The prosecution case against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is drawing to a close with tender memories from George Floyd’s younger brother. The trial has also heard testimony from a police use-of-force expert who said no “reasonable” officer would have done what Mr. Chauvin did.
Associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law Seth Stoughton judged Mr. Chauvin’s actions and repeatedly found he did not meet that test.
“No reasonable officer would have believed that that was an appropriate, acceptable, or reasonable use of force,” Mr. Stoughton said of the way Mr. Floyd was held facedown with a knee across his neck for up to 9 minutes 29 seconds. He said, too, that the failure to take Mr. Floyd out of the prone position and render aid “as his increasing medical distress became obvious” was unreasonable.
He also said it was unreasonable to think Mr. Floyd might harm officers or escape after he had been handcuffed to the ground.
And in yet another blow to the officer’s defense, Mr. Stoughton said a reasonable officer would not have viewed the bystanders as a threat while they were restraining Floyd.
Earlier in the day, Philonise Floyd, 39, took the witness stand and lovingly recalled how his older brother made the best banana mayonnaise sandwiches, drilled him in catching a football, and marked his own height on the wall a boy because he wanted to grow taller.
He shed tears as he was shown a picture of his late mother and a young George, saying, “I miss both of them.”
His testimony at Mr. Chauvin’s murder trial was part of an effort by prosecutors to humanize George Floyd in front of the jury and make the 46-year-old black man more than a crime statistic.
Minnesota is a rarity in allowing “spark of life” testimony during the trial stage.
Philonise Floyd described growing up in a poor area of Houston with George and their other siblings.
“He used to make the best banana mayonnaise sandwiches. And he used to make the best syrup sandwiches because George couldn’t cook, he couldn’t boil water,” he said.
He said Mr. Floyd also played football and deliberately threw the ball at different angles, so Philonise would have to practice diving for it.
Earlier Monday, the judge refused a defense request to immediately sequester the jury the morning after killing a black man during a traffic stop triggered unrest in a suburb outside Minneapolis.
Mr. Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson argued the jurors could be influenced by the prospect of what might happen due to their verdict.
But Judge Peter Cahill said he will not sequester the jury until following Monday when he anticipates closing arguments will begin.
He also denied a request to question jurors about what they might have seen about Sunday’s police shooting of 20-year-old Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center.
In the wake of the shooting, hundreds of protesters broke into about 20 businesses, jumped on police cars, and hurled rocks and other objects about 16km from the heavily fortified Minneapolis courthouse.
The judge previously told the jury to avoid news during the trial.
The ruling came as the trial entered its third week, with the prosecution close to wrapping up its case and giving way to the start of the defense.
Derek Chauvin, 45, who is white, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Mr. Floyd’s 25 May death.
Police were called to a neighborhood market where Floyd was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit bill.
The defense has not said whether Mr. Chauvin will testify.