Derek Chauvin Pleads the Fifth, Won't Testify in His Own Defense

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listens during his trial in Minneapolis, Minn., April 6, 2021 in this courtroom sketch. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer accused of killing George Floyd during his arrest last May, said Thursday that he will not testify in his own defense.

Chauvin invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent in choosing not to testify in the murder trial.

The former police officer is seen in a video of the arrest kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes until he became unconscious.

While the defense had previously indicated it would call another witness on Thursday, Chauvin’s attorneys rested their case shortly after Chauvin pled the Fifth.

The defense team has called seven witnesses, including a police use-of-force expert who testified earlier this week that the officer’s restraint of Floyd was “justified.” Chauvin’s attorneys have put forth three arguments for acquitting the former officer: that Floyd’s death was the result of drug and health problems, that Chauvin’s use of force was appropriate and that a hostile crowd of bystanders distracted the officer.

Another witness, Dr. David Fowler, a forensic pathologist who retired as Maryland’s chief medical examiner in 2019, testified Wednesday that Floyd’s cause of death was “undetermined,” adding that his underlying heart issues were the most likely cause.

“In my opinion, Mr. Floyd had a sudden cardiac arrhythmia, or cardiac arrhythmia, due to his atherosclerosis and hypertensive heart disease … during his restraint and subdual by the police,” Fowler said.

Fowler also proposed a theory that carbon monoxide from the squad car’s exhaust may have contributed to Floyd’s death, though he acknowledged he could not support that argument with data or test results.

Meanwhile, the prosecution rested its case Tuesday after calling 38 witnesses over 11 days.

The 45-year-old former office has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

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