The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer accused of the murder of George Floyd has begun in the US.
Derek Chauvin is facing three charges of second and third degree murder and second degree manslaughter following the incident on 25 May 2020.
Shortly after the opening, jurors were shown the full video of the arrest of Mr Floyd which was shared around the world and sparked months of protests against racial injustice and police brutality.
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Mr Floyd can be heard saying “I can’t breathe” several times, as well as calling for his mother.
The volume was raised to help the jurors hear what was being said.
In the disturbing footage, bystanders can be heard telling the police to get off Mr Floyd.
And when he stopped making a noise, witnesses can be heard saying “he is not responsive right now” and calling for officers to check his pulse.
All this time Chauvin is still kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said police and bystander videos will form a key part of the case against the former officer.
He outlined to the court what the badge of a Minneapolis police officer represents – including that the oath says they will “never employ unnecessary force of violence”.
‘George Floyd was living and breathing just fine until the police put a knee on his neck.’
Floyd family lawyer, Benjamin Crump says ‘today starts a landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come in its quest for equality’.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) March 29, 2021
He also laid out a timeline of events that happened on the day – including that Mr Floyd said “I can’t breath” 27 times before he died.
Mr Floyd was filmed with Mr Chauvin’s knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he was handcuffed and pleading that he couldn’t breathe.
The case has drawn international attention and continues to see regular protests in the city.
The courthouse has been heavily fortified and 2,000 members of the National Guard will mobilised by the time of the verdict.
Ben Crump, the lawyer representing the Floyd family, spoke in Minneapolis ahead of the trial, saying that “the world is watching”.
The trial is expected to last around four weeks, which Mr Crump said would be a “long, four-week journey to justice” for the relatives of Mr Floyd.
He says the trial will show if the US lives up to the Declaration of Independence – that all men are created equal.