Derek Chauvin: Prosecutor defends police while condemning officer who ‘abandoned his values’

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Graig Graziosi
·2 min read
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In this image from video, prosecutor Steve Schleicher gives closing arguments as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd.  (Court TV via AP, Pool) (AP)
In this image from video, prosecutor Steve Schleicher gives closing arguments as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool) (AP)

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher claimed that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was not on trial for being a police officer, but solely because of his role in the death of George Floyd last year.

Mr Schleicher was trying to convince the jury to separate their biases about police from the facts surrounding Mr Floyd's death.

"Policing is a noble profession. This is not a prosecution of the police this is a prosecution of the defendant....There is nothing worse for good police than bad police that don't follow the rules," Mr Schleicher said.

He insisted that the state's case was not an indictment of the Minneapolis police department.

“This case is called the state of Minnesota vs Derek Chauvin, not the state of Minnesota vs the police,” he said. “This is not an anti-police prosecution, it’s a pro-police prosecution.”

The prosecutor said Mr Chauvin ignored his police training, and as a result, killed Mr Floyd. “The defendant abandoned his values, abandoned his training, and killed a man...” Mr Schleicher.

He also pointed to the numerous times bystanders, who had been recording Mr Chauvin with their phones, called on the officer to let Mr Floyd breathe.

He said that Mr Chauvin’s “ego based pride” and unwillingness to have his authority questioned by the bystanders was what compelled him to kill Mr Floyd.

"He was not going to be told what to to...he was going to do what he wanted how he wanted for as long as he wanted, and there was nothing, nothing [bystanders] could do about it because he had the power, the badge and the other officers," Mr Schleicher said.

The state’s case against Mr Chauvin included examples of bystanders calling for police intervention into Mr Chauvin’s action.

Later, the prosecutor said Mr Chauvin’s actions were “not policing, they were an assault.”

Mr Schleicher also accused Mr Chauvin of lacking concern for the wellbeing of Mr Floyd.

“Do you want to know what indifference is, and sounds like?” the prosecutor asked, before playing video clips of Mr Chauvin responding with disinterest to Mr Floyd’s cries of pain.

At one point, Mr Chauvin can be heard saying “it takes an awful lot of oxygen to say that,” to Mr Floyd, who had just complained that he could not breathe. “This is not protection, this isn’t courage, and it certainly is not, and was not compassion. It was the opposite,” Mr Schleicher said in his closing statements.

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