MINNEAPOLIS – Just days after the trial of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin began, jurors have already heard nine witnesses to George Floyd’s death, and several have burst into tears at the stand describing their attempts to intervene in his name.
Witnesses included a 911 dispatcher, a cashier working across the street, a mixed martial arts fighter, the teenager who recorded the now viral video of the deaths of Floyd and his 9-year-old cousin , two high school students and one out of service. Minneapolis Firefighter.
Some engaged in heated exchanges with Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson, whose questions suggested that the crowds of passers-by gathered at the scene were threatening and distracting for the officers. When Nelson asked the firefighter Genevieve Hansen if the crowd was “upset,” she said, “I don’t know if you’ve seen someone get killed, but it’s upsetting.”
As the exchange grew more confrontational, the judge berated Hansen for arguing with the court. She returned to the witness stand for about five minutes on Wednesday.
Floyd, a black man, died in police custody on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd shouted “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times. Chauvin is charged with second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Stay up to date on Derek Chauvin’s trial: Sign up for major updates text messages, follow the USA TODAY Network journalists on Twitter, or subscribe to the Daily Briefing newsletter.
- Cup Foods cashier Christopher Martin, 19, told jurors on Wednesday morning that he took the fake $ 20 cigarette bill from George Floyd on the day he died.
- Geneviève Hansen, 27, state and EMT certified firefighter, briefly returned to the stand on Wednesday morning. Hansen said Tuesday that if officers allowed her to help Floyd, she would have checked his pulse, called 911 and started chest compressions.
- Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the infamous video showing the arrest and death of George Floyd, testified on Tuesday, saying the incident had changed her life.
- She was one of four witnesses on Tuesday who were minors at the time of the incident and testified off camera, with only audio being broadcast live.
Cup Foods employee who took fake $ 20 bill from Floyd testifies
Cup Foods cashier Christopher Martin, 19, told jurors on Wednesday morning that he was the man who took George Floyd’s fake $ 20 bill – the incident that led to the call for the police who brought Chauvin and the other officers to the scene.
Martin said he noticed Floyd was a big man, so he asked him if he had played baseball. Martin said Floyd responded that he played soccer.
“It took him a little while to get to what he wanted to say. He looked a little tall,” said Martin.
Prosecutors played the store’s video feed for jurors, which initially showed Floyd in black pants and a black tank top relentlessly counting change near the checkout stand.
Genevieve Hansen, 27, a Minneapolis firefighter and trained EMT, returned to the witness stand early Wednesday. She said Tuesday she was off duty on a walk last Memorial Day when she saw flashing lights and heard a bystander scream.
Hansen tore himself apart on Tuesday during testimony about being prevented from helping Floyd when Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck area.
On Wednesday, she admitted during cross-examination of defense lawyer Eric Nelson that she did not have her working ID card with her when she arrived at the scene.
“I was worried to see a handcuffed man who did not move with the officers with all their weight on his back and a crowd that was stressed,” Hansen said Tuesday.
What you missed from day 2 of the Chauvin trial: Emotional Testimony of Adolescent Witnesses
Hansen said she was immediately concerned about Floyd because “he wasn’t moving” and “his face looked puffy and swollen.” She also noticed that he was in an altered state, no longer responding to painful stimuli – the knee on his neck with the weight of the body behind him.
She said she immediately identified herself because she believed Floyd “needed medical attention.” Hansen said she would have checked the pulse, called 911, started the chest compressions and had someone bring an external defibrillator from the gas station to help restart her heart.
She is heard on video begging the officers to check Floyd’s pulse. “I could have given medical assistance, and that’s exactly what I should have done,” she said. “(But) the officers wouldn’t let me into the scene.”
Hansen said she started recording the scene “because witnesses’ memories will never be as good as a video.”
On a 911 call after the incident, Hansen said, “I literally saw the police fail to take a pulse and do nothing to save a man,” according to a recording played for the jury.
Witnesses say they wanted to speak on behalf of George Floyd but were ‘scared’
Witnesses on Tuesday described attempts to call officers out of George Floyd’s body and said they were afraid to approach the officers, who searched for their chemical spray.
Donald Williams, a mixed martial arts fighter, told the court he was on his way to Cup Foods, where Floyd had been arrested, when he met Floyd “pleading” for his life. Williams told the court he asked officers to stop “the choking of blood,” which is a form of strangulation that leaves someone unconscious.
Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the viral video of the spectator of the incident, told jurors that she felt in danger because officers put their hands on their chemical spray when she or other members of the group tried to get closer to Chauvin and Floyd. “I didn’t even understand why the mace was even needed,” she says.
After:Darnella Frazier, teenager who videotaped George Floyd’s death, says it changed her life
Frazier said she had been awake a few nights “apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not interacting physically and saving her life. (But) it didn’t. It’s not what I should have done. It’s what he (Chauvin) should have done. “
On Tuesday afternoon, the court heard from Alyssa Nicole Funari, 18, and her friend, 17. The two said they were going to Cup Foods to get an auxiliary cordon on the day Floyd died. Funari recorded three videos of the incident using her friend’s phone.
“He looked like he was struggling to breathe,” Funari said of Floyd, adding, “I slowly knew that if he had to be held back much longer he wouldn’t live.”
Funari, crying, said she wanted to intervene but couldn’t because “there was a higher power out there” – an officer was pushing back the crowd. “I couldn’t do anything as a spectator there,” she said, adding, “I couldn’t physically do what I wanted to do.”