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Jury Hears Closing Arguments In Derek Chauvin Trial

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The prosecution and defense teams made their final arguments in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reports.

Video Transcript

KRISTINE JOHNSON: It was an entire day of closing arguments. Both the prosecution and the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial laid out their cases at length today.

DICK BRENNAN: Video evidence and witness testimony were carefully reviewed throughout the day. And just moments ago, as you saw, the judge charged the jury. CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez has been following closing arguments. She joins us now with more. Hazel.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: Yeah, Dick and Kristine. After three weeks and 45 witnesses, the jury heard a lengthy closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin. The state carrying the burden of proving without reasonable doubt that Chauvin caused George Floyd's death. As the prosecutor said to the jury, Chauvin knew better but didn't do better.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: This wasn't policing. This was murder.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: For nearly two hours, the prosecution laid out in painstaking detail the final moments of George Floyd's life, urging jurors to find Derek Chauvin guilty of murder, saying Chauvin chose pride over policing when he forcefully restrained Floyd on the ground in May of last year.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: He did what he did on purpose. And it killed George Floyd. That force for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, that killed George Floyd. He betrayed the badge and everything it stood for.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: The defense later arguing that time frame doesn't show the officer's struggle to place Floyd into their squad car, a possible explanation for Chauvin's use of force.

ERIC NELSON: 9 minutes and 29 seconds is not the proper analysis. Because the 9 minutes and 29 seconds ignores the previous 16 minutes and 59 seconds. It tries to reframe the issue of what a reasonable police officer would do.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: Last week, Chauvin pleaded the Fifth Amendment against self incrimination, choosing not to testify in his own defense. Prosecutors arguing Floyd died from low oxygen levels due to Chauvin's restraint.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: George Floyd's final words on May 25, 2020, were, "please, I can't breathe." and. He said those words to Mr. Officer. He said those words to the defendant. The defendant did not help. He stayed on top of him, continued to push him down, to grind his knees, to twist his hand, to twist his fingers into the handcuffs.

George Floyd was not a threat to anyone. He wasn't trying to hurt anyone. All that was required was a little compassion. And none was shown on that day.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: Chauvin faces three charges, second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter. Any conviction must be unanimous. The defense argues Floyd died from underlying heart issues and drug use and that Chauvin's actions followed current law enforcement standards and were reasonable.

ERIC NELSON: I would submit to you that it is nonsense to suggest that none of these other factors had any, any role. That is not reasonable.

HAZEL SANCHEZ: Pool reporters inside the courtroom say jurors were riveted by today's arguments, feverishly taking notes. Derek Chauvin did remove his mask in court today, perhaps giving jurors an opportunity to humanize him before they deliberate. Chauvin faces up to 40 years if convicted of the most serious charge. Dick and Kristine.

KRISTINE JOHNSON: All right, Hazel, thank you.