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Former police officer on trial over the death of George Floyd

A FORMER police officer accused of killing George Floyd went on trial today in Minneapolis.

Prosecutors showed the jury video of Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on the black man’s neck as onlookers yelled at him repeatedly to get off and Floyd gasped that he couldn’t breathe.

In opening statements, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury that the number to remember was nine minutes, 29 seconds: the amount of time that Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the pavement with his knee last May, sparking worldwide anti-racist protests.

The white police officer “didn’t let up, he didn’t get up,” even after a handcuffed Floyd said 27 times that he couldn’t breathe and went motionless, Mr Blackwell said.

“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,” he said.

Mr Chauvin is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The trial is expected to last about four weeks.

Civil-rights leaders appeared alongside several members of Mr Floyd’s family at a prayer service on Sunday night at the city’s Greater Friendship Missionary Church. 

The speakers called for justice, mirroring the words spoken by leaders at a protest earlier Sunday in downtown Minneapolis.

“My brother complied,” Philonise Floyd said during the service. “He said ‘I can’t breathe.’ He said ‘Mama.’

“He said: ‘Tell my kids I love them’… Nobody should have to go through that, nobody should have to endure that.”

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