‘GEORGE Floyd was living, breathing, walking and talking just fine until the police put him face down in handcuffs and put a knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds,’ said Ben Crump, Attorney for the family, outside the court yesterday where former police officer Derek Chauvin is standing trial for murder.
The opening statements were taken yesterday in the court in Minneapolis where Chauvin is charged with three offences including ‘second-degree unintentional murder’ over the death of Floyd when he was arrested in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last May.
In the opening statement of the case Special Assistant Attorney General Jerry Blackwell told the court: ‘You are going to learn in this case about the Minneapolis Police Department’s use of force policy.
‘What you are going to see and learn a lot about, is what is the standard in deploying force against individuals.
‘You will learn that a Minneapolis police department employee shall only use the amount of force that is objectively reasonable.
‘What you will learn is that the use of force must be evaluated from one moment to the next moment, a moment to moment. What may be reasonable in the first minute, may not be reasonable on the second, the fourth minute, or the ninth minute and 29 seconds.
‘… You are going to meet an expert, his name is Jodi Spiegel he is a Los Angeles Police Department Sergeant and a use of force expert. He is going to tell you that the force that Mr Chauvin was using was lethal force.
‘It was force that was capable of killing a human, or putting his or her life in danger. The evidence is going to show you that there was no cause in the first place, to use lethal force against a man who was defenceless, who was handcuffed, who was not resisting.
‘There was no cause to use that force in the first place.’
The video was then shown in court showing police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on George Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds until he was unresponsive.
Speaking before a massive crowd outside the court, Ben Crump, Attorney for the Floyd family said: ‘We know that if George Floyd was a white American citizen and he suffered a painful, tortuous death, with a police officer’s knee on his neck, nobody, nobody would be saying this is a hard case.
‘This murder case is not hard when you watch that torture video of George Floyd.
‘And we have to call it what it is, it was torture.
‘Even under the Geneva Convention definition, this was torture, and Derek Chauvin should be held criminally liable for the death of George Floyd.’
He added: ‘News flash, breaking news, we expect in just a few minutes you are going to hear opening arguments and they are going to take the playbook out and they are going to try and and assassinate the character of George Floyd.
‘And they are going to talk, as much as they can, about his record.
‘His record isn’t an issue because this is the trial of Derek Chauvin. Let’s talk about his record, his 19 complaints of excessive force here in Minneapolis, that is what we should be talking about.
‘George Floyd didn’t kill anybody. Derek Chauvin was the person who killed George Floyd.
‘So why would we allow them to assassinate the character of George Floyd after they assassinated his person …
‘The facts are simple, what killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force.
‘The transcript from the autopsy says the cause of death was “asphyxiation by homicide”.
‘… We have the right to full justice, both civil and criminal.
‘The whole world is watching.’
Brandon Willias, Floyd’s nephew said: ‘A blind man can see that was murder, anyone can see that’s what happened to my uncle.
‘Somebody needs to be held accountable. This is what the family is demanding.’
Floyd’s brother Terrence said: ‘That was my brother, I have watched the video numerous times, and some people say “Why are you doing that to yourself?” because it is just I knew they murdered him … I was watching the video not just to discuss with myself or get myself furious, that was the last time I could hear his voice, so I watched it, I watched it, I watched.
‘And every time I watched it just seemed like it made me stronger cause I knew, yeah they murdered him, but we are still “Floyd strong”, we are still here, so we have to hold it down for him.
‘And they say trust the system, they want us to trust this system?!’