Tuesday, September 28News That Matters

Dr. Baker testifying in the case against ex-officer Derek Chauvin, says he didn’t want to bias his exam

Jurors in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin seem “relatively well-engaged” and “appear to be listening” to Friday morning’s testimony from forensic pathologist Dr. Lindsey Thomas, according to reports from two courtroom pool reporters.

When Thomas told the court she believed “asphyxia or low oxygen” was the “primary mechanism” of George Floyd’s death, “nearly all jurors were seen writing this down.”

A packet of photos from Floyd’s autopsy was passed out to jurors, pool reporters and spectators in court during Thomas’ testimony Friday morning.

The packets included “close up photos of his face, shoulders and hands. His body is brightly lit – almost portrait style. There is nothing outwardly clinical about the photos.”

One pool reporter observed all jurors looking through the photos and “some are seen flipping ahead looking at all the images.”

The Floyd family representative “didn’t have any obvious emotional reaction” to the packet of autopsy photos, but one pool reporter noted “he spent a long time staring at the first image, before thumbing through the remaining images.”

One pool report included the following descriptions of the autopsy photos presented to jurors:

“Exhibit 185 is a close-up photo of Floyd, a white tube appearing protrude from his mouth from emergency respiratory efforts. His face is scraped over left eyebrow and on left cheek. All the jurors are looking through the photos at this point, some are seen flipping ahead looking at all the images.”
“Exhibit 235 is a close up of the abrasions on the left side of Floyd’s face taken from the side.”
“Exhibit 188 is a photo of Floyd’s left shoulder with a large abrasion which Thomas tells the jury is evidence of Floyd trying to push himself up.”
“Exhibit 187 is a photo of Floyd’s right shoulder, which shows some scrapes but not as large as the abrasion on Floyd’s left shoulder.”
“Exhibit 189 is a photo of Floyd’s left hand, which is ringed by a large red mark. Thomas testifies this is from the handcuff. Jurors are looking at the photos as she speaks.”
“Exhibit 190 is a photo of Floyd’s right hand, which shows a similar mark from a handcuff. Thomas points out scrapes on his knuckles and fingers which she tells the jury came from when he was reaching out towards the squad car tire and “push his body into a position again where he can breathe.” 

Both pool reporters noted that for the first time during the trial, the seat reserved for a Derek Chauvin family representative is filled today by a woman. Deputies had previously removed the seat from the courtroom as no representative of the Chauvin family had attended the trial until this point.

Pool reporters have not yet been able to identify the Floyd family representative in court Friday. The reports note a deputy is sitting between the Floyd and Chauvin family representatives. The two are not seen looking at each other.