Elon Law scholar provides media analysis of Derek Chauvin trial

Professor and Senior Scholar Steve Friedland spoke recently with WCNC Charlotte and WFMY News 2 in Greensboro about a former Minneapolis police officer standing trial in Minnesota for the 2020 death of George Floyd.

Professor Steve Friedland

An Elon Law scholar with experience practicing and teaching criminal law was interviewed by North Carolina media in early April for coverage of a white former Minneapolis police officer standing trial in the death of a Black man during a 2020 arrest.

Professor and Senior Scholar Steve Friedland, recipient of Elon University’s 2020 Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching, was interviewed by reporters for WCNC Charlotte and WFMY News 2 in Greensboro.

Both news outlets turned to Friedland to analyze the first week of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, filmed by bystanders in 2020 with his knee on the neck of a restrained George Floyd, who was struggling to breathe on recordings before dying a short time later.

The death led to the firing of all four police officers at the scene, criminal charges, and nationwide protests as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This is probably one of most consequential cases in the digital era,” Friedland told Hunter Sáenz of WCNC Charlotte in a Zoom interview for the report ‘It’s recreating reality’ | Former federal prosecutor, Elon Law professor’s take on Chauvin murder trial so far.

In the WFMY News 2 report, Elon Law professor breaks down strategies of defense and prosecution in Derek Chauvin trial, Friedland explained how Chauvin’s attorneys likely will try to convince the jury that Floyd’s cause of death wasn’t due to a knee on his neck, and that restraint was necessary and appropriate when Chauvin was making the arrest.

“The first week we saw the prosecutor and defense stake out their approaches to the case in the opening statements,” he said. “Opening statements aren’t evidence but they provide a roadmap of what the evidence will show.”

Friedland is a founding member of the law school faculty. In addition to law teaching, he has served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and as an Assistant Director of the Office of Legal Education in the Department of Justice.

An accomplished scholar who has published articles in several renowned journals, Friedland’s books on Evidence Law, Constitutional Law, Criminal Law and Procedure and Law School Teaching have been published by the West Publishing Company, Aspen Press, Lexis Publishing Company and Carolina Academic Press.

Friedland was elected to the American Law Institute, served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Law School Admission Council, and is a current member of the Lexis Advisory Board. He has won numerous teaching awards at several law schools over three decades and was named one of the best law teachers in America by the Harvard University Press book, “What the Best Law Teachers Do.”