Derek Chauvin trial closing arguments hear cop squeezed life out of George Floyd because of officer's 'ego and pride'

DEREK Chauvin "betrayed the badge" when he squeezed the last moments of life out of George Floyd by pinning him under his knee, prosecutors maintained during closing arguments on Monday.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher told jurors in Hennepin County District Court this morning that policing is about "wearing your badge over your heart", but said Chauvin's "badge wasn't in the right place" during Floyd's arrest.

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"He had to know,” Schleicher said, emphasizing that Chauvin had knelt down on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, even as Floyd begged for his life.

"He did it on purpose. This was not an accident," he said. "He knew better. He just didn’t do better.

"He betrayed the badge and everything it stood for. It’s not how they’re trained. It’s not following the rules."

Schleicher's final appeal to the jury came on Monday after more than three weeks of testimony from 45 expert witnesses – 38 for the prosecution and seven for the defense – including eyewitnesses, police officers, and medical experts.

Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and third-degree manslaughter.

All three of the charges are separate, meaning he could be found guilty of all, some, or none of them.

Appealing to the jury earlier this morning, Schleicher insisted the prosecution has "proved beyond a reasonable doubt" that Chauvin is guilty of all three charges.

He told jurors to follow common sense and "believe your eyes."

"What you saw, you saw,” Steve Schleicher said, referring to the excruciating video of Floyd's arrest last May.

“This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first, when you saw that video. It is exactly that.

“You can believe your eyes… It’s exactly what you knew. It’s what you felt in your gut. It’s what you now know in your heart. This wasn’t policing; this was murder. The defendant is guilty of all three counts. All of them. And there is no excuse.” 

Schleicher described how Chauvin ignored Floyd’s cries that he couldn’t breathe, and continued to kneel on Floyd after he stopped breathing and had no pulse — even after the ambulance arrived.

Floyd was “just a man, lying on the pavement, being pressed upon, desperately crying out. A grown man crying out for his mother. A human being,” Schleicher said.

He said Chauvin “heard him, but he just didn’t listen.”

Shleicher also insisted Floyd "was not a threat to anyone".

“He wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. He wasn’t trying to do anything to anyone. Facing George Floyd that day that did not require one ounce of courage. And none was shown on that day. No courage was required,” Schleicher said.

“All that was required was a little compassion and none was shown on that day.”

Speaking to the wider implications of the case, Shleicher added that the name of the trial is the state of Minnesota against Dereck Chauvin, "not the state of Minnesota against the police."

"You met several Minneapolis police officers during this trial. You met them. They took the stand. They testified and make no mistake, this is not a prosecution of the police. It is a prosecution of the defendant. And there is nothing worse, for good police, then a bad police."

He reiterated: “This is not an anti-police prosecution, it’s a pro-police prosecution."

Accusing Chauvin of being driven by his "ego and pride", Schleicher said: “The defendant abandoned his values, abandoned the training and killed a man.

"The defendant was not going to be told what to do. He was not going to let the bystanders tell him what to do. He was going to do what he wanted. How he wanted for as long as he wanted. And there was nothing — nothing they could do about it.

"Because he had the authority. The bystanders were powerless. They were powerless to do anything. The defendant, he chose pride over policing," Schleicher said.

Schleicher spoke for 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson is due to present closing arguments later today.

Over the weekend, Minneapolis became a military fortress with over 3,000 National Guard troops drafted into the city, and shops and business bordered up, in anticipation of violence when a verdict is returned.

All schools in the city have also been moved to remote learning from Wednesday in anticipation of any violence.

Other cities across the US – including New York City and Washington DC – are also on high alert.

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