The George Floyd trial starts today. Here’s what you need to know

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Outside the courthouse in downtown Minneapolis, Mr Floyd's family said the trial would have broader implications for America. One woman, identifying herself as a city Fire Department employee, shouts at Chauvin to check Floyd's pulse.

Mr Chauvin was seated at the defense table, dressed in a gray suit with a blue shirt and blue tie.

Look at the video that has been seen across the world, not only of Derek Chauvin's knee on his neck but the body cam video from the police where they're interacting with George Floyd...

The tape proves Mr Chauvin was "engaging in behaviour that was imminently risky. without regard for its impact on the body of George Floyd", Mr Blackwell said.

"That he put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him, until the very breath, no ladies and gentlemen, until the very life was squeezed out of him", Blackwell said in his opening argument.

The judge briefed the jurors on their duties ahead of opening statements Monday in the case that sparked waves of outrage justice across the United States and beyond after bystander video showed Derek Chauvin press his knee to Floyd's neck for about nine minutes.

Floyd's death led to protests, mostly under the "Black Lives Matter" movement, across the world.

Ben Crump, a lawyer for the Floyd family, said: "Today starts a landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come in its quest for equality and justice for all".

He displayed a still image from a bystander's cellphone video of Chauvin, who is white, with his knee on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs.

Blackwell made clear he was not trying to put all police on trial, but only Chauvin, who was sacked from the Minneapolis police department.

Another of his brothers, Philonise Floyd, told reporters on Sunday: "I have a big hole right now in my heart".

"We are going to ask that you find him guilty of murder in the second-degree, murder in the third-degree and manslaughter".

Protesters and activists march in Minneapolis the day before opening statements in the trial of Derek Chauvin. "The facts are simple".

Street protests of police treatment of minorities, some of which turned violent, erupted in numerous USA cities and elsewhere throughout the world in the weeks after Floyd's death.

The video played during opening statements had been posted to Facebook by a bystander who witnessed Mr Floyd being arrested after he was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit 20 dollar bill at a convenience store.

In a victory for the defense, the judge overseeing the trial said Nelson could tell the jury about a 2019 encounter between Floyd and Minneapolis police during which Floyd allegedly exhibited behavior like his actions in the incident in which he died.

Mr Nelson urged the jury to ignore the furor surrounding the case.

"What you will learn is that when an officer responds to what is sometimes a routine and minimal event, it often evolves into a greater and more serious event", Nelson said.

In opening statements of Chauvin's criminal trial, prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell repeatedly emphasized the new 9:29 timing, telling jurors they were the "three most important numbers in this case".

Mr Chauvin's trial is expected to last about a month.

There are people behind them and across the street.

A conviction on any of the charges will require the jury to return a unanimous verdict.

Donald Williams, a 33-year-old entrepreneur, said he had been planning to enter the Cup Foods shop, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when he witnessed the arrest of Mr Floyd on 25 May 2020.

Three other officers present - Tou Thao, J Alexander Keung and Thomas Lane - will go on trial later in the year.

They are to be tried separately later in the year.



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