UPDATE (4:45 p.m.): A second clip from Derek Chauvin’s body camera was shown during Lt. James Rugel’s testimony.
This footage showed officers trying to put George Floyd in the back of a squad car. It concluded when Chauvin’s body camera somehow came off of his uniform and ended up under the car.
After the footage was shown, Judge Peter Cahill excused the jury for the day but asked Rugel to stay behind.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson did not cross examine Rugel, but did ask him foundational questions about playback of the city’s surveillance cameras and MPD body camera policy and functionality.
Nelson submitted to the court a flash drive containing lengthier versions of the officers’ body camera footage, as well as footage from a Park Police officer the defense intends to call as a witness.
Court is adjourned until Thursday morning.
UPDATE (4:20 p.m.): With Minneapolis Police Department Lt. James Rugel on the witness stand, the state played body camera footage from all four of the officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
Footage from now ex-officers Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin played in that order. Footage from Lane, Kueng and Thao depicted similar time periods – from the time officers arrived on scene to when Floyd was loaded on a stretcher into an ambulance.
Chauvin’s footage was shorter, showing only him driving in a squad car.
At one point during Lane’s video, the state paused and asked Rugel to identify a black object under the squad car outside of Cup Foods. Rugel said it was a body camera, and later identified it as Chauvin’s.
UPDATE (3 p.m.): The state’s next witness is Lt. James Jeffrey Rugel, who works in the business technology unit of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Prosecutors described him as a “foundational” witness.
UPDATE (2:15 p.m.): The defense declines to cross examine Charles McMillian, a bystander who spoke with George Floyd as officers arrested him.
McMillian had a brief exchange with Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer accused of murdering Floyd, after Floyd was taken away in an ambulance.
“Why did you feel the need to talk to Mr. Chauvin?” Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge asked.
“Because what I watched was wrong,” McMillian said.
UPDATE (1:50 p.m.): The court takes a brief break after Charles McMillian, a bystander who spoke with George Floyd as officers arrested him, becomes emotional on the stand.
McMillian started crying after watching surveillance and body camera footage of Floyd’s arrest.
The 61-year-old witness told Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge he was driving near Cup Foods on the night of Floyd’s death and decided to stop and approach the scene because he was “being nosy.”
McMillian neared the squad car as officers were trying to put Floyd in the back seat.
“I was telling Mr. Floyd, ‘Mr. Floyd, just comply with them, get on in the car because you can’t win,'” McMillian said. “I was just trying to get him to go … Because I have had interactions with officers myself and I understand once you get in the cuffs you can’t win, you’re done.”
McMillian also said he knew Derek Chauvin, the ex-officer accused of murdering Floyd, from the community and had spoken to him just a few days before Floyd’s death.
UPDATE (1:25 p.m.): The state has called its next witness, a 61-year-old man named Charles McMillian, who was driving near 38th & Chicago on the night of George Floyd’s death.
UPDATE (12:16 p.m.): Witness No. 10 in the trial of Derek Chauvin takes the stand. His name is Christopher Belfrey, and he’s a 45-year-old man who lives in south Minneapolis.
He told the court that he drove to Cup Foods on the evening of May 25 to get food, and pulled up right behind the car that George Floyd was in. He recorded video on his phone of ex-officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng arresting Floyd. This is before Chauvin arrived on the scene.
The audio on the video was muffled by the car windows, but when Belfrey was asked what he heard, he says that officers demanded to see Floyd’s hands and that Floyd was saying “something about having been shot.”
Not wanting to get blocked in at the intersection, Belfrey said he moved his car across the street, near Cup Foods. He recorded another video, which was presented to the court, showing Floyd sitting outside the Dragon Wok restaurant in handcuffs. Officers then pick him up and walk him across the street.
Belfrey told the court he stopped recording because an officer had given him a look, which made him nervous. He said he thought that officers had detained Floyd and drove away.
The defense did not cross examine Belfrey; he was allowed to step down from the stand.
The court then took a lunch break.
New video from witness 10 Christopher Belfrey shows #GeorgeFloyd on the ground as officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng made the initial response. New angle in the moments before Chauvin arrived. #ChauvinTrial pic.twitter.com/CzcNQPWqKS
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) March 31, 2021
UPDATE (11:48 a.m.): Christopher Martin, the teenage Cup Foods worker to whom George Floyd handed a fake $20 bill, continued his testimony.
Martin told the court that he offered to cover the $20 out of his own pocket, but his manager told him to go outside and confront Floyd for a second time. When later he saw Floyd being arrested, he recorded a video, but said he deleted it later that night. He said he knew that Floyd had died because the ambulance didn’t take the fastest route to the hospital.
Martin said that he felt disbelief and guilt over what happened on May 25. “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,” he said.
The 19-year-old told the court that he spoke with another Black man who witnessed Floyd’s arrest. “This is what we have to deal with,” he said he told the bystander, who was yelling at Derek Chauvin and another officer. “They’re not going to help him.”
Martin had been working at the Cup Foods for just months before Floyd’s death. He says he stopped working their because of concerns for his safety.
When questioned by the defense, Martin testified that he didn’t often encounter counterfeit bills while working at Cup Foods. However, he knew the bill Floyd had used was fake due to its texture and coloring. He said that the man who was with Floyd when he encountered him in a vehicle outside the store also tried to pass a fake bill earlier in the day.
While Martin said he immediately refused to take the fake bill from the other man, he hesitated with Floyd, believing that he might not have known it was fake due to his appearing to be high.
VIDEO: Cashier and witness Christopher Martin said he felt guilty about taking the $20 bill, saying if he hadn’t, the incident “could have been avoided.” #DerekChauvinTrial
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) March 31, 2021
UPDATE (10:09 a.m.): The next witness to take the stand in the Derek Chauvin trial is Christopher Martin, who lived above Cup Foods and worked at the store.
The prosecution presented new video in the case showing George Floyd inside Cup Foods on May 25 not long before he would die in Minneapolis police custody just outside the store. In the video, Floyd buys a pack of cigarettes from Martin, who believed that Floyd gave him a fake $20 bill.
Martin explained to the court that if he were to accept the counterfeit bill, it’d come out of his paycheck, per the store’s policy. The video shows Martin talking with his manager, who told him to go out to the car Floyd was in and talk to him.
Before Floyd bought cigarettes, Martin said he spoke with Floyd in the store, mostly about which sports he played. Martin said that Floyd’s answers were delayed and he appeared to be high.
Before buying cigarettes, Floyd can be seen in the video milling around the store, talking with people, fidgeting in his pockets, and apparently dancing. He was wearing a black tank top and black pants.
In the middle of Martin’s testimony, the court took a break after one of the juror signaled to the judge that they needed a moment.
LIVE: New surveillance video from inside Cup Foods on May 25, 2020 is being shown in the Derek Chauvin trial.
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) March 31, 2021
UPDATE (9:39 a.m.): Genevieve Hansen, the Minneapolis firefighter who testified Tuesday that she was blocked from helping George Floyd, again took the stand in the trial of Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, asked her a single question: Did she show any ID proving she was a firefighter at the scene of 38th and Chicago? She said no.
On redirect, prosecutor Matthew Frank clarified that Hansen was not carrying identification at the time.
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin is expected to continue Wednesday with the firefighter who wept in court as she recounted how Chauvin and another former Minneapolis police officer wouldn’t let her intervene to help George Floyd.
Genevieve Hansen is set to take the stand again in Hennepin County District Court when the trial resumes around 9:15 a.m. WCCO-TV is streaming the trial on CBSN Minnesota, with gavel-to-gavel coverage lead by Jason DeRusha.
Hansen was one of six witnesses to testify Tuesday on what they saw of Floyd’s final moments. Dressed in her Minneapolis Fire Department uniform, Hansen told the court that she tried to help as she watched Chauvin kneel on Floyd’s neck, even after he appeared to go unconscious. She called 911, and the audio was played in court.
“I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man,” Hansen said on the call.
Among those who also testified Tuesday were four witnesses who were minors at the time of Floyd’s death. One of them was Darnella Frazier, who recorded the bystander video of Floyd’s arrest that went viral, sparking unrest in the Twin Cities and a national reckoning on racism and police brutality.
Frazier, who is now 18, said that she was walking to Cup Foods with her cousin to get snacks when she saw Floyd being held down, looking “terrified, begging for his life.” She said she told her cousin to go into the store so she wouldn’t watch Floyd suffer and began recording the arrest on her cellphone.
She told the court that what she saw changed her life.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, because they are all Black,” Frazier said. She added that the memory keeps her up at night, as she feels sorry she didn’t do more to help Floyd.
Frazier was not shown on video, nor were any other of the minors, because they were under 18 on the night Floyd died. Only their voices were broadcast on the court feed.
One of the other minors to testify was Frazier’s cousin. The 9-year-old told the court that she saw police “putting their knee on the neck of George Floyd.” She identified Chauvin in court.
All of the witnesses Tuesday gave notably similar testimony, with a number of them wiping away tears as they recalled pleading for Chauvin and another former officer, Tou Thao, to help Floyd. Donald Williams, a mixed martial arts fighter, testified he was so upset watching Chauvin hold his knee on Floyd’s neck that he called 911.
“I did call the police on the police,” Williams said. When asked why, he responded: “Because I believed I witnessed a murder.”
Chauvin is facing charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.
According to criminal defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, because a child witnessed Floyd’s fatal arrest, it’s possible that prosecutors could seek an upward departure in sentencing, meaning that Chauvin may face more years behind bars than what is outlined in the state’s sentencing guidelines.