A large crowd cheers at a rally at Mission High School before a protest march commemorating George Floyd and those killed by police on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

A large crowd cheers at a rally at Mission High School before a protest march commemorating George Floyd and those killed by police on Wednesday, June 3, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Officer was on George Floyd’s neck for about 9 minutes: U.S. prosecutors

Floyd died on May 25. He had been handcuffed and was pleading that he couldn’t breathe.

As the trial approaches for a white Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in the death of George Floyd, prosecutors are putting the time Derek Chauvin’s knee was on the Black man’s neck at about nine minutes.

The time has fluctuated before. It was recorded as 8 minutes, 46 seconds in an initial criminal complaint — a figure that became symbolic to many in the weeks after Floyd’s death — before a math error was corrected to make it 7:46. But filings since then, citing time-stamped police body-camera video, now make it at least nine minutes.

The fact that the figure has evolved probably won’t matter at Chauvin’s trial, which begins Monday with jury selection. One former prosecutor says it’s common for such details to be fine-tuned as prosecutors build a case. A support group for victims of police violence says the discrepancies won’t have any impact.

“He was obviously on there enough time to think about what he was doing. He heard the man pleading that he couldn’t breathe,” said Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence. “If it was two minutes or if it was five minutes or if it was 10 minutes, he was fully aware … Once he said, `I cannot breathe’ … he was supposed to remove his knee.”

Floyd died May 25. He had been handcuffed and was pleading that he couldn’t breathe, but Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even after he stopped moving and speaking.

Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter and are scheduled for trial in August.

The narrative in the initial complaint filed May 29 by the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office says Chauvin held his knee to Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes, 46 seconds. But the time stamps cited in that charging document indicate it was actually 7 minutes, 46 seconds.

The Associated Press began asking about the error the day after the initial charges were filed, but prosecutors repeatedly declined to address it. The 8:46 detail was repeated in an amended complaint filed days later by the Attorney General’s Office.

In the weeks that followed Floyd’s death, some demonstrators staged “die-ins” that lasted 8 minutes, 46 seconds, some lawmakers knelt for that amount of time in the U.S. Senate, and mourners at a memorial service for Floyd stood in silence for 8:46 to reflect on the final moments of his life.

In mid-June, prosecutors acknowledged the one-minute error but said it would have no impact on the case.

READ MORE: ‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Documents filed by prosecutors in September and October changed the timing yet again. These documents contain the most detailed picture of what happened, citing time stamps from Lane, Keung and Thao’s body camera videos.

The documents don’t list an exact time for when Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd, but instead provide a narrative for when Floyd was first pressed to the ground. Time stamps on video from Lane’s body camera — recorded in 24-hour-clock format — show that began at some point from 20:19:14 to 20:19:45, meaning from 14 to 45 seconds after 8:19 p.m.

But the documents cite a clear moment when Chauvin removed his knee, when a stretcher was ready to take Floyd away. Lane’s body camera time-stamp read 20:28:45.

This means Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for at least nine minutes flat, but possibly for as long as 9 minutes, 31 seconds. Documents filed by prosecutors characterize the timing as “approximately nine minutes,” though in at least one document it is characterized as “more than nine minutes and twenty seconds.”

Stiles, the spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said the length of time of Chauvin’s restraint will be evidence presented at trial. He declined further comment.

Tom Heffelfinger, a former U.S. attorney for Minnesota who is not connected to this case, said it’s normal for prosecutors to fine-tune details as they build a case and that the length of Chauvin’s restraint won’t become essential until a prosecutor presents it to the jury.

But at trial, he said, the timing will become extremely relevant as both sides argue about Floyd’s cause of death. Heffelfinger also said it points to Chauvin’s state of mind and can be used by prosecutors to show wilfulness, and that Chauvin had Floyd under his control and held his position for too long.

“You can see from the bystander video, Chauvin had Floyd under control for that entire period,” Heffelfinger said. “He didn’t need to have his knee to the neck in order to maintain that … control.”

READ MORE: Minneapolis cop who knelt on man’s neck charged with murder

READ MORE: George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure, autopsy reveals

United States

Just Posted

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations celebrate legal victory in fishing dispute

Ha’oom Fisheries Society and T’aaq-wiihak Fisheries announce “major legal victory”

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

The hiring of out-of-province workers by the Canadian Red Cross to staff the vaccination centre in Langford has raised eyebrows. (Black Press Media file photo)
Red Cross hires out-of-B.C. workers to staff Island vaccination centre

Staffer worries local jobs weren’t offered to local people

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Pat Kauwell, a semi-retired construction manager, lives in his fifth-wheel trailer on Maxey Road because that’s what he can afford on his pension, but a Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw prohibits using RVs as permanent dwellings, leaving Kauwell and others like him with few affordable housing options. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Housing crunch or not, it’s illegal to live in an RV in Nanaimo

Regional District of Nanaimo bylaw forcing pensioner to move RV he calls home off private farm land

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

One person has been arrested following an assault on a man with Down syndrome along Dallas Road April 17. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man with Down syndrome attacked along Victoria’s Dallas Road

Suspected assailant arrested, sent to hospital for mental health assessment

Victoria police arrested a wanted man April 19, seizing drugs, firearms and body armour. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Drugs, loaded weapons, body armour seized from Victoria suite

Man was wanted for the possession of drugs for the purpose of trafficking

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Most Read