Chauvin, 44, since fired from the city's police, was seated at the defense table, dressed in a grey suit with a blue shirt and tie.
The murder trial of Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd is underway and the evidence for conviction is blatantly obvious, Floyd's family attorney Ben Crump told "The Story with Martha MacCallum" exclusively.
Mr Blackwell said in his opening statement that the fire department first responder who wanted to administer aid was warned off by Chauvin, who pointed Mace at her. But the situation worsened after officers struggled to put him in a police vehicle and instead forced him to the ground, handcuffed.
Chauvin has been charged with unintentional second degree murder that carries a maximum sentence of 40 years.
Floyd's death, along with the bystander video of the long minutes that Chauvin held him on the ground, sparked a national outrage, with widespread protests and rioting against police brutality towards African Americans.
At 8:46 a.m., the family knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds before entering the heavily-guarded courthouse for the first day of Chauvin's murder trial.
"Today starts a landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come in its quest for equality and justice for all", Crump said outside the Minneapolis courtroom where the trial is to take place.
"He certainly will be watching closely, as Americans across the country will be watching", Ms Psaki said.
"Chauvin's in the courtroom, but America is on trial", Sharpton told the crowd.
Over the last three weeks, the jury was picked to try the case. "Get down. And we're going to ask God for the justice, because our justice can't compare to his".
Floyd's cause of death is expected to be the central issue in the case, and a key piece of evidence is likely to be the bystander-filmed video that went viral.
Derek Chauvin trial in death of George Floyd opens
Defence lawyer Nelson used his opening statement to describe Mr Floyd's drug use and a chaotic scene during the arrest, saying the screaming of bystanders ended up "causing the officers to divert their attention from the care of Mr Floyd".
Legal experts said they expected the prosecution early on in proceedings to show parts of a dramatic bystander video of Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground by the neck for almost nine minutes even as Floyd's body goes limp.
"You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do", Nelson said.
"I'm thankful that it is a diverse jury", Paris Stevens, a cousin of Floyd who works as a nurse in North Carolina, said in a telephone interview.
"At the end of this case, we're going to spend a lot of time talking about doubt", Nelson told the jury. Nelson said that this trial should be regarded as a trial against one man, and not a "social justice" trial.
Several dozen attendees filled the benches at Greater Friendship Missionary Church, where preachers led worship, a choir sang and members of Floyd's family were joined by the Rev. Al Sharpton and Crump.
Protesters march through downtown Minneapolis a day before jury selection is scheduled to begin for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis policeman accused of killing George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 7, 2021. "The facts are simple". Chauvin's defense made a bold claim in an attempt to prove his client's innocence, claiming that George Floyd did not die from suffocation and excessive force but an overdose of drugs. It is expected to last for at least a month.
Court records show the jury in the case includes six white women, two white men, three Black men, one Black woman and two multiracial women.
It is rare for police officers to be convicted in the USA, when charges are brought against them.
The US president's spokesman said the events surrounding Mr Floyd's death were a reminder of the need to make "addressing racial injustice a priority to the things we do".
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