Does it sound like he says ‘I ate too many drugs’?” Nelson asked. Stiger replied that he couldn’t be sure of what he heard in the video. 

Later on, James Reyerson, a senior special agent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (MBCA) said he could make out that Floyd said “I ate too many drugs,” but later changed his answer when Prosecutors asked him again. 

“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd is saying I ain’t doing no drugs,’” Reyerson said, contradicting what he said earlier. 

During Reyerson’s testimony, attorneys laid out the timeline of events that took place with state investigators after Chief Arrandondo called them in on the incident. 

Reyerson testified that hundreds of state and federal officers were involved in the investigation. Pills found in the squad car Derek Chauvin and three other officers attempted to put Floyd in were brought up during court proceedings. According to testimony, the pills were not discovered during the first searches of the squad car, though it was not insinuated that they were planted inside the vehicle.  

Those pills, Chauvin’s attorneys said, belonged to George Floyd. 

McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist at the MBCA took the stand in the afternoon and described the process she took to testing the pills, which she said had a positive DNA match of George Floyd. Anderson also testified that Floyd's blood was found in the back of the police car.

Breahna Giles, another forensic scientist employed by the MBCA took the stand. She told the court she processed a glass pipe collected from the scene but that it did not have evidence of drugs in it. She also shared tablets were tested in labs. Based on lab protocols, Giles testified that the presence of fentanyl was found but how much couldn't be determined.

Susan Neith, a forensic chemist from Pennsylvania was called to the stand as the last witness for the day.

Tomorrow, the court is set to determine if Maurice Hall, the passenger in Floyd’s car at the time of his death, will testify in the trial.

What Resources Are Available

Watching the trial, taking in traumatic moments may be difficult as video is played and replayed and verbally described.

A few resources that may aid in processing the trial are below:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255

The National Alliance on Mental Illness1-800-950-6264

The Association of Black Psychologists1-301-449-3082

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America1-240-485-1001

The resources listed have resources including peer groups and other counseling services that may be helpful. They also offer ways to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and other conditions that are important to monitor.

The Black Information Network's trial-related content includes a nightly news special, titled "Searching for Justice for George Floyd," that airs at 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday on all BIN 24/7 affiliates. Emmy Award-winning journalist Vanessa Tyler will anchor the daily 30-minute commercial-free recap of that day's testimony.

Additionally, BIN's Morgyn Wood will anchor live coverage of the trial on our Minneapolis affiliate BIN 93.3 FM. Tune in to Black Information Network 24/7's coverage on 31 Black Information Network affiliate stations and on the iHeartRadio app. Frequent updates and breaking news will also air on all 92 iHeartMedia Hip Hop, R&B, and Gospel music stations.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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