More witnesses took the stand on the third day of the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis. Just like the previous day, there were very emotional moments coupled with expressions of regret from some of the testimonies about the fatal arrest.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis cop, is facing murder and manslaughter charges over the May 25 death of George Floyd. The African-American father passed away after Chauvin knelt on his neck for over nine minutes despite repeatedly telling him he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty. During the opening statements to commence the trial on Monday, Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, argued his client was not to blame for Floyd’s death as he “did exactly what he had been trained to do.” He also argued that the accused former cop and his colleagues had to divert their attention from Floyd to a “growing crowd” they perceived to be a threat, causing them to be distracted. Nelson further doubled down on the claim that Floyd’s death was caused by a drug overdose and not by suffocation as a result of the manner in which he was arrested.
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From witness testimonies to never-before-seen body cam footage, join Face2Face Africa as we highlight Wednesday’s key moments below:
New bodycam footage
New police bodycam footage of the fatal arrest that was played to the court showed Floyd crying and begging the officers, saying: “I’m not a bad guy,” BBC reported. The footage also showed Floyd’s neck being knelt on by Chauvin for over nine minutes.
The footage was from the body-worn cameras of officers Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao. Chauvin’s camera did not clearly record some parts of the arrest as it was knocked off his uniform.
Per Lane’s footage, Floyd, at a certain point, is heard pleading with the officers not to shoot him, adding: “I just lost my mom.” When the officers attempt moving him into the car, Floyd is heard telling them he is claustrophobic and suffers from anxiety disorder before a struggle ensues, BBC reports.
Floyd is later pinned to the ground and he is heard calling out for his mother. “Tell my kids I love them,” he adds. The crowd also express their worries over Floyd’s condition and ask the officers to check his pulse.
Genevieve Hansen returned
Genevieve Hansen, the firefighter at the Minneapolis Fire Department who testified Tuesday that she had offered to provide medical assistance to Floyd but was turned away, also briefly took to witness stand to answer questions from the defense and prosecution.
Hansen was off duty when she witnessed the deadly arrest.
“Disbelief — and guilt”
Christopher Martin, the 19-year-old cashier Floyd allegedly handed the counterfeit $20 dollar bill to purchase a pack of cigarettes at the Cup Foods store on that fateful day, testified on Wednesday.
Martin, who reported Floyd to his manager after he paid him with the counterfeit bill, told the court he watched the arrest with “disbelief — and guilt,” the Associated Press reported. “If I would’ve just not taken the bill, this could’ve been avoided,” he regretfully said.
Martin told the court that though he accepted the $20 bill knowing it was counterfeit, he said he decided not to pursue the issue because he believed Floyd didn’t know it wasn’t legal tender. “I thought I’d be doing him a favor,” Martin said, despite telling the court the money would have possibly been deducted from his salary.
Martin, however, testified he later had a change of mind and reported the incident to his manager who then told him to call Floyd back into the store. After Floyd refused to return to the store on two separate occasions, Martin said the manager told another colleague to call the police, according to the Associated Press.
Though Martin said it seemingly appeared Floyd was “high” as he spoke slowly to him when entered the store to make the purchase, he said he was still friendly and also described him as talkative.
“What I was watching was wrong”
Charles McMillian, another witness who testified Wednesday, broke down in tears when the court played the video of the arrest. McMillian said he chanced upon the arrest when he was driving, adding that he pulled over to take a look at what was happening out of curiosity, The Washington Post reported.
Per the bodycam footage that was played in court, McMillian is heard encouraging Floyd to obey the orders from the officers and not to resist. “You can’t win!” he is heard saying, to which Floyd replies: “I am not trying to win!”. McMillian told the court he passed those comments based on his personal experiences with the police, adding that you can’t really do anything the moment you’re handcuffed and put in the police vehicle – a situation Floyd was in.
During the arrest, Floyd was also heard repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe and calling out for his mother. “Oh, my God,” McMillian, who reportedly broke down in tears, said when that part of the video played.
“I feel helpless,” he said in response. “I don’t have a mama either; I understand him.”
As an emotional McMillian failed to regain his composure, the judge ordered a recess, The Washington Post reported. After the court resumed, McMillian recalled how he had earlier met Chauvin and even spoken with him a few days leading to the incident.
“Officer, at the end of the day, you go home to your family safe, so let the next person go home to their family safe,” McMillian recounted on what he told him.
Another part of the footage that was played in court showed McMillian telling Chauvin he did “not respect” his actions in the aftermath of the incident. Chauvin replied and said, “All right, that’s one person’s opinion.”
“But we’ve got to control this guy because he is a sizable guy,” Chauvin explained to McMillian. “Looks like he’s probably on something,” he added, insinuating Floyd was probably under the influence.
When asked by prosecutors why he decided to confront Chauvin over the manner in which Floyd was arrested, McMillian replied: “Because what I was watching was wrong.”