Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd, pleaded the Fifth Thursday morning.
It was unclear up until this point whether or not Chauvin would take the stand. Defense attorney Eric Nelson clarified that the decision to plead the Fifth was Chauvin’s decision, and he had chosen to plead the Fifth after several conversations about the matter.
The jury is not allowed to take Chauvin’s decision to plead the Fifth as an admission or indication of guilt. (RELATED: Here’s How Derek Chauvin Plans To Defend Himself)
The former Minneapolis police officer was charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for the death of George Floyd. Several viral videos showed Chauvin holding Floyd on the ground with his knee on his neck for over nine minutes.
Floyd’s death sparked nationwide protests and riots.
The high-profile trial began on March 29 and is expected to take at least one month, according to BBC News. The twelve jurors tasked with deciding whether to convict or acquit Chauvin will not be shown on television and will remain anonymous.
The prosecution called 38 witnesses over 11 days in an attempt to prove that Floyd’s death was directly caused by Chauvin’s knee on his neck. They also argued that Chauvin used excessive and unnecessary force when arresting Floyd.
The defense sought to refute the prosecution’s claims by arguing that Floyd’s death was caused by his heart condition or a drug overdose resulting from the combination of taking fentanyl and methamphetamine. Defense experts also testified that Chauvin’s use of force was appropriate, contradicting the prosecution’s expert witnesses.