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Snippet of NPR Up First: Derek Chauvin's Trial Begins for George Floyd Murder

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The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd begins today in Minneapolis.
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today begins the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. 10 months ago, Shove in, who is white, was filmed with his knee on the neck of a black man, George Floyd, who died. That killing set off months of protests around this country around the world. Last night, Floyd's brother, felonies, spoke at a vigil in Minneapolis. The officer who had his knee on my brother's neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. He had a smirk on his face as he tortured my brother, the devil, as his soul left his body. NPR's Adrian Florido is in Minneapolis, covering the trial this week. Good morning, Adrian. Good morning. Hello. What is the mood like there? It can only be described as tense. I think everyone here understands the magnitude of this moment. I went to that vigil with the Floyd family last night at a church about a mile from where Floyd was killed. Um, and the Reverend Al Sharpton was also there, and he said that this trial is so important because until now it's been so rare for police to be tried and convicted for killing black people. Here's Sharpton last night, so tomorrow begins the trial from not only change but the trial of the ability of the criminal justice system in this country. The whole police account shaving is in the courtroom, but America's on trial. He also warned Noel, uh, that, you know, he expects during this trial for Chauvin's attorney to blame George Floyd for his own death as part of the defense. So this morning, Sharpton and the Floyd family and other leaders are going to be gathering outside of the downtown courthouse, where seven will be on trial and they're going to take a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The amount of time that Chauvin was seen kneeling into Floyd's neck on that on that video. Okay, so that's what it's going to look like outside of the courthouse. What do we expect inside the courtroom? Well, today will be the first time that Derek Chauvin sits before the jury that will decide his fate on the three charges he faces a second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter. We also expect the prosecution and the defense to offer their opening statements today, previewing the arguments they're going to make over the next four or so weeks of trial. The opening statement for the prosecution is going to be delivered by a lawyer named Jerry Blackwell. He founded the Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers and is one of several private attorneys at the state Attorney general Keith Ellison brought on to help prosecute this case. Derek Chauvin's attorney is named Eric Nelson. He's an attorney known for his representation of police officers and Adrian. What do we know about the arguments that the prosecution and the defense will make? Well, there are at least two major questions at the center of this case. The first one is what killed George Floyd. Was it Derek Chauvin's knee, or was it something else? And the second question is, was there improper use of force during Floyd's arrest? So the prosecution is expected to argue that Chauvin's need did kill George Floyd and that there was improper use of force. And as far as the defense we expect, based on court filings and pretrial hearings, that's Kevin's attorney is going to argue that Floyd's medical history and the drugs that an autopsy found in his system were to blame for his death. Okay, and so after the first day. How does the rest of the week unfold? Well, the prosecution presents its case first. That could take about two weeks, and the defense will get to present its case for about two weeks. There's a long list of potential witnesses medical experts, pathologists, psychiatrists by standards that's inside the courtroom and outside the courtroom, we expect protests, demonstrations, people watching this historic trial very closely. NPR's Adrian Florido in Minneapolis. Thank you, Adrian. Thanks, Nora.