Many people, specifically Minnesotans, recall George Floyd’s death this last May. Nearly 10 months later, the criminal trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of causing George Floyd’s death, is underway. So, what is really going on in that trial?
First, it is important to know what Mr. Chauvin has been charged with. Although the charges have been amended several times, Mr. Chauvin was originally charged with second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder. He is currently charged with three counts: (1) second degree murder; (2) third degree murder; and (3) second degree manslaughter.
Second, it is noteworthy that Mr. Chauvin is being tried separately from the other three former officers who were involved in George Floyd’s death. The other three former officers are all charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. They are scheduled to go to trial in August. They are being tried separately because they face different and lower charges than Mr. Chauvin faces.
Third, this trial is expected to last 1-2 months. Before a trial can “officially” begin, meaning before the attorneys can start presenting their cases, the jury needs to be selected. Jury selection is a process that occurs in all cases that go to trial. Normally, jury selection is a process that takes 1-2 days. However, due to the nature of this case, jury selection took approximately 1 week although it was slotted to take 2 full weeks originally.
Opening statements began on March 29 where both the State (prosecution) and Defense (attorney representing Derek Chauvin) gave opening remarks and a “road map” of where the case would go. From there, the prosecution began calling witnesses to testify. The State is still calling witnesses and once they “rest” the defense will have a chance to call the witnesses they choose.
The case involving the death of George Floyd is being live-streamed for free on Court TV. You can get a look inside the court room there from the comfort of your own home. As the trial progresses, we will continue providing updates and explanations.