An expert fighter was frightened. A firefighter was out of service. A secondary school student was threatened. And a girl of 9 years felt sad and somewhat mad.
A series of people who testify to what George Floyd is witnessing die slowly under the knee of former police officer Derek Chauvin last May recalled feelings of horror and fear in a Court in Minneapolis.
The second day of the criminal trial was testified by six bystanders: a nine-year old girl, three high school students, a martial fighter and a fire-fighter from Minneapolis. Everyone came to the scene to buy snacks from the corner shop or seeks fresh air – just to see the last breath of a man.
“I was sad and kind of mad,” the 9-year-old testified. “Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”
Donald Wynn Williams II, the MMA fighter, has testified to his disquiet at what he saw, calling 911 to report it. “I called the police on the police,” he said. “I believed I witnessed a murder.”
Genevieve Hansen, a certified Minneapolis EMT firefighter and walker on her holiday, testified to her desire to provide Floyd’s aid and repeatedly requested that the police check for a pulse. They did not.
“I tried calm reasoning, I tried to be assertive, I pled and was desperate,” she testified. “I was desperate to give help.”
She also summoned 911 to report what the police had done subsequently. In addition to Williams, a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher who saw the detention on a live video feed Monday testified she alerted a police sergeant. her call was a third of these reports.
The bystanders’ harrowing testimony of the participants supported the opening pitch of the prosecution for lawyer, which focussed on videos that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck of 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
“You can believe your eyes that it’s a homicide,” prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell said Monday. “You can believe your eyes.”
The case was more complicated than that of defense lawyer Eric Nelson. He said Chauvin was following his police force training and argued that a combination of drug use and pre-existing health challenges were Floyd’s cause of death.
He also said that the audience became a menacing crowd, which distracted the officers. He tried to get them to admit they and the crowd were outraged in controversial cross-examinations on Tuesday of Wiliams and Hansen.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty of second-grade, unintentional assassination, third-grade assassination and second-grade massacre. His trial is 10 months after Floyd’s death springs from a summer of anti-Black racism and aggression police unrest and society’s reckoning with America’s past and present.
Due to the pandemic Covid-19, attendance inside the courtroom is strictly restricted. The trial is broadcast live throughout and the public is given an unusual insight into the Black Lives era’s most important case.
Hansen, the firefighter off-duty, witnessed Tuesday wearing her uniform. She said that last May, when she arrived on the scene for a walk, she was concerned for Floyd’s health. “He’sn’t going to move and he’s been cocked and three grown men are too much to weight anyone,” she said.
She identified herself as a firefighter in Minneapolis and took action, but former officer Tou Thao refused Floyd’s access to treatment. She testified that her rejection made her “total afflicted,” frustrated and helpless. She filmed part of the arrest of Floyd on her phone and subsequently called 911 to report.
“When things calmed down, I realized I wanted them to know what was going on. I wanted to basically report it,” she said.
She repeatedly raised questions about the cross-examination of Nelson and answered a question with snark at some point. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen someone die in front of you, but it’s very upsetting,” she said.
Judge Peter Cahill rejected a jury for the day and warned Hansen to answer questions and stop arguing with Nelson. Hansen was told. Her testimony on Wednesday will continue.
Like Hansen, Floyd’s cell phone videos were taken by two high-school students and played at the jury court. Darnella Frazier was the young woman who witnessed her own, Black dad, brothers, cousins and friends at Floyd and took the most widely known bystander video.