MINNEAPOLIS — Editor's note: Some of the images depicted in the video and testimony are graphic.
Tuesday, March 30
- Off-duty firefighter who called 911 on officers testified, defense will resume questioning Wednesday morning
- Judge warned her: 'Do not argue with the court'
- Young woman who filmed bystander video of George Floyd delivered emotional testimony: 'When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad'
- Four young witnesses testified about seeing Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck
- Mixed martial arts fighter finished testimony about 'blood choke' hold
The jury heard testimony Tuesday from several bystanders, many of whom became emotional when they said they could not save George Floyd's life.
Darnella, who was 17 at the time, took the Facebook video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck that went viral across the globe. The state called her as a witness Tuesday and she cried as she recounted the night of May 25, 2020.
"It's been nights I stayed up ... apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more," she said.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.
The jury heard from two other teen bystanders and Darnella's 9-year-old cousin, all of whom witnessed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck. The judge ruled earlier in the day that audio of these witnesses could be broadcast, but not video, due to their young age.
After that, Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen took the stand. She was heard on video telling officers to check Floyd's pulse, and later called 911 to report what she saw. She told the jury that she wanted to provide medical attention to Floyd, but officers did not allow it.
Earlier Tuesday, the state and defense finished questioning MMA fighter Donald Wynn Williams II, who can also be heard on video telling officers to check Floyd's pulse.
In answer to questions about that day he said, "I felt like I had to speak for Floyd."
Tuesday, March 30
After admonishing a witness that she cannot argue with the defense attorney and needs to answer his questions, Judge Peter Cahill told her to come back to finish her testimony on Wednesday.
Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter who saw Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck and called 911 on the officers, testified on Tuesday. She said she wanted to provide medical attention to Floyd, but the officers did not allow it.
Derek Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, cross-examined a firefighter who testified that she wanted to provide medical attention to George Floyd.
Nelson first asked Genevieve Hansen about her dress uniform, which she was wearing in court. He said she did not have her uniform on May 25, 2020, and she said that's because she was off-duty.
Nelson asked Hansen about her training and experience as a firefighter.
"You're not able to save everyone, right?" Nelson asked. "And there's a level of trauma that comes with that?"
"Sometimes," she responded.
Nelson asked Hansen if anyone has ever tried to tell her how to do her job while fighting a fire, or filmed her. She said that someone has indeed filmed her.
"Have you ever had a citizen start to yell at you while you were fighting a fire?" he asked. "No," she said.
When asked whether someone yelling at her would make it hard to do her job, she said, "I'm very confident in the training that I've been given." She said she would not be concerned about a person who was not trained telling her what to do.
"What if they started calling you names?" Nelson asked.
"Like I said, I know my job and I would be confident in doing my job and there's nothing anybody could say that could distract me," Hansen answered.
She gave the same answer when asked what she would do if someone threatened her.
Nelson asked Hansen if police are sometimes the ones to call for medical assistance when there is a medical emergency.
"Wouldn't it be reasonable to assume that the police had already called for medics?" Nelson asked.
Hansen said that the time it took medics to respond seemed too long to her.
"You have no frame of reference of when police called for medics," he said.
Hansen said no, but she knows how long it takes to respond. She said the nearest fire station, #17, would have been able to respond in three minutes.
Nelson told her that a code three call went out for medical assistance five minutes before she arrived, and Hansen said she did not believe that.
"There was something wrong when requesting medical assistance," she said. "Because the fire, whether it's 17 or a different station, would have been able to respond to that call much sooner than medics were."
Hansen said she has experience dealing with a lot of overdose calls, and is trained in administering NARCAN, used to treat opiate overdoses.
Nelson asked if police often respond to drug overdoses because when the person is revived, they may become combative.
She said that doesn't happen often, but she has seen it.
Nelson asked if Hansen filmed because memory is "fallible" and that stressful situations can impact memory.
"Absolutely, that's why we're lucky it was videotaped," she said.
The defense asked Hansen if she would agree that her tone got more frustrated and upset as time progressed.
"More desperate," she said. Hansen added that she got more angry after the ambulance left.
"There was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody."
Nelson asked if people in the crowd were yelling, and Hansen agreed.
"I don't know if you've seen anybody be killed, but it's upsetting," she said. Nelson objected and Judge Cahill asked her to keep her answers more direct.
Nelson asked if she recalled telling agents that the fluid she saw near Floyd was his urine, and she said she does not recall. He asked if she remembered telling agents that Chauvin had his hands in his pockets, and she said she "vaguely" remembered.
Looking at the transcript of that interview, Nelson said Hansen told agents it was a "heavy crowd." He also pointed out that Hansen described Floyd as small and slim at that time.
"With three grown men on top of somebody, it appeared that he was small and frail," she said.
The judge asked the jury to leave briefly and then warned Hansen that she needs to answer the defense attorney's questions.
"Do not argue with the court, do not argue with counsel, answer the questions, do not volunteer information that was not requested," Judge Cahill said.
He told Hansen to come back Wednesday morning at 9:30 to finish her testimony.
Another major witness for the state, a firefighter who called 911 on the officers detaining George Floyd, took the stand Tuesday.
Before Genevieve Hansen testified, prosecutors played bystander video for the jury that showed her asking officers to check Floyd's pulse.
On the video, Hansen tells officers that she's a Minneapolis first responder.
"The fact that you guys aren't checking his pulse and doing compressions if he needs them, you guys are on another level," she can be heard saying.
"I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man," she later said on a 911 call. "I am a first responder myself."
After the jury saw the video, Hansen took the stand wearing her professional uniform and badge. She is 27 and has been a firefighter for about two years. She also has her state and national certification as an EMT.
She told prosecutor Matthew Frank that she has entered burning buildings and pulled people out while on duty. However, she said the great majority of cases she responds to are medical.
Hansen said she has provided resuscitation to someone who has no pulse "many times."
"Majority of times we arrive before the paramedics," she said.
Hansen said the day Floyd died, she wanted to have a "peaceful day." She took a walk and sat in a garden on 38th Street, she said, and decided to take Chicago Avenue home.
She told Frank that she saw lights and thought the fire department might be there, so she approached the scene. She then heard a woman "screaming that they were killing him."
"I was concerned to see a handcuffed man who was not moving with officers with their whole body weight on his back," she said.
Frank showed Hansen surveillance video that showed her moving backward to the sidewalk. He asked her why she did that.
"The officer controlling the scene was requesting that we stay on the sidewalk," she said. "Demanding that we stay on the sidewalk."
Frank had her point out the officer, Tou Thao.
At some point, Hansen said, she started recording with her phone.
She told the prosecutor that she recognized Chauvin's face from another recent call, but she did not know him.
"I noticed leaning, the officers were leaning over his body with, it appeared to be the majority of their weight on Mr. Floyd," she said. Hansen said she remembers seeing four officers on his body, but knows now that there were three.
She said she was "absolutely" concerned.
"He wasn't moving and he was cuffed," she said. "Three grown men putting their weigh on somebody is a lot, too much."
Hansen said Floyd was not moving.
"The first thing that concerned me is his face was like, smushed into the ground," she said. "Appearing swollen to me."
She said she identified herself right away because she noticed that Floyd needed medical attention. She said he had an "altered level of consciousness," which in her training is the first sign that someone needs medical help.
"My attention moved from Mr. Floyd to, how can I gain access to this patient," she said.
Hansen noticed fluid that looked like it was coming from Floyd's body, and she said she knows that patients release their bladders when they die sometimes.
She said first responders often use "painful stimuli" to determine someone's level of consciousness, for instance pushing down hard on their fingernail. She said since Chauvin's knee was a painful stimuli, she could see that Floyd was not responding to it.
"He had an altered level of consciousness to the level that he wasn't responding to painful stimuli," she said.
She said of Chauvin, "He seemed very comfortable with the majority of his weight balanced on top of Mr. Floyd's neck."
Once she determined that Floyd had an altered level of consciousness, she moved on to needing to find a pulse. She told Frank that Officer Tou Thao told her if she really was a first responder, she would "know better than to get involved."
"That's not right," she said. "I mean, that's exactly what I should have done. There was no medical assistance on scene and I got there and could have given medical assistance. That's exactly what I should have done."
"Had they let me into the scene," she said, "I would have requested additional help. I would have wanted someone to call 911 ... I would have asked someone to run to the gas station and look for an AED, and I would have checked his airway. I would have been worried about a spinal cord injury because he had so much weight on his neck. I would have opened his airway to check for any obstructions. And I would have checked for a pulse."
She said then she would have started compressions at a rate of 100 a minute "until help arrived."
She said she was not able to do that "because the officers wouldn't let me into the scene." She said she also told the officers that they needed to start compressions themselves, but they did not.
Frank asked her if that made her frustrated, and she began to cry. "Yes," she said.
"I tried different tactics of calm and reasoning, I tried to be assertive," she said. "I pled and was desperate."
When asked by the prosecution if she also raised her voice and used foul language, she said yes. She told Frank she never saw officers take Floyd's pulse. However, she said the other officers could have checked his pulse without her seeing. She eventually started recording video.
"I'm not sure why I chose to do it," she said. "It's an instinct."
Hansen can be seen standing outside Cup Foods after the ambulance left. She told Frank she felt "helpless."
"There was a man being killed and I would have, had I had access to a call similar to that, I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities and this human was denied that right," she said.
Hansen made a 911 call afterward, and said in hindsight she should have done that sooner. The call ended at some point and Hansen said it may have been because a fire crew arrived and she knew she could talk to them face to face. She knew two of the firefighters.
After a fourth young witness finished testifying Tuesday afternoon, the judge ordered a short break for the prosecution to reorganize before they call their next witness.
The final of four young witnesses took the stand Tuesday afternoon. The judge ruled earlier in the day that these four people, two of whom were juveniles at the time of Floyd's death and two of whom are still minors, cannot be shown on video.
The last teen witness, who is 17 years old, told prosecutor Erin Eldridge that she had some anxiety being on the stand.
"Because of what happened, I just want the truth to come out," she said.
She told Eldridge she was there in court "for George Floyd."
She arrived at the scene with her friend, who testified before her on Tuesday. Eldridge asked her what she noticed when she got there.
"We hear George Floyd's voice yelling out for his mom and saying he can't breathe," she said.
The witness told Eldridge that her friend told her to stay in the car, which she did at first. She said she could hear Floyd yelling from the car.
"When I started hearing voices getting louder, I got out of the car," she said. "I guess it was kind of just a gut feeling."
She said she got out of the car and "saw George Floyd unconscious, and Derek on his neck."
"He wasn't talking anymore, and when we pulled up, he was talking," she said. "His eyes were closed. He wasn't moving."
Eldridge asked her what she saw Chauvin doing at this point.
"I saw him kind of digging his knee into his neck more, like he was putting a lot of pressure on his neck that wasn't needed," she said. "You could see it, like his foot movement."
The witness said she heard the other bystanders telling him to check for a pulse. She said she did not see the officers do anything, and did not see Chauvin get off Floyd.
"I asked, 'Why are you guys still on top of him? He's not doing anything wrong. He's handcuffed,'" she said.
She said the officers did not respond to her.
"They were really hostile," she said. "Officer Thao was really angry. ... He pushed one of the witnesses then, onto the sidewalk."
The prosecutor asked if any of the bystanders were hostile toward police. The witness responded, "No, they were just using their voice."
She said she was scared of Chauvin.
"He did grab his mace and started shaking it at us," she said.
The witness told Eldridge that she thought an officer pushed Donald Williams, a bystander who testified earlier Tuesday. She said she was worried it would escalate, and was concerned for everyone's safety.
She told the prosecutor that the paramedics had to "signal" Chauvin to get up.
"He looked kind of like purple, like he wasn't getting enough circulation," she said of Floyd. "He was really limp."
"I didn't know for sure if George Floyd was dead until after the fact, but I had a gut feeling," she said. She did not see any of the officers attempt to render first aid before the ambulance got there, she told Eldridge.
Derek Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, began to cross-examine one of the state's youngest witnesses, an 18-year-old bystander who filmed video of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck.
She took the stand after another teen witness, Darnella, who uploaded a video of the same scene that went viral across the globe.
Nelson asked her about a statement she made to authorities in September, saying that she saw the officers check Floyd's pulse multiple times before the ambulance got there. She said she does not believe she said "multiple times."
After seeing the transcript of that interview, she said "yes I did" but added that she told them later that it looked like they did not find one.
Nelson asked if she was angry and she said yes. He asked if others in the crowd were angry, and she said "I would assume so."
The prosecution asked a couple of questions upon redirect, clarifying that while the witness was angry, she and the other bystanders did not make threats toward officers.
The defense declined to cross-examine the teen, and she stepped down after the state finished questioning her.
After a lunch break Tuesday, the state called its next witness to the stand. The 18-year-old is the third in a series of four young people called by the state. She said she works at a retail pharmacy.
Judge Peter Cahill has agreed to mute the audio while the younger witnesses are saying their full names, and to broadcast audio but no video of their testimony. Two are still juveniles and two were minors at the time of Floyd's death.
The third young witness Tuesday told the prosecutor, Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge, that she went to Cup Foods on May 25 to buy an aux cord for her car. She saw police squad cars when she was trying to park, and told her friend to stay in the car because she didn't know what was going on.
She said she saw George Floyd on the ground with some officers.
"There was already a couple bystanders there, and I just heard some people talking to let him up and just to stay calm, talking to George," she said. "I heard him say he couldn't breathe and that his stomach hurt, and that he wanted his mom."
The 18-year-old told Eldridge that she had her friend's phone with her.
"I knew initially that something was wrong, so I started recording," she said. "A lot of people looked in distress on the sidewalk and George was in distress."
She said she could see Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck, and two other officers holding him down.
"At first he was vocal and then he got less vocal," she said. "You could tell he was talking with smaller and smaller breaths, and he would spit a little when he talked, and he tried to move his head because he was uncomfortable."
She said she got more concerned as time went on.
"You could see in his face that he was slowly not being able to breathe, his eyes were rolling back, and at one point he just kind of sat there," she said. "Or laid there."
The 18-year-old began to cry at this point and said it was difficult for her to talk about it.
"It was difficult because I felt like there wasn't really anything that I could do as a bystander," she said. "I felt like I was failing him."
When the prosecutor asked why she felt that way, she said, "Because I was there, and technically I could have did something, but I couldn't really do anything physically what I wanted to do." She told the prosecutor that was because "there was another police officer kind of like, pushing the crowd back, making sure everyone was on the sidewalk and didn't get close."
She said when the bystanders asked about Floyd's pulse, "No one responded."
Eldridge asked the woman how Chauvin was acting.
"I didn't really see him take his eyes off of him, for the most part," she said. "At one point I saw him put more and more weight onto him."
The prosecutor asked how she could tell, and she said "I saw his back leg lift off the ground, and his hands go into his pocket. ... I kind of saw him move his knee down more, make little movements."
The witness told the prosecutor and the jury that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck "even when the paramedic was checking for a pulse."
She said she did not see Chauvin move until the paramedics took Floyd to the ambulance.
Eldridge began to show the witness surveillance video of the scene, interspersed with the woman's own cell phone videos.
She identified her own voice in the recording, saying, "Why are you kneeing him more?"
"At that point I saw him, like, moving toward him more, putting more pressure," she said.
She explained that at the point where she'd told the officers, "He's not talking now," she could see that Floyd was struggling to breathe. Then she said, "He's about to knock out."
"I could see that he was going unconscious and his eyes were starting to roll to the back of his head and he had some saliva coming out of his mouth," she told Eldridge.
She then explained why she told officers that Floyd had not moved in over a minute.
"I knew time was running out or that it had already," she said. "That he was going to die."
The witness told Eldridge that at some point she believed that Floyd may have died.
"His eyes were closed and he was just laying there," she said. "No longer fighting or resisting. ... He didn't look alive. I noticed that the paramedics looked at his eyes, checked his pulse and just proceeded to put him on the gurney, didn't really say anything."
She said she asked about the officers' badge numbers because she felt that all she could do was capture what was going on with her camera.
"I just wanted to make sure I got everyone there," she said. "That's why I was moving around a lot."
The witness said it was difficult to stay there, watching.
"I almost walked away at first because it was a lot to watch, but I knew that it was wrong and I couldn't just walk away, even though I couldn't do anything about it."
She hasn't been back to Cup Foods to this day, she said, because she doesn't want to be reminded.
After the teen bystander who filmed a video at the center of the case took the stand, so did her 9-year-old cousin.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell questioned the girl, who went to Cup Foods the night of May 25, 2020 with her cousin Darnella.
Darnella, who was 17 at the time, told jurors that she sent her cousin into the store before she filmed the scene, because she thought the girl was too young to see what was happening.
The girl told Blackwell that she saw George Floyd with a knee on his neck, and that the officer did not get up.
"The ambulance had to push him off of him," she said. "They asked him nicely to get off of him."
Blackwell asked how it made her feel.
"I was sad and kind of mad," she said. "Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing and it was kind of like hurting him."
After about five minutes Blackwell said he had no more questions, and defense attorney Eric Nelson declined to cross-examine.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell had a chance to redirect the defense's questioning of Darnella, the teen bystander who shot video of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck.
Blackwell asked her again about the safety of the neighborhood, and about the bystander crowd. He asked if she saw anything that would indicate that Chauvin was afraid of her or the other bystanders, or that he was trying to get out of the way of cars going by. She said no.
Referring to her comments that the crowd got louder, Blackwell asked, "Are you the sort of person who in response to seeing someone potentially harmed on the street, gets louder?"
"I bottle things up," she said. "I have social anxiety so it's really out of my comfort zone to be that out person. But when I seen what I saw, at moments I was loud."
Blackwell asked Darnella how viewing what happened to George Floyd has affected her life.
Darnella cried as she gave her answer.
"When I look at George Floyd, I look at, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all Black," she said. "And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them. It's been nights I stayed up apologizing and, and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting with him. Not saving his life. It's like, it's not what I should have done. It's what he should have done."
Eric Nelson, the defense attorney for Derek Chauvin, had his chance to cross-examine one of the state's major witnesses Tuesday morning.
He asked Darnella, the teen bystander who filmed a video of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck, about the crowd of people on the sidewalk that night. She confirmed that there were about 12 people by the time Floyd was taken away by an ambulance, and that generally the intersection is fairly busy.
Nelson asked Darnella about her interview with law enforcement afterward. She told agents at that point that Chauvin didn't say much, and she mainly interacted with former officer Tou Thao.
She told Nelson that it's fair to say she couldn't hear the other officers.
"Would you agree that initially when you started recording, you weren't saying much if anything to the officers?" Nelson said. "But as time went on and more people showed up, voices became louder."
Darnella said that was because they were reacting to what they saw. She acknowledged that people called officers names and the the volume grew louder.
"Yes, more so as he was becoming more unresponsive," she said.
She remembered Thao saying to her that if Floyd could talk, he could breathe.
Darnella said she had walked to Cup Foods hundreds if not thousands of times, and felt safe doing so. But she acknowledged that "some nights" it was more dangerous.
"I feel like any area has some type of crime," she said.
Nelson asked if Darnella's video going viral had changed her life.
"It has," she said.
He then ended his questioning.
After a morning break, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell resumed his questioning of Darnella, the teen bystander who filmed the video at the center of the case.
Blackwell asked her how Chauvin responded to her and the other bystanders on the scene as they asked him to get off of George Floyd.
"He just stared at us, looked at us," she said. "He had like this cold look, heartless. He didn't care."
"It seemed as if he didn't care," she corrected herself, based on earlier instruction by the judge.
Darnella told Blackwell that when paramedics arrived, one of them checked Floyd's pulse. She said at that point, Chauvin was still on Floyd's neck. She said the paramedic gave Chauvin a "motion" telling him to get off.
Court is in recess for a morning break. At 11:15 a.m., prosecutor Jerry Blackwell will continue questioning Darnella, the young woman who took a bystander video at the center of the case.
The young woman who took a bystander video of George Floyd under Derek Chauvin's knee is taking the stand Tuesday.
She was 17 at the time but is now an adult. Still, Judge Peter Cahill ruled that she will not be broadcast on video due to her young age.
The woman received the 2020 PEN/Benenson Courage Award for documenting the scene. In court she will be referred to only by her first name, Darnella.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell began questioning Darnella Tuesday, showing her some surveillance video of the scene.
"I see a man on the ground and I see a cop kneeling down on him," she said. She said she did not want her younger cousin to see the scene, and directed her to go into Cup Foods.
"It wasn't right, he was suffering, he was in pain," Darnella said, becoming emotional on the stand.
Blackwell asked her to identify Derek Chauvin in the courtroom and told her to take her time as she composed herself, appearing to fight back tears and breathing deeply. She then identified Chauvin as the officer who was kneeling on Floyd's neck.
Blackwell asked Darnella if any of the bystanders physically threatened or got violent with the police. She said no.
She described words the witnesses used including "You're hurting him," "He's not breathing," and "You're a bum."
When asked how Floyd looked when she first saw him, Darnella said he was restrained on the ground.
"It didn't look like he could move much but his head," she said.
She told the prosecution that Floyd said he would get up if he could.
"He was saying how much in pain he was," she said. "He couldn't breathe."
Darnella described a firefighter at the scene, Genevieve Hansen, who asked police to check Floyd's pulse. She said they would not allow it and said the officers would not let bystanders get close. "They put their hand on their mace," she said.
"Did you feel threatened by the police officers?" Blackwell asked. "Yes," Darnella said. "Did you feel threatened by Mr. Chauvin?" "Yes."
Blackwell asked Darnella if she saw Chauvin get up to allow Floyd to breathe, attempt to administer CPR, or ask for a volunteer to administer CPR. She said no. "If anything, he actually was kneeling harder," she said. "Like, he was shoving his knee in his neck."
Judge Peter Cahill told the jurors that the next four witnesses will be juveniles or were juveniles at the time of Floyd's death. He said that means the video will not show those witnesses because of his prior ruling, but the jury will be able to see them.
Upon final redirect, defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Williams if he has ever had a conversation with his opponent while he was being choked out.
"We don't talk to each other, so no," Williams said.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank returned to the stand to respond. He asked Williams if when he is being choked out in a fight, he taps his opponent's arm.
"That's to prevent it from going too far?" Frank asked. "The tap out is the communication you use to your opponent to say, 'Hey, let up.' And your opponent has to follow that communication."
"Correct," Williams said.
After the defense cross-examined MMA fighter and bystander witness Donald Wynn Williams II, the prosecution had one more chance to redirect.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Williams if he has ever had a situation in MMA where the opponent was handcuffed, or three people were fighting against one. Williams said no.
Frank asked Williams about the situations he'd mentioned where a person is choked out but comes back. He asked if the fight usually stops at that point.
"Right away, immediately, medical attention," Williams said.
The prosecution asked Williams how he has de-escalated the angry crowds he's dealt with during his time in security work.
"Just being humane with the person would work for me in downtown Minneapolis as a security guard," he said. He said he would have to "solve this problem without putting physical force on them, unless they are putting physical force on me."
Frank asked Williams what his reaction was when former officer Tou Thao put his hand on Williams' chest.
Williams said he swiped his hand away, put his hands up and stepped back.
"So you didn't want officer Thao touching you," Frank said. "And other than pushing his hand away, you didn't touch him."
Williams said that was accurate.
"While you were there watching, was there a time where you saw Mr. Floyd lose consciousness?" Frank asked. "That's correct," Williams said.
"You were asked multiple times about being angry," Frank said. "And more and more upset as time went on. So why? Why did you get angry and more and more upset as time went on?"
Williams said it was because no one was listening to him.
"I felt like I had to speak for Floyd because he was speaking out to the officer and there was no feedback, no emotion, no nothing," he said. Williams added later, "I felt like he was in the process of losing consciousness."
"You were concerned about Mr. Floyd losing his life?" Frank asked. "Correct," Williams said.
The defense for Derek Chauvin had a chance to cross-examine the state's third witness Tuesday morning, an MMA fighter who witnessed Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck and told the jury he recognized a "blood choke."
Defense attorney Eric Nelson began by asking Donald Wynn Williams II about his training in "flow wrestling" and using his body weight.
"The notion of a chokehold is very common within the martial arts community, right?" Nelson asked Williams. "And there are many forms, right?"
Nelson told Williams that he looked up his MMA competitive record and found that it was five wins and six losses in 11 fights. Williams countered that he believed he was six and six.
The defense asked Williams about voluntarily submitting to being put into chokeholds as a part of his training, and rendering other people in practice unconscious.
Nelson questioned Williams about the difference between an air choke and a blood choke. Nelson said that an air choke cuts off oxygen from the front of the neck, "and in doing so you can render someone unconscious." Williams said "I'm not a medical person so I won't answer that."
In a blood choke, the blood supply is cut off to both sides of the neck, Nelson said. Williams disagreed, saying that it cuts off only one side of the neck.
Nelson asked Williams how long it takes to render someone unconscious. He said sometimes only seconds.
When asked if he has ever seen someone "come back to" and start fighting again after he's rendered them unconscious, Williams said he has not had this happen to him personally but he's seen it on UFC.
Nelson asked Williams if he has ever dealt with a crowd of upset people in his work as a security guard.
Williams said he has, and that he is able to “still be professional and focus on what’s going on in front of me.” He said he has been afraid in these situations before.
Nelson asked him if was aware that an ambulance had been called three minutes before his arrival.
“You were not aware that the police had been dealing with Mr. Floyd for 15 minutes prior to your arrival?”
“Not at all.”
Nelson asked Williams if he would agree that he grew "more and more upset" as he interacted with the officers on the scene.
"I was in a position where I had to be controlled, professional," Williams said.
Nelson recounted the things that Williams called the officer: "bogus," "bum," and "tough guy." Williams acknowledged this. "Those terms grew more and more angry, would you agree with that?" Nelson said.
Nelson said that Williams' voice grew "louder and louder."
"So I could be heard," Williams said.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank resumed questioning the state's third witness Tuesday morning.
Donald Wynn Williams II is an MMA fighter with a background in security. He can be heard on bystander video telling the officers to check George Floyd's pulse.
Frank continued to ask Williams what he saw while Derek Chauvin's knee was on Floyd's neck, a move that Williams referred to on Monday as a "blood choke."
"You could see that he was going through tremendous pain," he said. "You could see his eyes slowly rolling back in his head and him having his mouth open."
Williams told Frank, "I felt like he was in very much danger."
The prosecution asked Williams about attempts he made to keep the crowd calm. He told the jury that he did not hear anyone threaten the officers' safety.
Williams told Frank that he called 911 after George Floyd was taken away in the ambulance.
"I did call the police on the police," he said. "Because I believe I witnessed a murder."
Prosecutors played that call for the jury. Williams could be heard saying, "He pretty much just killed this guy that wasn't resisting arrest."
"I didn't know what else to do, I didn't know what to do," Williams said. "But call."
Court is in recess until the state's third witness returns at about 9:15 a.m.: Donald Wynn Williams II, a mixed martial arts fighter who can be heard on bystander video asking officers to check George Floyd's pulse.
Judge Peter Cahill began pretrial proceedings Tuesday by explaining a technical glitch that closed court early on Monday. He said a power surge knocked out the feed to the Floyd family room in the courthouse as well as the media center.
He then heard an argument from prosecutors over a motion to keep juvenile witnesses from being broadcast.
"This is a very, very public trial," the prosecutor said. "There is a lot of online coverage."
Prosecutors said four of the witnesses were minors at the time of the incident, and two are still under 18. The state wants a pseudonym or just first names used. Cahill previously ruled no video on these witnesses, but prosecutors are asking for no audio as well.
The media coalition spoke to the judge arguing that one particular witness, the young woman who filmed the viral bystander video at the center of the case, should be broadcast. She was a minor at the time but is now an adult.
Cahill immediately denied the motion to restrict the audio feed "with one exception." He said all four witnesses who were juveniles at the time can state and spell their names with the audio feed muted. "They may be referred to by first names," he said.
The judge maintained that video will not be broadcast of any of the four witnesses, who all expressed "discomfort" being shown.
"I know technically that two are now adults," Cahill said. "This is more to give them comfort testifying as witnesses in what is a very high-profile trial. And given their young age, I am going to grant it."
Monday, March 29
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell gave his opening statement Monday morning, playing video shot by a bystander of Floyd under Chauvin's knee.
"You can believe your eyes that it's a homicide, that it's murder," Blackwell said.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson followed the statement from prosecutors with his own opening statement, pointing to Floyd's drug use and preexisting medical conditions as cause of death.
"When you hear the actual evidence, and when you apply the law, reason and common sense, there will be only one just verdict," Nelson said.
Following opening statements, three witnesses testified: The 911 dispatcher who sent officers to Cup Foods and then reported their use of force to a sergeant, a shift lead at the Speedway on 38th and Chicago, and another bystander, a professional fighter with a background in security who can be heard on video telling officers to check Floyd's pulse.
Outside the courtroom Monday morning, members of George Floyd's family gathered with attorneys and civil rights leaders for an emotional press conference. Attorney Ben Crump called for justice, a sentiment echoed first by George Floyd's brother, and then by the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Before escorting Floyd's family into the Hennepin County Courthouse, the group kneeled for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the time a bystander's video first showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck.
Later Monday night, after court had adjourned for the day, more than 20 community groups gathered outside the government center for a rally and march through Minneapolis. Besides justice for George Floyd, the coalition presented a list of demands including the Minnesota legislature passing nine police reform bills. Protesters called for community control of the police force.
"There were many murders that happened before George Floyd that led up to George Floyd and our families were out here pleading and begging and asking the legislators to listen to us. Listen to us," said Toshira Garraway, founder of Families Supporting Families Against Police Violence.
The coalition also protested at the start of jury selection and plans to return outside the courthouse during key parts of the trial.