The Derek Chauvin Trial; Day 14

Both sides have rested their case and the court will resume Monday morning.

Veronica Meiss

Information up to date as of April 15 2021 12:08 p.m.

Chauvin chose not to testify in his own defense as a part of his Fifth Amendment rights. The decision was his own. 

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell told the judge that there had been new data found regarding Floyd’s carbon monoxide levels in his blood. Blackwell asked the judge to allow Dr. Martin Tobin back onto the stand to talk about the data. Defense attorney Eric Nelson opposed Blackwell’s notion of presenting the evidence to the jury, arguing that the disclosure of this new data was untimely and out of nowhere. 

Judge Peter Cahill ruled that Tobin is allowed to testify however he is not permitted to talk about the new data. Cahill stated that if Tobin even mentions carbon monoxide blood results he will declare a mistrial. 

Tobin said that Floyd’s medical records show that his oxygen saturation was at 98% when he died. This means that the maximum amount of carbon monoxide possible would be 2%. During his testimony, Fowler said that his opinion was that Floyd’s carbon monoxide levels could have increased to 10% to 15%. Tobin said that was wrong. 

The defense has rested their case, and the court resumes on April 19.

April 14 2021, 2:00 p.m. 

Fowler testifies that the car exhaust from where Floyd was pinned down could have contributed to his death. Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell asked Fowler if it is true that he has not seen any evidence pointing towards that theory. Fowler said that it is. He confirmed that he has not seen any data that Floyd was exposed to any form of carbon monoxide high enough to cause danger.

April 14 2021, 12:35 p.m. 

The defense is now calling witnesses. The prosecution side called a total of 38 witnesses over the course of 11 days before they closed their case. Chauvin still continues to plead not guilty. 

The defense has been using these three arguments to attempt to acquit Chauvin; Floyd died of health problems and substance abuse, Chauvin’s use of force was necessary and the crowd of bystanders was distracting Chauvin from properly taking care of Floyd. Witnesses called by the prosecution have all opposed those theories. 

Former police Minneapolis police officer Scott Creighton testifies. He worked for the Minneapolis Police Department for 28 years before retiring. The prosecution asked Creighton about Floyd’s 2019 arrest. A bodycam video was shown of the arrest. 

Prosecution attorney Erin Eldridge asked Creighton if he had pulled his gun during the arrest, to which he answered yes. When Floyd saw Creighton’s gun, he said that he did not want to be shot. Floyd was told to undo his seatbelt, and he complied. Creighton said that he told Floyd to put his hands on the dashboard of the car, however, Floyd did not comply so Creighton did it himself. Floyd was then told to put his hands on his head by another officer at the scene. One officer said that they were going to tase Floyd. 

“He didn’t appear to be in medical distress to you when you were pulling him out of the car, is that right?” Eldridge asks. “He was talking to you, he was standing up, is that right?”

“Sometimes he was talking, sometimes he was mumbling,” Creighton said. “He was incoherent, in my mind, a lot of the time.” 

Retired paramedic Michelle Monseng testified that throughout that whole arrest, he never stopped breathing and never went into cardiac arrest. She told defense lawyer Eric Nelson that Floyd had been taking an opioid every 20 minutes and even one when he was pulled over. During questioning after he was arrested, Floyd admitted that he was addicted to opioids at that time. 

Peter Chang, a Minneapolis Park police officer, said that the crowd was very aggressive during Floyd’s arrest in 2020. Chang said that he became very concerned with the other officers’ safety. Chang later admits that he could not see what Chauvin was doing to Floyd. 

Barry Brodd, a use-of-force expert, testified that Chauvin’s actions were “justified” and it wasn’t a use of deadly force. That contradicts the prosecution’s use-of-force expert, who said that Chauvin used deadly force and was not reasonable. 

Nelson argued that the prosecutors had not proven their case and asked Judge Peter Cahill to drop all charges to Chauvin and acquit him. 

“There’s no question that the witnesses who have testified all opined that the defendant’s use of force was subjectively unreasonable,” the state said. “He was not trained to do this by the Minneapolis Police Department. He did not follow policy. He did not follow a procedure, and the force that he exercised was unnecessary under the circumstances.”

Morries Hall, who was the friend in Floyd’s car, will not be testifying. He evoked his Fifth Amendment rights because he was “fearful of criminal charges.” 

Retired forensic pathologist David Fowler testified that Chauvin’s knee did not impact any of Floyd’s “vital structures”. 

“In terms of the placement of officer Chauvin’s, excuse me, knee to Mr. Floyd, is it your opinion Mr. Chauvin’s knee in any way impacted the structures of Mr. Floyd’s neck?” Nelson said.

“No, it did not,” Fowler said. “None of the vital structures were in the area where the knee appeared to be from the videos.”

This goes against what Dr. Lindsay Thomas, another forensic pathologist, said on April 9. Thomas said that the restraint of law enforcement is what led to the immediate cause of death.