NEW YORK – American news consumers have a multitude of options to follow the trial of a former Minneapolis police officer accused in the death of George Floyd, which began on Monday with a chilling rerun.
Opening the case in a Minnesota courtroom, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell relied heavily on video from last May showing white former officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee onto the neck of Floyd, a Black man. The widely seen video launched a worldwide reckoning on race.
Blackwell and defense attorney Eric Nelson’s arguments were shown live on at least 12 TV networks: ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, HLN, Black News Channel, CourtTV, CSPAN, the Law & Crime Network and Newsmax.
Video also streamed on affiliated livestreams for many of those networks, along with TheRoot.com and PBS' “NewsHour.” Websites for The New York Times and Washington Post streamed it on their homepages, and The Associated Press offered its subscribers a livestream.
“It's a nerve-wracking moment for America,” said former U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, now an MSNBC contributor.
The Chauvin case is probably the most high-profile criminal trial since George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2013, said Dan Abrams, the legal commentator who launched the Law & Crime Network four years after that.
Some of the networks, anticipating that video of Chauvin before Floyd's death would be a major part of Blackwell's argument, warned viewers of the sensitivity of what they were about to see.
“It was no easier to watch than when we were reporting on it 10 months ago,” said ABC News anchor David Muir.