Chauvin Trial Day 14: Derek Chauvin Opts Not To Testify, Defense Rests Case


The nation is on edge as the State v. Chauvin trial nears it close. Protests not only continue in downtown Minneapolis, but demonstrations also continue to take place in nearby Brooklyn Center following the shooting of Daunte Wright. Just miles way from where George Floyd was killed, the aftermath of Wright's death continues to dominate news broadcasts and timelines. Unlike Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed Wright, Kim Potter, will not face murder charges. Instead, she will face second-degree manslaughter charges which carry a maximum sentence of up to 10 years. However, attorney and former South Carolina State Senator Bakari Sellers reports that many judges often recommend no more than four years for manslaughter. In contrast, Chauvin could spend the rest of his natural life if convicted of deliberately murdering Floyd on May 25. Today, the court moved closer to finding a verdict as the defense continue its case for Chauvin.

What Happened Yesterday

April 14 proved to be yet another eventful day in the State v. Chauvin trial. Part of the day's proceedings including a questionable motion from the defense. Defense attorney Eric Nelson and his colleagues introduced a motion to acquit Chauvin of all charges because they claim that the prosecution has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Judge Peter Cahill quickly shot down this motion.

"There’s no question that the witnesses who have testified all opined that the defendant's use of force was subjectively unreasonable," Cahill said.

After the motion was denied, the court received a visit from a man who has been talked about a lot during the trial, but has yet to appear in court, Morries Hall. Hall was one of the two people present when officers approached Floyd. He had previously stated that he would not like to testify in court because he could possibly incriminate himself. Appearing in court on Wednesday, he stuck to his initial argument.

“No, I am not. I’m fearful of criminal charges," Hall said when asked if he would like to testify.

As for the defense's witnesses, Nelson called retired forensic pathologist David Fowler to the stand. Fowler served as Maryland's Chief Medical Examiner for nearly two decades before his retirement. Most notably, his office ruled the death of Freddie Gray a homicide by omission in 2015.

During his testimony, Fowler introduced the theory that Floyd died in part because of exhaustion from a nearby car. However, he admitted that he had not seen any data supporting that theory. Fowler also described Floyd's death as "sudden" in part because he didn't account for Chauvin's knee being on Floyd's neck for nearly 10 minutes. Ultimately, he admitted that Floyd should have received medical attention sooner.

Catch up on what you may have missed: Day One | Day Two | Day Three | Day Four | Day Five | Day Six | Day Seven | Day Eight | Day Nine | Day Ten | Day Eleven | Day Twelve | Day Thirteen

What Happened Today

Derek Chauvin

The day kicked off with a short conversation between Nelson and Chauvin. By law, Chauvin has the right to testify before the court, but he has elected not to exercise this right.

"Have you made a decision today, whether you will attempt to testify, or whether you intend to invoke your Fifth Amendment right?" Nelson asked.

"I will invoke my 5th amendment privilege today," the defendant replied.

Chauvin is the second key witness to invoke the Fifth Ammendment. Yesterday, Hall utilized his Fifth Amendment right as well.

Dr. Martin Tobin

The biggest dispute that took place in court today involved Judge Peter Cahill, defense attorney Eric Nelson and prosecutor Jerry Blackwell. Yesterday, Nelson's key witness, David Fowler, introduced the theory that Floyd died from the exhaust of a nearby car. When cross-examined by Blackwell, Fowler admitted that he had not data to back this claim up. Today, Blackwell hopes to bring back Dr. Martin Tobin to discuss the carbon monoxide results and completely debunk Fowler's theory. While Cahill allowed Tobin to take the stand again, he warned that he would declare a mistrial if the two discussed the carbon monoxide results from Floyd's autopsy. Cahill appeared to be against any evidence that wasn't previously introduced by the prosecution during their case.

With the judge threatening to declare a mistrial, Blackwell called Tobin back to the stand. However, the two were on an extremely tight leash for questioning. Getting to the point, Blackwell asked Tobin if he agreed with Fowler's testimony. He replied by saying that Fowler's assessment was "simply wrong."

Next Steps

The defense and prosecution have both rested their cases. Judge Peter Cahill has called a weekend-long recess. On Monday, the two legal teams will present their closing arguments before the jury goes off to deliberate.

What The World Is Saying

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 Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264

The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001

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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