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Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Photo MNDOCREUTERS
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin. Photo: Reuters

Minneapolis awaits trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in George Floyd's death 

Amid public expectation, the trial of Derek Chauvin, former police officer charged in the death of George Floyd begins today in Minneapolis.

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Nine months after the murder of George Floyd, former Minnesota Police Department (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin will be tried for murder and involuntary manslaughter. Chauvin was filmed pressing his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed and struggling to breathe.

The painful images of Floyd's death on May 25, 2020, raised the population in the United States to protest against police brutality and racial injustice in a resurgence of the 'Black Lives Matter' movement.

Last weekend, the streets of Minneapolis were once again filled with people marching peacefully and silently demanding justice in the case against Chauvin, and only the phrase 'No justice, no peace' could be heard. Chauvin's trial will be broadcast live and conducted under extreme security.

The necessary questions to be answered about the case are two: Did Chauvin's actions cause Floyd's death? Were his actions reasonable? 

The former officer's defense asserts that Chauvin "acted in accordance with MPD policy, his training and his duties as an officer licensed by the state of Minnesota." In addition, according to the attorney, Eric Nelson, an autopsy confirms that Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose, not a "neck compression."

The case will not be straightforward as there is no precedent for an officer to be criminally charged for abusive use of force. In itself, the case against Chauvin is atypical, says former officer and police practices consultant, Ashley Heiberger. Former U.S. Attorney Neal Katyal described the Chauvin trial as a "landmark criminal case, one of the most important in the history" of the United States.

A unanimous verdict by the 12-member jury is needed to convict Chauvin of the murder of George Floyd.

Recall that there are three other officers involved in Floyd's arrest, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, who were also fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and will face lesser charges and be tried separately.

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