Defense Says Prosecution Failed To Prove Officer Chauvin's Guilt Beyond Reasonable Doubt

WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 20th April, 2021) The defense for former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin said on Monday that the prosecution failed to meet the "beyond a reasonable doubt" criteria in its effort to prove the his guilt in the death of George Floyd in police custody.

Both sides are presenting their final arguments before the jury passes a verdict over last year's incident that sparked a nationwide wave of protests against a racially motivated police brutality.

"I submit to you that the state has failed to meet its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt," lawyer Eric Nelson said.

Nelson challenged both arguments put forth by the prosecution that Floyd died of oxygen deprivation and that Chauvin used unreasonable level of force in violation of police instructions.

Nelson argued that asphyxia as a cause of death may be incompatible with a 98 percent oxygen saturation level found in Floyd's blood samples. He reiterated that the ability to talk suggests the ability to breathe.

The defense sought to prove that Floyd could have died of a fatal cardiac event caused by preexisting health conditions together with a drug overdose.

Referring to his client as "a reasonable police officer," Nelson urged the jury to review the incident in its entirety, not just 9 minutes and 29 seconds the prosecution chose to focus on.

"Officers are entitled to take into consideration what you and I don't think about... Human behavior can be unpredictable. Noone knows it better than a police officer," Nelson said.

The defense attorney noted that Chauvin was initially canceled from the call, but later summoned for a back up as three of his rookie colleagues struggled to overcome Floyd's "active resistance" and place him in a patrol car. Nelson cited regulations that allow officers to keep suspects contained, confined and controlled until they are no longer resistant. He also mentioned the upset bypassers' crowd who changed Chauvin perception of what was happening and may have prevented a timely emergency assistance to Floyd.

"Compare the evidence against itself. Test it, challenge it, compare it to the law, read the instructions in their entirety. Start from the point of a presumption of innocence and see how far the state can get," Nelson told the jury.

The prosecution sought to prove that the physical force applied by Chauvin on Floyd's back and neck during the arrest on May 25, 2020 caused the African American's death and violated police guidelines. Chauvin faces three charges - second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter entailing a maximum punishment of 40, 25 and 10 years in prison respectively.