Derek Chauvin defence claims ‘there are always two sides of a story’ as George Floyd murder case begins

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, is regarded as one of the most important civil rights case in a generation.

But Mr Chauvin’s attorneys argued in opening statements on Monday that despite the widespread protests the death inspired, the case isn’t about racism or politics, but a reasonable use of force amid a lengthy, contentious arrest.

“There is no political or social cause in this court room,” attorney Eric Nelson told the court. “But the evidence is far greater than 9 minutes and 29 seconds.”

Mr Floyd resisted officers’ commands, he said, and had ingested drugs, prolonging and escalating the arrest.

“This was not an easy struggle,” Mr Nelson said, but argued the former officer was within reason to detain Mr Floyd the way he did.

“Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career,” Mr Nelson added. “The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary part of policing.”

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