Minneapolis | The jury met on Tuesday for a second day of deliberation in the trial of Derek Chauvin, a white police officer accused of the murder of African-American George Floyd, amid a climate of tension in Minneapolis where security measures have been tightened .
• Read also: Joe Biden spoke to George Floyd’s family
• Read also: Make way for the jury’s deliberations at the trial of Derek Chauvin
The 12 jurors, who debate behind closed doors, without being able to communicate with the outside, must decide whether the 45-year-old police officer is guilty of murder, manslaughter and willful violence leading to the death of George Floyd, which he had arrested with three other officers for a minor offense.
Selected after a long selection process, the jurors represent the diversity of the city’s population: seven women and five men, six whites and six people of color; the youngest is in his twenties and the oldest in his sixties.
“You must be absolutely impartial,” Judge Peter Cahill told them Monday after a long day devoted to requisitions and pleading.
The outcome of this extraordinary trial, scrutinized around the world, raises the concern of the authorities who fear violence if the police officer is acquitted.
National Guard soldiers were thus deployed in the city.
In camouflage uniform, machine gun slung, these soldiers have been patrolling the streets of the city for several weeks, the scene of daily demonstrations since the recent death of a young black man on the outskirts of Minneapolis.
Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old African-American, was killed by a white police officer during an ordinary traffic stop on the outskirts of this large city in the north of the United States.
Minneapolis had already set alight after the death of George Floyd, and businesses were once again barricaded behind wooden planks.
“We must ensure that peace and stability are respected, but it is also important that the anger of the street, whatever happens, is transformed in a positive way,” said the governor of the state on Monday evening. , Tim Walz.
More than 400 people marched in Minneapolis on Monday to demand the conviction of Derek Chauvin, chanting “the world is watching, we are watching, do what is right”.
In the federal capital Washington, authorities have also put law enforcement on alert in anticipation of protests that could follow the verdict.
White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Twitter Tuesday that President Joe Biden had spoken by phone the day before with those close to George Floyd, “to check in” and tell them he was praying for them. .
Then Democratic presidential candidate, Mr. Biden had already met the Floyd family in June 2020 in Houston, before the funeral of the 40-year-old in the metropolis of Texas where he had grown up.
“He knows what it’s like to lose a family member and he knows what we’re going through,” a brother of George Floyd, Philonise, confirmed Tuesday morning on NBC. President Biden lost his first wife and daughter in a car crash, followed by son Beau to cancer.
The agony of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, filmed live by passers-by, shocked the world and sparked historic protests against racism and police violence.
“This case is exactly what you originally thought when watching this video,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said in his indictment on Monday.
“It was murder, the accused is guilty of all three counts and there is no excuse,” he said.
The prosecution, which called several witnesses from the police, stressed that this trial was not that of the institution, but of an individual who “betrayed” his police oath.
Derek Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, on the contrary called on the jurors to take into account the context of an arrest which, according to him, degenerates with a suspect of an imposing size who resists four police officers wanting to control him.
Derek Chauvin acted “reasonably” given the circumstances, argued the lawyer, saying that police officers were “human beings” who “can make mistakes in very stressful situations.”