Published: Thu, April 01, 2021

US Officer on Trial for Death that Sparked Protests Against Police Brutality

US Officer on Trial for Death that Sparked Protests Against Police Brutality

Mr Floyd's death, along with the harrowing bystander video of him gasping for breath as onlookers yelled at Chauvin to get off him, triggered sometimes violent protests around the world and a reckoning over racism and police brutality across the US.

A key witness who was with George Floyd on the day he died has informed the court that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment if asked to testify in Derek Chauvin's murder trial.

An official said Hall initially gave a false name to officers after Floyd's death.

Footage from other officers at the scene, including that from Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, was presented to the jury.

FLORIDO: Darnella Frazier was 17 at the time of Floyd's arrest, and she and her young cousin were walking up to the Cup Foods store, where this whole incident started, to buy snacks.

As Floyd was pinned down by Chauvin and other officers, McMillian, the bystander, could be heard on video saying to Floyd, "You can't win" and "Get up and get in the vehicle".

Martin said he immediately believed the $20 that Floyd gave him was fake, but accepted it even though store policy was that the amount would be taken out of his paycheque.

[PROSECUTOR, OFF SCREEN]: "How were you doing that? Don't do me like this man".

Additional video showed McMillian telling the officers that putting a knee on Floyd's neck was not right while still encouraging Floyd to comply and get in the auto.

At one point during his testimony, McMillan broke down sobbing, dropped his head, and removed his glasses to wipe tears from his eyes after prosecutors played the video of police putting Floyd in the vehicle. "They said, if he keep talking, well, he can breathe", McMillian said.

"I don't know if you've seen anybody been killed, but it's upsetting", she replied. "My stomach hurts, my neck hurts".

"I could hear him pleading, 'Please, officer, what's all this for?'" he said.

The bodycam footage continues until an ambulance arrives and takes an unconscious Floyd to hospital, where he was declared dead.

"If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided", said Christopher Martin, a cashier at Cup Foods.

"So it would appear that he was high", the 19-year-old said.

Floyd then bought a pack of cigarettes with a $20 bill that Martin believed to be fake because of its blue color and texture. "I offered to pay for it".

Mr Martin said he told the store manager about the fake bill, however, and he was told to go outside and tell Mr Floyd to return to the store.

"He seemed to be having an average Memorial Day, just living his life", Mr Martin said. "He did seem high".

Eric Nelson, Chauvin's defense attorney, claimed in opening arguments that Mr Floyd's death was due to drugs and underlying medical conditions and not asphyxiation. "George was motionless, limp".

Also testifying on Wednesday was Charles McMillian, 61, who said he was driving by that day and stopped to see what was going on because he is "just nosy". He explained to prosecutors that he was trying to help Floyd based on his own experiences with law enforcement, arguing he knew that once you are placed in a police vehicle and handcuffed, as Floyd was at the moment, "You're done".

Dr. BraVada Garrett-Akinsanya, a clinical psychologist and executive director of the African American Child Wellness Institute, said rewatching the dramatic death of Floyd on television and social media can have devastating mental health impacts, a phenomenon called vicarious, or secondary, trauma.

Mr Chauvin has been silent but remained engaged during the proceedings, taking nearly constant notes on a yellow legal pad while listening to the evidence.

"I feel helpless", McMillan said to describe the way he felt while watching the arrest.

The officer is facing charges of murder and manslaughter and has pleaded not guilty.

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