The Minneapolis judge presiding over the trial of Derek Chauvin — the man charged in connection with the death of George Floyd — said Friday that only certain pieces of evidence from Floyd's 2019 arrest will be admissible in trial arguments.
Court is currently in recess until Monday morning when jury selection will continue. Thirteen jurors have been selected in the last two weeks, they are trying to get 15 to allow a few alternates. Opening arguments are scheduled to begin March 29.
Judge Peter Cahill has said that the only evidence from Floyd's arrest in 2019 is "for the limited purpose as an example of Mr. Floyd’s bodily reactions and physical symptoms of being presented with nearly the same situation" as the arrest that proceeded his death in May 2020.
Cahill added that any evidence from the 2019 arrest that speaks to the "state of mind and interpreting emotions of Mr. Floyd….is not admissible."
Cahill's ruling comes following the state's request to allow expert testimony from a forensic psychiatrist on how people react to traumatic events. Cahill said that expert can still testify, as long as questions are limited to Floyd's bodily reactions and not his state or mind.
Defendants will also not be able to present evidence from the 2019 arrest that would speak to his behavior during the traffic stop.
Cahill also denied the defense's request for a continuance and a change of venue, adding that "pre-trial publicity will only continue" if the trial was delayed, and that he doesn't think "there's any part of the state of Minnesota that hasn't been exposed" to the high-profile case.
Potential jurors are being asked what they know about the May 25, 2020 incident, if they’ve seen videos showing Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, and if they are aware of last week’s settlement between the City of Minneapolis and Floyd's family.
Floyd died in the custody of Minneapolis Police on May 25. Chauvin and several other police officers were responding at the time, all of whom have been charged in connection with Floyd’s death. Bystander video showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
Chauvin faces charges of second- and third-degree murder, as well as a manslaughter charge.
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