MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — The teenager who shot the harrowing video of George Floyd under the knee of the Minneapolis police officer now charged in his death testified Tuesday that she began recording because “it wasn’t right, he was suffering, he was in pain.”
Darnella Frazier, 18, said she was walking to a convenience store with her younger cousin when she came upon the officers, and sent the girl into the store because she didn’t want her to see “a man terrified, scared, begging for his life.”
Frazier grew emotional at times, breathing heavily and crying as she viewed pictures of officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd last May.
Floyd’s death and the video of Floyd pleading for his life and onlookers angrily yelling at Chauvin to get off him triggered sometimes-violent protests around the world and a reckoning over racism and police brutality in the U.S.
One of the bystanders, who identified herself as a Minneapolis firefighter, pleaded repeatedly with officers to check Floyd’s pulse, but Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck, and he and fellow officer Tou Thao wouldn’t let onlookers get close, Frazier said.
“They definitely put their hands on the Mace and we all pulled back,” she told the jury.
Frazier said of Chauvin: “He just stared at us, looked at us. He had like this cold look, heartless. He didn’t care. It seemed as if he didn’t care what we were saying.”
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson sought to show that Chauvin and his fellow officers found themselves in an increasingly tense and distracting situation, with the growing crowd of onlookers becoming agitated and menacing over Floyd’s treatment.
But when Frazier was asked by a prosecutor whether she saw violence anywhere on the scene, she replied: “Yes, from the cops. From Chauvin, and from officer Thao.”
When asked to identify the officer, Chauvin stood up in the courtroom and took off his mask, appearing somber as he looked down and away before putting his mask on.
Nelson asked Frazier if the video going viral changed her life.
“It has,” she said.
Prosecutor Blackwell asked how the arrest itself affected her.
“When I look at George Floyd, I see my dad, my brother,” Frazier said.
She added that she stays up some nights, apologizing to Floyd that she couldn’t do more.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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