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Derek Chauvin's body camera video shows his reaction just after George Floyd left in an ambulance

Moments after George Floyd was taken away in an ambulance last May, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was confronted by a witness who took issu...

Posted: Mar 31, 2021 10:47 AM
Updated: Mar 31, 2021 9:45 PM

Moments after George Floyd was taken away in an ambulance last May, former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin was confronted by a witness who took issue with Chauvin's kneeling on Floyd's neck.

'That's one person's opinion,' Chauvin responded as he got into his squad car. 'We had to control this guy because he's a sizable guy. It looks like he's probably on something.'

The short clip from Chauvin's own body camera, played in his criminal trial Wednesday, represents the first time the public has heard the ex-officer's perspective in the 10 months since Floyd died under his knee, launching a worldwide protest movement.

Charles McMillian, the 61-year-old witness, testified that he observed Floyd's arrest on May 25, 2020, and that he encouraged Floyd to comply with police, repeatedly saying, 'you can't win.' As Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck and Floyd cried out for help, McMillian can be heard on video telling police to 'get your knee off his neck.'

After Floyd's limp body was taken away, McMillian had a short conversation with Chauvin because 'what I watched was wrong,' he said.

The third day of Chauvin's trial featured testimony from several bystanders who interacted with Floyd as well as graphic excerpts of police body camera footage showing his arrest and final moments. In the videos, Floyd gasps that he's claustrophobic, repeatedly says he can't breathe and calls for his mother.

Much of the searing body camera video has previously been released to the public, but its raw power for those in the court remained apparent. After a clip was played for McMillian, he broke down in tears on the stand, leading to a short break.

'I feel helpless,' he said. 'I don't have a mama either. I understand him.'

In the afternoon, with Minneapolis Police Lt. James Jeffrey Rugel on the stand, prosecutors played previously unseen footage from Chauvin's body camera. His body camera fell underneath the squad car as Floyd went to the ground during the arrest, so the video does not show Chauvin on Floyd's neck.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Prosecutors have called several bystanders to describe their horror and fear at watching Floyd die last May. Their testimony furthers the prosecution's opening statement that asked jurors to focus on video of the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck.

'You can believe your eyes that it's a homicide,' prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell said Monday. 'You can believe your eyes.'

Defense attorney Eric Nelson has argued that the case is more complicated than just the video. He said Chauvin was following his police use of force training and argued Floyd's cause of death was a combination of drug use and preexisting health issues.

Store employee says he feels guilt

A number of witnesses have expressed survivor's guilt about what they did and didn't do leading up to Floyd's death.

An employee at the Minneapolis corner store who suspected Floyd gave him a counterfeit $20 bill last May testified in court Wednesday that he felt 'disbelief and guilt' knowing that their interaction led to Floyd's death under Chauvin's knee.

'If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,' Christopher Martin, a 19-year-old cashier at Cup Foods, testified in court Wednesday. He stopped working there soon after because he said he didn't feel safe.

Similarly, on Tuesday, a high schooler who recorded and shared video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd said she had lost sleep thinking of what else she could have done.

'It's been nights I've stayed up apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,' she said. 'But it's not what I should have done, it's what he should have done.'

Martin testified that Floyd responded slowly and appeared to be high when he came into the store on May 25, 2020. Surveillance video played in court shows Floyd fiddling with items in his pockets and casually interacting with other customers and employees.

Floyd then bought a pack of cigarettes with a $20 bill that Martin believed to be fake because of its blue color and texture. After examining the bill closely, Martin told his manager, who twice told Martin and other employees to go out to Floyd's vehicle and bring him back into the store to resolve the issue.

When Floyd did not do so, the manager told an employee to call police -- a fateful call that ultimately ended with Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck.

Martin filmed Floyd under Chauvin's knee but deleted the video from his phone that night. 'I just didn't want to have to show it to anyone or be questioned about it,' he said.

Christopher Belfrey, who came to Cup Foods to pick up food, testified that he saw officers walk up to Floyd's vehicle and point a gun into the window. From inside his car, he filmed police handcuffing Floyd and later bringing him to a sidewalk.

'I didn't know exactly what was going on. I didn't want to be in the middle of so much commotion,' Belfrey testified. He said for that reason he moved his vehicle.

Off-duty firefighter said police blocked her from helping Floyd

Wednesday's testimony began with a short cross-examination of Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter. She testified a day earlier that she was out for a walk on her day off last May and came upon Floyd struggling to breathe and appearing unconscious under Chauvin's knee.

She tried to help Floyd and repeatedly asked police to check for a pulse, but they refused, leaving her feeling desperate and helpless.

'I tried calm reasoning, I tried to be assertive, I pled and was desperate,' she testified. 'I was desperate to give help.'

Hansen became combative with Nelson, the defense attorney, during Tuesday's cross-examination, repeatedly taking issue with his questioning and responding with snark. 'I don't know if you've ever seen someone die in front of you, but it's very upsetting,' she said at one point.

After dismissing the jury for the day, Judge Peter Cahill admonished Hansen, telling her to answer questions and stop arguing. Upon her return to the stand on Wednesday morning, Nelson asked just one question to confirm that she did not show the officers on the scene her ID.

Nelson argued in opening statements that the bystanders morphed into a threatening crowd, which distracted the officers from doing their job. In cross-examinations of Hansen and MMA fighter Donald Williams II on Tuesday, he tried to get them to admit that they and the crowd were angry as Floyd slowly died. They insisted they were increasingly desperate, helpless and concerned.

'I grew professional. I stayed in my body,' Williams said. 'You can't paint me out to be angry.'

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 308737

Reported Deaths: 7139
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20901250
Hinds19953410
Harrison17551302
Rankin13358276
Jackson13141243
Madison9949211
Lee9886170
Jones8308161
Forrest7537147
Lauderdale7221237
Lowndes6286144
Lamar613284
Lafayette6063117
Washington5288133
Bolivar4775129
Oktibbeha457097
Panola4456103
Pearl River4433141
Warren4294118
Marshall4283101
Pontotoc417572
Monroe4061132
Union404675
Neshoba4001176
Lincoln3883109
Hancock373385
Leflore3470124
Sunflower330789
Tate325082
Pike3205105
Scott311272
Yazoo304769
Alcorn298865
Itawamba297477
Copiah293965
Coahoma290378
Simpson289486
Tippah285168
Prentiss276559
Marion266279
Leake261473
Wayne261441
Grenada256284
Covington254980
Adams246882
Newton245561
George238347
Winston226081
Tishomingo222467
Jasper219948
Attala213573
Chickasaw205257
Holmes186972
Clay183054
Stone179531
Clarke177576
Tallahatchie175940
Calhoun165231
Yalobusha159736
Smith159234
Walthall131043
Greene129633
Lawrence126623
Noxubee126533
Montgomery125742
Perry125238
Carroll120926
Amite120741
Webster113732
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica103025
Claiborne101330
Benton97425
Kemper95628
Humphreys94432
Franklin82723
Quitman78916
Choctaw73717
Wilkinson64928
Jefferson64828
Sharkey49817
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521201

Reported Deaths: 10736
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753981490
Mobile39011799
Madison34002496
Tuscaloosa25329444
Montgomery23996567
Shelby23160239
Baldwin20674302
Lee15567165
Calhoun14330311
Morgan14152271
Etowah13677346
Marshall11988220
Houston10402278
Elmore10008200
Limestone9843147
Cullman9501189
St. Clair9449234
Lauderdale9254228
DeKalb8756181
Talladega8104171
Walker7126275
Jackson6751110
Autauga6748103
Blount6511134
Colbert6225130
Coffee5418113
Dale4771111
Russell429338
Franklin420582
Chilton4100109
Covington4059114
Tallapoosa3904146
Escambia389574
Dallas3522149
Chambers3513122
Clarke346760
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295395
Winston273072
Bibb256059
Marengo248261
Geneva245975
Pickens233059
Barbour226255
Hale218675
Butler212867
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182544
Randolph177041
Monroe172440
Washington164738
Macon155548
Clay150055
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146341
Lamar139634
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124527
Bullock121540
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91334
Choctaw58724
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