Closing Arguments and Jury Deliberations next in George Floyd murder
Testimony ended Thursday in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the death of George Floyd. Both sides, the Prosecution and the Defense, rested their case with the trial moving to closing arguments and jury deliberation next week.
The week began with the defense team calling witnesses for Chauvin, which consisted of two expert witnesses, a former forensic pathologist, and a use-of-force expert. Dr. David Fowler, a retired forensic pathologist who was the chief medical examiner for the state of Maryland for 17 years, provided testimony to suggest that nothing Chauvin did that day caused 46-year-old Floyd’s death. Pointing to fentanyl and methamphetamine in Floyd’s system, and possibly carbon monoxide poisoning from auto exhaust, Fowler suggested that these were the contributing factors in Floyd’s death, not Chauvin’s knee.
Chauvin addressed the court telling the judge that he would not testify, instead evoking his 5th amendment rights against self incrimination. After calling only seven witnesses during the trial, the defense rested its case.
The prosecutor attacked Chauvin’s expert witness and challenged his findings as he sought to shake the jury’s faith in Fowler’s credibility. After a series of questions, the prosecution forced the pathologist to admit that he did not know the answers or had a flawed recollection of the events on May 25, 2020, leading to Floyd’s death. A damaging moment for the defense was when Fowler testified that even after Floyd appeared to have lost consciousness after suffering cardiac arrest — about 4 to 5 minutes into the grueling 9 1/2 minute restraint — he might have been revived had he received immediate medical attention.
For a brief moment Chauvin addressed the court as he told the judge that he would not testify in his defense, instead evoking his 5th amendment rights against self-incrimination. If Chauvin had taken the stand, he would have been asked to explain why he placed a knee on Floyd’s neck and why he kept it there for the extended length of time until Floyd died. After calling only seven witnesses during the trial, the defense rested its case. The prosecution recalled one of their expert witnesses, Dr. Martin Tobin, as a rebuttal witness before again resting.
After 45 witnesses over the past three weeks, the court is in recess until Monday when both sides are expected to deliver closing remarks. Judge Cahill reminded jurors they will be sequestered after closing arguments to begin their deliberation.
Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, 46.
Prosecutors say Floyd died because the white officer’s knee was pressed against Floyd’s neck or neck area for 9 1/2 minutes as he lay on the pavement on his stomach, his hands cuffed behind him and his face jammed against the ground. Defense claim drugs and a heart condition caused Floyd’s death.
Defense Expert Witness, Fowler, faces lawsuit in a Baltimore death-in-custody case similar to Floyd’s case.
Dr. David Fowler, the defense expert witness in the George Floyd Murder Trial is one of several parties being sued by the family of Anton Black, a Black 19-year-old who died in police custody in 2018. The Maryland medical examiner’s office, which Fowler then led, ruled the death an accident and said there were no signs police did anything wrong. The Baltimore Sun reported on the family’s lawsuit, which said, “Two years before George Floyd died after being restrained and pinned down by police, 19-year-old Anton Black was killed by three white law enforcement officials and a white civilian in a chillingly similar manner on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. This lawsuit arises from the wrongful death of Anton Black at the hands of officers from three different police departments on September 15, 2018, and the ensuing efforts by public officials to protect the officers involved from the consequences of their excessive use of force against a Black teenager.”