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Chauvin trial: Prosecutors seek to add expert on human response to traumatic events

George Floyd Officer Trial
Posted at 11:37 AM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 18:18:03-04

MINNEAPOLIS — Prosecutors in the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd want the judge to allow expert testimony from a forensic psychiatrist on how people react to traumatic events. The judge said he will rule on this, and other motions, on Friday.

The prosecution says the expert should be able to testify that Floyd's actions on May 25, 2020, when he was seen on video struggling with officers, was consistent with a reasonable person's panic or anxiety during a traumatic event like an arrest, and those actions are not necessarily resisting arrest.

The defense argued that if the expert witness is allowed to testify, he should be able to bring in details of Floyd's 2019 arrest, when a report shows he did not resist being put into a squad car.

Chauvin is facing second-and-third-degree murder and manslaughter charges in connection with Floyd's death in May 2020. In widely-shared video from a bystander, Chauvin, then a police officer, is seen with his knee on Floyd's neck and back for several minutes.

Judge Peter Cahill said he would rule on whether to allow the expert to testify on Friday. That sets up a series of decisions in this case expected at the end of the week, including the defense's motions for a continuance, change of venue, and allowing details of Floyd's 2019 arrest into trial.

Twelve jurors have been seated so far, with three of them chosen on Thursday alone.

Two jurors selected last week were dismissed by Cahill Wednesday when they were re-questioned in court. The defense had requested the re-questioning to see if any of the already-selected jurors had their view of the case impacted by the announcement of a $27 million settlement between the city and the Floyd family.

A total of 14 jurors are needed, so there can be 2 alternates. Opening statements are scheduled to begin on March 29.

Potential jurors are being asked what they know about the May 25, 2020 incident, if they’ve seen video showing Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, and if they are aware of last week’s settlement between the City of Minneapolis and Floyd's family.

How can I watch:

Court TV will be the only network with cameras in the courtroom and will provide live, gavel-to-gavel coverage.The entire trial will be on live TV as well as available online at CourtTV.com, and the Court TV app for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android and Apple devices.

In addition to in-depth reporting and expert analysis from veteran legal journalists - most of whom are lawyers - Court TV’s extensive coverage will include new virtual recreations, and insights and discussions from attorneys, investigators and forensic experts.

How can I follow updates:

Court TV will be updating their website, CourtTV.com, as well as their social media platforms and Court TV app for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, and Android and Apple devices.

We will also post the latest developments on the trial on our website and social media platforms.