MPD Lieutenant: Derek Chauvin's use of force against George Floyd 'totally unnecessary'
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Court adjourned early on Friday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill said the trial is ahead of schedule.
The trial is being broadcast live, gavel to gavel, on FOX 9 and streaming live at fox9.com/live.
Only two witnesses testified on Friday, both members of the Minneapolis Police Department: Lt. Richard Zimmerman, head of the Homicide Unit and the most senior person among the officers, and Sgt. Jon Edwards.
Lieutenant: Length of time Chauvin's knee was on Floyd's neck 'uncalled for'
The state called Lt. Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department Homicide Unit to the stand Friday. Zimmerman has been with the MPD since 1985 and has the most seniority on the force. He was among 14 members of the MPD who penned an open letter in June condemning Chauvin’s actions.
Zimmerman arrived on the scene after Floyd’s deadly arrest and helped secure the scene. He also reviewed the body camera video of the incident afterwards.
On Friday, Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Zimmerman if he had ever been trained to "kneel on the neck of someone who’s been handcuffed behind their back in a prone position." Zimmerman said no.
He testified that kneeling on someone’s neck would be considered deadly force because "if your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them."
Zimmerman went on to say that once someone is handcuffed, their threat level goes "down all the way" and their safety and wellbeing becomes the officer’s responsibility.
Zimmerman called Chauvin’s use of deadly force against Floyd "totally unnecessary."
"Pulling him down on the ground, face down, and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time, it’s just uncalled for," he told the jury. "I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt. And, that’s that they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force."
Zimmerman said the restraint of Floyd should have stopped once he was on the ground and stopped resisting.
Derek Chauvin charges
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May.
Judge Cahill reinstated the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin during the first week of the trial.
Chauvin trial streaming and TV information
The Chauvin trial will be live streamed, gavel to gavel, at fox9.com/live and the FOX 9 News App. You can also find the FOX 9 stream on Tubi through connected TVs. When the trial itself begins March 29, FOX 9 will broadcast it live on FOX 9 for the duration, including a quick recap of the day when court adjourns, followed by the FOX 9 News at 5.
Who is in the courtroom?
- Trial Judge Peter Cahill
- 1 judge's clerk
- 1 court reporter
- Derek Chauvin, the defendant
- The jury. The empaneled jury will consist of 12 jurors and 2 alternates.
- Up to 4 lawyers or staff for the prosecution, led by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank.
- Defense attorney Eric Nelson and up to 2 staff from his law firm
- 1 witness at a time in the courtroom
- 1 George Floyd family member
- 1 Derek Chauvin family member
- 2 members of pooled media - 1 print and 1 broadcast or digital media
- 1 broadcast technician
The Derek Chauvin trial is being held in Courtroom 1856 of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. Court will begin at 9 a.m. and will adjourn at 4:30 p.m. most days.
Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin on March 29. A verdict is not expected until mid to late April.
QUICK READ: Derek Chauvin trial essential info and FAQs
Who are the selected jurors?
Fifteen jurors were seated during jury selection, but Judge Cahill dismissed the 15th juror before opening statements. The 14 remaining jurors will hear the whole case, but only 12 will deliberate. The two alternate jurors will step in if one of the 12 has to excuse themselves from the case. Judge Cahill has instructed the jurors to avoid any media coverage of the trial.
- Juror No. 2: White man in his 20s
- Juror No. 9: Mixed/multiracial woman in her 20s
- Juror No. 19: White man in his 30s
- Juror No. 27: Black man in his 30s
- Juror No. 44: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 52: Black man in his 30s
- Juror No. 55: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 79: Black man in his 40s
- Juror No. 85: Mixed/multiracial woman in her 40s
- Juror No. 89: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 91: Black woman in her 60s
- Juror No. 92: White woman in her 40s
- Juror No. 96: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 118: White woman in her 20s
READ MORE: Who are the selected jurors?
Jurors will only be referred to by a random, previously assigned number because Judge Cahill has ordered their identities to remain a secret for the duration of the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Cahill will decide when the jurors’ identities can be made public.
The jury will be partially sequestered during the trial and fully sequestered while they are deliberating, which means they cannot go home until they reach a verdict or the judge determines they are hung. However, the judge can order full sequestration of the jury at any time if the partial sequestration proves ineffective in keeping the jurors free from outside influence.
Courtroom 1856 was renovated specifically for the Derek Chauvin trial to maximize capacity and maintain COVID-19 social distancing standards. The courtroom is located on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center.
Judge Cahill has ordered certain behavior in the courtroom:
Jurors, attorneys, witnesses and support staff must wear masks and keep six feet from other people.
Masks can be removed when giving testimony, examining witnesses, giving opening statements or closing arguments. Attorneys must conduct all witness examinations and arguments from the lectern.
Any sidebar conferences will be conducted over wireless headsets. Chauvin will be outfitted with a headset to listen to these conferences, which will be off-the-record.
Jurors will be escorted to courtroom each day by deputies or security. No one can have contact with jurors except the judge, court personnel and deputies. Any attorney contact is limited to the jury selection process when court is in session.
Jurors will only be referred to by a randomized number.
Death of George Floyd
George Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020 while being detained by Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. The intersection has remained closed to traffic since Floyd's death and has been dubbed George Floyd Square.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 17: People participate in a demonstration on August 17, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Community members came together for a rally to protest the city's potential forceful reopening 38th Street and Chicago Ave, an unofficial
A widely-shared video taken by a bystander showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he repeatedly cried, "I can’t breathe."
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced the firing of all four officers the following day. Chauvin was arrested and charged with Floyd’s death on May 29 and the three others were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting on June 3.
TIMELINE: George Floyd's death to Derek Chauvin's trial
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report ruled the death of George Floyd a homicide. The updated report stated that George Floyd experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement.