Fred de Sam Lazaro
Fred de Sam Lazaro
In the Derek Chauvin trial Monday, prosecutors wrapped up their case, with jurors hearing testimony from George Floyd's brother about Floyd's character, and his role as a "leader" in the family. Special correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro reports.
Minnesota prosecutors are nearing the end of their case against Derek Chauvin. It's now the third week of testimony.
And, as special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports, today included emotional testimony from George Floyd's brother.
And another warning that viewers may find some of the images disturbing.
Thank you, Your Honor.
Fred de Sam Lazaro:
The 11th day of testimony began with defense attorney Eric Nelson asking Judge Peter Cahill to sequester the jury, with news headlines dominated by the fatal police shooting of a Black man in a Minneapolis suburb on Sunday.
The problem is, is that the emotional response that that case creates sets the stage for a jury to say, I'm not going to vote not guilty because I'm concerned about the outcome.
But the judge denied the motion.
This is a totally different case.
The prosecution called cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Rich to the stand.
Have you formed any opinions in this case, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, as to a cause of Mr. Floyd's death?
Dr. Jonathan Rich:
Yes I have.
Would you tell us your opinion or opinions?
In this case, Mr. George Floyd died from cardiopulmonary arrest. It was caused by low oxygen levels. And those low oxygen levels were induced by prone restraint and positional asphyxiation that he was subjected to.
After reviewing George Floyd's medical records, video from the arrest, and the autopsy report, Dr. Rich put the defense's argument, that preexisting health conditions or drug use led to Floyd's death, to the test.
I can state with a high degree of medical certainty that George Floyd did not die from a primary cardiac event and he did not die from a drug overdose.
Do you have an opinion, to a reasonable degree of certainty, as to whether Mr. Floyd's death was preventable?
Yes, I believe that Mr. George Floyd's death was absolutely preventable.
And for the first time, the prosecution called a member of the Floyd family to the stand.
In May 24, I got married, and my brother was killed May 25.
Floyd's younger brother Philonise Floyd tenderly recalled growing up with George Floyd.
He was so much of a leader to us in the household. He would make sure we had our clothes for school. He made sure that we all were going to be to school on time. And, like I told you, George couldn't cook, but he will make sure you have a snack or something to get in the morning.
The state of Minnesota then called former police officer and use of force expert Seth Stoughton.
If you think of someone who's laying face down, where the head or face is against the ground and the chest is against the ground, that means the neck is kind of like a suspension bridge, right?
So, it's generally accepted in policing that you do not put weight down on someone's neck in that position.
Judge Cahill said he anticipates closing arguments will begin one week from today.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Fred de Sam Lazaro.
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Fred de Sam Lazaro is director of the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, a program that combines international journalism and teaching. He has served with the PBS NewsHour since 1985 and is a regular contributor and substitute anchor for PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.
Courtney Norris is a deputy senior producer of national affairs for the NewsHour. She can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @courtneyknorris
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