HOUSTON - George Floyd’s family, Houstonians, and people around the world watched closing arguments in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Many who saw the prosecution and defense argue their case before the jury say they kept waiting for the defense attorney to make them believe something other than what the video shows and they say it never happened.
"The defense had to persuade the jury they shouldn’t believe their eyes and they shouldn’t believe their ears," explains University of Houston Law Professor Meredith Duncan. In fact, that’s exactly what the prosecutor says repeatedly in his closing argument for jurors to believe what they see in the video.
"You saw it," Prosecutor Steve Schleicher told jurors.
"The prosecution has done an outstanding job of detailing and describing the reasons why we believe Chauvin is guilty of murder," explains George Floyd’s Cousin Tera Brown.
Floyd’s family clearly sees a crime in the video as Derek Chauvin presses his knee into Floyd’s neck.
What do you see? "I see murder," answers Houston Student Alexis Cheatum who was so disturbed after Floyd’s death she organized a march and hundreds of people participated. Cheatum is hoping the jury will see what she does. "This is not policing. This is not what it is. Police are taught to deescalate situations. This was murder."
"I haven’t been convinced of any reasonable doubt, but it’s hard to tell what the minds of the jurors will be. We’re just hoping they can be fair and impartial and look at the evidence for what it is and make the right decision," adds Brown.
"The prosecution did a masterful job," says Professor Duncan, particularly here. "The prosecution has to establish the defendant exhibited extreme indifference to the value of human life. So I thought the prosecution, by pointing to the fact that Chauvin was picking out rocks from a tire, while the man was saying ‘I can’t breathe’, it really bolstered the prosecution’s claim that what we were witnessing was Chauvin’s indifference to the value of human life."
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"If you have an ounce of humanity in your body, in your soul, then you know what happened to him is not right," says Brown.
So what will jurors decide?
"To think, there could be a difference of opinion of what we’re seeing because my common sense tells me what we saw was an unjustified homicide," adds Professor Duncan, who says this is a chance for the justice system to "get it right" after a long history of injustice for minorities killed by officers.
The case is now in the hands of the jury, which began deliberating around 4 p.m.