After the first day of the trial was suspended due to a technical problem, George Floyd’s death was again scrutinized in a courtroom. A witness to George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police in Minneapolis last May said in court this Tuesday that when paramedics took the African American, he felt he had witnessed “a murder”.
On the second day of the trial of the police accused of Floyd’s death, Donald Williams – a former fighter who was trained in martial arts, including in strangulation – said he realized that when he saw Agent Derek Chauvin standing for several minutes with his knee on the African-American neck, he was witnessing a “murder”. That, in fact, is what he said when he called 911 emergency services after Floyd was taken by ambulance: “I believe I witnessed a homicide,” says the New York Times. It was the second witness who claimed to have called the police because of the police.
“It went off slowly … like a fish in a bag,” said Williams, whose call to the emergency service on Floyd’s death day was heard in court at the request of Attorney Mathew Frank. In that call, Donald Williams told emergency technicians that Chauvin was keeping his knee on Floyd, attempting the life of the African American, despite warnings from passersby who were watching the episode. In that phone call, you can still hear Williams shouting at the policemen, saying that they were “murderers”.
In the testimony before the jury, Williams also said that Chauvin used a kind of dance movement to increase the pressure on Floyd’s neck, cutting off his blood circulation, as the African American’s voice grew weaker.
During this Tuesday’s session, Eric Nelson, the lawyer for the police officer accused of the murder of George Floyd, sought to demonstrate that Chauvin and his colleagues were in an increasingly tense and disturbing situation, surrounded by a crowd that was shouting at them, because of the way they were proceeding.
Nelson said that at the site of Floyd’s detention, Donald Williams was increasingly showing anger at the agents, provoking Chauvin with insults that the lawyer repeated in court. In his testimony, Williams acknowledged that he was angry and irritated, but then he controlled himself and just begged for Floyd’s life.
Donald Williams was one of the first witnesses at the Floyd death trial, in which Chauvin is charged with murder and aggravated homicide.
Judge Peter A. Cahill gave permission for four young men to testify with the camera off, even though the sound of their interventions was broadcast, the New York Times said. Two of these witnesses, by the way, are children and the other two were minors who have since turned 18 years old. In this group was a young woman, 18, who filmed Chauvin’s fatal maneuver against Floyd.
Having already spoken publicly on the subject, the lawyer representing the media coalition was against the young woman’s authorization to testify without an image. Darnella Frazier, the young woman who made the video and who testified only through the video, tried to hold back tears while speaking to a man, George Floyd, who was “terrified, scared and begging for life”. And the young woman said more: “When I look at George Floyd, I see my father. I see my brothers. I see 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 see how it could have been one of them ”.
Both Floyd’s and Chauvin’s families have a chair available in the room. If in the case of the former is the nephew, with whom he lived in Houston, the policeman’s seat is free.
The American daily reports yet another fact highlighted this Tuesday: the time during which Derek Chauvin’s knee attacked Floyd. It was common ground that it had been eight minutes and 46 seconds, a figure that even gave rise to masks and t-shirts. But, according to a prosecutor’s initial statement, the real time was even greater: nine minutes and 29 seconds.
The trial takes place without a hearing and is being broadcast live by several television stations, due to the covid-19 pandemic, under a strong security device, due to the impact of the recorded images of Floyd’s death, which went viral in the social networks and were disseminated by ‘media’ all over the world, causing a wave of demonstrations against racism and police violence.
The verdict is expected in late April or early May. The other three policemen involved in the case – Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – will only be tried for “complicity in the homicide” in August.