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Prosecutor says case against Chauvin proved 'beyond reasonable doubt'

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said during closing arguments in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin on Monday that the state’s case against the former Minneapolis officer has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, arguing his use of force during the arrest of George Floyd amounted to “felony level of assault.”

“Proof beyond reasonable doubt, it is a high standard. The highest standard. A standard that the state has met here,” the prosecutor said Monday morning.

Since the outset of the weeks-long trial, the prosecution has sought to make the case that Chauvin — who faces charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the case — caused the death of Floyd through his use of force during a May 25 arrest last year.

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To bolster its case, the prosecution has heavily relied on video footage that showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd during the arrest for more than nine minutes as well as witness testimony from medical experts and law enforcement professionals to prove its arguments that the officer’s use of force was unjustifiable and caused Floyd to suffer from a lack of oxygen that resulted in his death.

At the same time, the defense has worked throughout the trial to focus on Floyd’s drug use and underlying health conditions as factors that contributed to his death, while arguing that Chauvin’s restraint tactics during the arrest were appropriate.

As the prosecution continued to address the jury early Monday, Schleicher said that “the state does not need to prove its case beyond all doubt” and that “it does not need to prove its case beyond what I will call an unreasonable doubt.” 

“Unreasonable doubt is a doubt not based on common sense, but based on nonsense,” Schleicher said. “You are not required to accept nonsense.” 

“You're not required to accept the notion that after the defendant kneeling on Mr. Floyd for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, in the dangerous prone position, handcuffed, restrained, pressing down on him, that after that, as he was writhing in pain and suffering, that that is not even a use of force,” Schleicher said.

“What the defendant did here was a straight-up felony assault, this was not policing. It was unnecessary, it was gratuitous, it was disproportionate. And he did it on purpose. No question. This was not an accident,” the prosecutor stated.