As the prosecution moved toward resting its case in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, there was continued unrest several miles away where protesters were outraged by the police shooting death of 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday, April 11. Given the proximity and the causes of Wright and Floyd’s death, the defense attorney for Chauvin asked that jurors be sequestered. That motion was denied.
What was undeniable were the hundreds who took to the streets in defiance of a curfew, and clashed with the police. According to reports, some 40 people were arrested. It was the second night of rioting with tear gas, flash bangs, and looting raging in this community outside of Minneapolis.
President Biden called for peace and calm, adding that “I haven’t called Daunte Wright’s family,” he said on Monday, “but my prayers are with the family. It’s really a tragic thing that happened. The question is was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation.” And that process has begun according to Brooklyn Center’s Mayor Mike Elliott.
Meanwhile, the Chauvin trial continued Tuesday morning and the defense began calling its witnesses. The conclusion of the prosecution’s case included riveting testimony from Floyd’s brother Philonise, and it provided the jurors a living portrait of the man, his passions, and especially his adoration and love for his mother. “He would often curl up next to her in a fetal position,” Philonise recounted.
Crucial to the prosecution’s close was the appearance of cardiologist Jonathan Rich who confirmed that asphyxia was the cause of Floyd’s death and not drugs. “Every indicator is that Mr. Floyd had actually an exceptionally strong heart,” said Rich, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
The first two witnesses for the defense, led by attorney Eric Nelson, were Shawanda Hill, Floyd’s ex-girlfriend and Peter Chang, a Minneapolis park police officer. Other than showing the conditions and pedestrians at the scene and several clips of the police’s arrival, the testimony from them did little to shore up the defense or to contradict the state’s case.
Even so, it was 11 days and 38 witnesses, and a veritable binge of film footage, some of it incontestably incriminating Chauvin.