The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Defense expected to begin presentation Tuesday as prosecution appears to near conclusion

Cardiologist Jonathan Rich testified on April 12 that he was confident George Floyd did not die from a sudden heart attack or from a drug overdose. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: AP/The Washington Post)
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As the Twin Cities area reels from the latest killing of a Black resident by a police officer, the prosecution appeared near the conclusion of its presentation in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin on Monday.

Witnesses for the prosecution included a cardiology expert who discounted a sudden heart attack or a drug overdose in George Floyd’s death, an expert on use-of-force who said Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck was unreasonable and excessive, and Floyd’s younger brother, who described how devastated his eldest brother was when his mother died in 2018.

At the end of Monday’s testimony, Judge Peter Cahill told the jurors that the defense will probably start Tuesday and wrap up by the end of the week, with both sides expected to present their closing arguments Monday. “So pack a bag,” he said.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • After police in suburban Brooklyn Center, Minn., fatally shot a 20-year-old man after a traffic stop on Sunday, hundreds of protesters and officers clashed in an area where tensions are already high. On Monday, the police chief said that the officer meant to fire her Taser and accidentally discharged the gun.
  • Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, said she knew Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by police Sunday.
  • “After reviewing all of the facts and evidence of the case, I can state with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a primary cardiac event, and he did not die from a drug overdose,” Cardiologist Jonathan Rich told the court.
  • “Both the knee across Mr. Floyd’s neck and the prone restraint were unreasonable, excessive and contrary to generally accepted police practices,” Seth Stoughton, a nationally recognized use-of-force expert, testified.
  • The so-called Blue Wall of Silence might be shattering, as police and experts testify that Chauvin’s actions in detaining Floyd were beyond the pale.
  • Cahill will not allow Chauvin’s defense team to use video of a police interview with Floyd’s passenger, Morries Lester Hall, who has attempted to invoke his right to avoid self-incrimination.