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Tensions High as Chauvin Trial Begins

Tensions were high in Minneapolis as jurors heard five days of emotional testimony in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is facing multiple charges in the death of George Floyd. He was caught on viral video kneeling on Floyd’s neck and keeping him down after Floyd had stopped resisting. 

Jurors heard testimony from eyewitnesses, emergency responders, and police officers. Minneapolis Police Lt. Richard Zimmerman’s characterization of Chauvin’s actions as ‘totally unnecessary,’ was considered one of the week’s most powerful accounts.

Instructors, click the link below to download this week’s lecture for use in your classroom. The deck contains a writing prompt and a debate question as well as other assessment questions.

Download the PowerPoint Lecture Spark for “Tensions High as Chauvin Trial Begins"


“Here’s what was revealed in the first week of the Derek Chauvin trial”
“A week of compelling and potentially devastating testimony at Derek Chauvin’s murder trial”
“Key takeaways from 1st week of Derek Chauvin trial in the death of George Floyd”
“Derek Chauvin trial: Minneapolis lieutenant calls use of force against Floyd ‘totally unnecessary'” 

“Floyd’s girlfriend recalls their struggles with addiction”
“‘I Thought He Was Dead,’ Says a Paramedic Who Treated George Floyd”
“Nation relives Floyd death as Chauvin trial begins”
“Derek Chauvin should not have knelt on George Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, former sergeant testifies”


  • Writing: Describe some of the obstacles to adopting police reform legislation. Why is it so difficult to prevent incidents like what we saw with George Floyd through legislation?
  • Debate: Is Derek Chauvin the proverbial “bad apple” or is he symptomatic of more systemic problems in policing?
  • Poll: Should police be prohibited from using chokeholds or other aggressive tactics when making an arrest?
  • Short Answer: How can local governments improve the relationship between police departments and the communities they serve?

Current events quiz:

1) What alleged crime was George Floyd suspected of when police responded to the scene?

a. public intoxication
b. possession of a weapon
c. trying to pass a counterfeit 20-dollar bill
d. jaywalking

2) For how long did former Officer Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck according to prosecutors?

a. five minutes and forty-eight seconds
b. nine minutes and twenty-nine seconds
c. seven minutes and five seconds
d. six minutes and thirty seconds

3) What argument will former Officer Chauvin defense team likely make as the true cause of George Floyd’s death?

a. Chauvin used lethal force as self-defense.
b. Chauvin was not the one who knelt on Mr. Floyd.
c. Floyd suffered from pre-existing health conditions and had narcotics in his system.
d. Floyd did not get the proper medical care in the hospital.

4) Several people witnessed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. (T/F)

5) Derek Chauvin could face capital punishment if convicted. (T/F)

6) Derek Chauvin is the only officer who is being charged in the death of George Floyd. (T/F)


1) C

2) B

3) C

4) True

5) False

6) False

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Featured Image Credit: Chad Davis from United States

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