Derek Chauvin Trial Day 13 Recap: A Retired Forensic Pathologist Testifies


On the thirteenth day of the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, the defense called a forensic pathologist to testify about the George Floyd’s manner of death. 

The day was also filled with new developments in the police-involved fatal shooting of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota –– located just ten miles away from the trial. 

State prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday (April 13) after calling 38 witnesses to the stand. The court heard from several law enforcement personnel including Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo who fired Chauvin and three other officers after Floyd’s death last May. They also called medical experts who have extensive experience in pulmonology and cardiology to the stand who described to the jury what George Floyd experienced under Chauvin’s knee for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

To kick off the day, Judge Peter Cahill rejected a routine motion from defense attorneys to acquit Chauvin, stating that prosecutors had not proven their case. Cahill denied the motion, stating in part: “There’s no question that the witnesses who have testified all opined that the defendant use of force was subjectively unreasonable.” 

Morries Hall Will Not Testify

Morries Hall, who was in the car with George Floyd when police approached the vehicle last May, will not testify. Hall appeared in court and invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to self-incriminate. Judge Cahill asked Hall if he would be open to answering questions that were pre-submitted to the court if he were to testify. “No I am not,” Hall said. “I’m fearful of criminal charges.” 

Cahill said Hall has “a complete fifth amendment privilege here,” overturning a subpoena from the defense. 

Retired Forensic Pathologist Takes The Stand

Chauvin’s defense lawyers called forensic pathologist David Fowler to testify about the former officer’s actions on May 25, 2020 and their impact on George Floyd’s death. During his testimony Fowler introduced the theory that exhaust from the police car contributed to Floyd’s death. In the cross-examination, state prosecutor Jerry Blackwell asked Fowler if he had seen any data on the exhaust emissions from the car or if George Floyd had injuries resulting from carbon monoxide, to which Fowler responded no. 

Fowler served as the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland for 17 years. 

Fowler also characterized George Floyd’s death as “sudden” which was also addressed in the cross-examination, when Blackwell asked during which part of the nine minutes and 29 seconds Chauvin’s knee was in Floyd’s back and neck there was a sudden death. 

Fowler also admitted that the studies he used to make his expert opinion on the use of force used on Floyd did not account for an officer’s knee being placed on someone in the prone position for nearly 10 minutes. He also said he didn’t include the weight of Chauvin’s police equipment when forming his opinion on the case. 

Fowler also agreed that Floyd should have received medical attention sooner than he did, though he would’ve characterized George Floyd’s death as “undetermined.” Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker ruled Floyd’s death a homicide as a result of the restraint and Chauvin’s compression on Floyd’s neck. Baker told the court last week he wouldn’t change those findings. 

Here’s What Is Being Said Online

Resources Available

Watching the trial, taking in traumatic moments may be difficult as video is played and replayed and verbally described. As the nation reckons with ongoing police violence midst of this trial, taking care is especially important.

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 journalistVanessa Tylerwill anchor the daily 30-minute commercial-free recap of that day's testimony.

Additionally, BIN'sMorgyn Woodwill 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: Getty Images


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