Derek Chauvin Trial MurderofGeorgeFoyd

March 30, 2021
Derek Chauvin Trial MurderofGeorgeFoyd

The Case In Court

Less than a year since the death of George Floyd, the trial begins for a former Minneapolis officer charged with his murder.

What To Know

May 25, 2020

  • A Minneapolis convenience store worker calls police, accusing George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, of using a counterfeit $20.
  • Police respond & arrest Floyd. Police say Floyd “physically resisted officers.”
  • Bystander video shows Floyd on the ground, face down & handcuffed, with officer Derek Chauvin holding his knee on Floyd’s neck.
“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man.”

George Floyd. "8 minutes and 46 seconds" became a rallying cry for protestors, referencing the time Chauvin held his knee on George Floyd's neck. Notably, court documents have listed a range of times from 7 minutes 46 secs to *more* than 9 minutes for this interaction. The timing will be relevant to both sides. Video appears to show Floyd fall unconscious. Shortly afterwards, he is loaded into an ambulance and later declared dead at a local hospital.


Much of what we know about the events of May 25, 2020 comes from police and bystander videos.

However, NONE of the videos released from various perspectives show the entire length of the encounter.

We expect to learn a lot more about the details of the incident during the course of the upcoming trials.


  • Medical examiner ruled Floyd’s death a homicide due to “cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).” Report lists “significant conditions” as hypertension and recent drug use but does *not* list these conditions as cause of death.
  • An autopsy ordered by Floyd’s family found his death was “homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain.”


  • Following Floyd’s death, Chauvin & three officers present at the scene were fired. All four were criminally charged.
  • Chauvin is charged with 2nd-degree murder and 2nd-degree manslaughter.
  • The three other officers are charged with aiding and abetting those crimes.
  • Last week, an appeals court ordered the judge to consider reinstating a 3rd-degree murder charge against Chauvin; this is leading to some trial delays.


  • This chapter of the story will contrast the court of public of opinion vs. the legal requirements in the court of law.
  • Both sides will likely focus on whether Chauvin acted reasonably, used excessive force, and the exact cause and timing of Floyd’s death.
  • Beyond The Trial: Case described as a “defining moment in the history of a nation that is grappling with a racial reckoning.(Washington Post)

The trial will begin with jury selection, which is expected to go on for about three weeks. Next, the prosecution is slated to begin their arguments; the defense will respond by presenting their own arguments. The joint trial for the three other former MN officers charged is scheduled for this summer.

SmartHER Timeline:


George Floyd: What you need to know as Derek Chauvin trial starts Monday

by Jenna Lee,