• Sun. May 16th, 2021

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Key Moments on Day 11 of the Derek Chauvin Trial

The third week of testimony in the trial of the former officer Derek Chauvin began on Monday with prosecutors continuing to call witnesses they think will bolster their argument that Mr. Chauvin caused George Floyd’s death by pinning him to the ground for more than nine minutes.

The defense has been able to cross-examine them but must wait to begin making its case — that Mr. Floyd died from underlying health conditions and the use of drugs — in earnest by calling its own witnesses. That process will be followed by closing arguments from both sides and jury deliberation.

Here are some key moments as the trial entered its 11th day.

Dr. Jonathan Rich, a cardiologist called to testify in the trial, said on Monday that Mr. Floyd’s heart was not the main cause of his death. He also ruled out a drug overdose.

“Mr. George Floyd died from a cardiopulmonary arrest,” Dr. Rich said. “It was caused by low oxygen levels” induced by the position that “he was subjected to.”

It was an observation that Dr. Rich repeated: that the way the police officers restrained Mr. Floyd led to his asphyxiation. “He was trying to get enough oxygen and because of the position that he was subjected to, the heart thus did not have enough oxygen,” he said.

Dr. Rich said that part of his clinical work involves reviewing evidence to determine why patients had died. In being called by the state to help determine how Mr. Floyd died, he described his testimony as a “meaningful contribution.”

He said that after examining medical records, the autopsy and video footage of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, he determined that Mr. Floyd’s heart was not the main cause of his death.

Dr. Rich said he had considered two other potential causes, including a primary cardiac event and possibly a drug overdose. But he said: “I can state with a high degree of medical certainty” that Mr. Floyd “did not die from a primary cardiac event and did not die from a drug overdose.”

After reviewing a toxicology report, he said that Mr. Floyd’s methamphetamine levels were low, and that he did not see any signs that a drug overdose had caused his death.

And after watching the video of Mr. Floyd’s arrest, Dr. Rich said he determined that Mr. Floyd was restrained in a life-threatening manner, and that there was no evidence of a sudden cardiac death.

He said he believed Mr. Floyd would have lived, had he been given treatment during several instances shown on the video.

He said he noticed that an officer had said at some point during the arrest that he believed Mr. Floyd was passing out. “That would have been an opportunity to quickly relieve him from that position of not getting enough oxygen,” Dr. Rich said.

He also noted that one officer had suggested that Mr. Floyd be turned on his side but was told to “leave him.” When officers learned that Mr. Floyd had no pulse, their immediate response should have been to administer chest compressions, he said.

“I believe that Mr. George Floyd’s death was absolutely preventable,” Dr. Rich said.

He said Mr. Floyd’s medical records did not show previous complaints or evidence of abnormal rhythms and palpitations and added that Mr. Floyd had an “exceptionally strong heart.”

Asked whether he saw signs that Mr. Floyd had a heart attack, Dr. Rich said, “None, whatsoever.”

On cross-examination, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, asked Dr. Rich whether a combination of factors, including previous drug use, narrowing arteries, high blood pressure and the struggle with the officers, could have resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death even without being restrained in the prone position.

“I found no evidence to support that,” Dr. Rich answered.

Mr. Nelson also asked Dr. Rich whether Mr. Floyd would have survived had he simply got into the back seat of the squad car.

Had he not been restrained in the way that he was, Dr. Rich replied, “I think he would have survived that day.”

The request from the defense followed the death a 20-year-old Black man who was shot by a police officer during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center on Sunday night, sending hundreds of protesters into the streets.

Mr. Nelson, the defense lawyer, had argued that the jurors should be ordered to avoid all media and spend the rest of the trial sequestered because he feared that further unrest in the area where the shooting took place might limit their ability as fair jurors. The judge denied that and said the situation in the area, Brooklyn Center, was different because the unrest was not after a jury verdict, but in response to a separate police shooting.

The unrest will be at “forefront of the jury’s mind-set,” Mr. Nelson said. “A verdict in this case will have consequences. They have been exposed to that already. The jury should be sequestered.”

Mr. Nelson asked the court for two things: full sequestration of the jury, and to re-interview each juror about what they know about the protests and the police shooting on Sunday night. Judge Cahill denied both. “This is a totally different case,” he said.

The protests in Brooklyn Center came hours before the start of the third week of Mr. Chauvin’s trial.

Dr. Andrew Baker,
Hennepin County medical examiner


Dr. Lindsey Thomas,
forensic pathologist


Dr. Martin J. Tobin,
pulmonologist and critical care physician


Dr. Bill Smock,
Surgeon for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department


Former Sgt. David Pleoger,
recently retired From the Minneapolis Police Department


Sgt. Jody Stiger,
Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General’s Office


Chief Medaria Arradondo,
Minneapolis Police Department


Derek Smith,
paramedic who treated Mr. Floyd


Nicole Mackenzie,
medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department

Courteney Ross,
Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend


Christopher Martin,
Cup Foods cashier who took $20 bill from Mr. Floyd


Genevieve Hansen,
off-duty firefighter at the scene of Mr. Floyd’s arrest


Darnella Frazier,
teenager who filmed Mr. Floyd’s arrest