Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify Thursday in his trial before the defense rested its case.
Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd, 46.
Had Chauvin testified, it would have been the first time he publicly told his side of the story.
The defense called several witnesses to the stand over the course of two days, including Dr. David Fowler, a pathologist who testified Wednesday that Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance as a result of his heart disease. Fowler, who was Maryland’s chief medical examiner for 17 years, testified that he would classify the manner of death as “undetermined,” rather than a homicide — an act caused by another person, as the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled.
Several prosecution witnesses have said Floyd died from low oxygen, or asphyxia, from the way he was pinned down by police. One of those witnesses, Dr. Martin Tobin, a pulmonologist who explained Floyd’s final moments in great detail, was called as a rebuttal witness Thursday in response to Fowler’s testimony, in which Fowler said that carbon monoxide from a nearby police squad car may have played a role in Floyd’s death.
Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, has tried to prove Floyd died of illegal drug use and underlying health conditions. He has said Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, did what he was trained to do.
The prosecution has said Floyd died because Chauvin knelt on his neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds.
Under cross-examination Wednesday, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell got Fowler to acknowledge that he did not take into account the weight of Chauvin’s gear when he analyzed the pressure on Floyd’s body.
He also got Fowler to admit that Floyd’s blood was never tested for carbon monoxide.
“You haven’t seen any data or test results that showed Mr. Floyd had a single injury from carbon monoxide. Is that true?” Blackwell asked.
“That is correct, because it was never sent,” Fowler responded.
Blackwell noted that the squad car was a gas-electric hybrid and Fowler conceded that he had no data about how much carbon monoxide was actually released. Fowler said he believed the engine was running.
Closing arguments are expected Monday.