State Watch

Prosecutor ends rebuttal argument in Chauvin trial by saying Floyd 'is dead because Mr. Chauvin's heart was too small'

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell ended his rebuttal argument following closing arguments in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin on Monday by saying that George Floyd died because the former officer's "heart was too small."

"You are told, for example, that Mr. Floyd died, that Mr. Floyd died because his heart was too big. You heard that testimony," Blackwell said as he prepared to rest his rebuttal during the trial on Monday afternoon.

"And now having seen all the evidence and having heard on the evidence, you know the truth, and the truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin's heart was too small," the prosecuting attorney said.

The closing remarks by Blackwell come as the defense has sought to make the case since the start of the trial, which entered its fifteenth day on Monday, that Floyd's drug use and underlying health problems, including having a slightly enlarged heart, played a role in his death last year.

The defense has also focused on the events leading up to Floyd's arrest, with Nelson noting on Monday the "active resistance" he said Chauvin saw occurring when he got to the scene, as well as the potential distraction it says the crowd of bystanders that gathered near the officers during the arrest could have had on Chauvin when he was restraining Floyd. 

The defense has pointed to these factors to argue that Chauvin behaved as any reasonable officer would have when applying use of force during the arrest.

By contrast, the prosecution has argued that the use of force Chauvin applied when he was recorded using his knee to pin Floyd to the ground for more than eight minutes was a substantial causal factor in Floyd's death.

The prosecution has pointed to testimony from medical experts and law enforcement professionals to bolster its arguments that Chauvin's restraint tactics at the time of the arrest were unjustified and caused Floyd to suffer from a lack of oxygen that resulted in his death.

Monday capped two roughly three weeks of witness testimony brought before the jurors by the prosecution and the defense. 

The trial has now been handed over to the jury for deliberation as the nation braces for a long-awaited verdict in the high profile case.

Judge Peter Cahill, who presided over the trial, ordered jurors not to allow their "bias, prejudice, passion sympathy, or public opinion influence" their decision before they left on Monday afternoon.

"You must not consider any consequences or penalties that might follow from your verdict. You must not be biased in favor of or against any party or witness because of his or her disability, gender race religion ethnicity, sexual orientation, age national or social economic status. Your verdict must be based solely on the evidence presented. And the law that I give you," Cahill stated.

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