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George Floyd: US city on edge as jury deliberates Chauvin verdict

  • George Floyd: US city on edge as jury deliberates Chauvin verdict
    The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-police officer accused of killing George Floyd last year, has retired to weigh up its verdict. George Floyd: US city on edge as jury deliberates Chauvin verdict
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USA
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Society
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Prosecutors told jurors to “believe your eyes” as they replayed video of George Floyd’s death last May beneath the knee of Derek Chauvin in closing arguments on Monday before jurors began deliberating whether the former police officer was guilty of murder.

 

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-police officer accused of killing George Floyd last year, has retired to weigh up its verdict.

Security has been ramped up around the court building in the US city of Minneapolis, which is protected by barbed wire, high barriers and armed soldiers from the National Guard.

"This was murder," the prosecutor said in closing arguments on Monday.

The defence argued that Mr Chauvin had correctly followed police training.

He behaved as any "reasonable police officer" would, lead lawyer Eric Nelson said, adding the circumstances surrounding Mr Floyd's death gave rise to reasonable doubt.

But prosecutor Steve Schleicher urged jurors to "use your common sense. Believe your eyes. What you saw, you saw," referring to the video showing Mr Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd for more than nine minutes last May.

"This wasn't policing; this was murder," he added.

The footage of Mr Chauvin, who is white, restraining Mr Floyd, a black man, on the floor as he shouted "I can't breathe" spurred months of global protests against racism in 2020.

The trial of Mr Chauvin has been described as a pivotal moment for race relations and policing in the US.

Cities across the country are bracing for protests regardless of whether the jury decides to convict or acquit Mr Chauvin of murder and manslaughter charges.

On Monday the governor of Minnesota, Tim Walz, requested security assistance from the states of Ohio and Nebraska ahead of the verdict.

Walz thanked Ohio and Nebraska for helping Minnesota's state troopers and police officers "as they continue to work to keep the peace in our communities".