George Floyd: Derek Chauvin will not testify at murder trial

Video report by ITV News US Correspondent Emma Murphy

Former police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd, will not testify at his murder trial.

Chauvin told the court in Hennepin County Courthouse, Minneapolis, that he would not take the stand, saying he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer questions or make statements for criminal proceedings.

“Is this your decision not to testify?” Judge Peter Cahill asked.

“It is, your honour,” Chauvin said.

If he had testified, it would have been the first time he publicly told his side of the story.

Hence, the defence wrapped up its case on Thursday after two days of testimony, compared to the prosecution's two weeks of testimony.

Murder-accused Chauvin confirms he will not take the stand

Closing arguments are scheduled for Monday. The jury will then begin to deliberate on the verdict.

While testifying could have opened Chauvin up to cross-examination about why he kept pressing down on the 46-year-old black man, it could have also given the jury the chance to see or hear what he felt at the time of Mr Floyd's arrest and whether he felt any remorse.

In body-camera footage from the scene last May, Chauvin can be told telling a bystander after an ambulance took Mr Floyd away: "We gotta control this guy ’cause he’s a sizable guy ... and it looks like he’s probably on something.”

On Wednesday, a forensic pathologist testifying for the defence said Mr Floyd died of a sudden heart rhythm disturbance due to his heart disease. This goes against experts brought in by the prosecution that Mr Floyd died due to a lack of oxygen when he was pinned down.

George Floyd was murdered in 2020.

Dr David Fowler, a former Maryland chief medical examiner who now works for a consulting firm, claimed Mr Floyd's death was related to the fentanyl and methamphetamine found in his system, in addition to possible carbon monoxide poisoning from a car exhaust and his pre-existing heart issue.

He said he would class the death as "undetermined" rather than "homicide", as was officially ruled.

Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson is arguing that the former police officer, who served in the force for 19 years, did what he was trained to do and Mr Floyd died because of his illegal drug use and underlying health problems.

Meanwhile, prosecutors are arguing that Mr Floyd died because the police officer's knee was pressed on his neck for nine and a half minutes as he was pinned onto the pavement with his hands cuffed behind him.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter of Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man.

The jury heard earlier in the trial that Mr Floyd was arrested after a report that he passed a fake $20 note to a shop worker at a Minneapolis store called Cup Foods.

Jurors also saw video of Mr Floyd saying he couldn't breathe as bystanders yelled at the police to get off him.