MINNEAPOLIS – Additional witnesses took part in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday, and some burst into tears and shared their memories of the day George Floyd died.
One of the witnesses was a mixed martial arts fighter. the teenager who recorded the video of Floyd’s death, the teen’s 9-year-old cousin and a high school senior who went to the store to get an aux cable.
Two more witnesses – A 911 dispatcher and cashier working across the street – testified Monday, and defense and law enforcement attorneys opened the process by setting out their case. Here’s what you missed:.
Floyd, a black man, died in police custody on May 25, 2020 after the white chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes when Floyd shouted “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. Chauvin is charged with second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter.
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- On Tuesday afternoon, the court heard from 18-year-old student Alyssa Nicole Funari who said she would go to Cup Foods that day to get a rope with a friend. She recorded three videos of the incident on her friend’s phone.
- A 9-year-old girl who wore a shirt with the word “love” on it on the day George Floyd died testified Tuesday morning.
- Darnella Frazier, the teenage girl who recorded the infamous video It showed the arrest and death of George Floyd, who also testified that the incident had changed her life.
- Judge Peter Cahill first turned down a state motion on Tuesday to prevent all audio and video from four key witnesses from being released.
- While Cahill said the witnesses, including the now 18-year-old woman who was 17 at the time and was filming the viewer’s viral video, were only allowed to be mentioned by first name, they would not speak or spell their names on camera or Audio.
On Tuesday afternoon, the court heard from 18-year-old student Alyssa Nicole Funari who said she would go to Cup Foods that day to get a rope with a friend. She recorded three videos of the incident on her friend’s phone.
“He looked like he was struggling to breathe,” Funari told District Attorney Erin Eldridge, adding, “I was beginning to realize that if he were held much longer, he would not live.”
Funari cried and said she felt she had failed because she wanted to intervene but couldn’t because “there was a higher power there” – an official pushed the crowd back. “There was nothing there that I could do as a spectator,” she said, adding, “I couldn’t physically do what I wanted to do.”
As Chauvin continued to stare down at Floyd, she said, “I saw him burden him more and more. I saw his leg lift off the floor and his hands put in his pocket.”
A 9-year-old girl who wore a shirt with the word “love” on it on the day George Floyd died testified Tuesday morning. She is the cousin of Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the video of the incident.
“I saw a cop George Floyd put his knee around his neck,” the girl said, referring to Chauvin. “The ambulance had to push him away. … Some people took him off of him.”
When Attorney General Jerry Blackwell asked the girl how she felt about what she was seeing, she said she was “sad and kind of crazy”.
“And tell us why you were sad and crazy,” said Blackwell.
“Because it feels like he’s stopping to breathe and it was like hurting him,” she said.
The defense did not ask her questions and she was excused within five minutes of commenting.
Video-taped teenager Darnella Frazier “stayed up and apologized to George Floyd for not doing more”.
Darnella Frazier told the jury on Tuesday She was on her way to Cup Foods with her cousin – where she was “hundreds, maybe even thousands” of times – when she saw a man “and a policeman kneeling on him.” She said she quickly led her cousin to the store.
“It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain,” she said. “He cried for his mother.”
Frazier recently turned 18 and only the audio of her testimony was broadcast live from the courtroom. You could hear her crying. “It seemed like he knew. It seemed like he knew it was over for him,” Frazier said in a comment that was removed from the file for not being allowed to testify what Floyd was thinking.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my father. I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles because they’re all black,” Frazier said when she burst into tears again. “I’m looking how that could have been one of them.”
Frazier said she stayed up a few nights. “She apologized and apologized to George Floyd for not doing more and not interacting physically and not saving his life. (But) it’s not what I should have done. It’s what (chauvin) should have done. “
When asked by District Attorney Jerry Blackwell, Frazier replied that she wouldn’t describe the group watching from the sidewalk as unruly. She said no one threatened or violated the police officers. The only violence she witnessed was “from the cops, from chauvin and Officer (Tou) Thao”. Thao was the officer who stood between Chauvin and the crowd warning them to stay back.
Frazier said she felt in danger because officers put their hands on her chemical spray as she or others in the group tried to get closer to Chauvin and Floyd. “I didn’t understand why the mace was needed in the first place,” she said. According to court records, Chauvin repeatedly grabbed his mace.
Prosecutors called their third witness, Donald Williams, back to testify Tuesday morning A technical error cut his certificate on Monday.
Williams told the court on Monday that he was on his way to Cup Foods, where Floyd was arrested when he met Floyd, who was “pleading for his life”. Williams told the court that he asked officers to stop the “blood throttle,” a form of throttle that knocks someone out.
Williams got emotional in the courtroom on Tuesday and wiped his tears off when he heard the 911 call he made as officers walked off the scene. “He pretty much killed this guy who didn’t defy arrest,” Williams said on the call.
Williams said in court on Tuesday: “I called the police station because I believed I had witnessed a murder.”
In a tense cross-examination by Head Defense Attorney Eric Nelson, Williams admitted he was unaware that the officers were dealing with Floyd for 15 minutes before arriving at the scene. He also admitted he didn’t know that an ambulance had been called to the scene three minutes before his arrival.
Nelson told Williams that he “got angry” and “threatened the police”. According to the video of the incident, Nelson listed several swear words Williams called the officers.
“Those terms just got angrier, right?” Nelson said.
“Those terms became more of a plea for life,” replied Williams, adding, “You can’t call me angry.”
When prosecutor Matthew Frank spoke to Williams again, Williams said he was concerned that Floyd “was about to be fainted”.
“So you were concerned about Mr. Floyd losing his life?” Asked Frank.
“Right,” said Williams.
Prosecutors called their first three witnesses on Monday: a 911 dispatcher on call that day, a cashier across the street who recorded videos of the incident, and a fighter with mixed martial arts who witnessed Floyd’s death.
► Jena Lee Scurry, A 911 dispatcher who was working on the day Floyd died told the court that she had alerted a police officer that something had gone wrong while Floyd was arrested, which she could watch via a livestream from a street camera in town . “I was concerned that something was wrong,” she said. “It was a gut feeling that something wasn’t going right with the incident.”
The second witness Alisha Oyler, worked as a cashier on the speedway across the street the day George Floyd died. She recorded seven videos on her phone. She told Steve Schleicher, a special assistant attorney general, that she started the recording after realizing that the police were “messing with someone.”
The third witness Donald Williams, is a mixed martial arts trained wrestler who said he has been chokeholds dozens of times in MMA fights. Williams was on his way to Cup Foods, where Floyd was arrested when he met Floyd who was “pleading” for his life. Williams told the court that he asked officers to stop the “blood throttle,” a form of throttle that knocks someone out. Chauvin did a “shimmy” to tighten the choke, he said.
The prosecutors opened their case on Monday at shows the judges the disturbing video showing chauvin on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. The video, which lasted 9 minutes and 29 seconds, played on multiple screens in the courtroom. It contained the tone of Floyd gasping 27 times, “I can’t breathe,” and witnesses who grew angry as they urged Chauvin to peel off Floyd’s throat.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said Chauvin “put his knees on his (Floyd’s) neck and back and ground and crushed him to the breath … until the life was squeezed out of him.”
The case is not about the difficult “decisions the police have to make in a split second,” Blackwell said. “There are 569 seconds, not a split second.”
In his opening address, Attorney General Eric Nelson told the jury that the evidence in the case was “far greater than 9 minutes and 29 seconds”. He described a scene where Floyd was using drugs and resisting arrest. Continue reading.
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