Chauvin Jury Won’t Hear Previous Use of Force Complaints

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In a court decision that could affect their verdict, the jury considering murder and manslaughter charges against Derek Chauvin won’t hear about 17 complaints filed with Minneapolis police about the ex-officer. In six of these incidents, prosecutors say Chauvin used force against the arrestees, reports USA Today. Prosecutors wanted to introduce eight incidents involving Chauvin. Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill allowed two of them. In addition, the defense wanted to bring up two arrests of Floyd, including one in Harris County, Texas, in 2007 that resulted in a conviction for aggravated robbery. Cahill allowed only a portion of Floyd’s drug-related arrest in 2019 in Minneapolis. In making such rulings on what evidence can be introduced in a trial, the court wants to ensure the jury doesn’t punish a defendant for prior “bad acts,” as they’re called. Jurors must evaluate whether Chauvin is guilty of what he is charged with: third- and second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that on the fourth day of testimony the prosecution presented a fuller picture of George Floyd through the testimony of Courteney Ross, his former girlfriend of three years, who described how he was a caring partner and devoted father while also shedding light on their shared opioid addiction. In calling Ross to the stand, prosecutors both sought to humanize Floyd and seize the narrative around his struggle with drugs. By showing he had a high tolerance for opioids, prosecutors hope to cushion the blow of what is expected to be Chauvin’s primary defense — that Floyd died from a drug overdose, not from Chauvin’s knee pressing into his neck for more than nine minutes.

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