EXPLAINER: Pandemic shapes ex-officer's trial in Floyd death

Defense attorney Eric Nelson left and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over pre-trial motions prior to opening statements

Mr Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, said he was hopeful that Derek Chauvin would be convicted of second-degree murder when the jury was showed the video of his brother's last moments.

Shortly after the opening, jurors were shown the full video of the arrest of Mr Floyd which was shared around the world and sparked months of protests against racial injustice and police brutality.

In his opening statement, Nelson implied that bystanders, who were pleading for Chauvin to remove his knee from Floyd's neck as Floyd himself said he couldn't breathe, were at least in part to blame for Floyd's death. "You want to frame the argument - and nothing frames the argument in this case as much as that video", said Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor and managing director of Berkeley Research Group in Chicago.

"You will learn that on May 25, Mr Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of George Floyd", said Mr Blackwell, who addressed the jury for nearly an hour.

"I really think he should be found with at least second degree murder ... it clearly showed that he killed my brother".

Outside the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, Mr Floyd's family said the trial would have broader implications for America.

The trial is expected to last for about four weeks.

Terrence Floyd: "We're asking the system for the justice".

What is the George Floyd case?

The police were initially called to the area after Mr Floyd attempted to use a fake $20 bill at a shop called Cup Foods.

The key questions at trial will be whether Chauvin caused Floyd's death and whether his actions were reasonable.

Protesters march through downtown Minneapolis a day before jury selection is scheduled to begin for the trial of Derek Chauvin the former Minneapolis policeman accused of killing George Floyd in Minneapolis Minnesota

Fourteen people in the jury box are hearing the case - eight of them white, six of them Black or multiracial, according to the court. But jurors seated for the trial said during jury selection that they had not seen the video in its entirety.

The prosecution played the surveillance video for the first time in court.

But defense attorney Eric Nelson countered in his opening argument, "Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do in his 19-year career" to restrain Floyd after he had resisted arrest.

Mr Floyd was resisting arrest, and Chauvin arrived to assist other officers who were struggling to get him into a squad auto as the crowd around them grew larger and more hostile, Mr Nelson said.

The courthouse in central Minneapolis has been fortified with concrete barriers, fencing, and barbed and razor wire. City and state leaders are determined to prevent a repeat of the damaging riots that followed Floyd's death, and National Guard troops have already been mobilized.

For the second-degree unintentional-murder charge, prosecutors have to prove that Chauvin's conduct was a "substantial causal factor" in Floyd's death and that Chauvin was committing felony assault at the time.

A prosecutor and defense attorney offered sharply different views Monday on how a Black man, George Floyd, died in police custody previous year in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in an incident that triggered protests around the world against police abuse of minorities. If convicted, Chauvin could face years in prison. Manslaughter has a maximum 10-year sentence.

The defence lawyer also disputed that Chauvin was to blame for the death.

Another case is the killing of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician in Louisville, Kentucky, who was shot dead by local police officers in her home in March 2020 during what the police claim was a mistaken drug raid.

"At the end of this case, we're going to spend a lot of time talking about doubt", Nelson told the jury. Blackwell said Chauvin dug his knee into Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, long enough to cause Floyd's death as a result of oxygen deficiency.

Ms Scurry said she grew distressed as she watched a live video feed showing Mr Chauvin continuing to pin Mr Floyd to the ground, saying "my instincts were telling me that something's wrong".

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