Derek Chauvin 'betrayed his badge' in killing George Floyd, prosecutor says in closing argument

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Derek Chauvin 'betrayed his badge' in killing George Floyd, prosecutor says in closing argument
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher gives closing argument in the trial of Derek ChauvinCourtTV cameras/pool
  • State prosecutor Steve Schleicher gave his closing argument Monday in Derek Chauvin's murder trial.
  • He told jurors Chauvin used excessive force on purpose because bystanders questioned his authority.
  • He asked jurors to disregard "nonsense" from defense witnesses' testimony.

Minnesota prosecutor Steve Schleicher told jurors in his closing argument Monday that the murder trial of fired officer Derek Chauvin was not a trial of the Minneapolis Police Department nor a trial of George Floyd.

It was the trial of an officer who "betrayed his badge," showed no courage, and intentionally killed George Floyd because he didn't want his authority questioned, Schleicher said.

Chauvin "wasn't going to be told what to do," Schleicher told jurors. "He wasn't going to take a challenge to his authority. He was trying to win, and George Floyd paid for it with his life."

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Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter. Floyd died after the former officer kneeled on his body for nine minutes and 29 seconds. During the two-week trial, 38 witnesses testified about what happened the day Floyd died.

In an argument that started off to the rhythm of beat poetry, Schleicher reminded jurors about the loving relationship Floyd had with his mother and his family. He said Floyd was surrounded by people he cared about, and who he took care of, for most of his life.

The day Floyd died, though, Schleicher said he was surrounded by strangers as Chauvin and other officers "grinded" him into the ground, twisting his fingers and ignoring his calls for help.

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"Nine minutes and 29 seconds: during this time George Floyd struggled desperately to breathe, to make enough room in his chest to breathe," Schleicher said. "But the force was too much."

"He was trapped with the unyielding pavement underneath him, as unyielding as the men who held him down," he said. "So desperate to breathe, he pushed with his face. With his face."

Schleicher walked the jury through the testimony of prosecution witnesses, reminding them that fellow Minneapolis officers said Chauvin was not following training and his use of force was not justified.

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Many of the jurors, Schleicher said, may not be able to comprehend that an officer - someone that people call for help - is capable of murder.

But Schleicher said Chauvin wasn't representing his badge the day of Floyd's death. He told jurors to disregard "nonsense" from the testimony of defense witnesses who shared opinions so drastically different from the other medical professionals and use of force experts who were called.

"There's nothing worse for good police than bad police," he said.

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Schleicher reiterated that Chauvin's actions on the day of Floyd's death weren't an accident. Pointing to Chauvin's body language, "staring down the crowd," Schleicher said the fired officer killed Floyd because bystanders were telling him what to do.

Video recorded at the scene showed bystanders screaming at officers and begging them to get off Floyd, who was crying out for his life.

The prosecutor pointed to Chauvin's demeanor towards Floyd as he called for help - leisurely picking rocks out of the cruiser's tire, complaining about the smell of Floyd's feet, and dismissing him - as "indifference."

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"What the defendant did was not policing. What the defendant did was an assault," Schleicher said. "He did what he did on purpose and it killed George Floyd. That force for 9 minutes and 29 seconds. That killed George Floyd."

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