Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 7:34 PM ET, Thu April 8, 2021
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9:56 a.m. ET, April 8, 2021

Catch up on what has happened in the Derek Chauvin trial so far this week

Defense attorney Eric Nelson questions Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger on Wednesday, April 7.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson questions Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger on Wednesday, April 7. Court TV/Pool/AP

The trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin will enter day nine of testimony today. We're expecting the prosecution to call more witnesses.

Here's a recap of what's happened so far this week in trial:

  • Monday: Three witnesses took the stand. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Chauvin's kneeling on George Floyd's neck is not a trained tactic and was a violation of the policies around de-escalation, objectively reasonable use of force and requirement to render aid. Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld treated Floyd and said the "more likely possibility" of Floyd's cardiac arrest was hypoxia, or lack of oxygen. Minneapolis Police Inspector Katie Blackwell, who recently served as commander of the department's training division, looked at a photo of Chauvin on Floyd’s neck and told the court that it was not in line with department training. “I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is,” she said. “It’s not what we train.” 
  • Tuesday: Four police officials testified in court. Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that the force used by Chauvin on Floyd was excessive. Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force instructor with the department's training unit, said Chauvin's kneeling on Floyd's neck is not a trained neck restraint tactic. Minneapolis Police Officer Nicole Mackenzie, a medical response coordinator, testified that officers are required to render first aid and request emergency services when someone needs medical help. Chauvin took a 40-hour course on crisis intervention training in 2016 in which actors portrayed people in crisis and officers had to de-escalate the situation, said Minneapolis Police Sgt. Ker Yang, the department's crisis intervention training coordinator.
  • Wednesday: Several investigators and forensic scientists testified about what they found at the crime scene, including Floyd's blood stains and a few white pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine. A Los Angeles Police Department use-of-force expert hired by the prosecution testified that Chauvin had used excessive and deadly force on Floyd when none was needed. The special agent who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into Floyd's death also struggled to make sense of a short phrase Floyd said last May as Derek Chauvin kneeled on him.
9:16 a.m. ET, April 8, 2021

Here's what has changed since George Floyd's death

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

A woman views a memorial dedicated to George Floyd outside the entrance of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 5.
A woman views a memorial dedicated to George Floyd outside the entrance of Cup Foods in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on April 5. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

George Floyd’s death sparked global protests over police brutality and racism last year, and now the trial of ex-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin is receiving nationwide attention and sparking renewed calls of police reform.

Eight current or former officers have testified against Chauvin so far in the trial, including the chief of the Minneapolis police department who noted that Chauvin's actions and use of force during the arrest of Floyd were contrary to department policy.

The courtroom trial will decide whether Chauvin is culpable for Floyd's death after pinning him to the ground with a knee on his neck. The former police officer is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd.

Outside the courtroom, the case is widely seen as a trial of the US system itself — a test of whether justice is possible for a Black man who died while under arrest, triggering a global racial reckoning.

Here are some actions that have been proposed or taken since Floyd’s death:

  1. Police departments in at least 46 cities across the US have banned chokeholds and strangleholds, according to a non-profit a group that advocates against police violence.
  2. Nine members of the Minneapolis City Council announced in June 2020 that they intend to defund and dismantle the city's police department following the police killing of Floyd.
  3. New York City’s Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city will move some of its funding from the New York Police Department to youth and social services.
  4. Just weeks after Floyd's death, House Democrats introduced and passed a sweeping legislation, then titled the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, aimed at cracking down on police brutality and recording patterns of misuse of force across the country. The legislation, however, was never passed in the Senate. House Democrats reintroduced the bill this February.

8:23 a.m. ET, April 8, 2021

Here's what we know about the jury in Derek Chauvin's trial

From CNN's Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper

The jury in Derek Chauvin's trial has heard from multiple witnesses so far, and they've been shown bystander and police footage of George Floyd's final moments. 

If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. The charges are to be considered separate, so Chauvin could be convicted of all, some or none of them.

While the jurors are unnamed and unseen on camera, we do know basic details about them.

Here's what we know about the jury:

  • Five men and nine women were chosen to serve on the jury during the trial in Minneapolis. 
  • Of the 14 jurors, eight are White, four are Black and two are mixed race, according to how the court says the jurors identified themselves.
  • The jury selection process began March 9 at the Hennepin County Government Center and wrapped up exactly two weeks later. 
  • The panel is made up of 12 jurors and two alternates, Judge Peter Cahill said.
  • The jurors all come from Hennepin County, which is demographically about 74% White and 14% Black, according to census data.
  • The prospective jurors previously completed a 16-page questionnaire that asked for their personal thoughts on Black Lives Matter, policing and other topics.
  • In court, each person was sworn in and then questioned one-by-one in a process known as voir dire. The juror's name, address and other information are kept anonymous.
  • Eric Nelson questioned the prospective jurors for the defense, while Steve Schleicher questioned them for the prosecution.

Read more about about the jury here.

8:26 a.m. ET, April 8, 2021

The Chauvin trial resumes this morning. Here's what happened yesterday in court.

LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger testifies on Wednesday, April 7.
LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger testifies on Wednesday, April 7. Court TV/Pool/AP

It's day nine of testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged in the death of George Floyd.

A series of witnesses took the stand in court yesterday during the prosecution's portion of the trial.

If you're just reading in, here's what happened in court yesterday:

James Reyerson, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified that he could hear Floyd saying he "ate too many drugs" in a video of the May 25, 2020 incident, but later acknowledged in redirect that Floyd could have said something different.

Reyerson was shown video of the incident and asked by defense attorney Eric Nelson, "Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, 'I ate too many drugs?'" "Yes, it did," Reyerson said.

After a short break, Reyerson was recalled to the stand by the prosecution and they played him a longer video that included the same audio. Prosecuting attorney Matthew Frank asked if he was able to tell what Floyd was saying.

"Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd is saying, 'I ain't doing no drugs,'" Reyerson said, contradicting his earlier answer.

Frank followed up, "That's a little different than what you are asked about when you're only saw a portion of the video, correct?" "Yes, sir," Reyerson said.

LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that Chauvin had an obligation to take into consideration whether Floyd was in distress when considering to continue the type of force he was applying. "As the time went on, clearly in the video you could see that Mr. Floyd's medical — his health was deteriorating," Stiger said.

Stiger also testified that officers are trained that they can put their knee in between the shoulder blades at the base of the neck of a suspect to hold them on the ground.

Asked by Nelson if this was standard police practice to his knowledge, Stiger, a use-of-force expert, said yes.

A pair of forensic scientists testified about what was found in a Mercedes at the scene and in the squad car Floyd was moved to.

McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified that the blood found in the back of a squad car in May 2020 belonged to Floyd. Anderson spoke specifically about eight specific locations in the vehicle where blood was found.

"From all eight of those locations, I obtained a single source male DNA profile that matches of George Floyd, and again this DNA profile would not be expected to occur more than once among unrelated individuals in the rural population," Anderson said.

Giles, a forensic scientist also with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified about tests she conducted on two pills found in the Mercedes in May 2020.

"The tablets contained methamphetamine and fentanyl," Giles said.