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Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, left, and defense attorney Eric Nelson

Screen shot from ABC News YouTube

The criminal trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin entered its seventh day on Tuesday, with the prosecution trying to show jurors that Chauvin used seriously excessive force constituting murder and manslaughter during the arrest of George Floyd on May 25, 2020 and Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, arguing that he didn't. And one of Nelson's tactics during the trial has been claiming that bystanders wanted to intimidate Chauvin during the arrest.

Nelson, questioning Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, asked, "If they're cheering on and saying, 'Good job, officer,' that's one consideration, correct? But if they're saying, 'I'd slap the fuck out of you' or 'You're a pussy, you're a chump,' would that reasonably tend to rise alarm in a police officer?" And Mercil responded, "Yes, sir."

On cross-examination, however, the prosecution brought up the fact that some of the bystanders who witnessed Floyd's arrest weren't insulting Chauvin — they were pleading with him not to end Floyd's life when the officer had him pinned to the ground with his knee on his neck.

The prosecution asked Mercil, "And if they're saying, 'Get off him, you're killing him,' should the officer also take that into account and consider whether their actions need to be reassessed?"

The Recount, reporting on the trial on Twitter, noted that trying to blame witnesses for Floyd's death has been a recurring tactic with Nelson. On March 29, The Recount tweeted:

Nelson said the officers perceived the crowd watching Chauvin kneel on Floyd as a threat and that diverted "their attention from the care of Mr. Floyd."


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