The third week of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin over the murder of George Floyd began Monday morning (April 12), with cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich taking the stand. Rich is the 36th witness called in the prosecution case against Chauvin and his testimony came after several other medical experts took the stand during the first two weeks of the trial, including the paramedics who tried to save George Floyd’s life after Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
Dr. Rich offered expert testimony in the case, and stated he believed Floyd’s death was “absolutely preventable.”
“There was one moment in the video where I heard one of the officers saying I think he’s passing out. That would have been an opportunity to quickly relieve him from that position of not getting enough oxygen…” Dr. Rich said.
He also refuted the defense’s argument that Floyd died as the result of a heart attack or substance use. Had George Floyd “not been restrained in the way that he was, I believe he would have survived that day,” Dr. Rich said, echoing the sentiments of other medical experts who took the stand previously in the trial.
Judge Peter Cahill made a ruling that Morries Hall, the passenger in George Floyd’s car, the day he was killed would not be taking the stand in the trial.
The court also heard emotional testimony from Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, who shared stories about growing up together.
“He was so much of a leader to us in the household. He would always make sure that we had our clothes for school. He made sure that we all were going to be to school on time. And like I told you, George couldn’t cook. But he will make sure you have a snack or something to get in the morning. But he –– he was one of those people in the community that when they had church outside, people would attend church just because he was there. Nobody would go out there until they seen him. And he was just like a person that everybody loved around the community. He –– he just knew how to make people feel better.”
Philonise was able to offer such a testimony in court under Minnesota’s “spark of life” doctrine to provide the court with statements about a victim’s life. Philonise got emotional after viewing a photo of his mother holding a young George Floyd. “He was a big mama’s boy,” Philonise said of his brother.
According to CNN, Philonise told a reporter in the court that he had heard about the police-involved shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright a few miles outside of Minneapolis.
After Philonise’s testimony, the prosecution called a law professor and former officer to the stand to offer use of force expertise. Seth Stoughton told the court, as other use of force expert Jody Stiger did, that Chauvin’s actions were not necessary.
“It’s clear from the number of officers and Mr. Floyd’s position and the fact that he’s handcuffed and has been searched, he doesn’t present a threat of harm,” Stoughton told the jury.
The defense cross examined Stoughton before prosecutors followed up on the redirect.
Judge Cahill told the jury he expected the defense's case to begin Tuesday (April 13) with closing arguments to begin on Monday (April 19). The jury will be sequestered once closing arguments are finished and they deliberate. The court adjourned for the day around 4:30 local time.
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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
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