September 26, 2021

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Watch Live: Derek Chauvin on Trial in Killing of George Floyd – The New York Times

29 min read

One of the realities that police officers have to deal with in this day and age is that anyone can film their actions. And the Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arradondo, said that bystanders were well within their First Amendment rights to record an officer, as long as they are not obstructing.

But in an interesting moment during the chief’s testimony, Steve Schleicher, a prosecutor questioning him, seemed to parse the difference between policy and reality. Mr. Schleicher suggested that officers could become irritated by people recording.

“Is that obstruction?” he asked. “It is not,” the chief responded.

Of course, bystander recordings are crucial in this case, as George Floyd’s death became a global rallying cry for racial justice because of a gruesome video of his final moments.

Derek Chauvin’s defense lawyer has tried to argue that the eyewitness civilians became an angry mob that disturbed his client from doing his job. The prosecution, however, seems to be trying to lay the groundwork to suggest that the bystanders were doing exactly what they were entitled to do — film a police interaction.

The prosecution is really dragging out Chief Arradondo’s testimony, likely in part because it’s so unusual to have a police chief testifying against a former police officer. I’ve been searching around for another example of this happening, and I haven’t found one that’s comparable yet, except for Arradondo himself, who testified in the trial of Mohamed Noor for the on-duty murder of Justine Damond in Minneapolis.

It’s also important that he expounds on how much training officers receive, because prosecutors haven’t really established that yet. Arguing that Derek Chauvin’s actions during George Floyd’s arrest violated police procedure is a key part of their murder case against him.

The police chief, who is testifying about department training in a very measured, matter-of-fact manner, is known to be a cool customer. He is well respected in Minneapolis; I’ve heard several people say that Chief Arradondo is fine, but he’s part of a system that can’t be reformed.

One challenge for the chief: Threading the needle by having to condemn the actions of one of his former officers, Derek Chauvin, whom he fired after George Floyd’s death, but also defending the institution of policing as a whole as necessary and good.

A mural honoring the life of George Floyd is seen in the Third Ward, the neighborhood where Floyd grew up, in Houston, Texas. 
Credit…Callaghan O’Hare for The New York Times

Body camera footage of George Floyd’s death captured one of the officers saying that he was “worried about excited delirium or whatever,” invoking a longstanding controversy over a term that is often invoked in police custody deaths. Some experts insist that excited delirium syndrome is a genuine medical condition while others say it is simply an excuse for police brutality.

In opening statements, the defense mentioned excited delirium only in passing, but did say that a contributing factor to Floyd’s death wasthe adrenaline flowing through his body.”

There is no generally accepted definition of excited delirium, according to a 2018 review of the scientific literature, but it is used to describe someone who becomes distressed or aggressive from a mental illness or the use of psychoactive drugs.

It is not included in the International Classification of Diseases or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but has been recognized by the National Association of Medical Examiners and the American College of Emergency Physicians.

According to a report by the Brookings Institution, the term is disproportionately applied to Black people, and was first used in 1985 to explain a series of sudden deaths in cocaine users, occurring primarily in police custody, and again to explain the deaths of 32 Black women in Miami in the 1980s, who were later determined to have been asphyxiated by a serial killer.

Today on the stand, Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, who tried to resuscitate Mr. Floyd in the emergency room and pronounced him dead, said he had considered but ultimately rejected excited delirium as a contributing factor in his death, conceding that it was a “controversial diagnosis.”

There was no report that Mr. Floyd had ever been “very sweaty” or “extremely agitated,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of cases of mental health crises or drug use leading to severe agitated states,” he said. “That is almost always reported by paramedics, and so the absence of that information was telling.”

To show Chief Medaria Arradondo’s experience and familiarity with all facets of the Minneapolis Police Department, the prosecution led him through a long list of his credentials. He has been with the department since 1989, climbing through the ranks from patrol officer to inspector to deputy chief to, now, chief. He is the first African-American to hold the position. Earlier in his career, Mr. Arradondo sued his own department, accusing the leadership of tolerating racism.

He has also worked in internal affairs, which investigates reports of misconduct by police officers.


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Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, the emergency room physician who cared for George Floyd the day he died, testified about Mr. Floyd’s condition when he reached the hospital.CreditCredit…Still image from Court TV

An emergency room doctor who tried to save George Floyd’s life for 30 minutes before pronouncing him dead testified on Monday that he believed Mr. Floyd had likely died of a lack of oxygen, bolstering a central argument of the prosecution.

Dr. Bradford T. Wankhede Langenfeld, who was a senior resident at the Hennepin County Medical Center, testified in court that Mr. Floyd’s heart was not beating by the time he arrived at the hospital last May. His testimony followed that of two paramedics who said last week that Mr. Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time they arrived to the scene of his arrest. The doctor’s testimony came on the sixth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murdering Mr. Floyd.

The doctor said that, based on the information he had at the time, he thought that oxygen deficiency, sometimes called asphyxia, was “one of the more likely” causes of Mr. Floyd’s death.

Prosecutors have said Mr. Floyd died of asphyxia, appearing to divert from the ruling of the county medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Mr. Floyd and said that he had died of “cardiopulmonary arrest.” That term, prosecutors have said, is applicable to any death because it simply means that a person’s heart and lungs have stopped.

Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, has suggested that Mr. Floyd’s death was caused in part by his underlying heart disease and the fentanyl and methamphetamine that were found in his system. In response to questions from Mr. Nelson, Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld agreed that many different things — including taking fentanyl and methamphetamine — can cause a death that would still be considered asphyxiation.

Mr. Nelson used his questioning to press Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld on the fact that naloxone, the overdose-reversing treatment often known as Narcan, was never administered to Mr. Floyd. Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said that even if Mr. Floyd had suffered an overdose, giving him naloxone would have had “no benefit” because his heart had already stopped.

Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said he had viewed an overdose as a less likely cause of Mr. Floyd’s death, in part because the paramedics who brought Mr. Floyd to the hospital had given no indication that he had overdosed.

Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said that he had pronounced Mr. Floyd dead after about 30 minutes in the emergency department. Mr. Floyd’s official time of death is 9:25 p.m.

Jerry W. Blackwell, the prosecutor questioning Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld, used some of his questions to emphasize that Mr. Chauvin and other police officers at the scene had not given medical care to Mr. Floyd.

In response to the questions, Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld noted that beginning C.P.R. as soon as possible is critical for patients who are in cardiac arrest, as Mr. Floyd was. He said that there is about a 10 to 15 percent decrease in a patient’s chance of survival for every minute that C.P.R. is not administered.

“It’s well-known that any amount of time that a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate C.P.R. markedly decreases the chance of a good outcome,” Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said. He noted that the term “cardiac arrest” means only that a patient’s heart has stopped, not that the patient necessarily suffered a heart attack.

The doctor, who is in his early 30s, earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2016 and had received his physician and surgeon license just 18 days before May 25, when Mr. Floyd was rushed to the hospital, according to state records.

Medaria Arradondo, the police chief of Minneapolis on the stand right now, is in many ways speaking to the city, not just the 12 jurors. He is explaining the duty that his officers have to the city, where he grew up. In the 10 months since George Floyd’s death, residents and community leaders in Minneapolis have struggled to reach consensus on how to radically change public safety, and the role that the police should play in that.

On the stand, the chief tugged his badge several times as he talked about the duties of police officers, saying: “The first time that we interact with our community members may be the only time that they have an interaction. That has to count for something. It’s very important for us to make sure that we’re meeting our community in that space, treating them with dignity, being their guardians.”

Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis Police Chief, testified on Monday
Credit…Pool photo by Richard Tsong-Taatarii

The prosecution called Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, to testify on Monday. He was expected to testify that Derek Chauvin’s use of force was contrary to department policy and training.

Less than a day after George Floyd’s death, Mr. Arradondo fired Mr. Chauvin and three other officers who were present at the scene and called for an F.B.I. investigation into the incident. He openly condemned Mr. Chauvin’s actions and called Mr. Floyd’s death a “murder.”

Mr. Arradondo joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 1989 as a patrol officer and was appointed chief of police in 2017 after his predecessor was forced out in the wake of a controversial killing of a woman by a police officer that year. He is the first African-American to hold the position.

Earlier in his career, Mr. Arradondo sued his own department, accusing the leadership of tolerating racism.

Mr. Floyd’s killing fueled calls for police reform and a pledge by a majority of the City Council to dismantle the department, and since then Chief Arradondo has worked with Mayor Jacob Frey to pass several reforms, including a revamped use-of-force policy.

Chief Arradondo testified in the trial of Mohamed Noor, the officer who was convicted of murder after he fatally shot Justine Ruszczyk in 2017, MPR News reported. At the time of Ms. Ruszczyk’s death, Chief Arradondo was the assistant chief.

After Ms. Ruszczyk was killed, several changes were implemented in the department, including a requirement that Minneapolis police officers turn on their body cameras as soon as they start responding to 911 calls.

Many Minnesotans have said they have confidence in Chief Arradondo, saying he has shown an appetite for change that past police leaders have not.

Prosecutors have now called Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief who fired Derek Chauvin and three other officers the day after George Floyd died, to testify. It’s a significant moment to have a sitting chief testifying against one of his former officers, but Chief Arradondo has done it before, in the trial of Mohamed Noor, who was convicted of killing Justine Damond in 2017. Chief Arradondo has called Floyd’s death a “murder.”

The defense is now questioning Dr. Langenfeld, who treated George Floyd in the emergency room, trying to suggest that the drugs that Floyd had in his system, including fentanyl, could have affected his breathing and led to his death. The defense has made it clear that it is going to argue that it was Floyd’s drug use, not pressure from Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck, that killed him.

The trial began in an odd fashion on Monday. The entire jury was brought in for questioning, and Judge Peter A. Cahill had the audio and video feeds turned off. But according to a pool reporter in the room, each of the jurors had a sheet of paper in front of them with a social media post that the judge instructed them to read.

He noted that on the sheet there was a comment about halfway through. He asked the jurors if any of them made a statement, or something similar to it, that was apparently in the social media post.

Thirteen of the 14 jurors raised their hands to indicate that they had not said anything like what was indicated (the specific statement was not shared publicly). The 14th juror shook her head no and eventually raised her hand.

The judge then had them flip over the sheet and asked them if they recognized the picture of the person on the sheet. All 14 jurors raised their hands to indicate that they did not recognize the person. After the jurors left, the judge indicated that he believed the jurors were credible.

“This was nothing more than social media nonsense,” he said.

Jurors are not supposed to discuss the case with anyone — even among each other — or read any coverage of the trial while it is going on.

Dr. Langenfeld, the emergency room doctor who treated George Floyd, just brought up what I think is the first mention in this trial of “excited delirium,” a controversial condition that is often cited in cases where people die at the hands of the police. Dr. Langenfeld said he considered, but essentially rejected, excited delirium as a factor in Floyd’s death because the paramedics did not report signs of the condition, such as heavy sweating.

The doctor, who pronounced George Floyd dead, said he believed that Floyd’s death was caused by oxygen deficiency, or “asphyxia.” That’s a pretty big statement because the prosecution has indicated that it would argue that asphyxia was the cause of death, a departure from what the medical examiner ruled.

A padlock with George Floyd’s name is displayed at the Hennepin County Government Center.
Credit…Octavio Jones/Reuters

George Floyd’s cause of death is a central issue in the Derek Chauvin trial. The prosecution has already signaled that they will argue Mr. Floyd was asphyxiated by the police. To do that, they have to overcome the medical examiner’s statement that Mr. Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest,” a term they have argued is applicable to any death because it simply means that the person’s heart and lungs have stopped.

They also have to overcome the defense’s argument that Mr. Floyd had underlying heart disease that contributed to his death. They are using the witness who took the stand Monday morning, an emergency room physician who tried to resuscitate Mr. Floyd when he was brought in, to lay some of that groundwork.

Jerry Blackwell, the lawyer for the prosecution, asked the doctor, Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, to explain what cardiac arrest was. “So in laypeople’s terms, if we were to say cardiac arrest means the heart stopped, would that be accurate?” Mr. Blackwell asked. “Yes,” the doctor replied. Mr. Blackwell also asked if the doctor had been told there was any indication that Mr. Floyd had sustained a heart attack. Dr. Langenfeld said there was no such indication.

It’s important to remember that at the time George Floyd arrived at the emergency room, he was just another patient. In fact, the doctor who treated him there and pronounced him dead, Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, testified that he got a text message identifying the incoming patient as 30 years old. He was actually 46.

The prosecution is now calling to the stand Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, the emergency rooom doctor at the Hennepin County Medical Center who pronounced George Floyd dead. Last week, the paramedics who arrived at the scene of Floyd’s arrest testified that they could not find a pulse.

The doctor was a senior resident at the time. He received his physician and surgeon license just 18 days before Floyd’s death and says he has never had to testify in court before.

At left, Eric J. Nelson, the defense lawyer for  Derek Chauvin, right, at Hennepin County District Court on Monday.
Credit…Still image, via Court TV

The prosecution’s case has moved into its second phase, the issue of whether Derek Chauvin was acting against police policy and his training when he knelt on George Floyd for more than nine minutes. On Friday, they presented Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-serving officer on the Minneapolis police force, and later they will present Chief Medaria Arradondo and other experts on police training.

To counteract this, Eric J. Nelson, the defense lawyer, is trying to limit this testimony. First, he has raised the issue of whether the state has too many witnesses, from both inside and outside the department, who may offer what he is arguing will be too many opinions about what a reasonable officer would have done. He wants to limit that.

He is also arguing that although Chauvin, a veteran Minneapolis police officer at the time of Mr. Floyd’s death, had close to 900 hours of training, it is impossible to reconstruct exactly which PowerPoint presentations Chauvin actually saw. The judge, Peter A. Cahill, is indicating that he will not allow the prosecution to go on and on, asking officer after officer what they would have done in the same situation.

After Chief Arradondo, an officer from the training unit, and two use-of-force experts, the judge says, “We’re done with asking other officers about the use of force.”

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer says Chief Medaria Arradondo of the Minneapolis Police Department will be called by prosecutors to testify today. He fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after George Floyd died and has called Floyd’s death a “murder.”

It is highly unusual for a police chief to testify for the prosecution against a police officer, but Chief Arradondo has done it before, in the trial of Mohamed Noor, who was convicted of killing Justine Damond in 2017.

The judge announced this morning that the court is going off audio and video. He will explain this decision later. Last week, some witnesses who were minors at the time of George Floyd’s death were allowed to testify off camera, but with audio.

It now looks like there might have been some report of juror misconduct. Judge Peter A. Cahill went off camera, and when he came back on he said that he had ascertained that no juror misconduct had occurred.

There are two journalists serving as pool reporters in the courtroom, who will likely provide more information about what just happened off camera at the next trial break.

Day 6 of the murder trial of Derek Chauvin has begun, with prosecutors and a defense lawyer arguing over whether certain footage from body cameras worn by police officers on the day of George Floyd’s death can be allowed as evidence. A prosecutor says some of the videos, which show officers discussing Floyd’s use of a fake $20 bill, should be excluded because they are irrelevant. Video evidence played a major role in the first week of the trial.

Cayden Totushek affixes roses to a new art piece by Visual Black Justice placed in the courtyard outside of the Hennepin County Government Center.
Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

The second week of testimony will begin on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, and the prosecution is expected to continue to call on veteran officers who were critical of Mr. Chauvin’s restraint of Mr. Floyd, including the police chief Medaria Arradondo.

On Friday, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-serving officer on the Minneapolis police force, testified that Mr. Chauvin’s actions were “totally unnecessary” and in violation of police policy. “Pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time, it’s just uncalled-for,” he said.

As the nation watched last week, witness after witness described an acute sense of lingering pain. The often tearful testimony during the trial’s opening week highlighted how the trauma of May 25, when Mr. Chauvin knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, rippled outward and left witnesses burdened with guilt and crippling self-doubt.

“It was difficult because I felt like there wasn’t really anything I could do,” testified Alyssa Funari, 18, who filmed Mr. Floyd’s arrest.

Prosecutors call all of their witnesses before the defense begins to lay out its case, so the trial’s first week was heavily weighted toward the state’s arguments. Their case was expected to be presented in three phases, focused on witness testimony, police policies and medical evidence.

Eric J. Nelson, the lawyer for Mr. Chauvin, made clear that he would attempt to convince jurors that the videos of Mr. Floyd’s death and the emotional witness testimony did not tell the full story. He signaled that he planned to argue that Mr. Chauvin had been following his training as a police officer, that his knee was not necessarily on Mr. Floyd’s neck, and that Mr. Floyd’s death may have been caused by drugs.

Kelly Sherman-Conroy and her son Ciaran Conroy write on a wall across from the Hennepin County Government Center on Friday.
Credit…Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Friday’s proceedings in the trial of Derek Chauvin ended with critical testimony from the longest-serving officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, who testified that Mr. Chauvin’s actions were “totally unnecessary.”

Police testimony against Mr. Chauvin, the former officer charged with killing George Floyd, could be crucial to the prosecution’s case as they move into next week. Friday’s proceedings ended early because the trial is ahead of schedule, the judge said. Here are the highlights.

  • Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who leads the department’s homicide unit, said Mr. Chauvin’s actions violated police policy. “Pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time, it’s just uncalled for,” said Lieutenant Zimmerman, who joined the department in 1985. He was one of a group of 14 veteran police officers who published a public letter last June condemning the actions of Mr. Chauvin. The officers said the letter was representative of the opinion of hundreds of police officers. “This is not who we are,” they wrote.

  • The first witness of the day, Sgt. Jon Edwards, was sent to the Cup Foods convenience store after the arrest to secure the crime scene. Mr. Edwards said he followed protocol by telling officers who were still on the scene to turn on their body cameras and identify the areas where they interacted with Mr. Floyd. He also asked them to try and find witnesses, though most people had already left. Sergeant Edwards did find at least one witness, Charles McMillian, who gave an emotional testimony earlier this week. At the scene that night, Mr. McMillian asked Sergeant Edwards if he was under arrest. When Sergeant Edwards said that he wasn’t, Mr. McMillian said he wanted to leave.

  • Additional testimony from police officers will be an important tool for prosecutors, who are seeking to show that Mr. Chauvin violated use of force policies and that his actions were unnecessary and unlawful. Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s defense attorney, used his cross-examination of Lieutenant Zimmerman to temper those ideas. Mr. Nelson asked the lieutenant whether people can become combative after waking up from being unconscious. Lieutenant Zimmerman also said police officers are trained to kneel on people’s shoulders, in some circumstances, when they handcuff a person. Throughout the trial, Mr. Nelson has suggested that Mr. Chauvin’s knee was on Mr. Floyd’s back or shoulder, not on his neck.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo speaking at a news conference during jury selection for the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Credit…Nicholas Pfosi/Reuters

George Floyd’s death vastly compounded public anger at the Minneapolis Police Department. But conflict was present before officers ever came in contact with Mr. Floyd — so much so that the department’s own chief, Medaria Arradondo, the first Black person to hold the position, had once filed a lawsuit accusing it of tolerating racism.

Only about 20 percent of Minneapolis residents are Black, but about 60 percent of use-of-force incidents with the Minneapolis police involve Black people, according to a New York Times analysis. The city’s police officers use force against Black people at seven times the rate of white people.

Body-weight pinning, which Derek Chauvin used on Mr. Floyd, is one of the most popular use-of-force mechanisms in Minneapolis, and it, too, is employed in a racially disparate way. Since 2015, Minneapolis officers have used it about 2,200 times against Black people, more than twice as many times as they have used it against white people.

The influence of the city’s police union, the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, has made reforming the department a struggle, some analysts say. But since Mr. Floyd’s death, there have been some limited changes.

In December 2020, the Minneapolis City Council voted to divert $8 million dollars — almost 4.5 percent — from a proposed $179 million police budget. The diverted funds will go to the city’s Office of Violence Prevention, with the goal of building a team of mental health professionals and city workers to respond to crises and process minor complaints without police involvement.

Before Mr. Floyd, numerous others had reported abuse at the hands of Mr. Chauvin, including Zoya Code, who said Mr. Chauvin had forced her to the ground with his knee on her after he answered a call in a domestic dispute. Over almost 20 years with the police department, Mr. Chauvin had at least 22 complaints or internal investigations, but only one resulted in discipline.

That pattern is common: Since 2012, only 1 percent of adjudicated complaints against Minneapolis police officers resulted in disciplinary action, according to city records.

A barricade outside the Third Police Precinct in Minneapolis last month.
Credit…Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the South Minneapolis neighborhood where protesters burned the Third Precinct police station and numerous commercial properties in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, two longtime residents, Phillip Cox and Mario Pacheco Jr., described complicated feelings about the destruction and about the trial of Derek Chauvin.

It was difficult to see the wreckage of their local shopping area, Mr. Pacheco, an antique and collectibles merchant, said on Thursday. But, he added, “It’s sad when you miss the Arby’s that was destroyed more than you miss the precinct.”

Since last summer’s unrest, some properties have been gutted and renovated. The police station is surrounded by fences, and stacked concrete barriers block the melted front entrance. At many smaller establishments and damaged residences, restoration has yet to begin. Even a nearby post office is still in ruins.

Mr. Cox, a machinist, said he had been watching the trial of Mr. Chauvin, the former police officer charged with murder in Mr. Floyd’s death, on television.

“I’m catching the trial here and there,” he said. “I’m glad they didn’t move it out of the county and that everyone can see it. Hopefully that will help change things about policing everywhere, not just in Minneapolis.”

The men said they didn’t support calls to abolish the police, but described the neighborhood as a tough place to grow up and recalled being treated roughly by local officers.

Both men said it had been hard to watch the footage of Mr. Chauvin’s treatment of Mr. Floyd.

“I never met George Floyd, but he seemed like a regular guy, like us,” Mr. Pacheco said.

Mr. Cox said, “As I think about the trial more, I am ashamed of my local law enforcement for not putting a stop to this kind of behavior and policing practices.”

“There are good police,” Mr. Pacheco said. “I don’t wish harm upon no one. But with Chauvin, I really hope they do make an example, so then the next policeman will take this trial into consideration.”







How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody

The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

It’s a Monday evening in Minneapolis. Police respond to a call about a man who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Seventeen minutes later, the man they are there to investigate lies motionless on the ground, and is pronounced dead shortly after. The man was 46-year-old George Floyd, a bouncer originally from Houston who had lost his job at a restaurant when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Crowd: “No justice, no peace.” Floyd’s death triggered major protests in Minneapolis, and sparked rage across the country. One of the officers involved, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. The Times analyzed bystander videos, security camera footage and police scanner audio, spoke to witnesses and experts, and reviewed documents released by the authorities to build as comprehensive a picture as possible and better understand how George Floyd died in police custody. The events of May 25 begin here. Floyd is sitting in the driver’s seat of this blue S.U.V. Across the street is a convenience store called Cup Foods. Footage from this restaurant security camera helps us understand what happens next. Note that the timestamp on the camera is 24 minutes fast. At 7:57 p.m., two employees from Cup Foods confront Floyd and his companions about an alleged counterfeit bill he just used in their store to buy cigarettes. They demand the cigarettes back but walk away empty-handed. Four minutes later, they call the police. According to the 911 transcript, an employee says that Floyd used fake bills to buy cigarettes, and that he is “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.” Soon, the first police vehicle arrives on the scene. Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng step out of the car and approach the blue S.U.V. Seconds later, Lane pulls his gun. We don’t know exactly why. He orders Floyd to put his hands on the wheel. Lane reholsters the gun, and after about 90 seconds of back and forth, yanks Floyd out of the S.U.V. A man is filming the confrontation from a car parked behind them. The officers cuff Floyd’s hands behind his back. And Kueng walks him to the restaurant wall. “All right, what’s your name?” From the 911 transcript and the footage, we now know three important facts: First, that the police believed they were responding to a man who was drunk and out of control. But second, even though the police were expecting this situation, we can see that Floyd has not acted violently. And third, that he seems to already be in distress. Six minutes into the arrest, the two officers move Floyd back to their vehicle. As the officers approach their car, we can see Floyd fall to the ground. According to the criminal complaints filed against the officers, Floyd says he is claustrophobic and refuses to enter the police car. During the struggle, Floyd appears to turn his head to address the officers multiple times. According to the complaints, he tells them he can’t breathe. Nine minutes into the arrest, the third and final police car arrives on the scene. It’s carrying officers Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin. Both have previous records of complaints brought against them. Thao was once sued for throwing a man to the ground and hitting him. Chauvin has been involved in three police shootings, one of them fatal. Chauvin becomes involved in the struggle to get Floyd into the car. Security camera footage from Cup Foods shows Kueng struggling with Floyd in the backseat while Thao watches. Chauvin pulls him through the back seat and onto the street. We don’t know why. Floyd is now lying on the pavement, face down. That’s when two witnesses begin filming, almost simultaneously. The footage from the first witness shows us that all four officers are now gathered around Floyd. It’s the first moment when we can clearly see that Floyd is face down on the ground, with three officers applying pressure to his neck, torso and legs. At 8:20 p.m., we hear Floyd’s voice for the first time. The video stops when Lane appears to tell the person filming to walk away. “Get off to the sidewalk, please. One side or the other, please.” The officers radio a Code 2, a call for non-emergency medical assistance, reporting an injury to Floyd’s mouth. In the background, we can hear Floyd struggling. The call is quickly upgraded to a Code 3, a call for emergency medical assistance. By now another bystander, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, is filming from a different angle. Her footage shows that despite calls for medical help, Chauvin keeps Floyd pinned down for another seven minutes. We can’t see whether Kueng and Lane are still applying pressure. Floyd: [gasping] Officer: “What do you want?” Bystander: “I’ve been —” Floyd: [gasping] In the two videos, Floyd can be heard telling officers that he can’t breathe at least 16 times in less than five minutes. Bystander: “You having fun?” But Chauvin never takes his knee off of Floyd, even as his eyes close and he appears to go unconscious. Bystander: “Bro.” According to medical and policing experts, these four police officers are committing a series of actions that violate policies, and in this case, turn fatal. They’ve kept Floyd lying face down, applying pressure for at least five minutes. This combined action is likely compressing his chest and making it impossible to breathe. Chauvin is pushing his knee into Floyd’s neck, a move banned by most police departments. Minneapolis Police Department policy states an officer can only do this if someone is, quote, “actively resisting.” And even though the officers call for medical assistance, they take no action to treat Floyd on their own while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Officer: “Get back on the sidewalk.” According to the complaints against the officers, Lane asks him twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side. Chauvin says no. Twenty minutes into the arrest, an ambulance arrives on the scene. Bystander: “Get off of his neck!” Bystander: “He’s still on him?” The E.M.T.s check Floyd’s pulse. Bystander: “Are you serious?” Chauvin keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost another whole minute, even though Floyd appears completely unresponsive. He only gets off once the E.M.T.s tell him to. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, according to our review of the video evidence. Floyd is loaded into the ambulance. The ambulance leaves the scene, possibly because a crowd is forming. But the E.M.T.s call for additional medical help from the fire department. But when the engine arrives, the officers give them, quote, “no clear info on Floyd or his whereabouts,” according to a fire department incident report. This delays their ability to help the paramedics. Meanwhile, Floyd is going into cardiac arrest. It takes the engine five minutes to reach Floyd in the ambulance. He’s pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 9:25 p.m. Preliminary autopsies conducted by the state and Floyd’s family both ruled his death a homicide. The widely circulated arrest videos don’t paint the entire picture of what happened to George Floyd. Crowd: “Floyd! Floyd!” Additional video and audio from the body cameras of the key officers would reveal more about why the struggle began and how it escalated. The city quickly fired all four officers. And Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting murder. But outrage over George Floyd’s death has only spread further and further across the United States.

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The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 to report that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

By combining videos from bystanders and security cameras, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Mr. Floyd’s death. Our video shows officers taking a series of actions that violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and turned fatal, leaving Mr. Floyd unable to breathe, even as he and onlookers called out for help.

The Derek Chauvin trial plays on a television at a gym in Georgia on Monday.
Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

The trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is unusual for many reasons: It is being livestreamed from Minneapolis, attendance is severely limited because of the coronavirus and the public’s interest in the case may make this one of the highest-profile trials in recent memory.

The trial can be watched on, via a livestream provided by Court TV, which is also airing the trial in full. Witness testimony and lawyers’ presentations of evidence should last several weeks before the jury begins to deliberate over the verdict.

Among the people allowed in the courtroom, on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center, are: the judge, jurors, witnesses, court staff, lawyers, Mr. Chauvin and only a handful of spectators.

The judge, Peter A. Cahill, wrote in an order on March 1 that only one member of Mr. Floyd’s family and one member of Mr. Chauvin’s family would be allowed in the room at any time. Two seats are reserved for reporters, and various journalists, including from The New York Times, are rotating throughout the trial.

The lawyers, spectators, jurors and witnesses are required to wear masks when they are not speaking. Spectators are prohibited from having any visible images, logos, letters or numbers on their masks or clothing, according to Judge Cahill’s order.

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