The former Minneapolis police officer on trial for the murder of George Floyd was first heard defending the actions of the police, saying they had to control Floyd because he was “a big guy” and “probably on something”.
This Derek Chauvin body camera video clip, played for the Hennepin County District Court jury on Wednesday, marked the first time the public had heard the former officer’s commentary on the events of May 25, 2020.
These comments were coupled with the moving testimony of Charles McMillian, a 61-year-old spectator, who broke down at the stand while watching footage of Floyd’s pleas as the police wrestled with him, trying to get him to get into their room. squad car, and finally, pinning him to the ground.
The video, which had previously been posted, was part of the dramatic and graphic police camera footage of the entire ordeal. This included the arrival of the police at the convenience store where Floyd had been accused of smuggling a fake $ 20 bill and ended with him being unresponsive and loaded on a stretcher and taken by ambulance.
The jury overheard Chauvin speaking with McMillian after the ambulance took Floyd away.
McMillian told Chauvin, who had pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as Floyd was lying on the ground, handcuffed, that he was not respecting what Chauvin had done.
WATCH | Derek Chauvin defends the actions of the police
“It’s one person’s opinion,” we have heard. “We have to control this guy because he’s a big guy. Looks like he’s probably on to something.”
The jury also saw an unreleased video of Floyd in the store shortly before his arrest.
Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges – unintentional second degree murder and third degree murder – in Floyd’s death. Floyd died after Chauvin rested a knee on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes while two other officers held him down. Video captured by a spectator showed Floyd, in handcuffs, repeatedly saying he couldn’t breathe.
Chauvin, who was fired from the police force after Floyd’s death, is also charged with the lesser offense of second degree manslaughter.
The prosecution claims Chauvin crashed his knee into Floyd’s neck, an application of unreasonable force which she said led to his later death in hospital. But Chauvin’s defense contends that the 19-year-old veteran police officer did exactly what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s death was the result of a combination of underlying medical conditions and drugs in his system.
Three other officers present at the scene were also dismissed. Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane have been charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and aiding and abetting second degree manslaughter, and will be tried in August.
Police camera footage shown in court on Wednesday revealed a fearful, handcuffed Floyd begging police “I’m not a bad guy!” as they tried to get him into a patrol car.
“I’m going to die, man,” Floyd said. “I just had COVID. I don’t want to come back to this.”
Once in the backseat, he twisted and twisted, and officers finally pulled him out and brought him back to the ground. Once Floyd was on the ground, Chauvin’s knee was on his neck, another officer’s knee was on his back, and a third was holding his legs.
At one point, McMillian can be heard saying to Floyd, “You can’t win” and “Get up and get in the car”.
Floyd replied, “I can’t.”
McMillian broke down after seeing footage of Floyd pleading he couldn’t breathe and crying for his mother.
“Oh my God,” he said, crying.
“I feel helpless,” he says. “I don’t have a mom either. I understand that.”
The court then adjourned for a brief period to allow McMillian to regain his composure.
Earlier today, the court heard from the former convenience store cashier who claimed Floyd gave him a fake $ 20 bill. Christopher Martin testified that he felt “incredulous and guilty” when he later saw Floyd being pinned to the ground by the police.
“If I wouldn’t have done it [taken] bill, it could have been avoided, ”said Martin, 19, who was an employee of the Cup Foods store.
WATCH | Floyd in the Minneapolis convenience store:
Along with Martin’s testimony, the jury also saw approximately 10 minutes of video footage of Floyd inside the Cup Foods convenience store, where he had gone to buy cigarettes.
In the video, Floyd can be seen walking around the store, standing in line, laughing, and doing what appears to be a brief dance.
Martin testified that Floyd was very friendly, approachable and talkative and that he asked Floyd if he played baseball.
Floyd replied that he played football but it took a little while to “get to what he wanted to say” and that it “looked like he was high,” Martin told the court.
Martin said he sold Floyd a pack of cigarettes, at which point Floyd handed him a $ 20 bill. When Floyd left the store, Martin said he looked at the invoice and determined, because it contained “blue pigment”, that it was counterfeit.
Martin also noted that the store’s policy is that counterfeit bills accepted by cashiers will be taken from their pay.
He said he originally planned to just put the bill on his “tab” and thought Floyd “didn’t really know it was a bogus bill.”
However, Martin warned the store manager, who told Martin to come out and ask Floyd to come back to the store.
Martin said he tried this twice, once with a colleague and a second time with two different colleagues. Both times, Martin said, Floyd refused to return to the store.
It was after the second refusal that the manager told another colleague to call the police.
On cross-examination by Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson, Martin told the court that Floyd had been in the store earlier with another man. This man, Martin said, was caught passing a fake $ 20 bill, a bill that looked like the one Floyd had paid with, Martin said.