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George Floyd murder trial opens for ex-policeman Derek Chauvin

DW, 30 Mar 2021
A jury was assembled at the Hennepin County Court on Monday, as the opening of the trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin got underway. Chauvin is accused of murdering unarmed Black man George Floyd by kneeling on his neck – a killing that was caught on camera and which sparked outrage across the world. The trial, in downtown Minneapolis, is expected to last some four weeks and is taking place under high-security conditions. Relatives and lawyers for Floyd's family knelt in protest outside the courthouse, immediately ahead of the start of the hearing. They took a knee for eight minutes and 46 seconds — the amount of time that Chauvin was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck in the video.

What must the court decide?
The key question will be whether Chauvin was responsible for Floyd's death, and whether his actions were reasonable.
The former officer could be convicted on any one of three counts – second-degree murder, third-degree murder, or manslaughter.
Prosecutors would have to prove that Chauvin's conduct was a substantial factor to have him convicted of unintentional second-degree murder.
To have Chauvin convicted of third-degree murder, they would need to show that Chauvin's actions were reckless and without regard for human life.
The charge of manslaughter requires proof that Chauvin caused Floyd's death through negligence that created an unreasonable risk.


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