Prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday against Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer on trial for murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, whose last breaths were captured on video and laid bare racial wounds in the United States.

"Your honor, the state of Minnesota rests," prosecutor Steve Schleicher told Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill.

Prosecutors called nearly 40 witnesses during the first two weeks of the high-profile trial including medical experts, current and former police officers and bystanders to Floyd's May 25, 2020 arrest.

The 45-year-old Chauvin, who is white, was seen in a video taken by a bystander kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as the handcuffed 46-year-old Black man complained repeatedly that he "can't breathe."

The video touched off protests against racial injustice and police brutality in the United States and around the world.

Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, asked Cahill on Monday to sequester the jury after protests erupted in Minneapolis following the police killing of a 20-year-old Black man.

The judge denied the request and said the jury would be sequestered after closing arguments, which are expected on Monday.

A memorial to George Floyd in Minneapolis outside the store where he died
A memorial to George Floyd in Minneapolis outside the store where he died AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA

After the prosecution rested its case, Nelson began his presentation by calling a retired police officer to the witness stand.

The former officer was involved in an arrest of Floyd a year earlier during which it was established that Floyd had taken illegal drugs.

Chauvin's defense claims Floyd's death was due to his consumption of fentanyl and methamphetamine and underlying health conditions.

Medical experts called by the prosecution said Floyd's death was caused by a "low level of oxygen" from the neck restraint and not due to drugs or pre-existing conditions.

Police officers are rarely convicted in the United States when facing criminal charges and a conviction on any of the counts against Chauvin will require the nine-woman, five-man jury to return a unanimous verdict.

Chauvin faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge -- second-degree murder.

A 19-year veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, Chauvin was fired from the force after Floyd's death.

Three other former police officers involved in the arrest are to be tried separately later this year.