The defence at the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd rested its case Thursday
without putting Chauvin on the stand, presenting a total of two days of testimony to the prosecution’s two weeks.
Closing arguments are set to begin Monday morning.
Chauvin, 45, informed the court on the 14th day of trial that he would not testify, saying he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right not to take the stand. It would have been the first time Chauvin publicly told his side of the story.
“Is this your decision not to testify?” Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill asked.
“It is, your honour,” Chauvin said.
Prosecution recalls witness
The prosecution briefly recalled a lung and critical care expert to knock down a defence witness’s theory that carbon monoxide poisoning from a squad car’s exhaust might have contributed to Floyd’s death.
Prosecution witness Dr. Martin Tobin returned to the stand and testified that hospital tests showed Floyd’s carbon monoxide level was at most two per cent, within the normal range.
With that, both sides finished presenting their cases. Cahill reminded the jurors they will be sequestered starting Monday, and said: “If I were you, I would plan for long and hope for short.”
Chauvin is on trial on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with the May 25, 2020, death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man.
Floyd died after Chauvin, who is white, pressed a knee on the back of his neck and back for about nine minutes as two other officers held him face down on the pavement while he was handcuffed. He had been detained outside a convenience store after being suspected of paying with a counterfeit bill.
The prosecution says Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck caused his death. But the defence argues it was a combination of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions, drug use and adrenaline flowing through his system that ultimately killed him.
The outcome of the high-profile trial is being closely watched after video of the arrest of Floyd captured by a bystander prompted widespread outrage, setting off protests over race and police brutality across the U.S. and around the