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Opening Arguments Begin In Murder Trial Of Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin

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CBS4's Michael George shares the latest details.

Video Transcript

- All new at five o'clock. Opening statements began today in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He's accused of murdering George Floyd last May when he kneeled on Floyd's neck for about nine minutes. The case drew national and international attention to a racial justice reckoning.

- Now, the trial is being televised and live streamed for all to see. CBS 4's Michael George is live at the Government Center in Minneapolis.

MICHAEL GEORGE: Well, Carly, Elliott, right now, in Minneapolis, there is tension between the National Guard at the courthouse, windows boarded up downtown, and protesters on the streets. 10 months after the death of George Floyd, the trial is finally underway, and the whole world is watching.

- Mr. Derek Chaucin betrayed this badge.

- Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell began his case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chavin with the most powerful piece of evidence. For nine minutes and 29 seconds, the 14 jurors watched an entire bystander video of Chavin, pressing his knee on George Floyd's neck.

- Grinding and crushing him, until the very breath. No, ladies and gentlemen, until the very life were squeezed out of him.

- Chavin has pleaded not guilty to the charges of murder and manslaughter. The defense argues Floyd's death was caused by a heart condition, methamphetamine, and fentanyl.

ERIC NELSON: There is no political or social cause in this courtroom, but the evidence is far greater than nine minutes and 29 seconds.

- Attorneys for Floyd's family kneeled before the trial began. They say this trial is a referendum on racial justice in America.

BEN CRUMP: This murder case is not hard when you watch that torture video of George Floyd.

- Minneapolis is a city on edge. The area around the courthouse is protected by fencing and the National Guard. The protests here have been peaceful, but the fear is, if Chavin is acquitted, that could change.

Among the protesters, many told us this should be in an open and shut case.

CAROLYN J. RUFF: I have confidence in that judge. I have confidence in the jurors that this man will be convicted.

JOE NIXON: People is on edge, man. They're ready to do something. These people is on edge so bad.

- The first witnesses have already begun testifying. The trial is expected to take up to four weeks.

- That was Michael George, reporting. You can look for much more on the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, tonight, on the CBS Evening news with Norah O'Donnell. That's at 6:30 after CBS 4 News at 6:00.