Charles McMillian, who was one of the first bystanders on the scene as George Floyd was being taken into custody in May 2020, broke down on the stand during his testimony after watching graphic footage of Floyd’s arrest.
The video showed officers trying to get Floyd into a squad car, then struggling with the police. Floyd can be heard in the footage saying he’s “claustrophobic” and struggling to breathe.
Before the struggle began, McMillian was on the sidewalk telling Floyd to comply with the police, saying “you can’t win.”
After the video was shown, McMillian became extremely emotional on the stand. After a prosecutor tried to console him the judge decided to take a break from the trial.
The court took a short break and McMillian resumed his testimony.
The trial is in a 10 minute break.
The judge asked that the court go into a recess after witness Charles McMillian broke down in tears while watching footage of George Floyd’s arrest.
Witness Charles McMillian testified that he had seen former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in South Minneapolis five days before the incident involving George Floyd.
“Five days prior to this happening, I pulled up on a squad car somewhere in South Minneapolis, and I seen Mr. Chauvin, and I told him like other officers, ‘at the end of the day you go to your family safe, and the next person goes to their home safe,'” McMillian said during testimony today in Minneapolis.
“I had seen him through the community, I didn’t know him,” he added.
Charles McMillian, a man who watched officers detain George Floyd, said he was telling Floyd to comply with police as they were trying to get him into the police car.
“The officer was, you know, trying to get him in the car and everything, talking to him, I was telling him, Mr. Floyd, Mr. Floyd just comply, get in the car because you can’t win. Something to that nature,” McMillian testified.
He said he was just trying to make the situation easier and help.
“Because I’ve had interaction with officers myself, and I understand once you get in the car, you can’t win, you’re done. That’s the way I look at it,” he said.
McMillian said that Floyd was handcuffed the whole time and that he was hearing and understanding what McMillian was saying.
Testimony in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin has just resumed after the court’s lunch break.
Witness Charles McMillian, 61, has just taken the stand.
New cell phone video from Christopher Belfrey, a Minneapolis resident who was parking his car on the street corner, shows the moments after George Floyd was pulled out of the car by officers.
The video shows two officers standing above Floyd who is handcuffed, sitting on the ground.
Belfrey said he saw Floyd sitting in the driver’s seat of a car before officers arrived. He was in his vehicle outside of Cup Foods waiting for his fiancé who was in the store.
“They brought him out, walked him over to the sidewalk and sat him down. One officer then went over to the other people that was in the vehicle and started asking them questions,” he said during testimony.
Belfrey said he stopped recording because he started getting “nervous.”
“One of the officers kept staring at me while I was recording so I kind of put it down. Then I went to record again and then I was, like, I really don’t want any problems so I stopped recording,” he said.
He said when he stopped recording, he saw officers take Floyd across the street. Belfrey said he starting driving away when he thought officers were detaining Floyd.
The next witness testifying is Christopher Belfrey, a Minneapolis resident who was parking his car on the street corner when he saw officers approach George Floyd’s vehicle.
He said he started recording when he saw one of the officers with his gun drawn.
“I saw the officer raise his gun. I started recording,” Belfrey said.
His testimony is ongoing.
CNN legal analyst Laura Coates noted during the trial’s break that the prosecution’s decision to bring up the potential use of a counterfeit bill by George Floyd and whether or not he was under the influence, is a “preemptive” strategy to “take the wind out of the sails of any sort of ‘gotcha’ moment by the defense who tried to put George Floyd on trial.”
Coates reminded viewers that Floyd is not on trial, but former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin and whether or not he used excessive deadly force is.
“Keep in mind here that this sets the stage for why the officers are called, it does not go to the meat of the matter of this trial which is whether the officer, then officer Derek Chauvin, used excessive and deadly force when the threat had been neutralized. And whether that was the potential causal factor in his death. So, all of this sets the scene, sets the stage, of whether there was a counterfeit bill, his own interaction with George Floyd, not relevant because George Floyd remember is not on trial, the witness is not on trial, the other eyewitnesses are not on trial. It is Derek Chauvin,” Coates told CNN’s John King.
Christopher Martin, who was working at Cup Foods on May 25, 2020, testified that he witnessed former officer Tou Thao push his coworker back after he stepped off the sidewalk in front of where Derek Chauvin was kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.
As security video from the street corner was played for the jury, Martin narrated the footage which showed one of his coworkers among the crowd watching the incident step off the sidewalk. Thao then approaches the man and pushes him twice.
Martin was watching the incident play out from in front of the Cup Foods while he filmed part of the episode on his phone. The prosecutor asked Martin if at any point he saw his coworker touch the police officer. He replied, “no.”
Watch a portion of the security video played for the jury: