One teenage witness testifies that George Floyd was ‘in distress’ and ‘struggling’ to breathe. ‘The highest power was there, and I felt like I was failing him,’ she said.

18 min ago

“I felt like I was failing him,” witness to Floyd death says

From CNN’s Adrienne Vogt

A witness became audibly emotional when being asked about watching the death of George Floyd.

“You could see in his face that he was slowly not being able to breathe. His eyes were rolling back, and at one point, he just kind of sat there, or laid there,” the witness said. 

The witness stopped talking for more than 30 seconds after saying it was difficult to speak about Floyd’s death.

“I felt like there wasn’t really anything I could do as a bystander. The highest power was there, and I felt like I was failing him,” the witness said.

“I was there and, like, technically, I could have did something, but I couldn’t really do anything physically what I wanted to do because the highest power was there at the time.”

The witness said other officers were nearby while former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck. 

“Most of the time, I saw him staring at George. I didn’t really see him take his eyes off of him for the most part,” the witness said about Chauvin. 

28 min ago

Teenage bystander testifies that Floyd was “in distress” and “struggling” to breathe

Prosecuting attorney Erin Eldridge Pool

The next witness to testify at the Chauvin trial is an 18-year-old woman. She was not shown on camera because she was underage when she witnessed Floyd’s encounter with police on May 25, 2020.

She said she arrived at the scene that day in a car. When she got there, she said she saw the police officers holding George Floyd on the ground. There were bystanders already gathering and asking for the police to “let him up,” the witness said. She also said she heard Floyd say that he couldn’t breathe and asking for his mom.

“I knew initially that there was something wrong, so I started recording” on her phone, the witness said. She said Floyd was “in distress.”

“I saw that Derek had his knee on his neck and two other officers had his body pinned down,” she said, referring to Chauvin.

She said that Floyd “looked like he was struggling at first, and he looked distressed, and he looked like he was fighting to breathe.” 

“He was struggling with his ability to breathe. He was focused on trying to breathe,” she added.

She said that when she first arrived Floyd was “vocal” but “he got less vocal.”

“You could tell he was talking with, like, small – smaller and smaller breaths and he would spit a little when he would talk, and he would try and move his head to – because he was uncomfortable,” she said.

She said she became more concerned as he stopped being vocal.

“Because I slowly knew that if they were – if he were to be held down much longer, he wouldn’t live,” the witness testified.

She became emotional on the stand, testifying “there was nothing I could do,” adding, she felt like she failed to help Floyd.

48 min ago

The trial is back from the lunch break

The murder trial of Derek Chauvin is back in session following a lunch break.

Witness testimony will now continue with a third witness who is not seen on camera because of their age.

Earlier today, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill said four witnesses would not be shown on camera because they were underage at the time of George Floyd’s death. Those witnesses will appear live in court — so the jury will be able to see them.

The witnesses’ names will also be redacted from the broadcast, although jury members will also hear their names in the court room.

46 min ago

The trial’s jurors will remain unnamed and unseen, but here are some key things we know about them

From CNN’s Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper

The jury in Derek Chauvin’s trial has heard from five witnesses so far, and they’ve been shown bystander and police footage of George Floyd’s final moments. 

If convicted, Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison for second-degree murder, up to 25 years for third-degree murder, and up to 10 years for second-degree manslaughter. The charges are to be considered separate, so Chauvin could be convicted of all, some or none of them.

While the jurors are unnamed and unseen on camera, we do know basic details about them.

Here’s what we know about the jury:

  • Five men and nine women were chosen to serve on the jury during the trial in Minneapolis. 
  • Of the 14 jurors, eight are White, four are Black and two are mixed race, according to how the court says the jurors identified themselves.
  • The jury selection process began March 9 at the Hennepin County Government Center and wrapped up exactly two weeks later. 
  • The panel is made up of 12 jurors and two alternates, Judge Peter Cahill said.
  • The jurors all come from Hennepin County, which is demographically about 74% White and 14% Black, according to census data.
  • The prospective jurors previously completed a 16-page questionnaire that asked for their personal thoughts on Black Lives Matter, policing and other topics.
  • In court, each person was sworn in and then questioned one-by-one in a process known as voir dire. The juror’s name, address and other information are kept anonymous.
  • Eric Nelson questioned the prospective jurors for the defense, while Steve Schleicher questioned them for the prosecution.

Read more about about the jury here.

2 hr 9 min ago

This is what a 9-year-old witness told the court about Floyd’s death

The jury just heard from a 9-year-old witness who was on the scene when the George Floyd incident took place.

The girl said she saw an officer put a knee on the neck of Floyd, and that the officer kept his knee on him after ambulance personnel asked “him nicely to get off of him.” The witness said they had to get the officer off of Floyd.

“I was sad and kind of mad,” the girl said when asked by the prosecutor of what the incident made her feel. “Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”

The defense declined to cross examine the 9-year-old witness.

She’s the second of at least four witnesses who will not be shown on the television broadcast. Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill said the four witnesses will not be shown on camera because of their ages. The witnesses will appear live in court — so the jury will be able to see them.

The witnesses’ names will also be redacted from the broadcast, although jury members will hear their names in the court room. The girl’s 18-year-old cousin testified before her.

2 hr 17 min ago

Witness who recorded video of Floyd’s death: “That could have been one of” my family members

From CNN’s Adrienne Vogt

Eyewitness Darnella Frazier, who recorded video of George Floyd’s death, said that witnessing his death has made her think of her own relatives and reflect on their lives. 

“When I look at George Floyd, … I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles. Because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them,” she said.

Frazier then became audibly emotional. 

“It’s been nights I’ve 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,” she said, referring to former police officer Derek Chauvin. 

Frazier is being identified only by her first name in court, but she has been internationally recognized for her decision to record and share the video. She’s the first of at least four witnesses who will not be shown on the television broadcast because they were minors at the time of the incident.

2 hr 39 min ago

Witness: Chauvin appeared to kneel harder on Floyd’s neck as crowd pleaded with him to get off

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell Pool

Eyewitness Darnella Frazier, the teenager who took the bystander video, was asked today to describe what Derek Chauvin did in response to pleading from the crowd of bystanders that he get off George Floyd.

“He just stared at us, looked at us. He had like this cold look, heartless. He didn’t care. It seemed as if he didn’t care what we were saying. It didn’t change anything he was doing,” she said. 

Asked if it appeared to her that Chauvin kneeled harder on Floyd in response, Frazier said, “yes.”

Frazier is being identified only by her first name in court, but she has been internationally recognized for her decision to record and share the video.

2 hr 51 min ago

The trial is back in session

From CNN’s Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper

The murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis officer charged in the death of George Floyd, is back in session following a short break.

The jury has heard from two witnesses today, including Darnella Frazier who was walking by the scene and shot video. The witness was not shown on camera because she was a minor when the Floyd incident occurred. Her testimony has now resumed.

“It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain,” she said before the trial went on break.

Earlier this morning, a professional mixed martial arts fighter who also witnessed Floyd’s death testified that he called 911 after watching Chauvin’s actions.

“I called the police on the police,” Donald Wynn Williams II testified today. “I believed I witnessed a murder.”

Williams, whose testimony began Monday afternoon and continued Tuesday morning, was the third witness in Chauvin’s criminal trial. He was one of the most vocal bystanders in the widely seen video of Floyd’s final moments, repeatedly pleading for Chauvin to get off Floyd and calling him a “bum” and a “tough guy.”

2 hr 53 min ago

“I felt like I was in danger,” 18-year-old witness says

Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, listen during Chauvin’s trial on March 30. Court TV via AP

Darnella Frazier, an 18-year-old witness who filmed George Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, told the court she felt threatened by former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Frazier, who was 17 at the time of the incident, testified that she and her cousin were walking past the scene at Cup Foods that day and were part of the crowd who witnessed Floyd’s death and the circumstances around it.

“I heard George Floyd saying — I can’t breathe. Please. Get off me. I can’t breathe. He cried for his mom… It seemed like he knew — seemed like he knew it was over for him,” she testified.

She went on to describe how a firefighter asked Chauvin if she could check Floyd’s pulse but Chauvin “remained kneeling on his neck, and she asked multiple times, not just once.”

Asked why no one in the crowd did anything or tried to get close, Frazier said she felt threatened as the officers “were quick to pull out mace.” 

“They put their hand on their mace. I can’t remember if they actually pointed it at us but they definitely put their hand on the mace and we all backed back.” 

Asked specifically if she felt threatened by Chauvin, she said:

“He seemed like – how do I word this? I felt like I was in danger when he did that. It rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t understand why they would do that, what we did for them to make us – to make them do that.” 

“That’s why I felt threatened. I don’t understand why the mace was even needed at all,” Frazier added.