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George Floyd - Derek Chauvin's trial begins in Minneapolis, the victim's family demands justice

 George Floyd - Derek Chauvin's trial begins in Minneapolis, the victim's family demands justice

George Floyd - Derek Chauvin's trial begins in Minneapolis, the victim's family demands justice

The trial of Derek Chauffen, the white American policeman accused of killing George Floyd in May last year, opened in Minneapolis, USA.

Some pedestrians in Minneapolis recorded videos of Chauvin kneeling on the neck of Floyd, the black American, for more than nine minutes.

The incident sparked protests in the United States and around the world against police brutality and racism.

Chauvin, 45, is one of four officers to appear in court in the case. He faces the most serious charges among them, including the second-degree murder charge, which carries a sentence of up to 40 years in prison. Chauvin, who has been expelled from the police, says he is not guilty.

Conversely, the issuance of a conviction would be interpreted as a sign of a change of mindset in the United States, where the very small number of police brought before the courts have generally benefited from the jury's compassion.

Thirty years ago, four Los Angeles police officers were tried for beating African American Rodney King and they were free from trial despite a video recording of their violent treatment of him, which sparked bloody riots.

George Floyd's suffering was also videotaped and posted online. Scenes spread across the world, causing crowds to take to the streets in cities such as New York, Seattle, Paris and Sydney. The video clip is expected to take up a large part of Derek Chauvin's trial.

The comparison ends there, says lawyer Larry Fogelman, who closely followed the 1991 trial. "Fortunately, we are at a different stage in American history," he told AFP, noting that people are now more aware of the issue of police violence.

In another sign of change, the city of Minneapolis agreed to pay $ 27 million in compensation to George Floyd's family to end their civil complaint.


Derek Chauvin's lawyer strongly criticized the March 12 announcement of the agreement, which in his opinion would affect the jury.

In court, attorney Eric Nelson will plead that his client is not guilty. He will confirm that the policeman merely followed the established procedures to apprehend a suspect who resisted and that he was not responsible for the death of George Floyd.

The attorney will confirm that Floyd, in his forties, died from an overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid found at autopsy, and from health problems.

For their part, prosecutors will attempt to prove that Derek Chauvin showed contempt for the life of the African American by keeping pressure on his neck even though Floyd repeated twenty times "I can't breathe" and that then he lost consciousness and his pulse stopped.

Due to the spread of the epidemic, the trial is taking place without an audience but the sessions will be broadcast live and many Americans will follow them closely.

Also due to Covid-19, the three policemen involved in the tragedy, Alexander Koenig, Thomas Lane and Tu Thao, will also be tried in August for "complicity in murder."

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