The murder case against former Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd went to the jury Monday in a city on edge against another round of unrest. The jury of six white members and six Black or multiracial ones was sent off to begin deliberating after nearly a full day of closing arguments in which prosecutors argued that the former Minneapolis police officer squeezed the life out Floyd last May in a way that even a child knew was wrong, the AP reports. The defense contended that the now-fired white officer acted reasonably and that the 46-year-old Black man died of an underlying heart condition and illegal drug use. The seven women and five men on the jury will be sequestered until they have reached a verdict, reports the Star Tribune.
After closing arguments were done, Judge Peter Cahill rejected a defense request for a mistrial based in part on comments California Rep. Maxine Waters that protesters could get more confrontational if there is no guilty verdict. The judge told Chauvin's attorney: "Congresswoman Waters may have given you something on appeal that may result in this whole trial being overturned." He added: "I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in a manner that is disrespectful to the rule of law and to the judicial branch." Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. All three charges require the jury to conclude that Chauvin’s actions were a "substantial causal factor" in Floyd’s death and that his use of force was unreasonable. (Chauvin removed his mask as his attorney spoke.)