A central demand for Derek Chauvin’s defense: the spectators who witnessed the arrest influenced his actions.


Since the first day of Derek Chauvin’s trial, this has been one of the central arguments of his defense: that the witnesses who witnessed the arrest of George Floyd last May in Minneapolis also influenced Mr. Chauvin’s actions. .

On Wednesday, Eric J. Nelson, an attorney for Mr. Chauvin, again walked back to the crowd of people who had gathered in front of Cup Foods and watched Mr. Chauvin kneel on Mr. Floyd, their voices rising and their cell phones record. Mr Nelson repeated insults that had been heard on videos from that day and implied that onlookers were an aggressive and unpredictable group.

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When asked if the crowd was getting “more excited,” a use of force expert for the prosecution, Sgt. Jody Stiger of the Los Angeles Police Department responded, “They got more worried.”

Police policies typically dictate how officers should react when heckled by spectators or filmed with smartphones, an increasingly common occurrence, said Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, an organization at nonprofit in Washington.

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Three other officers were present when Mr Floyd was arrested and, in an ideal situation, Mr Wexler said, Mr Chauvin would not have directly supervised the crowd.

“There is a division of labor there,” Wexler said. “You hope there would be enough officers for some to handle the crowd. But Officer Chauvin should focus on Mr. Floyd and his welfare, and the other officers should focus on the crowd.

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