Witnesses take center stage as George Floyd/Derek Chauvin trial begins
By: Adam Beam 4/4/21
Photo Courtesy: Twitter
It is arguably the biggest criminal trial of the year so far, and the eyes of the nation are upon officer Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with the death of 46 year old George Floyd.
The incident occurred back in May of 2020, and was one of several police related deaths that resulted in massive public outcry and protests.
Now, Chauvin stands trial on charges for multiple charges including second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, to which he pleaded not guilty on all counts. The trial began this Monday and here is everything that has happened so far.
On day one, before entering the courtroom the Floyd family, their lawyer and Reverend Al Sharpton knelt outside for eight minutes and forty-six seconds, the length of time Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, killing him. The prosecution team played video taken by bystanders at the scene, showing the officers restraining Floyd till through his time of death.
The team called it a “murder” and “a homicide” as well as saying, “On May 25th of 2020, Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of Mr. George Floyd.”
The defense team for Chauvin made their argument that Floyd’s death was the result of numerous factors including “cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl and the adrenaline blowing through his body, all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart.”
One of the key witnesses from the first day was 911 dispatcher, Jenna Lee Scurry, who watched the incident over security footage, and believed her screen was frozen for how long they held down Floyd.
Day two was the first big day of witnesses, Donald Williams, a trained MMA fighter, spoke of how he yelled at Chauvin numerous times that he had Floyd in a blood choke, one that would certainly result in death.
Then came testimony from 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, who was the individual who took the cell phone footage of Floyd’s death, that went viral and was a key point behind much of the public outrage. “I heard George Floyd saying ‘I can’t breathe. Please, get off of me. I can’t breathe.’ He cried for his mom. He was in pain,” Frazier said. “It seemed like he knew, it seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering. This was a cry for help, definitely.” “It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not basically interacting and not saving his life. But it’s like, it’s not what I should’ve done. It’s what he should’ve done.”
Day three continued with more key witnesses, 19-year old cashier, Christopher Martin, expressed regret for having to stop Floyd from departing the store he worked at that day. It should be noted that the police were called to the original scene after Floyd attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill, though it was never clear if he knew of the bills authenticity. Currently, as of Thursday, April 1, the trial is on its fourth day and is expected to last for another few weeks.