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Opening arguments begin in Derek Chauvin murder trial

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Opening statements are underway in the trial of the white former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. Derek Chauvin [[ SHO-vin ]] is charged with murder after kneeling on Floyd’s neck during an arrest last May. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell opened by saying Chauvin betrayed his badge. He also said the jury will see a video that will graphically show Floyd’s death and his cries for help. Floyd’s death sparked a series of protests across the country.

By JULIA JACOBO, ABC News

(MINNEAPOLIS) — The trial for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, is set to begin Monday morning.

Chauvin was seen on cellphone video taken by a bystander on May 25 kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he stated repeatedly that he could not breathe.

Police had responded to the scene at a Cup Foods convenience store after Floyd was accused of using a fake $20 bill to make a purchase. His death sparked nationwide protests, some accompanied by looting, vandalism and destruction, over police brutality against Black people after the cellphone video went viral.

City officials have ramped up security at the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial is being held, in anticipation of more demonstrations. Up to 2,000 National Guard troops will be deployed to Minneapolis by the time a verdict in the trial is rendered.

Chauvin, 45, has been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder. He is being tried separately from the other former officers who were present during Floyd’s death.

If convicted, Chauvin could face a maximum of 40 years for second-degree murder, 25 years for third-degree murder and 10 years for manslaughter.

He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The third-degree murder charged was dismissed in October but was reinstated during the jury selection process after the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill erred when he dismissed the count and instructed him to reconsider his decision.

A full jury was seated last week — 12 jurors and three alternates — after defense attorneys, prosecutors and the judge presiding over the case spent 11 days questioning a pool of potential jurors.

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