UPDATE (4:45 p.m.): Court is finished for the day. Shortly before ending proceedings, Judge Peter Cahill told witness Genevieve Hansen not to argue with the court or counsel.
The state’s questioning of Hansen focused on her training as an EMT and what she observed on May 25, 2020. She said she decided to approach the scene at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue “because I was concerned to see a handcuffed man who was not moving with officers with their whole body weight on his back.”
“What is it that you saw that made you concerned about [George Floyd’s] medical needs?” prosecutor Matthew Frank said.
“I thought his face looked puffy and swollen, which would happen if you were putting a grown man’s weight on someone’s neck,” Hansen said.
The defense’s cross examination focused on hypothetical questions about Hansen’s firefighting experience and statements she gave to agents from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
As Nelson was reviewing Hansen’s statements, he asked her if she’d like to see the transcript and she said no. She also interrupted Nelson at times.
Cahill’s admonishment came after the state objected to attorney Eric Nelson’s cross examination. The objection was overruled.
“I’m advising you,” Cahill told Hansen, “do not argue with counsel … You will not argue with the court, you will not argue with counsel.”
UPDATE (3:15 p.m.): Prosecutor Matthew Frank begins questioning 27-year-old Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen about her EMT training.
Hansen was off-duty when she witnessed George Floyd’s fatal arrest.
UPDATE (2:40 p.m.): A 17-year-old who witnessed George Floyd’s fatal arrest said she was “scared of [Derek] Chauvin” during the state’s questioning.
This witness, who went to Cup Foods with the previous witness on the night of Floyd’s death, said she asked the officers at the scene, “Why are you guys still on top of him? He’s not doing anything wrong.”
“Did any of them address your concerns?” Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge said.
“No,” the witness said. “They were really hostile.”
Defense attorney Eric Nelson had no questions for the witness.
UPDATE (2:20 p.m.): Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge questioned an 18-year-old high school student who recorded a video of George Floyd’s fatal arrest.
The witness was heading to Cup Foods to buy a phone cord when she saw Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.
Eldridge walked the witness through the video she shot.
“Were you worried about the length of time this went on,” Eldridge asked.
“Yes, because I knew that time was running out,” the witness said. “That he was going to die.”
Eldridge asked if the witness, who lives near Cup Foods and had been there many times before Floyd’s death, has been back to the scene.
“I still haven’t been there to this day,” she said. “I don’t want to be reminded.”
Defense attorney Eric Nelson questioned the witness about statements she gave to Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension agents indicating she believed officers at the scene checked Floyd’s pulse “multiple times.”
The witness said she didn’t believe she said that, but admitted to the statement after Nelson showed her transcripts of the conversation.
Nelson also asked the witness if she and other people at the scene were angry, to which she replied yes.
UPDATE (12:08 a.m.): A 9-year-old child testifies in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
The girl is the cousin of Darnella Frazier, the teen who recorded the viral video of George Floyd’s arrest. The girl was walking with Frazier to Cup Foods when they saw Floyd being arrested.
The child told prosecutor Jerry Blackwell that she saw police “putting their knee on the neck of George Floyd.”
When Blackwell showed the girl a photo of Chauvin, she identified him as an officer she saw kneeling over Floyd.
The defense did not question the girl.
Court is now in recess for lunch. This afternoon, two more minor witnesses are scheduled to give testimony.
The judge allowed the four witnesses who either are or were juveniles to testify off camera to make them more comfortable. The goal was not to conceal their identities – that's why we see images from video and the scene. #ChauvinTrial
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) March 30, 2021
UPDATE (11:49 a.m.): After the morning break, Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the viral video of George Floyd’s arrest, again takes the stand.
Eric Nelson, the attorney for Derek Chauvin, asks Frazier about the crowd that gathered around her, violence in the area around Cup Foods, and if recording Floyd’s arrest changed her life. To the last question, she answered: “It has.”
The question set up prosecutor Jerry Blackwell for redirection. He asked how Floyd’s arrest and death affected her, and Frazier said that when she sees Floyd, she sees her father and her brother, both of whom are Black. Her voice was full of emotion.
“I look at how that could have been one of them,” she said.
She told the court that she stays up some nights, apologizing to Floyd for not being able to do more. Then she added: “It’s not what I should have done, it’s what [Chauvin] should have done.”
VIDEO: Before leaving the witness stand, Darnella Frazier answers a question on how viewing what happened to George Floyd has affected her life.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers…my cousins.. I look at how that could have been one of them." pic.twitter.com/TQiiXIce2N
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) March 30, 2021
UPDATE (10:58 a.m.): Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the widely-seen bystander video of George Floyd’s arrest, is giving testimony.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell shows Frazier, now 18, a photo of Derek Chauvin, whom she identifies as the man who knelt on Floyd’s neck. The teenager is not shown on the video broadcast. Only her voice is heard.
She breathes heavily. Emotion is evident in her voice.
Frazier told Blackwell that she was heading to Cup Foods with her young cousin to get snacks when she saw Floyd being arrested. She started recording the arrest, and told her cousin to go into the store because she didn’t want her to see Floyd suffering.
“It wasn’t right…he was in pain,” Frazier said.
When asked if the crowd that gathered around her was unruly or threatening to police, she said no. When asked if she saw any violence at the scene, she said yes, “from the cops.”
Frazier is one of four witnesses to be questioned in the trial who were minors when George Floyd died. Judge Peter Cahill ruled Tuesday morning that their testimony will be audio only. Their names will be presented in court, but not broadcast.
Darnella Frazier, the teen who filmed the #GeorgeFloyd video seen around the world, is getting emotional during testimony.
Says she was walking to Cup Foods with her 12y/o cousin, told cousin to wait inside while she went out bc she felt what she was watching wasn’t right. #wcco
— Christiane Cordero (@ChristianeWCCO) March 30, 2021
UPDATE (10:35 a.m.): Don Williams again takes the stand. The prosecution plays Williams’ 911 call to police the evening George Floyd died. On the call, he says: “[Officers] killed this guy who wasn’t resisting arrest.”
Williams wiped away tears in court as the audio was played.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, questioned Williams about his martial arts training and various types of choke holds. He also asked if he knew what had happened between Floyd and officers before he arrived on the scene. “Not at all,” Williams said.
Questioning grew heated when Nelson asked why Williams was getting angry, calling Chauvin names.
“You can’t paint me out to be angry,” Williams said, insisting he was professional. “I grew more and more pleading for life.”
Nelson ended by asking if Williams ever had a conversation with another fighter he had in a chokehold.
No, Williams said.
VIDEO: In the Derek Chauvin trial, witness Donald Williams wipes at his eyes as prosecutors play his 911 call from the scene.
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) March 30, 2021
UPDATE (8:56 a.m.): In a pretrial hearing, Judge Peter Cahill hears motions on whether to allow audio broadcast for four witnesses who were under 18 years old. The prosecution does not want their testimony to be broadcast.
The judge ruled that the teenagers, two of which are now currently 18, will be dealt with like jurors. The teenagers’ testimony will be audio only; their image will not be broadcast.
While the four will give their full names to the court, they will not be broadcast over the audio feed. Still, their names will be on the public record.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The second day of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd, is set to start Tuesday, picking up with a witness who told the court how he watched the ex-officer kneel on Floyd’s neck as he pleaded for his life.
Don Williams will take the stand again Tuesday morning in Hennepin County District Court. He was in the crowd that watched Floyd’s final moments on May 25 and can be heard throughout the widely-seen bystander video, pleading with Chauvin to get off Floyd’s neck. Much of the questioning on Monday focused on his mixed martial arts training.
“It’s like in MMA, you can tell when someone gets tired or you can tell when someone’s getting choked out or things like that,” Williams said. “[Floyd’s] breathing was getting tremendously heavy and tremendously harder for him to breathe and you actually could hear him, you could see him struggling to actually gasp for air.”
WATCH THE TRIAL: Find WCCO’s Full Coverage On CBSN Minnesota
Weeks ago, Judge Peter Cahill ruled that Williams can use his MMA training as context for why he feared for Floyd’s life, but he cannot give testimony on Floyd’s cause of death, as he is not a medical expert.
Two other witnesses also took the stand on Monday. The first was a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher, Jena Scurry. She made history in being the first person broadcast while giving testimony in a Minnesota courtroom.
While being questioned by prosecutors, Scurry described how she watched live surveillance video of Floyd’s arrest and called a police sergeant because she felt something was wrong. She also recalled that the squad car was shaking when officers initially tried to get Floyd inside the vehicle.
The next person to take the stand was Alisha Oyler, who was working at the Speedway at 38th and Chicago, across the street from Cup Foods, where Floyd had allegedly tried to pass a fake $20 bill. She told the court that she filmed several videos of Floyd’s arrest.
“I always see the police and they’re messing with people,” Oyler said. “And it’s wrong, and it’s not right.”
Before testimony began Monday, both sides gave their opening statements. The state went first, with prosecutor Jerry Blackwell highlighting that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
“Nine-two-nine, the three most important numbers in the case,” Blackwell said. “Nine minutes and 29 seconds is how long that went on. For half of that time, Mr. Floyd was unconscious, breathless, pulseless.”
The state played the entire bystander video that was posted to Facebook and went viral shortly after Floyd’s death, sparking day of unrest in the Twin Cities. For some on the jury, it was their first time seeing the graphic video.
Blackwell argued that police in Minneapolis have a duty to protect people in their custody and that the rationale for use of force changes from moment to moment. In his hour-long presentation, he noted that nothing in this case involved “split-second” decision-making on the part of Chauvin.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, argued that the ex-officer did what he had been trained to do during his near two-decade career on the force. He told the jury that there are hundreds of pieces of evidence in this case, urging them to consider more than just the bystander video.
The defense argued that Floyd died as a result of hypertension, coronary disease, and because he ate “speedball” pills containing methamphetamine and fentanyl.
Outside the courthouse, more than a dozen community groups protested, demanding accountability for Chauvin and police overall. They gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center and marched through the streets of downtown Minneapolis.
Earlier in the day, Floyd’s relatives, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and The Rev. Al Sharpton, held a press conference outside the courthouse. Sharpton called Floyd’s death a “lynching by knee.” Moments later, everyone in the group knelt for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to signify how long Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.
“America is on trial to see if we can hold police accountable if they break the law,” Sharpton said.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Three other former Minneapolis officers are also charged with aiding and abetting in Floyd’s death. They are scheduled to stand trial in August.