US jury watches George Floyd say “I can’t breathe” 27 times as trial begins – BBC News

in the united states the trial has got underway of a white former police officer accused of killing a black man george floyd the prosecutor focused on mr floyd's final minutes replaying video footage which showed him gasping for breath as the officer derek chauvin knelt on his neck the defense argued that mr floyd's health conditions and drug use had contributed to his death our north america correspondent ali mcbull is outside the court for us now alim yes and we've already heard from witnesses but as you say more importantly perhaps we've got a real sense of how the legal teams are going to what they're going to focus on in the coming weeks and from the floyd families lawyers we got a sense that they were trying to say they're not anti-police as such and they're persuading jurors just to look at the actions of this one police officer derek chauvin's lawyers are going to try to persuade the jury that george floyd would have died anyway perhaps even without that brutal interaction with the police this marks the start of what will be an emotional and fraught few weeks for the family of george floyd but the reminders have of course never gone away of the way he died we need justice and i think throughout this whole trial that's one word that you'll hear me and my family say a lot justice somebody needs to be held accountable do you swear or affirm the outrage the case sparked became an examination of systemic racism in the us but prosecution lawyers started by bringing back the focus to the man seen here on the right this case is about mr derek shavin and not about any of those men and women and it's not about all policing at all this is when i started watching again they showed jurors new cctv footage of the lead-up to george floyd's death as well as the full infamous video that caused such distress the most important numbers you were hearing this trial are nine two nine what happened in those nine minutes and 29 seconds when mr derek shavin was applying this excessive force to the body of mr george floyd in his opening statement the lawyer for the former police officer defended his tactics derek shoven did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career the use of force is not attractive but it is a necessary component of policing but primarily they're also questioning one fundamental aspect of the death of george floyd as i heard from a lawyer for the city's police union the defense's main arguments are going to focus around whether or not chauvin actually caused his death that is an argument that he would have died anyway right right yeah and i think well that for a lot of people who saw the video will sound ludicrous um well the video isn't the whole story it's a piece of the story and that is what the jury will have to decide these protests outside the courthouse are a reminder of the strength of feeling there was last summer not just here but all over the world but what this case one of the most important in recent u.s history will come down to of course is the opinion of 12 jurors eliminable bbc news in minneapolis well our north america editor john sopel is in black lives plaza in washington and john this is going to be a critical moment for race relations in the united states yes sophie the court papers say it is state versus chauvin but the significance of what is unfolding in minneapolis goes far wider than that the saying goes that justice is blind but in america is it colorblind if you're black you're more likely to be pulled over by the police you're more likely to be subject to excessive force you're more likely to be charged you're more likely to go to prison conversely if you're white and a policeman and you do something wrong well then the scales of justice tip in the opposite direction and so what is happening in america today in minneapolis is in a sense the trial of the american justice system itself and if derek chauvin walks free there's going to be a very powerful sense that actually black lives don't matter and at a time when america is bitterly divided that could be an explosive moment john sopel thank you

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