The Minneapolis teenager whose cellphone video of Derek Chauvin’s deadly arrest of George Floyd sparked worldwide protests began weeping as she was shown an image from the video at the former policeman’s murder trial on Tuesday (March 30).
Darnella Frazier, 18, who did not appear on camera, was walking her 9-year-old cousin to buy some snacks at Cup Foods, where a worker had moments before accused Floyd of using a fake $20 bill, when she saw police arresting Floyd outside and pulled out her cellphone.
“I see a man on the ground and I see a cop kneeling down on him,” Frazier told the jury, “A man terrified, scared, begging for his life.
She was asked by both the prosecution and defense about how producing the most famous record of Floyd’s death had changed her life, and she again spoke through tears.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all black,” she said.
She said she stayed up late apologizing to Floyd for “not saving his life.”
Prosecutors have begun their case by calling several people who witnessed the arrest on May 25, 2020: a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher; a young woman who worked at the gas station across the street; a mixed martial arts fighter who was passing by.
During the witness testimony, prosecutors have played videos of the arrest to the jury taken from multiple angles, including the teenager’s video that shows Chauvin, who is white, pressing his knee into the neck of a dying Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, for about nine minutes.
The footage, which prosecutors say show excessive force, horrified people around the world and led to one of the largest protest movements seen in the United States in decades.
Lawyers for Chauvin, 45, say he followed his police training and is not guilty of the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter.
Donald Williams, the 33 year-old martial artist, can be heard on the videos of the arrest of Floyd screaming insults at Chauvin and demanding police check for Floyd’s pulse. He told jurors he believed that Chauvin was using his knee in a “blood choke” on Floyd, a wrestling move to knock an opponent unconscious, and a “shimmy” move to tighten pressure on Floyd’s neck.
The 911 call Williams made after the arrest was played to the jury. Williams dabbed his eyes with a white tissue as his distressed voice filled the room.
“I believe I witnessed a murder,” Williams told the jury. “So I felt I needed to call the police on the police.”
In a sometimes tense cross-examination, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead lawyer, read aloud some of the obscene insults Williams hurled at Chauvin in the video.
“You call him a ‘tough guy’?” Nelson asked, demanding only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. “You call him a ‘real man?'”
Williams looked over at Chauvin with a slight smile as each insult was read out.
“You call him a ‘bum’ at least 13 times?” Nelson continued.
“If that’s what you count in the video,” Williams replied, smiling again, “then that’s what you got: 13.”
(Production; Ashraf Fahim)