Trial of cop charged with murdering George Floyd set to begin in Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota – After several weeks of jury selection, the trial of Derek Chauvin, the cop who filmed kneeling on George Floyd's neck before his death, is set to start on Monday morning. Floyd's death sparked a wide protest movement over police brutality and racial injustice in America.

A protester stands outside the Minneapolis courthouse where the trial will take place.
A protester stands outside the Minneapolis courthouse where the trial will take place.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

The Minneapolis courthouse where the trial will take place is surrounded by barricades and fortifications. National Guard troops are on standby throughout the high-profile case, which is expected to last around four weeks.

The proceedings will kick off with jury instructions. Of the 15-person panel, nine members are white and six are Black or multiracial.

The final selection will include 12 jury members and two alternates. The fifteenth member of the panel will likely be dismissed immediately. It is not yet clear which candidates fall into which category.

Tyre Nichols' family responds after viewing "horrific" police footage of fatal arrest
Black Lives Matter Tyre Nichols' family responds after viewing "horrific" police footage of fatal arrest

According to NBC 4, most of the jurors confirmed they had seen at least part of the video of the original incident but said they could set aside any negative impressions of Chauvin in their evaluation of the case.

Prosecutors will argue the 45-year-old former police officer is guilty unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.

The debate will concern authorized use of force and the cause of death

Civil rights icon Rev. Al Sharpton; George Floyd's brothers Terrence and Philonise; and civil rights attorney Ben Crump (l.-r.) spoke at a prayer vigil and rally for George Floyd.
Civil rights icon Rev. Al Sharpton; George Floyd's brothers Terrence and Philonise; and civil rights attorney Ben Crump (l.-r.) spoke at a prayer vigil and rally for George Floyd.  © IMAGO / MediaPunch

Although the video of the incident will probably play a crucial role for the prosecution, the case is more likely to focus on authorized use of force and the cause of death.

Chauvin faces charges of unintentional second-degree murder and manslaughter. For a conviction on the first charge, the prosecution must prove that Chauvin’s actions constituted a "substantial causal factor" in George Floyd’s death.

Chauvin’s defense will likely push back against the prosecution’s claims, arguing instead that the drugs in Floyd’s system contributed significantly to his death.

Donald Trump wins golf championship at his own club – but it sure sounds fishy
Donald Trump Donald Trump wins golf championship at his own club – but it sure sounds fishy

However, though the autopsy report revealed traces of fentanyl and methamphetamine, the cause of death was listed as "cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

On the eve of the trial start date, civil rights leaders, including Rev. Al Sharpton, joined George Floyd’s family members in a prayer service demanding justice in the proceedings.

Cover photo: IMAGO / MediaPunch

More on Black Lives Matter: