Monday 4/12/21

Trial of ex-police officer accused of killing George Floyd begins

Derek Chauvin, the main defendant, faces charges including second-degree murder.
A person holds a "Black Lives Matter" sign as a heavy cloud of tear gas and smoke rises after being deployed by Seattle police as protesters rally against police brutality and the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Seattle, Washington, U.S. June 1, 2020. Picture taken June 1, 2020. REUTERS/Lindsey Wasson
A person holds a 'Black Lives Matter' sign during a protest in Seattle against the death of George Floyd. Photo: Lindsay Wasson /Reuters/file photo.

Almost one year after the death of George Floyd, the trial of one of the former police officers involved in his brutal arrest kicks off in the United States on Monday.

Derek Chauvin, the main defendant, faces charges including second-degree murder, punishable with up to 40 years in prison in the state of Minnesota.

The trial, which is taking place in the state capital Minneapolis, is to begin with the selection of the jury. The main hearing is to start on March 29.

The death of Floyd, an unarmed black man, last year triggered mass protests against police violence and racism in the US. Many people demonstrated in other countries as well.

The 46-year-old Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after being arrested under suspicion of paying with a fake 20-dollar bill.

Police officers pushed him to the ground on the street and Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for eight minutes while Floyd begged to be able to breathe, according to footage of the arrest.

Floyd lost consciousness and instantly died, according to the autopsy.

Expelled from the police

Chauvin, a white officer who was expelled from the police force and later released on bail, also faces second-degree manslaughter charges, punishable with an additional 10 years in prison.

The prosecution also wants to charge him with third-degree murder - punishable with another 25 years - but this still has to be approved by the judge.

Three other former police officers involved in the operation are facing charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

A separate trial has been set for them, to start on August 23.