The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is “highlighting a number of poignant issues” in America as the defence is set to make its case, according to US Studies Centre CEO Simon Jackman.

“What we don’t see on the video footage that captivated the world tragically is this evidence that the defence is seeking to bring in about underlying history of drug use,” he told Sky News.

“The claim will be he didn’t die as a result of the police violence, it was drugs he had in his system and the idea is – it is a criminal trial at the end of the day – all the defence has to do is create reasonable doubt in the eyes of the jury.”

Jackman said the trial was showing what thee realities of race relations in America are like including how the availability of street drugs impacts lives.

“It’s highlighting a number of really poignant issues, we’re learning a lot about race relations in America in this trial, the lives that are led by poor people of colour in the city of Minneapolis and the way that drugs are available.”