George Floyd Killing: The Trial

A special report: The key moments from the first week of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Video Transcript

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- The family goes in this court seeking justice for all of us in America.

GREG MILAM: America and the rest of the world have been waiting for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd. Over the next half hour, we'll bring you testimony from the witnesses who've given evidence during the first week of proceedings. First, though, the trial began with opening statements by the prosecution and the defense. And a warning-- the evidence contains graphic images and descriptions of the death of George Floyd.

JERRY BLACKWELL: On May 25 of 2020, Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed his badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of Mr. George Floyd. He put his knees up on his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him until the very breath-- no, ladies and gentlemen, until the very life-- was squeezed out of him.

You will learn that he was well aware that Mr. Floyd was unarmed, that Mr. Floyd had not threatened anyone, that Mr. Floyd was in handcuffs, he was completely in the control of the police, he was defenseless. You will learn what happened in the 9 minutes and 29 seconds. The most important numbers you will hear in this trial are 9:29-- what happened in those 9 minutes and 29 seconds when Mr. Derek Chauvin was applying this excessive force to the body of Mr. George Floyd.

ERIC NELSON: You will learn about things such as the authorized use of force, proportionality of force, excited delirium, defensive tactics including prone handcuffing, neck restraints, maximum restraint technique, the swarm technique. You will learn about rapidly evolving situations and the Minneapolis Police Department's decision-making model. You will learn about crowd control, medical intervention, de-escalation, procedural justice, crisis intervention, and the human factors of force-- that is, what happens to a police officer or any person when they are involved in the high-stress use-of-force situation. And you will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing.

GREG MILAM: Darnella Frazier was 17 when she recorded the video of George Floyd here that went viral, igniting international protest at racism and police abuse. She didn't appear on camera in court but told the jury she feels regret for not engaging physically with the officers that day, but that ultimately, they were the ones at fault.

DARNELLA FRAZIER: He had this cold look, heartless. He didn't care. It seemed as if he didn't care what we were saying. It didn't change anything he was doing.

JERRY BLACKWELL: In response to what the crowd was doing or saying, did you see him at any time kneel in harder on George Floyd in response?

DARNELLA FRAZIER: Yes.

JERRY BLACKWELL: Did Mr. Chauvin get off of Mr. Floyd when the ambulance arrived?

DARNELLA FRAZIER: No. The ambulance person had to actually tell him to lift up. 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. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them. It's been nights I stayed up apologizing and-- apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it's not what I should have done. It's what he should have done.

GREG MILAM: The court has played the audio of a 9-1-1 call made by witness and mixed martial arts expert Donald Williams. He made that call during George Floyd's arrest here and said he believed he was witnessing a murder.

DONALD WILLIAMS: I did call the police on the police.

MATTHEW FRANK: And why did you do that?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Because I believe I witnessed a murder.

MATTHEW FRANK: And so you felt a need to call the police.

DONALD WILLIAMS: I felt the need to call the police on the police.

MATTHEW FRANK: Now, there were police there, right?

DONALD WILLIAMS: There were police there.

MATTHEW FRANK: Why didn't you just talk to them about it?

DONALD WILLIAMS: I believe that they-- we just didn't have no connection. I spoke to them, but not on a connection of a human being relationship.

MATTHEW FRANK: If we can at this point, I'd play Exhibit 20.

- May 25, 2020.

- 9-1-1. What's the address of the emergency?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Officer 987 killed a citizen in front of a Chicago store. He just pretty much killed this guy that wasn't resisting arrest. He had his knee on the dude's neck the whole time, Officer 987. The man went limp, stopped breathing. He wasn't resisting arrest nothing. He was already in handcuffs. And he pretty much is stupid, dude. I don't even know [INAUDIBLE] was not responsive when the ambulance came and got him. And the officer that was just out here left, the one that actually just murdered this [? kid ?] in front of everybody on 38th and Chicago.

- Would you like to speak with the sergeant?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Yeah. That was bogus, what they just did to this man. He was unresponsive. He wasn't resisting arrest or any of it.

- OK. Let me get you over to the desk so you can request to speak with the sergeant. OK?

GREG MILAM: The court heard from an off-duty firefighter who also called 9-1-1 that day. Genevieve Hansen said she begged police officers on the scene to let her check to see if George Floyd had a pulse.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I tried different tactics of calm and reasoning and tried to be assertive. I pled and was desperate.

MATTHEW FRANK: Did you also, at some point, start raising your voice?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Yes, sir.

MATTHEW FRANK: And maybe used some foul language even?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Yes, sir.

MATTHEW FRANK: Why?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Because I was desperate to help. And I wasn't getting what I needed to do and gaining access.

MATTHEW FRANK: At some point, the voices of the other people around you, did you feel that interfered with getting the officer's attention?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Yes.

MATTHEW FRANK: So as you're doing that, were you able to pay more attention or any more attention to Mr. Floyd and his condition?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I wasn't really able to. I knew he needed help, so at that point, it was just getting in there.

GREG MILAM: Christopher Martin was working as a cashier at Cup Foods, the shop police had been called to after Mr. Floyd was accused of using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: When I saw the bill, I noticed it had a blue pigment to it, kind of how a $100 bill will have. And I found that odd, so I assumed that it was fake.

MATTHEW FRANK: Was it you who called the police about it?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: No.

MATTHEW FRANK: Was it another co-worker?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: Correct.

MATTHEW FRANK: And did you ask the co-worker to make the call?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: No.

MATTHEW FRANK: And were you present when he made the call?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: Correct.

MATTHEW FRANK: So you were there next to him or something?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: Correct.

MATTHEW FRANK: We saw you standing there with your hands on your head for a while, correct?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: Correct.

MATTHEW FRANK: What was going through your mind during that time period?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: Disbelief and guilt.

MATTHEW FRANK: Why guilt?

CHRISTOPHER MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.

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GREG MILAM: Welcome back. This week, Sky News has been bringing continuous coverage and analysis of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd here in May last year. We're looking back at some of the testimony of those called to the witness stand during the first week of proceedings. And on day three, the jury was shown new police body camera footage of George Floyd pleading with officers during his arrest. And a warning-- the evidence contains graphic images and descriptions of the death of George Floyd.

Also seen in a CCTV video from the same time is 61-year-old Charles McMillian, who appears to have been the first bystander on the scene of Mr. Floyd's arrest.

- Jesus Chris.

- I can't breathe. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

- Stop moving.

- Mama, mama!

CHARLES MCMILLIAN: Oh, my god. When he kept saying, I can't breathe, and when he said, Mama, they're killing me-- they're killing me. I can't breathe, Mama. They're killing me. Then when he started saying, my body is shutting down--

- And was it your voice somewhere in the middle of all this saying, get up and get in the car? Was that you?

CHARLES MCMILLIAN: Yes, ma'am.

- And why were you saying that? What were you trying to do at that point?

CHARLES MCMILLIAN: Trying to help him.

- And how did he look to you after this continued? You said he was saying "mama" and "I can't breathe." How did he appear to be to you?

CHARLES MCMILLIAN: He appeared to be in and out with the foam running out his mouth.

- Did you remark about his foot on his neck or something to that effect?

CHARLES MCMILLIAN: I can't recall.

- OK. But if it's there, it would be in the video?

CHARLES MCMILLIAN: Yes, ma'am.

- All right. And again, some of these can be difficult to hear. Can we put up Exhibit 41, please?

- Can you advise the Fire Department if they're still with you? They need to go to 36th and Park to assist with a [INAUDIBLE] arrest.

- That's one person's opinion. We've got to control this guy because he's a sizable guy. And it looks like he's probably on something.

GREG MILAM: George Floyd's girlfriend, Courtney Ross, was the first person to testify who personally knew Mr. Floyd. She offered a picture of a man whose face, of course, now is known around the world and described the first time they met.

COURTNEY ROSS: Floyd has this great deep, Southern voice, raspy. He's like, sis, you OK, sis? And I wasn't OK. I'm just waiting for my son's father. He said, can I pray with you? I was tired. We had been through so much, my sons and I. And this kind person just to come up to me and say, can I pray with you when I felt alone in this lobby-- it was so sweet.

MATTHEW FRANK: At that point, did you know what Mr. Floyd was doing there at the Salvation Army?

COURTNEY ROSS: Oh, yes. I'm sorry. He worked there as a security guard.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: And so he came up to you and tried to comfort you?

COURTNEY ROSS: Yes. Floyd and I both suffered with opiate addiction.

MATTHEW FRANK: And do you know how-- for your own self, how you came to be involved with-- what kind of drugs and how you became involved?

COURTNEY ROSS: Yes. Both Floyd and I, our story-- it's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck, and his was in his back. We both had prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, we got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.

GREG MILAM: Seth Bravinder was one of the paramedics who treated George Floyd. He told the jury that when he arrived on the scene with his partner, Derek Smith, Mr. Floyd appeared unresponsive.

SETH BRAVINDER: I assumed that there was potentially some struggle still because they were still on top of him. So that was my assumption when we pulled up.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: So when you got to the scene, having no additional information, seeing what you saw, that's what was going through your mind? Is that right?

SETH BRAVINDER: Yes.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: So when you got to the scene, what did you do next?

SETH BRAVINDER: Parked the ambulance near the patient and got out. I walked to the back of the ambulance, and my partner walked over to check on the patient.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: As you approached him to inspect further, were the officers still on top of him?

DEREK SMITH: The officers were still on him when I approached.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: And what did you do when you approached?

DEREK SMITH: I was assessing the scene, running through what care may be needed.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: And did you take some initial steps like checking for a pulse?

DEREK SMITH: I checked for a pulse.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: And did you also check the individual, Mr. Floyd's, pupils?

DEREK SMITH: I did.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: And what did you determine at that point?

DEREK SMITH: They were large, dilated.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: So you determined that his pupils were large, dilated. What about a pulse?

DEREK SMITH: I did not palpate a pulse.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: When you say "palpate," is that you didn't feel or detect a pulse?

DEREK SMITH: Did not detect a pulse.

ELLEN ELDRIDGE: And what did his condition appear to be to you overall?

DEREK SMITH: In lay terms, I thought he was dead.

GREG MILAM: Despite being at the center of a closely watched trial, the jurors and the public at large have heard very little from former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. But on Thursday, they heard a call between him and the supervisor reviewing the force he'd use during the arrest.

DEREK CHAUVIN: Yeah. I was just going to call and have you come out to our scene here. Not really, but we just had to hold the guy down. He was going crazy, wasn't going-- wasn't going in the back of the squad.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Do you recognize the voice in that call?

DAVID PLEOGER: Yes.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Whose voice was that?

DAVID PLEOGER: Officer Chauvin.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: That was the conversation, or at least his end of the conversation as you recall it, on that day that you just described?

DAVID PLEOGER: Yes.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: He made a reference to shutting off. Can you explain to the jury what that was in reference to?

DAVID PLEOGER: I probably asked him if he had his camera on or off since we were having a private conversation.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: And that would be within policy-- within the body-worn camera policy for him to shut off during that conversation? Is that right?

DAVID PLEOGER: Yes.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Did he tell you whether he personally applied any particular type of force or restraint to Mr. Floyd?

DAVID PLEOGER: I don't believe so.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Did he tell you whether or not he had to, or other officers, pin Mr. Floyd to the ground?

DAVID PLEOGER: I think in the conversation there, he said something about held somebody down.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Did he mention anything about putting his knee on Mr. Floyd's neck or back?

DAVID PLEOGER: No.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Sir, based on your review of the body-worn camera footage, do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?

DAVID PLEOGER: Yes.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: When is it?

DAVID PLEOGER: When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have entered the restraint.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: And that was after he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resisting?

DAVID PLEOGER: Correct.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Thank you. I have no further questions, Your Honor.

GREG MILAM: The final witness to take the stand was the Minneapolis Police Department's longest-serving officer, Richard Zimmerman.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Based on your review of the body-worn camera videos of the incident and directing your attention to that moment when Mr. Floyd is placed on the ground, what is your view of that use of force during that time period?

RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: Totally unnecessary.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: What do you mean?

RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: Well, first of all, pulling him down to the ground face down and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for. I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger if that's what they felt. And that's what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: So in your opinion, should that restraint have stopped once he was handcuffed and thrown on the ground?

RICHARD ZIMMERMAN: Absolutely.

GREG MILAM: The first five days of this trial have been about much more than just those 9 minutes and 29 seconds footage not seen publicly before as added to the picture of what happened before and after George Floyd died. For the jury, it is about what happened and why. But for millions of others, it's about a search for answers. And the trial will resume on Monday.

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