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4:45 p.m. Body-worn camera footage played back-to-back
Jurors were shown three body-worn camera videos back-to-back Wednesday afternoon.
Jurors first watched the footage from former Minneapolis officer Thomas Lane. Lane was the first officer to speak with George Floyd and as he approached either he or former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng is heard on the video saying "they are moving around a lot."
Lane taps on the window with the end of flashlight, appearing to startle Floyd.
"Oh," Floyd says and opens the door slightly. "I’m sorry. I'm sorry."
"Get your f------ hands up right now," Lane is heard saying and pulling out his service weapon and pointing it at Floyd.
Floyd appears to begin crying and apologizing to the office repeatedly saying "please don't shoot me."
While Lane is on the driver side, Kueng speaks with a male passenger before rushing over to the driver side to assist Lane.
The two officers eventually get Floyd out of the vehicle and he is briefly sat on the sidewalk before the pair lead him over to the squad car waiting in front of Cup Foods.
A portion of former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao's video was shown. In it, he appears to be in charge of the growing number of bystanders. Juries saw the opposite angle from bystander videos multiple times over the previous days of testimonies.
Police bodycam video composite:
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's was the last body-worn camera footage to play that afternoon. His camera was knocked off while assisting Lane in pulling Floyd out of the squad from the passenger side backside. Unlike the other camera views, Chauvin's body-worn camera was activated much earlier than any of the other officers. Jurors were only shown a small portion of the video and in it, Chauvin was in the squad on the way to the scene the entire time.
In the clip, Chauvin is heard instructing Lane to pull Floyd into the back of the vehicle.
"Pull him in. Pull him in," Chauvin said.
Chauvin is also seen briefly putting both hands around Floyd's neck, who is facing away from the officer.
Chauvin's body-worn camera is knocked off his body shortly after Floyd is pulled all the way out of the vehicle.
Through the testimony of Lt. Jeff Rugel, the manger of the Minneapolis Police Department's Police Business Technology Unit, Special Assistant Attorney General Steve Schleicher introduced the body-worn camera videos of the officers as well as still photos and surveillance video from a city owned pole camera facing Cup Foods.
The jury was dismissed for the day around 4:30 p.m. The trial is expected to resume around 9:15 a.m. Thursday, April 1, 2021.
1:50 p.m. Court takes break as witness becomes overcome with emotion
Court was paused Wednesday afternoon as 61-year-old witness Charles McMillian became overwhelmed with emotion. He was watching video of George Floyd repeatedly yelling "mama" as Minneapolis police officers restrained Floyd.
McMillian testified that he stopped his vehicle that day after he saw police interacting with a man.
"I’m in the neighborhood, I’m a nosy person," he said as an explanation why he stopped.
McMillian is heard in multiple bystander videos telling Floyd to comply with officers and that he can't win. He noted that he has had previous interactions with officers myself and "I understand once you get in the cuffs, you can’t win, you’re done. That is just the way I’ve looked at it."
McMillian also said he recognized Chauvin from around the community as well as an interaction five days before the May 25, 2020, incident where he told the officer that at the end of the day, they both go home to their respective families.
As the court paused the video for McMillian to collect himself, he said he felt helpless.
"I don’t have a mama either, and just hearing him," McMillian said as an explanation for his emotions. He noted that his mother died on June 25.
The trial took a 10 minute recess to allow for McMillian to collect himself.
Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson did not ask questions of McMililan.
12:15 p.m. Jury sees video of police approaching Floyd's vehicle
Through the testimony of 45-year-old Christopher Belfrey, jurors watched two videos of the first interaction Minneapolis police had with George Floyd that day.
In one video, Belfrey had been parked behind the Mercedes SUV Floyd was driving. In it an officer is seen with his gun drawn and pointed at Floyd, who at that point is still sitting in the driver's seat.
Belfrey said he noticed the officers approach the vehicle and one officer had drawn his handgun and opened the door pointed the door "at whoever was in the driver seat." In the video, the officer can be seen putting his service weapon back on his belt and reaching into the vehicle and attempting to pull Floyd out of the seat. A second officer comes around to assist.
"It kind of startled me when I seen the officer raise his gun. I started recording," Belfrey said, adding that the stopped recording to move his vehicle to the other side of the street when he heard more sirens.
By the time the second video starts, Floyd is handcuffed and sitting on the pavement against a building.
The video ends shortly after a Minneapolis Parks officer pulls up and Floyd is on his feet, being led to a waiting squad vehicle. Belfrey said he stopped recording because he was "still kind of scared, nervous."
"One of the officers kept staring at me while I was recording so I kind of put it down," he said. "Then I went to record again but then I was like, I don't really want any problems so I stopped recording."
Belfrey left the scene shortly after as he thought the incident was over.
"I thought he was detained, I thought it was over, so I went on home," he said.
Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson did not ask questions of Belfrey and the jury court went into its lunch recess. The trial is expected to resume around 1:15 p.m.
11:45 a.m. Floyd seemed 'very friendly, approachable ... but he did seem high'
Standing watching the incident unfold, 19-year-old Christopher Martin said he felt disbelief and guilt.
"If I would have just not taken the bill this could have been avoided," Martin testified Wednesday, later saying he quit his job at the store because he did not feel safe. He would later describe Floyd "very friendly, approachable, he was talkative. He seemed to just be having an average memorial day, just living his life, but he did seem high."
Before police arrived, Martin said he was told by his manager to go out to the car George Floyd was sitting in and get him to come back into the store. Martin and some of his coworkers tried twice to get Floyd to come in but was unsuccessful.
"I offered to pay but he [the manager] said no, just get him [Floyd] to come back inside," Martin testified.
Martin said his manager instructed another employee to call 911 about the counterfeit bill.
Through cross-examination by Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson, jurors learned that the Martin had earlier refused to accept a $20 he believed was counterfeit from a man who came into the store earlier in the day. When Floyd and the man returned that evening, Martin said he felt the man with Floyd was trying to "scheme."
"I thought that George didn't really know it was a fake bill," Martin said. "I thought that I would be doing him a favor [by accepting fake bill.]"
- Martin admitted he never received training on identifying a counterfeit bill and when he held it up to the light he said he didn't know what he was looking for.
10:10 a.m. Cup Foods employee testifies
A 19-year-old store Cup Foods employee was called to take the stand Wednesday morning. Christopher Martin lived above the store with his mom and sister and had been working at the store for about two months before the May 25, 2020, incident.
"I did have one conversation with him," Martin said of a conversation he had with George Floyd inside the store, before Floyd made his purchase. "I asked him if he played baseball and he said he played football."
Martin said Floyd took a moment to give his response and Martin said "it would appear that he was high."
Special Assistant Attorney General Jerry Blackwell told the jury Monday in his opening statement that they would hear that Floyd struggled with drug addition.
Martin sold Floyd a pack of cigarettes and took a $20 bill. Martin said when he took the bill and then held it up to the light.
"I noticed that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of like how a $100 bill will have. I found it odd so I assumed that it was fake," Martin said, adding that he took the bill anyway.
The store's policy at the time was that if an employee took a counterfeit $20 bill, they would have to pay for it out of their check.
"I took it anyway and was planning to put it on my tab," Martin said, adding that he second guessed himself and told his manager about it.
The cross-examination of Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen ended quickly Wednesday morning with only one additional question from Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson.
"When you were on the scene on May 25, 2020, did you show any identification identify yourself as a Minneapolis firefighter," Nelson asked.
"No sir," Hansen responded. She later clarified in questioning by Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank that she did not have identification on her as she was off that day.
Many were surprised that Ms. Hansen’s testimony was so short. I did expect the state to do some effective re-direct examination but given what happened yesterday I suspect they decided to get her off the stand quickly. The state does have what it needs to argue in closing.— Mary Moriarty (@MaryMoriarty) March 31, 2021
8 a.m.: Cross-examination of firefighter continues
The third day of testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin begins at 9:30 a.m. today, Wednesday, March 31, with the continuing cross-examination of Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen. Hansen was off-duty and on a walk on the evening of May 25, 2020, when she came across the incident with George Floyd.
Toward the end court Tuesday, Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the jury and scolded Hansen not to argue with the court or counsel.
Minutes later, he called into court a woman who had taken a cellphone photo elsewhere in the Hennepin County Courthouse building where photos were forbidden. The woman, who said she was a representative for an earlier witness, was made to delete the photos from her phone by Cahill.
Hansen's testimony concluded an emotional day that saw several minor witnesses testify about what they saw on May 25, 2020, and how it has affected them.