The second day of one of the most high-profile trials in recent US history- that of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin in the killing of George Floyd- has begun.
On Monday, a witness described seeing Floyd struggle for air and his eyes rolling back into his head, saying he saw Floyd “slowly fade away … like a fish in a bag.”
Donald Williams, a former wrestler who said he was trained in mixed martial arts including chokeholds, testified Monday that he thought Derek Chauvin used a shimmying motion several times to increase the pressure on Floyd. He said he yelled to the officer that he was cutting off Floyd’s blood supply.
Williams was among onlookers shouting at the Minneapolis police officer to get off Floyd last May, and will continue testifying Tuesday
Williams recalled that Floyd’s voice grew thicker as his breathing became more labored, and he eventually stopped moving.
“From there on he was lifeless,” Williams said. “He didn’t move, he didn’t speak, he didn’t have no life in him no more on his body movements.”
Williams was among the first prosecution witnesses as trial opened for Chauvin, 45, who is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death.
Prosecutors led off their case by playing part of the bystander video that captured Floyd’s arrest on May 25. Chauvin and three other officers were fired soon after the video touched off outrage and protest, sometimes violent, that spread from Minneapolis around the world.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell showed the jurors the footage at the earliest opportunity, during opening statements, after telling them that the number to remember was 9 minutes, 29 seconds — the amount of time Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the pavement last May.
The white officer “didn’t let up” even after a handcuffed Floyd said 27 times that he couldn’t breathe and went limp, Blackwell said.
“He put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him, until the very breath — no, ladies and gentlemen — until the very life was squeezed out of him,” the prosecutor said.
Fourteen jurors or alternates are hearing the case — eight of them white, six of them Black or multiracial, according to the court. Only 12 will deliberate; the judge has not said which two will be alternates.