Chauvin Takes Mask Off as His Lawyer Speaks

Jury is expected to begin deliberations Monday
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2021 1:32 PM CDT
In Court Monday, a Rare Look at Chauvin's Face
In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin listens as his defense attorney Eric Nelson gives closing arguments Monday.   (Court TV via AP, Pool)

It's the biggest day yet in the Derek Chauvin trial, with both sides presenting closing arguments. They are expected to wrap up in time to allow the jury to begin deliberations on Monday. The AP, meanwhile, notes that the former Minneapolis officer accused of murdering George Floyd took his face mask off in court Monday while his attorney was speaking. Chauvin has spent most of the trial with his mask on, as required. In an analysis, Stephen Groves writes that Chauvin has displayed little obvious emotion throughout the trial, "but it was difficult to see if he was affected because the bottom half of his face was obscured by his mask." A witness described him as "cold" and "heartless" while he was kneeling on Floyd's neck, and prosecutors repeatedly presented an image of Chauvin the witness captured in video she took of the scene. He had an "impassive expression" in the image, writes Groves, and the mask may have hindered the defense's ability to show any other kind of emotion.

"I wonder if watching these videos causes him some pain and agony? I don’t know," Joseph Daly, emeritus professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota, tells the AP. Some snippets from Monday's closing arguments:

  • Prosecution: "This case is exactly what you thought when you saw it first," said prosecutor Steve Schleicher, per the Washington Post. "It’s exactly what you saw with your eyes. … This wasn’t policing. This was murder."
  • Defense: "Throughout the course of this trial, the state has focused your attention on 9 minutes and 29 seconds," said defense attorney Eric Nelson. "The proper analysis is to take those 9 minutes and 29 seconds and put it into the context of the totality of the circumstances that a reasonable police officer would know."
  • Prosecution: "The truth of the matter is that the reason George Floyd is dead is because Mr. Chauvin’s heart was too small," prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said, per the AP, rejecting the defense argument that an enlarged heart may have contributed to Floyd's death.
  • Defense: "A reasonable police officer understands the intensity of the struggle," Nelson said, per the Star Tribune. "Mr. Floyd was able to overcome the efforts of three police officers while handcuffed with his legs and his body strength."
  • Prosecution: Blackwell said the questions about use of force and the cause of Floyd's death were "so simple that a child can understand it." "In fact, a child did understand it, when the 9-year-old girl said, "Get off of him,'" he said. "That’s how simple it was. 'Get off of him.'"
(Read more Derek Chauvin stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.