April 19, 2021

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Day 3 of Derek Chauvin’s trial adjourns. Here’s what happened

A poster with George Floyd's picture and a sign reads that "I Can't Breathe" hang from a security fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 31, in Minneapolis.
A poster with George Floyd’s picture and a sign reads that “I Can’t Breathe” hang from a security fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 31, in Minneapolis. Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

Body-camera footage from Minneapolis police officers showed the jury what witnesses on the scene in May 2020 have been describing during the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.

Here’s what happened today in Minneapolis:

Body-camera footage

Videos played in court Wednesday included the first publicly heard defense of Chauvin’s actions, in his own words. 

Chauvin is heard explaining his actions, saying, “We got to control this guy because he’s a sizable guy, and it looks like he is probably on something.”

The video showed George Floyd crying and begging officers to “please don’t shoot me” as they first approached him in a car. When he was taken outside, Floyd told the officer that he “didn’t know what was going on” and that he was “scared as f**k.”

A witness is also heard on the body-camera footage pleading with officers to check his pulse as Floyd was face down on the pavement.

“Bro, he’s not responsive right now,” one male witness nearby can be heard yelling to officers off-camera. “Check his pulse, check his pulse.”

“He’s not moving,” one female witness can also be heard yelling.

Emotional testimony

Charles McMillian, a man who watched officers detain Floyd, said he was telling Floyd to comply with police as they were trying to get him into the police car, saying “you can’t win.”

McMillian broke down on the stand during his testimony after watching graphic footage of Floyd’s arrest. The video showed officers trying to get Floyd into a squad car, then struggling with the police. Floyd can be heard in the footage saying he’s “claustrophobic” and struggling to breathe.

McMillian was one of the first bystanders on the scene and is heard on body-camera footage telling officers that Floyd “can’t breathe.”

Later, McMillian told Chauvin, “I don’t respect what you did.” McMillian also testified that he had seen Chauvin in South Minneapolis five days before the incident 

Cell phone video

Christopher Belfrey, a Minneapolis resident who was parking his car on the street corner when he saw officers approach a vehicle Floyd was in, said he shot cell phone video that showed Floyd handcuffed and sitting on the ground outside after officers pulled him from the car.

Belfrey said he started recording when he saw one of the officers draw his gun.

The store employee

Christopher Martin, who was working at Cup Foods when the incident happened, said he talked to Floyd while he was in the store, and testified that he believed Floyd was under the influence.

He said he sold Floyd cigarettes even though he could tell the $20 bill he was using was fake. When he told his manager about the bill, the manager instructed him to go out to Floyd’s car and try to get him to come back into the store twice. When Floyd did not want to come back in, Martin said the manager told another employee to call the police.

As security video from the street corner was played for the jury, Martin narrated the footage which showed one of his coworkers among the crowd watching the incident step off the sidewalk.

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