The Trial of George Floyd

The progress from Western colonial global expansion, and the construction of American wealth and industry on the backs of enslaved Blacks and Native peoples, followed by the abrupt "emancipation" of the slaves and their exodus from the South to the Northern cities, has led us to our current divided society. Divided by economic inequities and unequal access to social resources, the nation lives in a media dream of social harmony, or did until YouTube set its bed on fire. Now, it is common knowledge that our current system of brutal racist policing and punitive over-incarceration serves the dual purpose of maintaining racial prejudice and the inequities it justifies. Brief yourself on this late-breaking development in American history here.

The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:21 am

Derek Chauvin Trial for the Murder of George Floyd: Realtime Recap of Opening Statements
by Glenn Kirschner
Mar 29, 2021



Here is a realtime recap of the opening statements by the prosecution and the defense in the Derek Chauvin trial.
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Re: Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Tue Mar 30, 2021 3:23 am

Prosecution's First Witness in Chauvin Trial: The 911 Dispatcher Saying, "Something's Not Right."
by Glenn Kirschner
Mar 29, 2021



The first witness called by the prosecution in the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd was the 911 dispatcher, Jena Scurry. As she watched the scene courtesy of a surveillance camera, she knew "something was not right" regarding the use of force by the officers. She even thought the video had frozen because the officers remained on top of the arrestee for so long. She was so alarmed by what she was seeing that she called the officers' sergeant to report what she was seeing.
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:26 am

9 Minutes, 29 Seconds: Derek Chauvin Trial Opens with Full Video of George Floyd’s Killing
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
March 30, 2021

The trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin has begun in Minneapolis, where Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter, for killing George Floyd in May 2020 by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes. The death of Floyd, who was a 46-year-old Black man and father originally from Houston, Texas, sparked international protests calling for racial justice. We air excerpts from the first day of the trial, including opening statements from special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell and Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, and dramatic witness testimony from the Minneapolis 911 dispatcher, Jena Scurry, who alerted a police supervisor after seeing live surveillance footage showing officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time, and Donald Williams, a mixed martial artist, who described seeing Derek Chauvin using what he called a “blood choke” on Floyd.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show in Minneapolis, where the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin has begun. Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter, for killing George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes. George Floyd was a 46-year-old father who was originally from Houston, Texas. His death sparked international protests calling for racial justice.

During opening statements, special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell made the case that the white officer, Derek Chauvin, should be found guilty of murder. A warning to our audience: Blackwell’s presentation contains graphic descriptions of police violence.

JERRY BLACKWELL: You will learn that 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. …

So, let’s begin by focusing then on what we will learn about this nine minutes and 29 seconds. And you will be able to hear Mr. Floyd saying, “Please, I can’t breathe. Please, man. Please,” in this nine minutes and 29 seconds. You will see that as Mr. Floyd is handcuffed there on the ground, he is verbalizing 27 times, you will hear, in the four minutes and 45 seconds, “I can’t breathe. Please, I can’t breathe.”

You will see that Mr. Chauvin is kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck and back. He has one knee on his neck, and the knee on his back is intermittently off and on on his back, as you will be able to see for yourself in the video footage.

You will hear Mr. Floyd as he’s crying out. You hear him at some point cry out for his mother, when he’s being squeezed there. He was very close to his mother, you will learn. You will hear him say, “Tell my kids I love them.” You will hear him say — about his fear of dying, he says, “I’ll probably die this way. I’m through. I’m through. They’re going to kill me. They’re going to kill me, man.” You will hear him crying out, and you will hear him cry out in pain: “My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts.” You will hear that for yourself. “Please, I can’t breathe. Please, your knee on my neck.”

You will hear it, and you’ll see at the same time, while he’s crying out, Mr. Chauvin never moves. The knee remains on his neck. The sunglasses remain undisturbed on his head. And it just goes on.

You will hear his final words, when he says, “I can’t breathe.” Before that time, you will hear his voice get heavier. You will hear his words further apart. You will see that his respiration gets shallower and shallower and finally stops, when he speaks his last words, “I can’t breathe.”

And once we have his final words, you’ll see that for roughly 53 seconds, he is completely silent and virtually motionless, with just sporadic movements. You’re going to learn those sporadic movements matter greatly in this case, because what they reflect, Mr. Floyd was no longer breathing when he’s making these movements. You learn about something in this case called an anoxic seizure. It is the body’s automatic reflex when breathing has stopped due to oxygen deprivation. We’ll be able to point out to you when you’ll see the involuntary movements from Mr. Floyd that are part of an anoxic seizure.

Not only that, you’re going to learn about something that’s called agonal breathing. When the heart has stopped, when blood is no longer coursing through the veins, you will hear the body gasp as an involuntary reflex. We’ll point out to you when Mr. Floyd is having the agonal breathing, again, as a reflex, involuntary reflex, to the oxygen deprivation.

So, we learn here that Mr. Floyd at some point is completely passed out. Mr. Chavin continues on as he had: knee on the neck, knee on the back. You will see he does not let up and he does not get up, for the remaining, as you can see, three minutes and 51 seconds.

During this period of time, you will learn that Mr. Chauvin is told that they can’t even find a pulse of Mr. Floyd. You’ll learn he’s told that twice. They can’t even find a pulse. You will be able to see for yourself what he does in response. You will see that he does not let up and that he does not get up. Even when Mr. Floyd does not even have a pulse, it continues on.

It continues on, ladies and gentlemen, even after the ambulance arrives on the scene. The ambulance is there, and you’ll be able to see for yourself what Mr. Chauvin is doing when the ambulance is there. You can compare — you’ll be able to compare how he looks in this photograph to how he looked in the first four minutes and 45 seconds: same position, doesn’t let up, and you’ll see he doesn’t get up.

The paramedic from the ambulance comes over. You’ll be able to see this in the video. He checks Mr. Floyd for a pulse. He has to check him for a pulse, you’ll see, with Mr. Chauvin continuing to remain on his body at the same time — doesn’t get up even when the paramedic comes to check for a pulse and doesn’t find one. Mr. Chauvin doesn’t get up.

You will see that the paramedics have taken the gurney out of the ambulance, have rolled it over next to the body of Mr. Floyd, and you’ll be able to see Mr. Chauvin still does not let up, doesn’t get up. And you will see it wasn’t until such time as they start — they want to move the lifeless body of George Floyd onto the gurney, only then does Mr. Chauvin let up and get up. And you’ll see him drag Mr. Floyd’s body and unceremoniously cast it onto the gurney.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell giving part of his opening argument in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the white Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd, the 46-year-old African American father. Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, defended the officer’s actions.

ERIC NELSON: 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.

AMY GOODMAN: Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, also disputed the charge that Chauvin’s actions led to the death of George Floyd.

ERIC NELSON: And this will ultimately be another significant battle in this trial: What was Mr. Floyd’s actual cause of death? The evidence will show that Mr. Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline throwing — flowing through his body, all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart.

AMY GOODMAN: Earlier in the trial, special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell acknowledged George Floyd struggled with an opioid addiction, but argued the evidence shows he died from excessive force, not a drug overdose.

The first witness called in the trial was Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry. She explained to prosecutor Matthew Frank that she alerted a police supervisor after seeing live surveillance footage showing officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for an extended period of time.

JENA SCURRY: I just remember looking up and seeing that the situation hadn’t changed.

MATTHEW FRANK: Do you recall approximately how long that was?

JENA SCURRY: No. It was long enough — it was long enough that I could look back multiple times.

MATTHEW FRANK: And so, when you did look back, still on the ground, like depicted here, essentially?

JENA SCURRY: Correct.

MATTHEW FRANK: And what did you think about this when you looked back and saw that it hadn’t changed?

JENA SCURRY: I first asked if the screens had frozen.

MATTHEW FRANK: Why did you ask that?

JENA SCURRY: Because it hadn’t changed.

MATTHEW FRANK: OK. And did you find that it had frozen?

JENA SCURRY: No.

MATTHEW FRANK: How did you —

JENA SCURRY: I was told that it was not frozen.

MATTHEW FRANK: Did you see the screen change yourself?

JENA SCURRY: Yes, I saw the persons moving.

MATTHEW FRANK: So, what did you start thinking at that point?

JENA SCURRY: Something might be wrong.

MATTHEW FRANK: Why?

JENA SCURRY: We don’t get these videos often, or, you know, video at all, unless it’s looking at the bridge or just looking at people walking. We very rarely get incidents where police are actively on a scene. And they had changed. They had come from the back of the squad to the ground. And my instincts were telling me that something’s wrong, something was not right. I don’t know what, but something wasn’t right.

AMY GOODMAN: Again, that was Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry. She said she had never called a sergeant for an issue like this before.

Another witness called on Monday was Donald Williams, a mixed martial artist, who described seeing Derek Chauvin using what he called a “blood choke” on George Floyd. He was questioned by prosecutor Matthew Frank.

MATTHEW FRANK: And as you observed it, what are you seeing and hearing?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Well, once I get there, I hear an older guy saying, “It’s going to be OK. Quit resisting arrest. They’re going to get you up and put you in the car.” And I’m just hearing people, different people, actually, vocalizing their concerns to the officer, and hearing George on the ground pretty much pleading for his life, saying he’s sorry, “I can’t breathe,” “I want my mom,” “Just please let me up,” and things like that.

MATTHEW FRANK: Can you describe what you saw of Mr. Floyd’s condition as time progressed here?

DONALD WILLIAMS: As time progressed, when I first — like I said, when I first arrived on the scene, Mr. Floyd was vocalizing his sorryness and his pain and his distress that he was going through. The more that the knee was on his neck and shimmyings were going on, the more you’re seeing Floyd fade away, slowly fade away. And like a fish in a bag, you’re seeing his eyes slowly, you know, pale out and, again, slowly roll to the back of his eyes.

MATTHEW FRANK: Mr. Williams, from that vantage point depicted in Exhibit 17, that officer, do you see that person present in the courtroom today?

DONALD WILLIAMS: That’s correct. He’s standing right there.

MATTHEW FRANK: Your Honor, I ask the record to reflect he’s identified the defendant.

AMY GOODMAN: Donald Williams said when he called out to Chauvin that the officer was using a blood choke, a term from mixed martial arts, Chauvin looked up at him. Williams said, “It’s the only time he looked at me, when I said it was a blood choke.” He said, “We looked at each other dead in our eyes. When I said it, he acknowledged it,” Williams said.

Those are excerpts from the opening day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd. When we come back, we speak to Nekima Levy Armstrong, the former president of the Minneapolis NAACP. Stay with us.

*****************************

Derek Chauvin Defense Blames “George Floyd Himself for His Own Death,” Not the Police “Blood Choke”
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
MARCH 30, 2021

"A Guilty Verdict for Derek Chauvin Is the Only Justice Acceptable for George Floyd"
As the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin continues, we speak with Minneapolis civil rights lawyer Nekima Levy Armstrong, who says prosecutors in the case clearly established that “the actions of Derek Chauvin played the most critical role in cutting off the air supply of George Floyd,” leading to his death, while the defense appears to be resorting to a strategy of victim-blaming. “I was really dismayed to see them try to deflect blame to bystanders and to blame George Floyd himself for his own death,” says Armstrong, a former president of the Minneapolis NAACP.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We’re continuing to look at the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes — 9:29 to be exact, nine minutes and 29 seconds. The trial began Monday.

We go now to Minneapolis, where we’re joined by Nekima Levy Armstrong, a Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist and executive director of Wayfinder Foundation. She previously served as president of the Minneapolis NAACP. Her new article for BET is headlined “A Guilty Verdict for Derek Chauvin Is the Only Justice Acceptable for George Floyd.”

Nekima Levy Armstrong, thanks so much for joining us.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Thanks for having me.

AMY GOODMAN: You bridge the attorney-activist divide. You’re so often out in the streets, but also paying such serious attention to the day’s opening arguments. Can you start off by responding to both the prosecution’s case — one of the things they did was play the entire 9:29, nine minutes and 29 seconds, of Derek Chauvin with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, without comment, the 9:29, and then went on to their opening arguments. Your response?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: I thought that the prosecution team did a really great job of laying out the scene of what actually happened that day, as well as showing that gruesome bystander video. It was very difficult to watch. I’m sure that it had an impact on the jurors, hearing the voice of George Floyd, over and over again, nearly 30 times, saying, “I can’t breathe,” calling for his mom, saying that his stomach hurt. So, I’m glad that they had such an impact in the beginning. And I also think that they laid out their theory of the case. They’re going to talk about how the actions of Derek Chauvin played the most critical role in cutting off the air supply of George Floyd and causing cardiopulmonary arrest.

In terms of the defense strategy, I was really dismayed to see them try to deflect blame to bystanders and to blame George Floyd himself for his own death by talking about George Floyd having fentanyl in his system, and meth, and the fact that defense alleges that he resisted arrest and that that is what led to him ultimately dying on May 25th of 2020.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Nekima Levy Armstrong, what about the stance of the prosecutor that this trial was about Derek Chauvin rather than the police force at large? Your response to that line?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Of course, I’m very troubled by that line. Minneapolis police have a long history of engaging in excessive force, and even being allowed to murder people with impunity. Their reputation is very well known, particularly amongst Black people and other people of color within the city of Minneapolis. And it’s well documented. Our City Council has settled tens of millions of dollars in excessive force lawsuits over the years because of the wayward conduct of MPD. So, from my vantage point, they are just as much on trial as Derek Chauvin, and hopefully those other three officers who aided and abetted him.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, the second witness that was called at the opening day of the trial was Alisha Oyler. At the time of Floyd’s death, she was working as a cashier at the nearby Speedway. What’s the importance, from your perspective, of her testimony?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Well, the Speedway is directly across the street from Cup Foods. It’s not operable anymore, since George Floyd Square has become a place for people to gather and pay their respects to George Floyd and other stolen lives. I think the significance of her testimony was the fact that she was present, that she documented what happened through, I believe, seven videos, and she talked about the cops always, quote-unquote, “messing with people,” which shows that there is a track record of engaging people in a negative way, often for very little reason.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And could you talk about the role of the police union in Minneapolis, its impact on these cases, and whether it’s used a double standard in the past in terms of relating to the race of officers involved?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Yes. Unfortunately, the Minneapolis Police Federation has been a very toxic organization. Typically, when police officers have killed people in the city of Minneapolis, now-former federation president Bob Kroll would go in front of the media and would essentially hail cops as heroes. He would say that their conduct was justified. And he would engage in the demonization of victims of police violence and police murder. Now Bob Kroll has since retired at the end of January, as a result of a lot of community pressure and pressure from activists. There is a new leader. It’s unclear how they will respond as the trial unfolds. But in the early days after George Floyd was killed, Bob Kroll actually went in front of the media and tried to justify the conduct of those officers and engaged in demonizing George Floyd, talking about his past and things that really were not relevant to what happened on May 25th of 2020 that led to his death.

Now, conversely, when Mohamed Noor, who was the Black Muslim Somali officer who killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July of 2017, the union was pretty silent with regards to supporting him. We didn’t see the press conferences and the justifications for Mohamed Noor’s actions as we had seen in previous cases in which officers were being blamed for killing someone. So there’s a definite double standard at play. And I do believe that race matters with regard to how the federation responds in these situations.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to prosecutor Jerry Blackwell addressing the jury on Monday.

JERRY BLACKWELL: So, ultimately, ladies and gentlemen, what was this all about in the first place? Well, you’re going to learn that it was about a counterfeit $20 bill used at a convenience store. That’s all. You will not hear any evidence that Mr. Floyd knew that it was fake or did it on purpose. You will learn, from witnesses we will call, that the police officers could have written him a ticket and let the courts sort it out. You will learn that even if he did it on purpose, it was a minor offense, a misdemeanor.

AMY GOODMAN: And this is more of prosecutor Jerry Blackwell.

JERRY BLACKWELL: You’re also going to hear and see certain evidence of what this was not. This was, for example, not a fatal heart event. This was not, for example, a heart attack. You will learn that there was no demonstrated injury whatsoever to Mr. Floyd’s heart, as in a heart attack. … You will also learn, ladies and gentlemen, that George Floyd struggled with an opioid addiction. He struggled with it for years. You will learn that he did not die from a drug overdose. He did not die from an opioid overdose. … We’re going to ask, at the end of this case, that you find Mr. Chauvin guilty for his excessive use of force against George Floyd, that was an assault, that contributed to taking his life, and for engaging in eminently dangerous behavior, putting the knee on the neck, the knee on the back, for nine minutes and 29 seconds, without regard for Mr. Floyd’s life. We’re going to ask that you find him guilty of murder in the second degree, murder in the third degree and second-degree manslaughter. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: So, there you have the special prosecutor, Jerry Blackwell, making his opening arguments. Nekima Levy Armstrong, if you can go even further into this issue of trying to say that George Floyd did not die as the result of what one of the witness called — the mixed martial artist, Williams — a “blood hold.” I mean, that is so chilling and so striking, the “blood choke.” And he said that Chauvin looked in his eyes. The only time he acknowledged it — he acknowledged this bystander was when he used that term, as if he knew that term, as well. And yet, the defense trying to argue he had other reasons — you know, the issue of opioid addiction or fentanyl in his system — for him to have died on that night.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Well, we all know, everyone who watched that gruesome video, that were it not for his encounter, George Floyd’s encounter, with Derek Chauvin, he would still be alive today, regardless of what he had in his system. And that’s what Jerry Blackwell tried to make clear, that, you know, his level of tolerance for opioids had increased as a result of struggling with these drugs for many years, and, again, the blame lies squarely with Derek Chauvin for using an excessive amount of force, in a situation that shouldn’t have even been responded to with a 911 call. I mean, who calls 911 for a situation like that and expects to see, not one, not two, not three, not four, but five officers come onto the scene for that type of situation? It’s absolutely absurd, but it’s also par for the course in terms of Minneapolis police.

Now, I am very glad that Donald Williams happened to be there that day, because of his 10 years of working in security, his extensive years of training as a mixed martial artist and his ability to recognize that Derek Chauvin was in fact doing a blood choke on George Floyd. And we saw in the video where, as the crowd grew increasingly more agitated, as they called out to Chauvin and the other cops to stop what they were doing, that Derek Chauvin lightly began to bounce on George Floyd’s neck, sealing the deal, you know, ultimately causing his death as a result of his actions. And again, before the start of the trial, most people believe that this happened for eight minutes and 46 seconds. But we learned yesterday that it was even worse than that: nine minutes and 29 seconds of Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, The New York Times previously reported that Derek Chauvin was the subject of at least 22 complaints and internal investigations about his interactions with civilians. One of them led to two letters of reprimand, according to the report. What do you expect — including one situation where an African American woman said that Chauvin kept his knee on her body while she was being handcuffed face down on the ground. What do you expect to happen with these prior cases in terms of presentation in the trial? And also, the efforts by police unions always to prevent the records of police officers, their complaints against them, from being publicly known?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Well, prior to the start of the trial, prosecutors wanted the majority of those previous complaints and incidences against Derek Chauvin to be let in as evidence, and the judge has limited the scope of what can come in. So, that incident that you reference in The New York Times that happened to a Black woman who faced a similar circumstance as a result of an encounter with Derek Chauvin, that will be allowed in. There might be a few others, as well. And I do believe that the jury will take note of Chauvin’s conduct in terms of using excessive force, but also being able to exercise restraint, as well, in certain circumstances.

Now, the defense, of course, will argue that Derek Chauvin learned the technique that he used on George Floyd from his 19 years as a police officer, from the training. But one thing that will be interesting about this trial is the fact that the police chief himself, Medaria Arradondo, is planning to testify on behalf of the prosecution, saying that the Minneapolis Police Department offers no such training to police officers and that Derek Chauvin was not acting within the scope of what he learned during his 19 years on the force.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to continue to cover this, of course. And then there is also the trial of the other officers, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who are charged each with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

As the COVID courtroom is set up inside — you know, when Blackwell is speaking, he’s got plexiglass on three sides of him. When the judge talks to the lawyers, they don’t come up for a sidebar. He’s speaking through a kind of IFB, a little microphone into their ears, as they continue to sit there. And it’s extremely limited, who can be in the courtroom. So, we’ll be continuing to cover this through these weeks, if that is what it takes.

I want to thank you, Nekima Levy Armstrong, Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist and executive director of Wayfinder Foundation. Nekima Levy Armstrong previously served as president of the Minneapolis NAACP, and a law professor at the University of St. Thomas. And we’ll link to your piece at BET, “A Guilty Verdict for Derek Chauvin Is the Only Justice Acceptable for George Floyd.”
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:29 am

Chauvin Trial Day 2: Multiple Witnesses "Call the Police on the Police" for What They Saw Chauvin Do
by Glenn Kirschner
Mar 30, 2021



Day two of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd saw people from several walks of life testifying that what they saw Chauvin do was wrong, several saying that the saw the officers "kill George Floyd."

Here are some of the highlights from day two of the trial.
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:27 am

Chauvin Trial, Day 3: How the Police Victimized Not Only George Floyd But The Witnesses As Well
by Glenn Kirschner
Mar 31, 2021



As we watch the witnesses testify about how they saw four police officers, including Derek Chauvin, kill George Floyd, we should keep in mind that the witnesses experienced extreme trauma themselves. Several witnesses yelled, screamed, begged and pleaded with the police to stop killing George Floyd. Two teenage witnesses testified that they feel guilty that they didn't or couldn't do anything to stop the murder that was occurring before their eyes.

Beyond the impact on George Floyd, his family, the witnesses and the Minneapolis community, how does the videotape impact the thinking of everyday Americans when they are deciding whether to call the police? Millions of Americans have now seen that when the police are called for a minor offense (passing a fake $20 bill), four armed police officers show up and intentionally kill the suspect in broad daylight in front of several witnesses, one of whom was herself a firefighter and emergency medical technician. Might other citizens in need of police assistance hesitate before calling police after seeing what Chauvin and his fellow offices did to George Floyd?
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:30 am

“I Felt the Need to Call the Police on the Police”: Witnesses Describe Seeing George Floyd’s Murder
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
MARCH 31, 2021

On the second day of the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, jurors heard chilling testimony from eyewitnesses who watched Chauvin kill George Floyd by kneeling on his neck for over nine months.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is entering its third day. Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges for killing George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

On Tuesday, jurors heard chilling testimony from eyewitnesses, including Darnella Frazier, who was just 17 years old when she used her cellphone to film the killing of Floyd. Her image was not broadcast on the court television feed because she was a minor at the time of his death.

JERRY BLACKWELL: When you walked past the squad car there, did you see anything happening there on the ground as you were walking towards Cup Foods with your cousin?

DARNELLA FRAZIER: Yes. I see a man on the ground, and I see a cop kneeling down on him.

JERRY BLACKWELL: So, tell the jury what you observed, what you heard, when you stopped to look at what was happening there at the scene.

DARNELLA FRAZIER: 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. 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. …

JERRY BLACKWELL: Now, Mr. Nelson asked you a few questions about your video going viral and how that’s changed your life. Remember that, at the end?

DARNELLA FRAZIER: Yes.

JERRY BLACKWELL: Would you tell the ladies and gentlemen how your viewing, experiencing what happened to George Floyd has affected your life?

DARNELLA FRAZIER: When I look at George Floyd, I look at — 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 like, it’s not what I should have done. It’s what he [Chauvin] should have done.

AMY GOODMAN: Now 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, testifying at the trial of Derek Chauvin, who she says should have saved George Floyd’s life.

The mixed martial artist Donald Williams, who also witnessed Floyd’s death, told prosecutor Matthew Frank he called 911 after seeing Chauvin put Floyd in what Williams had earlier called a “blood choke.”

MATTHEW FRANK: At some point, did you make a 911 call?

DONALD WILLIAMS: That is correct. I did call the police on the police.

MATTHEW FRANK: All right. And why did you do that?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Because I believe I witnessed a murder.

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

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

AMY GOODMAN: Lawyers for officer Derek Chauvin attempted to counter the moving accounts by portraying the eyewitnesses to George Floyd’s death as being part of an angry mob, but another one of the eyewitnesses was an off-duty firefighter and EMT. Genevieve Hansen told prosecutor [Matthew] Frank she urged the police officers to check George Floyd’s pulse as he lay motionless on the ground.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I identified myself right away, because I noticed that he needed medical attention. It didn’t take me long to realize that he was — had an altered level of consciousness. And in our training, that is the first time that somebody needs medical attention. So, my attention moved from Mr. Floyd to how can I gain access to this patient and give him medical attention or direct the officers. And I didn’t pay much attention to George Floyd after that. …

MATTHEW FRANK: In terms of, you know, his face, when you’re first there, or even the rest of him, what is it that you saw that made you concerned about his medical needs?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I was really concerned about — I thought his face looked puffy and swollen, which would happen if you are putting a grown man’s weight on someone’s neck. I noticed some fluid coming from what looked like George Floyd’s body. And in a lot of cases, we see a patient release their bladder when they die. I can’t tell you exactly where the fluid was coming from, but that’s where my mind went. He wasn’t moving. …

MATTHEW FRANK: What’s the point of doing chest compressions?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Pumping — pumping the blood for somebody that’s not doing that themselves, trying to get a pulse back.

MATTHEW FRANK: And were you able to do that, any of those steps?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: No, sir.

MATTHEW FRANK: Why weren’t you able to do any of that?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Because the officers didn’t let me into the scene. I also offered — in my memory, I offered to kind of walk them through it, or told them, “If he doesn’t have a pulse, you need to start compressions.” And that wasn’t done, either.

MATTHEW FRANK: Is this — are these things that you wanted to do?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: It would have — it’s what I would have done for anybody.

MATTHEW FRANK: When you couldn’t do that, how did that make you feel?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Totally distressed.

MATTHEW FRANK: Were you frustrated?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Yes.

MATTHEW FRANK: Ms. Hansen, you know, as I told you, we can take our time, so feel free to just take a minute to — if you need a drink of water, go ahead.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: OK. …

MATTHEW FRANK: How were you doing that, trying to get the officers to focus on you and get help?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I think, in my memory, I tried different tactics of calm and reasoning. I tried to be assertive. I pled and was desperate.

AMY GOODMAN: Minneapolis firefighter and EMT Genevieve Hansen broke down in tears as she recalled seeing George Floyd die and being prevented from helping him. Visit democracynow.org to see all of our coverage on the police killing of George Floyd.

***

Derek Chauvin Defense Blames “George Floyd Himself for His Own Death,” Not the Police “Blood Choke”
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
MARCH 30, 2021

GUESTS

Nekima Levy Armstrong: Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist and executive director of Wayfinder Foundation.

"A Guilty Verdict for Derek Chauvin Is the Only Justice Acceptable for George Floyd"

As the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin continues, we speak with Minneapolis civil rights lawyer Nekima Levy Armstrong, who says prosecutors in the case clearly established that “the actions of Derek Chauvin played the most critical role in cutting off the air supply of George Floyd,” leading to his death, while the defense appears to be resorting to a strategy of victim-blaming. “I was really dismayed to see them try to deflect blame to bystanders and to blame George Floyd himself for his own death,” says Armstrong, a former president of the Minneapolis NAACP.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

We’re continuing to look at the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for over nine minutes — 9:29 to be exact, nine minutes and 29 seconds. The trial began Monday.

We go now to Minneapolis, where we’re joined by Nekima Levy Armstrong, a Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist and executive director of Wayfinder Foundation. She previously served as president of the Minneapolis NAACP. Her new article for BET is headlined “A Guilty Verdict for Derek Chauvin Is the Only Justice Acceptable for George Floyd.”

Nekima Levy Armstrong, thanks so much for joining us.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Thanks for having me.

AMY GOODMAN: You bridge the attorney-activist divide. You’re so often out in the streets, but also paying such serious attention to the day’s opening arguments. Can you start off by responding to both the prosecution’s case — one of the things they did was play the entire 9:29, nine minutes and 29 seconds, of Derek Chauvin with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, without comment, the 9:29, and then went on to their opening arguments. Your response?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: I thought that the prosecution team did a really great job of laying out the scene of what actually happened that day, as well as showing that gruesome bystander video. It was very difficult to watch. I’m sure that it had an impact on the jurors, hearing the voice of George Floyd, over and over again, nearly 30 times, saying, “I can’t breathe,” calling for his mom, saying that his stomach hurt. So, I’m glad that they had such an impact in the beginning. And I also think that they laid out their theory of the case. They’re going to talk about how the actions of Derek Chauvin played the most critical role in cutting off the air supply of George Floyd and causing cardiopulmonary arrest.

In terms of the defense strategy, I was really dismayed to see them try to deflect blame to bystanders and to blame George Floyd himself for his own death by talking about George Floyd having fentanyl in his system, and meth, and the fact that defense alleges that he resisted arrest and that that is what led to him ultimately dying on May 25th of 2020.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Nekima Levy Armstrong, what about the stance of the prosecutor that this trial was about Derek Chauvin rather than the police force at large? Your response to that line?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Of course, I’m very troubled by that line. Minneapolis police have a long history of engaging in excessive force, and even being allowed to murder people with impunity. Their reputation is very well known, particularly amongst Black people and other people of color within the city of Minneapolis. And it’s well documented. Our City Council has settled tens of millions of dollars in excessive force lawsuits over the years because of the wayward conduct of MPD. So, from my vantage point, they are just as much on trial as Derek Chauvin, and hopefully those other three officers who aided and abetted him.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, the second witness that was called at the opening day of the trial was Alisha Oyler. At the time of Floyd’s death, she was working as a cashier at the nearby Speedway. What’s the importance, from your perspective, of her testimony?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Well, the Speedway is directly across the street from Cup Foods. It’s not operable anymore, since George Floyd Square has become a place for people to gather and pay their respects to George Floyd and other stolen lives. I think the significance of her testimony was the fact that she was present, that she documented what happened through, I believe, seven videos, and she talked about the cops always, quote-unquote, “messing with people,” which shows that there is a track record of engaging people in a negative way, often for very little reason.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And could you talk about the role of the police union in Minneapolis, its impact on these cases, and whether it’s used a double standard in the past in terms of relating to the race of officers involved?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Yes. Unfortunately, the Minneapolis Police Federation has been a very toxic organization. Typically, when police officers have killed people in the city of Minneapolis, now-former federation president Bob Kroll would go in front of the media and would essentially hail cops as heroes. He would say that their conduct was justified. And he would engage in the demonization of victims of police violence and police murder. Now Bob Kroll has since retired at the end of January, as a result of a lot of community pressure and pressure from activists. There is a new leader. It’s unclear how they will respond as the trial unfolds. But in the early days after George Floyd was killed, Bob Kroll actually went in front of the media and tried to justify the conduct of those officers and engaged in demonizing George Floyd, talking about his past and things that really were not relevant to what happened on May 25th of 2020 that led to his death.

Now, conversely, when Mohamed Noor, who was the Black Muslim Somali officer who killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond in July of 2017, the union was pretty silent with regards to supporting him. We didn’t see the press conferences and the justifications for Mohamed Noor’s actions as we had seen in previous cases in which officers were being blamed for killing someone. So there’s a definite double standard at play. And I do believe that race matters with regard to how the federation responds in these situations.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to prosecutor Jerry Blackwell addressing the jury on Monday.

JERRY BLACKWELL: So, ultimately, ladies and gentlemen, what was this all about in the first place? Well, you’re going to learn that it was about a counterfeit $20 bill used at a convenience store. That’s all. You will not hear any evidence that Mr. Floyd knew that it was fake or did it on purpose. You will learn, from witnesses we will call, that the police officers could have written him a ticket and let the courts sort it out. You will learn that even if he did it on purpose, it was a minor offense, a misdemeanor.

AMY GOODMAN: And this is more of prosecutor Jerry Blackwell.

JERRY BLACKWELL: You’re also going to hear and see certain evidence of what this was not. This was, for example, not a fatal heart event. This was not, for example, a heart attack. You will learn that there was no demonstrated injury whatsoever to Mr. Floyd’s heart, as in a heart attack. … You will also learn, ladies and gentlemen, that George Floyd struggled with an opioid addiction. He struggled with it for years. You will learn that he did not die from a drug overdose. He did not die from an opioid overdose. … We’re going to ask, at the end of this case, that you find Mr. Chauvin guilty for his excessive use of force against George Floyd, that was an assault, that contributed to taking his life, and for engaging in eminently dangerous behavior, putting the knee on the neck, the knee on the back, for nine minutes and 29 seconds, without regard for Mr. Floyd’s life. We’re going to ask that you find him guilty of murder in the second degree, murder in the third degree and second-degree manslaughter. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: So, there you have the special prosecutor, Jerry Blackwell, making his opening arguments. Nekima Levy Armstrong, if you can go even further into this issue of trying to say that George Floyd did not die as the result of what one of the witness called — the mixed martial artist, Williams — a “blood hold.” I mean, that is so chilling and so striking, the “blood choke.” And he said that Chauvin looked in his eyes. The only time he acknowledged it — he acknowledged this bystander was when he used that term, as if he knew that term, as well. And yet, the defense trying to argue he had other reasons — you know, the issue of opioid addiction or fentanyl in his system — for him to have died on that night.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Well, we all know, everyone who watched that gruesome video, that were it not for his encounter, George Floyd’s encounter, with Derek Chauvin, he would still be alive today, regardless of what he had in his system. And that’s what Jerry Blackwell tried to make clear, that, you know, his level of tolerance for opioids had increased as a result of struggling with these drugs for many years, and, again, the blame lies squarely with Derek Chauvin for using an excessive amount of force, in a situation that shouldn’t have even been responded to with a 911 call. I mean, who calls 911 for a situation like that and expects to see, not one, not two, not three, not four, but five officers come onto the scene for that type of situation? It’s absolutely absurd, but it’s also par for the course in terms of Minneapolis police.

Now, I am very glad that Donald Williams happened to be there that day, because of his 10 years of working in security, his extensive years of training as a mixed martial artist and his ability to recognize that Derek Chauvin was in fact doing a blood choke on George Floyd. And we saw in the video where, as the crowd grew increasingly more agitated, as they called out to Chauvin and the other cops to stop what they were doing, that Derek Chauvin lightly began to bounce on George Floyd’s neck, sealing the deal, you know, ultimately causing his death as a result of his actions. And again, before the start of the trial, most people believe that this happened for eight minutes and 46 seconds. But we learned yesterday that it was even worse than that: nine minutes and 29 seconds of Derek Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd’s neck.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Now, The New York Times previously reported that Derek Chauvin was the subject of at least 22 complaints and internal investigations about his interactions with civilians. One of them led to two letters of reprimand, according to the report. What do you expect — including one situation where an African American woman said that Chauvin kept his knee on her body while she was being handcuffed face down on the ground. What do you expect to happen with these prior cases in terms of presentation in the trial? And also, the efforts by police unions always to prevent the records of police officers, their complaints against them, from being publicly known?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Well, prior to the start of the trial, prosecutors wanted the majority of those previous complaints and incidences against Derek Chauvin to be let in as evidence, and the judge has limited the scope of what can come in. So, that incident that you reference in The New York Times that happened to a Black woman who faced a similar circumstance as a result of an encounter with Derek Chauvin, that will be allowed in. There might be a few others, as well. And I do believe that the jury will take note of Chauvin’s conduct in terms of using excessive force, but also being able to exercise restraint, as well, in certain circumstances.

Now, the defense, of course, will argue that Derek Chauvin learned the technique that he used on George Floyd from his 19 years as a police officer, from the training. But one thing that will be interesting about this trial is the fact that the police chief himself, Medaria Arradondo, is planning to testify on behalf of the prosecution, saying that the Minneapolis Police Department offers no such training to police officers and that Derek Chauvin was not acting within the scope of what he learned during his 19 years on the force.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’re going to continue to cover this, of course. And then there is also the trial of the other officers, Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who are charged each with aiding and abetting second-degree murder, as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

As the COVID courtroom is set up inside — you know, when Blackwell is speaking, he’s got plexiglass on three sides of him. When the judge talks to the lawyers, they don’t come up for a sidebar. He’s speaking through a kind of IFB, a little microphone into their ears, as they continue to sit there. And it’s extremely limited, who can be in the courtroom. So, we’ll be continuing to cover this through these weeks, if that is what it takes.

I want to thank you, Nekima Levy Armstrong, Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist and executive director of Wayfinder Foundation. Nekima Levy Armstrong previously served as president of the Minneapolis NAACP, and a law professor at the University of St. Thomas. And we’ll link to your piece at BET, “A Guilty Verdict for Derek Chauvin Is the Only Justice Acceptable for George Floyd.”
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Mon Apr 05, 2021 11:57 pm

“Check His Pulse”: In Derek Chauvin Trial, Outraged Bystanders Describe Witnessing George Floyd Death
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
APRIL 01, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/4/1/d ... rial_day_3

Jurors in Minneapolis heard another series of dramatic testimonies during the third day of the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd. A teenage clerk named Christopher Martin at the Minneapolis convenience store outside which Floyd was killed told jurors during questioning that he felt guilty for reporting the fake $20 bill to his manager, who called the police on George Floyd. Jurors also heard a recording of Charles McMillian, who witnessed George Floyd’s death last year, approaching Chauvin to say, “I don’t respect what you did,” as Floyd’s body was being loaded into an ambulance. We air dramatic excerpts from witness testimony on the third day of the murder trial in Minneapolis.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Jurors in Minneapolis have heard another day of dramatic testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who’s on trial for killing George Floyd last May by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Chauvin, who is white, is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter, for killing George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black father. Floyd’s death sparked international protests calling for racial justice.

Floyd’s arrest and death on May 25th last year occurred after the Cup Foods convenience store called the police accusing Floyd of using a counterfeit $20 bill. To this day, it’s not known if Floyd even knew he had used a counterfeit money. Moments after police arrived at the scene, officer Thomas Lane pointed a gun at Floyd and then pulled him out of a parked car, cursing at him. On Wednesday, a teenage clerk at the store named Christopher Martin told jurors during questioning he felt guilty for reporting the fake $20 bill to his manager, who called the police on Floyd.

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.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the most moving moments of the trial came Wednesday when Charles McMillian, who also witnessed George Floyd’s death, rewatched a police bodycam clip of George Floyd begging for his life after he was handcuffed by police. A warning to our audience: This clip contains graphic video of police violence.

GEORGE FLOYD: I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

THOMAS LANE: Thank you.

GEORGE FLOYD: I can’t breathe.

ALEXANDER KUENG: Stop moving!

GEORGE FLOYD: Mama!

DEREK CHAUVIN: [inaudible], Hobble?

GEORGE FLOYD: Mama! Mama!

ALEXANDER KUENG: Yeah, it’s in the —

GEORGE FLOYD: Mama!

ALEXANDER KUENG: — I think, one of the front pouches —

GEORGE FLOYD: Mama!

ALEXANDER KUENG: — on my right side bag.

GEORGE FLOYD: Mama! Mama!

THOMAS LANE: Can we get EMS Code 2, for one bleeding from the mouth?

DEREK CHAUVIN: You’re under arrest, guy.

GEORGE FLOYD: All right. All right. Oh my god.

DEREK CHAUVIN: So you’re going to jail.

GEORGE FLOYD: I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.

THOMAS LANE: Affirm.

GEORGE FLOYD: I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe, man.

ERIN ELDRIDGE: Stop it right here, please. Mr. McMillian, do you need a minute?

CHARLES McMILLIAN: [weeping] Oh my god.

MATTHEW FRANK: Just take your time. Let us know when you’re ready.

ERIN ELDRIDGE: We’ll just give you a moment, Mr. McMillian. I’m not sure if there’s water for you, as well. If you need a break to get some water, let me know. We can take a break.

AMY GOODMAN: After the break, the 61-year-old African American bystander, Charles McMillian, returned to be questioned about what he saw when police killed George Floyd.

ERIN ELDRIDGE: What stood out to you about what Mr. Floyd was saying when you saw him on the ground?

CHARLES McMILLIAN:When he kept saying, “I can’t breathe,” and when he said, “Mama, they’re killing me.”

AMY GOODMAN: During the trial Wednesday, jurors also heard a recording of Charles McMillian approaching officer Derek Chauvin moments after George Floyd’s limp body was put in an ambulance. McMillian told Chauvin, quote, “I don’t respect what you did.”

DEREK CHAUVIN: Sir.

DISPATCHER: Can you advise the fire department, if they’re still with you, they need to go to 36th and Park —

CHARLES McMILLIAN: What you did, well, I’m objecting. But that’s your job.

DEREK CHAUVIN: All right. That’s —

DISPATCHER: — to assist with a [inaudible] arrest?

CHARLES McMILLIAN: But I [inaudible] respect what you did.

DEREK CHAUVIN: That’s one person’s opinion.

CHARLES McMILLIAN: But no, no, no. I’ve got to get in — I’ve got to get in [inaudible].

DEREK CHAUVIN: We’ve got to — we’ve got to control this — we’ve got to control this guy, because he’s a sizable guy.

CHARLES McMILLIAN: Yeah. And I tried — I tried to get him — get in the car.

DEREK CHAUVIN: That looks like he’s — looks like he’s probably on something.

AMY GOODMAN: On Wednesday, jurors were also shown police bodycam footage of the bystanders who attempted to save George Floyd’s life as officer Chauvin kneeled on his neck.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I’m a firefighter for Minneapolis.

DONALD WILLIAMS: He’s not responsive right now!

TOU THAO: OK, so you wouldn’t know. Get off the street!

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: No, I do know.

TOU THAO: OK.

DONALD WILLIAMS: He’s not responsive right now! He’s not responsive right now, bro!

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Does he have a pulse?

DONALD WILLIAMS: No, bro, look at him! He’s not responsive right now, bro!

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Check for a pulse, please. Check for a pulse.

DONALD WILLIAMS: Bro, are you serious? You’re going to just let him sit there with that on his neck, bro?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Let me see a pulse!

DONALD WILLIAMS: Is he breathing right now? Check his pulse!

TOU THAO: All right. How long are we going to have this conversation?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Check his pulse!

TOU THAO: OK.

DONALD WILLIAMS: Check his pulse, Thao.

TOU THAO: All right.

DONALD WILLIAMS: Thao, check his pulse. Thao, check his pulse, bro. Bro, check his pulse, bro. You’re bogus, bro!

TOU THAO: All right. Don’t do drugs, guys.

DONALD WILLIAMS: You’re bogus. “Don’t do drugs,” bro?

TOU THAO: Exactly.

DONALD WILLIAMS: What is that? What do you think that is? You saw — you call what he doing OK?

TOU THAO: Get back on the —

DONALD WILLIAMS: You call what he doing OK? You call —

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Badge number 7162.

DONALD WILLIAMS: You call what you doing — you call what he doing OK?

TOU THAO: Are you really a firefighter?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Yes, I am, from Minneapolis.

TOU THAO: OK, OK. Then get on the sidewalk!

DONALD WILLIAMS: Bro, you call — you think that’s OK?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: You show me his pulse!

DONALD WILLIAMS: Check his pulse!

TOU THAO: OK.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Check it right f—ing now!

TOU THAO: Get back on the sidewalk.

DONALD WILLIAMS: The man ain’t moved yet, bro. The man ain’t moved yet, bro.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: [inaudible] on the street.

TOU THAO: OK. Where? Where?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Minneapolis!

TOU THAO: OK.

DONALD WILLIAMS: Bro, you’re a bum, bro.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the eyewitnesses to George Floyd’s murder, the mixed martial artist Donald Williams, told prosecutor Matthew Frank he called 911 after seeing Chauvin put Floyd in what Williams had earlier called a “blood choke.”

MATTHEW FRANK: At some point, did you make a 911 call?

DONALD WILLIAMS: That is correct. I did call the police on the police.

MATTHEW FRANK: All right. And why did you do that?

DONALD WILLIAMS: Because I believe I witnessed a murder.

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

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

AMY GOODMAN: Another one of the eyewitnesses was an off-duty firefighter and EMT named Genevieve Hansen, who was out for a walk. On Tuesday, she told prosecutor Matthew Frank she wanted to check George Floyd’s pulse and give him chest compressions, but she was prevented from doing so by the police.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I was really concerned about — I thought his face looked puffy and swollen, which would happen if you are putting a grown man’s weight on someone’s neck. I noticed some fluid coming from what looked like George Floyd’s body. And in a lot of cases, we see a patient release their bladder when they die. I can’t tell you exactly where the fluid was coming from, but that’s where my mind went. He wasn’t moving. …

MATTHEW FRANK: What’s the point of doing chest compressions?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Pumping — pumping the blood for somebody that’s not doing that themselves, trying to get a pulse back.

MATTHEW FRANK: And were you able to do that, any of those steps?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: No, sir.

MATTHEW FRANK: Why weren’t you able to do any of that?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Because the officers didn’t let me into the scene. I also offered — in my memory, I offered to kind of walk them through it, or told them, “If he doesn’t have a pulse, you need to start compressions.” And that wasn’t done, either.

MATTHEW FRANK: Is this — are these things that you wanted to do?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: It would have — it’s what I would have done for anybody.

MATTHEW FRANK: When you couldn’t do that, how did that make you feel?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Totally distressed.

MATTHEW FRANK: Were you frustrated?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Yes.

MATTHEW FRANK: Ms. Hansen, you know, as I told you, we can take our time, so feel free to just take a minute to — if you need a drink of water, go ahead.

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: OK. …

MATTHEW FRANK: How were you doing that, trying to get the officers to focus on you and get help?

GENEVIEVE HANSEN: I think, in my memory, I tried different tactics of calm and reasoning. I tried to be assertive. I pled and was desperate.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter and EMT. Jurors on Tuesday also heard from Darnella Frazier. She was just 17 years old when she used her cellphone to film the killing of George Floyd. Her image was not broadcast on the court television feed because she was a minor at the time of Floyd’s death.

DARNELLA FRAZIER: 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. 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. …

JERRY BLACKWELL: Now, Mr. Nelson asked you a few questions about your video going viral and how that’s changed your life. Remember that, at the end?

DARNELLA FRAZIER: Yes.

JERRY BLACKWELL: Would you tell the ladies and gentlemen how your viewing, experiencing what happened to George Floyd has affected your life?

DARNELLA FRAZIER: When I look at George Floyd, I look at — 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 like, it’s not what I should have done. It’s what he should have done.

JERRY BLACKWELL: All right. Thank you, Darnella.

JUDGE PETER CAHILL: That’ll finish the answer. Thank you.

AMY GOODMAN: Now 18 years old, Darnella Frazier, who filmed the police killing of George Floyd.

***************************

“The System of Policing Is on Trial”: Derek Chauvin Murder Case Is About More Than Just George Floyd
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
APRIL 01, 2021
https://www.democracynow.org/2021/4/1/d ... l_analysis

GUESTS
Mel Reeves: community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the oldest Black-owned newspaper in the state.
Rashad Robinson; president of Color of Change.

"Day 3 of Derek Chauvin trial: 'I don't respect what you did' says witness"

After the third dramatic day in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, we speak with Mel Reeves, who has been following the case as community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the oldest Black-owned newspaper in the state. Reeves discusses the testimony heard so far, and juror selection, and says more is at stake than just what happened to George Floyd. “It is political. The system of policing is on trial,” says Reeves. “You can see now how the police operate when they run into Black people.” We also speak with Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, who says the defense is following a familiar strategy of blaming the victim. “This is what they do in trial after trial, is work to put the community and work to put the victim on trial, to make the victim someone who deserved to be killed.” Robinson also describes the influence of police unions on preventing police accountability.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

As we’ve reported, jurors in Minneapolis have heard another day of dramatic testimony in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd last May. For three days, witnesses have described the horror of seeing Chauvin kneel on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Chauvin, who is white, is charged with second- and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter, for killing George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black father. Floyd’s death sparked international protests calling for racial justice.

For more, we go to Minneapolis to speak with Mel Reeves, the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, the oldest Black-owned newspaper in the state, covering the trial of Chauvin, also longtime human rights and anti-police-violence activist. Also with us, Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Let’s begin with Mel Reeves. You’re right there in Minneapolis. The horror of this trial, as we see footage that we have seen over the last almost year and also new footage, but one of the things that comes out most powerfully is exactly what the defense attorney seemed not to want to have proven. He talked about an angry mob. You have each of these people of conscience: the 61-year-old bystander, McMillian; the EMT and firefighter who tried to help; the 17-year-old, at the time, teenager who filmed the whole thing that we saw; the 9-year-old little girl. Can you talk about what this community, not even knowing each other, particularly, that night — what it means to hear their testimony and their grief?

MEL REEVES: Unlike the way the defense tried to paint them, they come off as real human beings. They witnessed a crime. What we saw — what they witnessed is what we saw in the film. And the testimony proves that they saw something that was outrageous, and, you know, they wanted to do something about it. It’s unfortunate that the defense is trying to portray them as some wild mob.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: And, Rashad Robinson, could you say more about what the defense has been arguing? Color of Change released a press release titled “Minneapolis Jurors, Spectators Must Remember That Derek Chauvin Is on Trial — Not George Floyd.”

RASHAD ROBINSON: [inaudible] playbook. This is the playbook from police unions, who are paying for the defense, who have injected well over $50 million since 2012 into elections to actually help to dictate what prosecutors and mayors and other folks who are responsible for police accountability do. And this is what they do in trial after trial, is work to put the community and work to put the victim on trial, to make the victim someone who deserved to be killed.

This is a situation where we have video. And this is a situation where we have a series of witnesses that are deeply, deeply credible. And this is a situation where we’ve had uprisings that happened all throughout the summer. But I do want people who are watching, who are listening, to remember that we don’t always have these situations. And that should not be the prerequisite for whether or not we have a system that provides justice or we even have a situation where we think justice could be possible.

But that is what the defense is doing, because it is a playbook that actually sort of draws on all of the deep levels of the racism, all of the ways in which the system is not broken but is operating exactly the way it was designed, to let police officers off and to put Black people on trial, regardless of whether we are victim or perpetrator.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Mel Reeves, could you respond to what Rashad said, and also elaborate on the concerns you’ve expressed about the jury selection process?

MEL REEVES: I’m glad you asked that, because, like Rashad, you know, I’m not just a writer and journalist. I’m an activist. I’ve been on the ground actually organizing against police violence. In fact, I push back against folks saying that the fight was just a fight for racial justice. It was a fight for justice, and it was a fight for — they’re demanding very clearly — the prosecution of the police. We’ve been trying to hold the police accountable here.

What’s interesting is — well, yeah, let me talk about the trial thing that you asked, but I want to make this point to folks — that people in the community don’t have any real faith in the court system right now. When we poll people, most folks have some real doubts about the outcome of the trial. And part of that is fueled by the fact that the police in Minneapolis and St. Paul have not changed their behavior. Just last week, there was a situation where the police grabbed the wrong young person, people in the neighborhood trying to say they bring that to attention. And in the process of them dealing with this young person — you know, there was a lot of back and forth — a Minneapolis policeman, right on video, jumped on this kid, punched him with the full force, and jumped on the ground and started punching him. And we’re saying — and in St. Paul, with a no-knock warrant, somebody entered the house to grab this woman’s 18-year-old son. In the process, they choked her 11-year-old son. And so, the question is: Why would this continue, in this environment? All right? And so, what we’re starting to suspect is that, on some level here, that the police are provoking our folks.

But getting back to your original question, we wrote about this, and we’re trying to do a day-by-day journal in our paper, Spokesman-Recorder. I wrote about the fact that even the system of jury — even the court process is biased. The juror number 76 — we keep referring to him as 76 — is a Black man from South Minneapolis. He had experienced police harassment. In fact, he said at one point during his voir-dire that in his neighborhood, whenever a Black person was killed, the police would arrive down the street playing “Another One Bites the Dust” and attempting to antagonize the community. So, the question is — and so he was rejected, even though, like all the other jurors, especially the white jurors, he was able to say to the judge that, “Yes, I think I can be fair and impartial.”

And our question was: Well, why did not the court system — remember, the prosecution did not find him acceptable, as well as the defense, nor the judge. All right? So, the system said that a Black man with a lived African American experience did not qualify for the jury. So it raises questions about: What do they really want on this jury? Remember, they have four people on the jury who have either relatives or friends that are police. So it makes you wonder. Like I say to — I’ve said to people all the time, who’ve said, “Well, can Derek Chauvin get a fair trial?” Derek Chauvin is getting a much fairer trial than either you or I would.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to ask you about this gathering of eyewitnesses, going back to that point, Mel, people who did not know each other, and how incredibly restrained they were. I mean, they were saying, “He is not breathing.” You have the EMT saying, “Let me take his pulse, or at least you take his pulse.” But what you also see is, for the first time you hear the police officers speaking. You hear Chauvin’s voice afterwards. When Mr. McMillian says to him that he doesn’t respect him, why did he do that, you hear how controlled Chauvin is, clearly not upset. This is as the body is taken away. And you see Lane, at the beginning, officer Lane. I mean, the charge was — at least the call they got was that a counterfeit bill was passed — not at all clear that Floyd knew that that $20 wasn’t real — and that he pulls a gun on him immediately, cursing him out, saying F—in’ this and F—in’ that, which is, of course — Floyd responds, “Please don’t kill me.” But this level of enormous pressure, from the beginning, that we’re seeing in these videos.

MEL REEVES: You didn’t finish with a question, but I’ll take off from there. What you said sounded like you read our update from yesterday. If you go to Spokesman-Recorder.com, you’ll see the update I wrote, and that was a point that I raised, as well, that, on some level, what you saw was a microcosm of U.S. policing, of how police operate when they run into Black folks.

If you noticed, he pulled a gun on him right away. You know, initially, when I saw it, I thought, “Well, maybe George Floyd was acting a little irrationally.” But on second thought, and looking at it again, it made sense that he might have been nervous and paranoid. It makes sense for a Black man in the U.S. to be nervous when the police — in fact, it makes sense even for a Brown person or even a white working-class, on some level, and especially if somebody pulls a gun on you.

I thought — you’re right — it was odd that Chauvin had just killed a man, and he walked away with little affect. In fact, the piece I wrote, I talk about how Charles McMillian was a hero, because I don’t think I would have walked up on a cop who just killed somebody, and talked to him and told him what I thought. And McMillian was a real hero. He walked up on him and said he didn’t respect what he did. And Chauvin almost appeared to be preparing his defense already, because he was saying that, “Well, he was a big guy, and we had to — you know, and then he was on drugs.” So it almost seemed as if he realized — at least he did realize that he had done something wrong, and so he was trying to prepare a defense.

But, you know, all throughout the trial — in fact, in the opening, both the defense and the prosecution were trying to make it clear to the jury and all of us watching that this trial is not about the police, the system of policing or justice — or politics. And as I wrote, nothing could be further from the truth. It is about politics. The system of policing is on trial. You can see now how the police operate when they run into Black people. They treated a true bystander, a true — they treated bystanders like criminals. They treated the two folks that were in George Floyd’s car, who had done nothing wrong — and they said to the police, “Hey, he had given us a ride.” And they said, “He’s a nice guy.” And the cops were trying to figure out if something was wrong with George. They said, “Well, he might be struggling with something.”

So, anyway, while the defense is trying to paint George as this crazed person on drugs, that’s not what comes across. He comes across as somebody, like a lot of us, who are a bit afraid of the police. Because why wouldn’t you be? These guys killed — the police killed thousands of people, not just Black people. They’ve killed thousands of people. They brutalize folks. And what people see on TV or what people who live in the suburbs experience is not the lived experience of most people of color in major U.S. cities.

So, yeah, the whole thing is disturbing. And Chauvin’s response after was disturbing. But I think the — because you keep referring to the bystanders — I think the bystanders are acting like human beings. And you say “restrained.” They had no choice. They were actually threatened. Chauvin, while he had his knee on Floyd’s neck, actually threatened to pull out his mace on Donald Williams. So, the crowd was restrained, but only because the police restrained them. Clearly, part of why the witnesses are so upset is because they could not help George Floyd. They knew he needed help. And that just shows you the insanity of the system of policing.

You know, sometimes when a Black person is killed, the police say — they have this saying, ”NHI,” “no human involved.” After watching that body camera yesterday, it looked to me as if there was no human involved in dealing with George Floyd. None of the police operated with any kind of compassion or empathy. None of them. In fact, when you look at the video again, I have no idea why they pulled George Floyd out of that car and laid him on the ground. I have no idea. What were they trying to do? I mean, I don’t understand that. The defense doesn’t have much of an argument.

Those police, including what I call the three stooges, all look very indifferent to the plight of George Floyd. It almost looks like — and this may sound a little hyperbolic, but it almost looks like they were trying to kill him. Alexander Kueng had his knee in George Floyd’s back. That’s what the video revealed yesterday, that not only was Derek Chauvin pressing on his neck with his knee with the full weight, but Alexander Kueng, who’s a pretty good-sized guy, had his knee in George Floyd’s back. And he didn’t take his knee off until the paramedics arrived. I think then it arrived. And if you listen to them talking, they never actually are caring. George Floyd says, “I can’t breathe.” The only time they responded was somebody said to him, “Well, you’re talking.” I mean, they were totally indifferent to the plight of this human being. I mean, this is an indictment of the U.S. police system, if I’ve ever seen one.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Rashad Robinson, could you respond to that, that the system of policing here is on trial? And talk specifically about the role of police unions. Color of Change has led campaigns to expose police unions. So, could you explain what role you think police unions play in enabling violence of this kind?

RASHAD ROBINSON: Well, you know, it’s a multi-part strategy from police unions. On one hand, you end up with the unions working to sort of lobby for policies like qualified immunity and others, right? You know, qualified immunity was just sort of outlawed in New York City. But around the country, what that actually means is that police officers are not civilly liable for anything that they do on the job. And then, what that amounts to is that police unions can build up these sort of big funds to pay for the legal defense of someone like Chauvin and police officers around the country, and they never have to raise money to actually deal with civil defense. And so they’re only dealing with a really small level of liability. Police officers can treat us, can treat our communities, like enemy combatants and be able to sort of continue to go on with their job.

They also go about, you know, making sure that if police officers are fired for something, that they can get jobs in other cities and that they are shielded, right? The police officer that killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice is working someplace else, and we don’t even know what that police officer looks like. Right? We know what Tamir Rice looked like before he died, but we do not know what that police officer looks like.

We watch as they inject millions upon millions of dollars into elections to be able to sway sort of the political sort of prospect of any type of accountability. And all of these things work into concert to be able to give police officers the type of shields that no other industry has in our country, despite everything that we know about policing and all the challenges of violent policing.

This is not something that we can simply reform around the edges. And this is when we have deep conversations about what does it mean to divest from this type of policing and invest in communities, right? All around the country, instead of investing in mental health, we send someone with a gun to deal with someone that has, you know, potentially, possibly, passed a $20 bill that’s counterfeit off or written a bad check, instead of actually sending someone that can deescalate a situation. And this is what’s at stake. Police officers are not incentivized to be deescalate. They know there will be protection in the end.

And one quick story that really animates all of this is, back in 2016, I was at a meeting at the White House with then-President Obama and a number of other leaders from civil rights, mayors, police chiefs, folks from the police union. It was shortly after Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the Dallas police officers were all killed. And in that meeting, I talked about racial profiling, as well as many other folks, like Bryan Stevenson and others. And the head of — the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, [Jim] Pasco, responded — interrupted me as I was talking about an incident of racial profiling that impacted me personally — and said, “All of this talk of racial profiling is new to me.” This is the head of the Fraternal Order of Police, not arguing that maybe the policies we’re trying to advance around police accountability are too much. He was essentially gaslighting us, that police — that racial profiling doesn’t even exist.

And so, this is what we are up against, in terms of these sort of institutions that have a tremendous amount of money, put it into basically protecting police at the expense of safety and justice for all of our communities. And so, politicians who accept police union money can’t come to the community another day and say that they support safety and justice, because what they are supporting is secret societies that are intent on protecting people who kill us, and letting them off, helping them keep their pensions.

Derek Chauvin, as a result of the work of the police union, will stand to capture well over a million dollars in his pension. What kind of accountability is that, and what kind of system is that, when the people that our tax dollars go to, to protect and serve us, are incentivized not to protect and serve us, but are incentivized to control us, to harm us? And they know at the end of the day that every sort of barrier will be put in place to prevent any type of accountability along the way.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you both for being with us. And, of course, we’re going to have you both back on. This is a trial that is expected to last several weeks. Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change. And, Mel, we’re going to link to your articles and the other articles in your newspaper. Mel Reeves, community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, longtime human rights and anti-police-violence activist.

Next up, we go to Brazil, where over 66,000 people died in the month of March alone, as COVID cases skyrocket and the hospital system is on the verge of collapse, as the country continues to face a growing political crisis with the far-right president, Bolsonaro. We’ll go to São Paulo to speak with a Brazilian doctor who’s coordinating Brazil’s largest scientific COVID-19 task force. Stay with us.
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:21 pm

Senior officer rejects Chauvin’s ‘totally unnecessary’ use of force against George Floyd
Chauvin's use of force described as 'totally unnecessary' by Minneapolis lieutenant

by Timothy Bella and Abigail Hauslohner
The Washington Post
April 2, 2021 at 10:11 a.m. PDT

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Lt. Richard Zimmerman testified in the Derek Chauvin trial on April 2 that, "once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down all the way." (The Washington Post)

The trial is now in recess until Monday morning.

An emotional week of testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin concluded Friday with Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, rejecting the former officer’s use of force against George Floyd, calling it “uncalled for” and “totally unnecessary.” Zimmerman testified that once someone is handcuffed, “they are not a threat to you at that point” and the amount of force should be immediately reduced. “If your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill him,” he testified.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, argued Friday that police can use “improvisation” for “whatever force is reasonable and necessary.”

Here’s what to know:

• Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jon Edwards testified Friday that he responded to Cup Foods, described as a “critical incident” scene, not knowing that Chauvin was involved in the fatal encounter.
• In an interview Friday with “Good Morning America,” Chris Martin, a 19-year-old Cup Foods clerk, said through tears that he felt like a “contributing factor” in Floyd’s death outside the store.
• Zimmerman’s testimony came after former police supervisor David Pleoger said that Chauvin should have stopped kneeling on Floyd’s neck when he stopped resisting.
• When Chauvin first called Pleoger after the deadly arrest of Floyd, the former supervisor testified that Chauvin did not mention that he held his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck.

9:56 a.m.

Zimmerman: Chauvin should not have kept knee on Floyd’s neck until paramedics arrived
by Timothy Bella
Toward the end of his testimony Friday, Zimmerman said Chauvin should not have held his position on Floyd’s neck until paramedics arrived.

During cross-examination, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, mentioned that his client kneeling on Floyd’s neck was a practice he called “holding for EMS” because “they are more capable to deal with whatever the situation is.”

Nelson argued that sometimes people are held in a restrained position until paramedics arrive on the scene to administer medical treatment.

When prosecutors had their turn to question Zimmerman, the lieutenant confirmed that just because police are “holding for EMS,” it does not excuse an officer from providing medical attention to someone in custody.

9:44 a.m.

Defense: Police can use ‘improvisation’ in use of force when lives are at stake
by Abigail Hauslohner

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Eric Nelson, defense attorney for former police officer Derek Chauvin. (AP)

Chauvin’s lead defense attorney Eric Nelson on Thursday pushed back against Zimmerman’s statement that police have never been trained to use a knee on a suspect’s neck to restrain them.

Even if he was “never” trained “to use a knee on the neck of a suspect,” Nelson asked if Zimmerman would agree that “in a fight for your life,” an officer is “allowed to use whatever force is reasonable and necessary. … And that can even involve improvisation.”

“Agreed,” Zimmerman responded.

“Minneapolis Police Department policy allows a police officer to use whatever means are available to him to protect himself and others,” Nelson continued. “So if there’s a paint can sitting on the table and someone is attacked, you can use that paint can as a weapon.”

Zimmerman agreed to that, but rejected some of Nelson’s other characterizations of the situation.

Nelson later asked him if he saw any need for Zimmerman to improvise.

“I did not,” Zimmerman said.

9:17 a.m.

Zimmerman rejects Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd: ‘Totally unnecessary’
by Timothy Bella

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In this image from video, witness Lt. Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department testifies on Friday.

Zimmerman, a Minneapolis police lieutenant, on Friday rejected Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd, saying the former officer’s actions against the 46-year-old Black man were not needed once he was handcuffed.

“Totally unnecessary,” Zimmerman told prosecutors. “Pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting a knee on the 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.”

When asked by prosecutors whether Chauvin should have stopped his use of force once Floyd was restrained to the ground, Zimmerman replied, “Absolutely.”

Zimmerman, the most senior police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, emphasized throughout his testimony that the threat level drops significantly once someone is handcuffed.

Image
Aaron Rupar
@atrupar
Minneapolis PD Lt. Richard Zimmerman testifies that the force Chauvin used on George Floyd was "totallky unnecessary" and "uncalled for."
9:13 AM Apr 2, 2021


9:05 a.m.

Minneapolis Police Lt. Zimmerman: A knee on the neck is ‘deadly force’
by Abigail Hauslohner

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In this image from video, witness Lt. Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department David Pleoger, testifies as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Friday, April 2, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis police department, on Thursday testified that the kind of actions taken by Chauvin go far beyond accepted police protocols.

A knee on the neck would be considered “the top tier” of force — “deadly force,” he said from the witness stand. “Because of the fact that if your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill him.”

The threat that a suspect poses to an officer’s safety also drops significantly once they are handcuffed, Zimmerman said. The suspect’s safety at that point also becomes the officer’s responsibility, he said. “His well-being is your responsibility.”

“If they become less combative, you may just have him sit down on the curb. The idea is to calm the person down, and if they are not a threat to you at that point, you try to help them so that they’re not as upset as they may have been in the beginning,” he added.

One thing that officers learn about the effect of handcuffs, Zimmerman said, is that once an individual has had their hands cuffed behind their back, “it stretches the muscles back through your chest, and it makes it more difficult to breathe.”

“Once a person is cuffed, you need to turn them on their side or have them sit up. You need to get them off their chest,” he said. “Because of, as I mentioned earlier, your muscles are pulling back when you’re handcuffed, and when you’re laying on your chest, that’s restricting your breathing even more.”

Video evidence played during the trial has shown Chauvin and the three other officers holding Floyd facedown on the pavement as he cries out, his hands cuffed behind his back. Chauvin kneels on his neck, and another officer presses a knee into his back.

8:40 a.m.

Morries Hall, man who was with Floyd and refuses to testify, reportedly in police custody
by Timothy Bella
A man who was with Floyd in the moments before his death and has invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in Chauvin’s trial is in police custody, according to a probable cause statement.

Morries Hall, 42, was reportedly arrested March 20 for an outstanding warrant after he violated a protective order in a domestic violence case, according to court records.

As first reported by the Law and Crime Network, Hall also had a second outstanding warrant for a separate case in Redwood County, Minn.

Hall was in Floyd’s car when police approached the 46-year-old about using an allegedly fake $20 bill to buy a pack of cigarettes.

Hall, who was looked at as a potential witness for Chauvin’s defense team, plans to invoke the Fifth Amendment if he is asked to testify in court, according to a court notice filed Wednesday.

8:30 a.m.

Minneapolis Police Dept. senior officer: ‘We don’t want people to get hurt’
by Abigail Hauslohner

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In this image from video, witness Lt. Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department David Pleoger, testifies as Hennepin County Judge Peter†Cahill presides Friday, April 2, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the most senior officer in the Minneapolis Police Department, took the stand Friday, testifying that he routinely instructs and reminds subordinate officers that “we don’t want people to get hurt — either the officers or the subjects” when executing search warrants.

Zimmerman, who supervises the department’s homicide unit, presides over responses to “critical incidents” — police-involved encounters in which an officer or member of the public either dies or is severely injured. He said he responded to the intersection in Minneapolis that night around 9 p.m., after receiving a call from his superior.

8:07 a.m.

Officer testifies he responded to Cup Foods not knowing Chauvin was involved
by Timothy Bella

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In this image from video, witness Minneapolis Police sergeant Jon Edwards testifies as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Friday, April 2, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Minneapolis Police Sgt. Jon Edwards testified Friday that he was asked by authorities to respond to Cup Foods not yet knowing that Chauvin was involved in what he described as a "critical incident.”

Edwards told prosecutors he was instructed by Pleoger, then his police supervisor, to secure the area on May 25 because it "had the potential to be a possible critical incident.” The sergeant explained that a “critical incident” is usually an officer-involved incident where the officer or another person has died, or “has suffered great bodily harm that later led to death.”

When asked by prosecutors if he knew whether Chauvin was involved in the case at the time, Edwards said he did not know.

Edwards, who has been with Minneapolis police for 14 years, testified that he did not know Chauvin personally, but that he recognized him from working in the same precinct.

7:21 a.m.

Floyd’s sister volunteers at Salvation Army to keep mind off trial
by Timothy Bella

In a week in which witness after witness has taken the stand to recount the last moments of Floyd’s life, Bridgett Floyd volunteered at the Salvation Army on Thursday, helping others to get her mind off a trial that has gripped the nation.

Several miles away from the courtroom, Floyd’s sister told the Star Tribune that giving away food and smiling and joking with volunteers at the East Branch Distribution Center of the Salvation Army has been a needed distraction for her as witness testimony has intensified.

“This has already taken my mind off of what is going on [in the courtroom,] and I needed that a little bit,” she told the outlet. “It’s been a trying, trying week. And we will get through it. We will get through it.”

George Floyd was previously a security guard at a homeless shelter run by the Salvation Army.

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Bridgettrfloyd
The Salvation Army
The defense will say ANYTHING to make my brother look bad. That's why on today, I decided to do the work that my brother LOVED TO DO!
I truly appreciate The East Branch Distribution Center of The Salvation Army for allowing me to volunteer and do the work that my dear brother George did from his heart.


Bridgett Floyd shared some of the photos on Instagram and offered a response to Chauvin’s defense team, which has repeatedly brought up the 46-year-old’s opioid addiction and substance abuse leading up to the fatal encounter at Cup Foods.

“The defense will say ANYTHING to make my brother look bad,” she wrote Thursday. “That’s why on today, I decided to do the work that my brother LOVED TO DO!”

7:00 a.m.

Opinion: Kneeling on George Floyd’s neck sent a message to everyone who saw it
by Eugene Robinson

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In this image from video, witness Charles McMillian becomes emotional as he answers questions as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Evidence presented this week in Derek Chauvin’s trial on charges that he murdered George Floyd showed a national audience how the former Minneapolis police officer saw his alleged victim: as a dangerous, “sizable” Black man who had to be controlled, subdued and forced to submit. The message Chauvin sent with his actions wasn’t intended for Floyd alone, and it’s one Black Americans have heard for centuries.

Chauvin didn’t see Floyd as a citizen suspected of a minor, nonviolent crime or as the gentle “mama’s boy” Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, described. To Chauvin and the other officers, Floyd was guilty from the start — guilty of inhabiting an imposing Black male body, a circumstance that has always been a punishable offense in this country.

As witness Charles McMillian tried to tell Floyd when the officers first put their hands on him: “You can’t win.”

For me, McMillian’s Wednesday testimony was the most heartbreaking so far — and, sadly, the least surprising. At 61, he has lived long enough to know all about the criminalization of Black manhood. He cried on the witness stand as he described feeling “helpless” while Floyd — pinned to the ground, with Chauvin’s knee on his neck — cried out for his late mother. “I don’t have a mama either,” McMillian said. “I understand him.”

After the May 25, 2020, encounter was over, and Floyd’s limp and apparently lifeless body had been taken away by paramedics, McMillian is heard on bystander video bravely confronting Chauvin about his actions. Chauvin’s response says everything about the lens through which he saw Floyd: “We’ve got to control this guy because he’s a sizable guy. Looks like he’s probably on something.”

Think about the fact that Chauvin and the other officers thought they had to “control” Floyd in the first place. And think about how they initiated their encounter with him.

Police body-camera footage played Wednesday at the trial shows that one of the other then-officers, Thomas Lane, was the first to interact with Floyd. Lane rapped with his flashlight on the driver’s-side window of Floyd’s car, apparently startling Floyd, who opened the door slightly and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” Lane’s immediate reaction was to draw his service weapon, point it at Floyd and shout: “Get your fucking hands up right now!”

At that moment, both of Floyd’s hands were near the steering wheel, clearly visible to the officers. It is obvious on the video that he was neither holding nor reaching for any kind of weapon. Yet he suddenly found himself looking down the barrel of a policeman’s gun.

Like McMillian said: You can’t win.

Attempts by Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, to paint the onlookers who watched Floyd’s killing in horror as some kind of angry mob are laughable. Surveillance video played in court shows that the number of witnesses could be more accurately described as “a handful” than as “a crowd.” They were White and Black, male and female, very young and old. They invariably complied when the officers told them to back up and remain on the sidewalk. They have testified that their voices became progressively louder and more urgent, and the insults they directed at Chauvin more pointed, only because they saw Floyd’s condition deteriorating and feared they were watching a man being killed before their eyes.

The witnesses have almost all, like McMillian, spoken of how helpless they felt. Floyd “was in pain. It seemed like he knew it was over for him,” testified 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, whose shocking cellphone video was the first to show Floyd’s death to the world. “He was terrified. He was suffering.” Yet she and the rest of the onlookers were powerless to persuade the officers to let up and allow Floyd to breathe. They couldn’t even persuade Chauvin to let off-duty firefighter Genevieve Hansen, trained as an emergency medical technician, check Floyd’s pulse.

As for Chauvin, Frazier testified, “He just stared at us, looked at us. He had like this cold look, heartless.”

When I see that look Chauvin gave the onlookers, I see more than heartlessness. I see arrogance and superiority. I see him teaching an old lesson about who has power and who does not, about whom the law protects and whom it doesn’t. I see Chauvin demonstrating that he, not Floyd, got to decide whether Floyd was allowed to breathe.

Frazier, who is Black, told the court that when she remembers what she saw happen to Floyd, she can’t help but think about how her own father, brothers or uncles might find themselves in a similar situation and suffer the same fate. I have the same fears about my sons and myself.

Which means we all got Chauvin’s message. Loud and clear.

6:51 a.m.

Bernice King on Chauvin trial: ‘We have a long way to go in terms of respecting Black people’
by Timothy Bella

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Bernice King is seen at the King Center in Atlanta on Jan 10, 2018. (Robert Ray/AP)

When asked what Chauvin’s trial has meant to her this week, Bernice King offered a simple answer Friday morning: The nation has “a long way to go” in respecting Black people.

“We have a long way to go in terms of respecting Black people, Black bodies, Black lives in this country,” King, the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., said on CNN.

The chief executive of the King Center tweeted Thursday that Floyd’s death, stemming from an allegedly fake $20 bill, was “an evil inhumanity that’s traumatic to witness” over and over again during the trial.

On Friday, King said she hoped that Chauvin’s potential conviction would be a message that Black people should be treated with the dignity that Floyd did not receive at Cup Foods.

“It’s my hope and prayer in this trial that there will be a conviction to send a loud message that we, as Black people, are not just worthy, we should be treated with the respect and dignity at the hands of everyone including law enforcement,” she said.

Image
New Day
@NewDay
We have a long way to go in terms of respecting Black people. Black bodies, Black lives in this country."
- @BerniceKing, daughter of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., reflects on the Derek Chauvin trial this week.
cnn.it/39CkPw
6:06 AM Apr 2, 2021


6:30 a.m.

Opinion: Don’t read too much into the outcome of Chauvin’s trial
by Radley Balko

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A demonstrator holds an image of George Floyd during a protest outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., on Monday, March 29, 2021. Prosecutors on Monday said a former police officer used excessive force against a defenseless and unarmed George Floyd, kicking off a murder trial taking place under extraordinary security in a city fearful of the unrest unleashed by the encounter last summer. Photographer: Emilie Richardson/Bloomberg

High-profile trials tend to teach us all the wrong lessons about the criminal justice system, and the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is no exception. The trial is so atypical of the day-to-day goings-on in our courts, it might as well be happening in another country.

Start with the fact that there’s a trial in the first place. Depending on the jurisdiction, up to 95 percent of criminal cases are resolved with a plea bargain before they ever reach a jury.

Then there’s the fact that Chauvin has a highly regarded private defense attorney leading a well-funded, union-backed team of lawyers and investigators. Nationally, about 80 percent of criminal defendants can’t afford to hire a defense attorney and turn to public defenders. Most public defenders are dedicated public servants, and in some places can provide better representation than private counsel. But in much of the country, they’re overworked, underpaid and have inadequate resources to hire private investigators and expert witnesses.

This case is also rare in that most police officers not only aren’t prosecuted for excessive force, they’re rarely disciplined in the first place. Between 2012 and May 2020 there were 2,600 misconduct complaints against Minneapolis police officers. Just 12 resulted in discipline, according to a May 30, 2020, New York Times article, with the most severe punishment being a 40-day suspension. Chauvin himself was the subject of 17 complaints and a brutality lawsuit, including other incidents in which he’d put his knee on other people’s necks for long periods of time. He received just two letters of reprimand. Investigations in large cities across the country consistently show that just a tiny percentage of complaints result in discipline, even though a small percentage of officers seem to generate a disproportionate number of complaints.

As for criminal charges, based on The Post’s fatal police shooting database, it’s likely that there have been as many as 1,000 fatal police shootings per year in much of the 21st century. Yet from 2005 to mid-2019, only 104 non-federal police officers were charged for killing someone while on duty. Thirty-five were convicted of some crime — just over 30 percent. In the general population, by contrast, about 70 percent of murder charges result in a conviction. Overall, police officers charged with felonies are convicted at about half the rate of everyone else. Once convicted, cops are about half as likely to receive a sentence that includes incarceration.

And while the public and media might attach any number of issues to a single trial, the verdict can turn on factors that have little to do with those factors. In my years of covering criminal justice reform, I’ve talked time and again to jurors who voted based on dislike of the prosecutor or defense lawyer. Verdicts can also be affected by jury instructions, juror personalities or mistakes made by either side that have little to do with the law or evidence.

The hunger for criminal accountability for George Floyd’s death is of course understandable. Given the advantages defendants such as Chauvin get that aren’t available to others, an acquittal would add only to the largely accurate perception that the powerful and protected get access to a different sort of justice than everyone else. Race looms large in all of this as well. An acquittal will only further ingrain in Black Americans the notion — backed by plenty of evidence — that the system doesn’t value their lives and rights as much as those of White Americans. The verdict also will of course matter immensely to Floyd’s family, friends and supporters. And I don’t mean to diminish how important it is that those victimized by police abuse feel that the justice system represents them, too.

But a single conviction won’t stop bad cops from continuing to abuse their power with impunity. It won’t stop police from disproportionately stopping, searching and subjecting Black people to force. It won’t reduce fatal police shootings. And it won’t give poor people better access to justice. A guilty verdict might deter police from using the tactic Chauvin used on Floyd, at least for a while, but it’s unlikely to deter other instances of excessive force or abusive behavior.

Years from now, Chauvin’s trial itself will seem relatively inconsequential. We’ll see Floyd’s death, on the other hand, as an incident of profound consequence. Along with other high-profile cases such as those of Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake and Rayshard Brooks, Floyd’s passing sparked the largest, widest-reaching wave of civil rights protests in U.S. history, generating a tectonic shift in the public debate over race, policing and criminal justice.

Before last year, reforms such as ending no-knock raids or abolishing qualified immunity were discussed only at the fringes of public debate. Today, lawmakers across the country are enacting both. In 2020, police reform, drug decriminalization and criminal justice reform won nearly everywhere they were on the ballot. Just last week, Virginia, the capital of the former Confederacy, abolished the death penalty.

Chauvin’s trial matters in the way any trial matters — it demands a verdict driven by evidence, fairness and equal application of the law. But the legacy of Floyd’s death is already written. It effected, and continues to effect, substantive and tangible changes that make this a fairer, more just country. An acquittal can’t unravel that, and it doesn’t need to be validated with a conviction.

6:04 a.m.

Cup Foods clerk says he feels like a ‘contributing factor’ in Floyd’s death
by Timothy Bella

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Cup Foods store employee Christopher Martin testifies on the third day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on March 31, in this courtroom sketch from a video feed of the proceedings. (Jane Rosenberg/Reuters)

Days after he expressed guilt in his testimony for not doing more to help save Floyd’s life, a Cup Foods clerk said Friday that he felt like a “contributing factor” in the 46-year-old’s death outside the store last May.

In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Chris Martin, 19, echoed his testimony in Chauvin’s trial, saying through tears that there was “so much pain and hurt that followed that was unneeded.”

“After this whole trial, whether or not he’s locked up, George Floyd is not here,” Martin said to ABC.

Martin reflected on how he approached Floyd after the 46-year-old paid for cigarettes with a $20 bill that the clerk figured was counterfeit.

“Not only am I like the contributing factor, I’m kind of like the big domino that fell,” he said, “and then now all of the small dominoes are just scattered.”

In his testimony Wednesday, Martin told prosecutors the actions of police that led to Floyd’s death could have been avoided if he had just refused to take the bill. Since he took the stand, the 19-year-old said that while he has received “extremely encouraging” feedback on his testimony, he still thinks about Floyd’s children and what all this has meant to them.

“I know what it’s like to grow up in an African American household without a father,” Martin said Friday. “I just hope and pray that George’s daughters know that they can do it and it’s possible to do it, to make it and to be successful — even if your father is no longer with you.”

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Good Morning America
@GMA
@ABC NEWS EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Christopher Martin, 19, who reported George Floyd's counterfeit $20 bill to his manager, said he feels like a "contributing factor" in his death.
@KennethMoton
gma.abc/3ueOqDz
4:38 AM Apr 2, 2021


6:00 a.m.

Derek Chauvin should not have knelt on George Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, former sergeant testifies
by Holly Bailey and Hannah Knowles

MINNEAPOLIS — Derek Chauvin should not have knelt on George Floyd’s neck after he stopped resisting, a former supervisor testified Thursday.

Chauvin also did not immediately tell the supervisor that he had knelt on Floyd’s neck while restraining him during a police investigation — waiting more than 30 minutes until he stood outside the hospital emergency room where Floyd remained unresponsive to disclose the information.

David Pleoger, who was a supervisor in the city’s 3rd Precinct on May 25, 2020, testified that he called Chauvin after getting a call from a concerned 911 dispatcher who was watching a city security camera and saw police holding Floyd on the ground.

“She called to say she didn’t mean to be a snitch, but she’d seen something while viewing a camera that she thought was concerning,” said Pleoger, a retired sergeant.

In a phone conversation partially captured by Chauvin’s body-worn camera, the officer is heard telling Pleoger that the officers “just had to hold the guy down.”

“He was going crazy … wouldn’t go back in the squad,” Chauvin said just before he shut off his body camera.

Pleoger testified that he told Chauvin to turn off his camera — which is allowed for a private conversation — and that the call continued, with Chauvin saying Floyd was “combative.”

Pleoger then went to the scene to investigate.

The former supervisor testified that Chauvin didn’t tell him in that phone conversation or later when he arrived at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the intersection where Floyd died, that he had used his knee to pin Floyd to the ground. He said Chauvin told him Floyd had suffered “a medical emergency” while he was being restrained, which led to him being taken away by ambulance.

It was only at the hospital where he, Chauvin and Tou Thao — Chauvin’s partner that night who is also charged in Floyd’s death — had gone to check on Floyd’s condition that Chauvin told him he had knelt on Floyd’s neck.

“He said he knelt on Floyd or knelt on his neck, something of that nature,” Pleoger testified. He told prosecutors that Chauvin did not say how long he had pinned his knee to Floyd’s neck.

Asked his “opinion” on whether that was an appropriate use of force, Pleoger told prosecutors, “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended the restraint.”

He confirmed that kneeling is a use of force, and that the restraint “should stop” once a subject “is handcuffed and no longer resisting.”

After learning that Floyd had died, Pleoger said he told Chauvin to “get down to 108,” a room in City Hall where officers gathered after a “critical incident.”

Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter after he knelt on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds as the man begged for his life, cried out for breath and ultimately went limp.

The other officers at the scene — Thao, Thomas K. Lane and J. Alexander Kueng — are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. They are scheduled to stand trial in August.

With Thursday’s accounts, prosecutors began to shift away from the anguished testimony of those who witnessed Floyd’s death to what and who caused it. Proceedings began with emotional testimony from Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, who talked about the man she knew and his struggles with opioid addiction, and also included accounts from emergency workers who responded to the scene and found Floyd “dead” beneath Chauvin’s knee.

Derek Chauvin defends restraint of George Floyd in newly disclosed body-cam video, saying he was ‘probably on something’

Ross, who began dating Floyd in 2017, wept on the witness stand as she recalled for a jury the arc of their three-year relationship, from the first moment she heard the man’s “deep Southern voice” to their shared struggle with an opioid addiction that they had both repeatedly tried to escape.

“Our story, it’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids,” said Ross, 45, describing how they had both become dependent on the powerful pain medication after being prescribed it for injuries.

“We both suffer from chronic pain — mine was in my neck and his was in his back,” Ross testified. “We both had prescriptions. After the prescriptions were filled, we got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.”

Ross said they bought opioids, mostly oxycodone, off the black market and through street purchases.

“Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle and something that we dealt with every day,” she said. “It’s something that doesn’t come and go. It’s something we dealt with forever.”

She also talked about how the 2018 death of Floyd’s mother left him “devastated” and brought about a noticeable change in him.

After Floyd’s mother died and he returned from his native Houston, “he seemed like a shell of himself,” Ross said.

“He seemed broken,” she added. “He seemed so sad. He didn’t have the same kind of bounce that he had. He was devastated.”

Ross recalled the first time she met Floyd. She told the court how she was waiting on her son’s father in the lobby of a Salvation Army shelter when she first noticed a security guard walking up to her. She was upset and tired, but was comforted by the man’s “great, deep Southern voice.”

“He’s like, ‘Sis, are you okay, sis?’ I said, ‘No, I’m just waiting for my son’s father.’ He said, ‘Can I pray with you?’ ” she testified. “I was so tired, and we had been through so much … and this kind person coming up to me saying, ‘Can I pray with you?’ when I felt alone in this lobby, it was so sweet.”

Ross said she had lost faith in God around that time, and that Floyd gave her new life.

Ross was the first person called in the trial who personally knew Floyd. Her testimony was designed not only to humanize Floyd but to contrast the defense narrative of him as out-of-control and dangerous. The talk about his struggle with substance abuse was to establish for the jury his tolerance for opioids as prosecutors begin to challenge Chauvin’s theory of the case.

Chauvin’s defense has argued that Floyd did not die because of the former officer’s knee but rather from a combination of underlying health issues, adrenaline rushing through his body and a drug overdose, citing an autopsy that recorded high levels of fentanyl and other substances in Floyd’s system.

For George Floyd and Black men in recovery, 'everything just piles up'

The Ross said the two tried to stop using several times and went through treatment programs. But in March 2020, they relapsed. Under defense questioning, Ross said Floyd was admitted to the hospital after she had gone to pick him up for work and found him in pain.

She later learned that Floyd had overdosed and said they had taken pills that month that seemed to be different — more of a “stimulant” rather than those they normally took.

She also testified that Floyd had tested positive for the coronavirus in late March 2020.

At the heart of Derek Chauvin’s trial is this question: What killed George Floyd?

Afterward, the jury heard from emergency workers who responded to the scene — including two paramedics who testified that they believed Floyd was dead as they observed him lying motionless under the weight of three police officers.

Derek Smith, a paramedic with Hennepin County EMS, recalled checking Floyd’s pulse, as Chauvin’s knee remained on his neck, and not finding one. He also checked the man’s pupils, which were dilated.

“I looked to my partner. I told him, ‘I think he’s dead,’” Smith testified. “In a living person, there should be a pulse there. I did not feel one.”

Seth Bravinder, another paramedic, said he had already suspected Floyd was dead, just from looking at him, because he wasn’t breathing. The jury was shown video of Bravinder nudging Chauvin to get the officer to remove his knee from Floyd’s neck so that he could be loaded onto a gurney.

Bravinder recalled grabbing Floyd’s head to keep it from slamming onto the pavement because he was “limp.”

Meryl Kornfield, Timothy Bella and Kim Bellware contributed to this report.

5:55 a.m.

Former sergeant says Chauvin did not initially say he had his knee on Floyd’s neck
By Meryl Kornfield and Hannah Knowles

In his first call with his supervisor after the deadly arrest of Floyd, Chauvin did not mention that he held his knee on Floyd’s neck, former Minneapolis police sergeant David Pleoger testified.

Pleoger, the precinct’s supervisor before he retired, said in court Thursday that he called Chauvin after a 911 dispatcher reached out with worries.

“She called to say she didn’t mean to be a snitch, but she’d seen something while viewing a camera that she thought was concerning,” Pleoger said.

In a body-camera video taken by Chauvin, he can be heard answering Pleoger’s call, telling his supervisor that the officers “had” to hold Floyd down because he was not going into the police car.

“He was going crazy,” Chauvin claimed to his supervisor.

Pleoger testified that he told Chauvin to turn off his camera for the conversation and that the call continued, with Chauvin saying Floyd was “combative.” Pleoger then went to the scene to investigate.

Pleoger said that putting pressure on a suspect’s neck is not necessarily a use of force if an officer briefly takes that position when arresting someone. But he said that once the suspect is under control — in handcuffs or not fighting — the restraint is not necessary. Witness video captured Chauvin’s restraint of Floyd’s neck while Floyd was motionless.

The 911 dispatcher called Pleoger, telling him that the officers got something out of a patrol car “and all of them sat on this man,” according to audio of the call played in court.

The dispatcher asked whether officers alerted him to the use of force.

“I’ll find out,” he responded.

Pleoger said he was not aware of the force placed on Floyd’s neck until a later conversation with Chauvin, after Floyd was taken to the hospital. Pleoger testified that Chauvin said “he knelt on Floyd or knelt on his neck, something of that nature.” Chauvin did not say how long he had applied that pressure, Pleoger said.

After learning that Floyd had died, Pleoger said, he told Chauvin to “get down to 108,” a room in city hall where officers would gather after a “critical incident.”

5:45 a.m.

Policy requires rolling prone, restrained people into ‘recovery position,’ retired sergeant says
by Hannah Knowles

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In this image from video, witness David Pleoger, a retired Minneapolis police sergeant answers questions as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Thursday, April 1, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Minneapolis police policy requires officers to roll prone, restrained people into a “recovery position” on their side to avert potential breathing problems, testified David Pleoger, a recently retired Minneapolis police sergeant.

“If you restrain somebody or leave them on their chest and stomach for too long, their breathing can become compromised,” said Pleoger, saying that the dangers of “positional asphyxia” were included in training and well-known in the police department. Pleoger said he has personally known about the condition for 10 or 15 years.

Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the man lay face down and handcuffed.

Pleoger affirmed that the threat of “positional asphyxia” could stem from just a person’s body weight, without additional pressure.

“So the danger is there without anyone pressing down on them,” prosecutor Steve Schleicher said.

Yes, Pleoger said.

Body camera video captured Thomas Lane, who also faces criminal charges, asking Chauvin if they should turn Floyd on his side. Chauvin said it was not necessary.

The state previewed Pleoger’s testimony in opening statements Monday. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury that Pleoger would tell them “the force against Mr. Floyd should have ended as soon as they put him on the ground.”

5:30 a.m.

Fire captain says he understood off-duty firefighter’s distress after seeing ‘severity’ of Floyd’s condition
by Hannah Knowles

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In this image from video, witness Capt. Jeremy Norton of the Minneapolis Fire Department answers questions as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Thursday, April 1, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Jeremy Norton, a Minneapolis fire captain, testified Thursday that he sent crews to check on a distraught off-duty firefighter who tried to intervene in Floyd’s arrest, realizing “the justification for her duress” as he saw Floyd’s poor condition in an ambulance.

“We came in with very little information,” Norton testified, saying he did not initially understand why the off-duty first responder, Genevieve Hansen, was so distressed.

Hansen testified tearfully earlier this week that she was “desperate” to help Floyd, and jurors heard her 911 call: “I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man,” she said at the time.

Norton said Thursday that “once we got in the ambulance and I saw the severity of Mr. Floyd’s condition and the gravity, I understood, I was able to infer or put together what she had been talking about. And I understood the justification for her duress. And so I sent my crew back to check on her to make sure she was okay.”

Norton said he walked past Hansen upon arriving at the scene of Floyd’s arrest, and went inside Cup Foods, looking for an injured person. Floyd was actually pinned outside the store.

“The call was confusing because we did not have a lot of information,” said Norton, a certified EMT who has been with the city fire department for more than two decades. “So I did not have a patient description.”

He said he gathered from Hansen and an “upset” crowd that Floyd had been injured in a “scuffle” with police.

Eventually, Norton said, he and his partner entered the ambulance where Floyd was lying face up on a stretcher, unresponsive, a breathing tube down his throat and a device working to compress his heart. Floyd was taken to the hospital.

5:25 a.m.

‘I was trying to give him a second chance at life,’ paramedic recalls
by Timothy Bella

While Floyd remained in what Derek Smith described as “a dead state,” the paramedic recounted to prosecutors Thursday how he administered a shock with a defibrillator to try to get the 46-year-old out of cardiac arrest.

When asked by prosecutors to walk them through the process for a potentially lifesaving situation like the one May 25, Smith said he hoped the action would help resuscitate Floyd.

“He’s a human being, and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” Smith said.

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CBS News
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Derek Smith, a paramedic who treated George Floyd, describes his unsuccessful efforts to revive Floyd in the ambulance:
"He's a human being, and I was trying to give him a second chance at life."
12:30 PM Apr 1, 2021


But Smith said to the court that Floyd remained in cardiac arrest and “was still deceased” by the time they arrived at the hospital.

Responding to whether police could have started medical treatment to Floyd, Smith told the defense there was “no reason” Chauvin and the officers couldn’t have started chest compressions before paramedics arrived.

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Rylie Seidl
@RylieSeidl
Derek Smith, Paramedic who arrived on scene after Floyd was already dead: "there's no reason minneapolis couldn't have started chest compressions" #DerekChauvinTrial
12:17 PM Apr 1, 2021
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Tue Apr 13, 2021 9:22 am

George Floyd, LT Nazario, Breonna Taylor: Excessive Force & the Broken Promise of the 4th Amendment
by Glenn Kirschner
Apr 12, 2021



The 4th Amendment provides a constitutional right against "unreasonable searches and seizures." This is a right that, per the express language of the United States Constitution, "shall not be violated." And yet it IS violated, with increasing frequency and seeming impunity. It's time for change. It's time to fulfill the constitution's promise for all Americans.
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Re: The Trial of George Floyd

Postby admin » Wed Apr 14, 2021 3:10 am

Derek Chauvin Trial Breaks Down “Blue Wall of Silence” as Police Officials Testify Against Ex-Cop
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
4/13/21

We get the latest on the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, with Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney Nekima Levy Armstrong. She says prosecutors in the case have successfully chipped away at the “blue wall of silence” by getting current police officials to testify against Chauvin. However, she says it’s likely that “the only reason that these officers have testified is because the world is watching.”

Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The Quarantine Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González, as we continue to talk about what’s happening in Minnesota, now to the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, on trial for murdering George Floyd. The trial is taking place 10 miles from where a white police officer killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, Sunday.

On Monday, a cardiologist called as an expert witness in the Chauvin trial by the prosecution testified George Floyd died due to oxygen deprivation after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes. George Floyd’s brother Philonise also testified and talked about how close George was to his mother, who died in 2018.

PHILONISE FLOYD: And when we went to the funeral, it’s just — George just sat there at the casket. Over and over again, he would just say, “Mama, mama,” over and over again. And I didn’t know what to tell him, because I was in pain, too. We all were hurting. And he was just kissing her and just kissing her. He didn’t want to leave the casket. And everybody was like, “Come on. Come on. It’s going to be OK.” But it was just difficult, because no — I don’t know who can take that, when you watch your mother, somebody who loved and cherished you and nursed you for your entire life, and then they have to leave you. We all have to go through it, but it’s difficult. And George, he was just in pain the entire time.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Sir, you indicated your mother passed away May 30. That was 2018. Is that right?

PHILONISE FLOYD: Yes, sir.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Is that a picture of your mother and George when he was younger?

PHILONISE FLOYD: Yes, sir.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Offer Exhibit 284.

JUDGE PETER CAHILL: 284 is received.

STEVE SCHLEICHER: Permission to publish? Sir, would you please describe this photo and what you know about it?

PHILONISE FLOYD: That’s my mother. She’s no longer with us right now, but — that’s my oldest brother, George. I miss both of them. I was married. In May 24th, I got married. And my brother was killed May 25th. And my mom died on May 30th. It’s like a bittersweet month, because I’m supposed to be happy when that month comes.

AMY GOODMAN: George Floyd’s brother Philonise testifying Monday. Derek Chauvin’s defense is due to call its first witnesses today.

To talk more about the trial of Derek Chauvin, we’re staying with Nekima Levy Armstrong, the Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist, executive director of Wayfinder Foundation, former president of the Minneapolis NAACP.

Can you talk about the wrapping up of the prosecution? Once again, one officer after another, the leaders in the Minneapolis Police Department, and then experts saying that it was not a heart attack, it was not drugs, it was the cutting off of the oxygen supply by Chauvin’s knee — the significance of this? And also the significance of the defense asking to sequester the jury, given what happened with the murder of another African American man down the road? But, of course, the judge said no.

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: Well, prosecutors finished their case as strongly as they started, in terms of humanizing George Floyd, putting on extremely emotional testimony from the bystanders early on, as well as from George Floyd’s brother, who provided what’s called “spark of life” testimony in the state of Minnesota. One of the things that I think is important as a result of the testimony of George Floyd’s brother is the fact that his testimony paints a picture for the jury of what George Floyd’s life meant to the family and to the community, and how his death has impacted them.

I also think that the state did a really good job of providing expert witness testimony in the form of medical evidence, as well as use-of-force testimony, and also helping to break what some may call the “blue wall of silence” by having so many police officers testify in the prosecution’s case against [Derek Chauvin]. We know that through one trial, that blue wall of silence is not going to crumble, but it is a start. And Chief Arradondo has been able to set the tone for the department in terms of his expectations and sending a signal to officers that they will not be allowed to get away with this kind of behavior.

Now, on the flipside, there are folks who feel that the only reason that these officers have testified is because the world is watching. And I believe that there is a lot of truth to that, because some of the underlying issues within the Minneapolis Police Department, as far as the culture, have not yet changed.

Now, in terms of yesterday’s motion hearings, we heard from the defense counsel Eric Nelson that the unrest that happened on Sunday night would have an impact on the jury, so he was recommending that the jury be sequestered. Judge Cahill made the best decision in refusing to sequester the jury and articulating that these are two separate incidences. What happened in Brooklyn Center as a result of the killing of Daunte Wright at the hands of the police is not the same as what is happening in the trial of Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Nekima, I wanted to ask you, in terms of the decision by Governor Tim Walz to issue a curfew for several counties in the Twin Cities area from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. Tuesday, and given the fact that we’re dealing with — this is the beginning of Ramadan, your thoughts about these restrictions?

NEKIMA LEVY ARMSTRONG: I think that the restrictions are ridiculous, from my perspective, as someone who has been out on the frontlines. I’ve been out both nights, along with Jaylani Hussein and many other activists and organizers.

It is really upsetting that the governor would issue a curfew rather than working proactively to curb police violence and set the tone by using his bully pulpit, pushing for policy changes and really advocating for the rights of Black people and other people of color who have been abused by police. Instead, what we’re seeing is the governor push for more funding for law enforcement, bring in the National Guard, help to set up barricades and chain-link fencing around the courthouse and other buildings throughout the Twin Cities, and now this additional curfew.

Many young people last night intentionally violated the curfew because they’re sending a signal that they are fed up with police violence in the state of Minnesota and not feeling safe as young Black people out in the community.

AMY GOODMAN: Nekima Levy Armstrong, we want to thank you being with us, Minneapolis-based civil rights attorney, activist, executive director of the Wayfinder Foundation.

*******************

Prosecution Rests Case in Murder Trial of Minneapolis Ex-Cop Derek Chauvin
by Amy Goodman
Democracy Now
APR 13, 2021

The police killing of Daunte Wright took place just 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis, where former officer Derek Chauvin is on trial for killing George Floyd last May. On Monday, a cardiologist called as an expert witness by the prosecution testified that Floyd died due to oxygen deprivation — not from drugs or a heart condition — after Derek Chauvin pressed him into the pavement for over nine minutes. Another expert witness, law professor and former police officer Seth Stoughton, blasted Chauvin’s actions.

Seth Stoughton: “No reasonable officer would have believed that that was an appropriate, acceptable or reasonable use of force.”

George Floyd’s brother Philonise gave tearful testimony as the prosecution wrapped up its case. Derek Chauvin’s defense is due to call its first witnesses today. After headlines, we’ll go to Minneapolis for the latest on the police killings of Daunte Wright and George Floyd.
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