Other witnesses spoke at Derek Chauvin’s trial on Wednesday, including a teenage Cup Foods store employee, a Minneapolis Police Department lieutenant, an older bystander and a man who stopped at the store to ask. her fiancé can recover items.
Body camera footage was shown of all former officers — Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — at the 38th Street and Chicago Avenue scene in south Minneapolis on May 25.
A body camera was seen on the ground during the struggle as officers tried to get George Floyd into the police cruiser. A witness who spoke Wednesday, identified as Lt. James Rugel of the Minneapolis Police Department, confirmed that the camera belonged to Chauvin. Rugel has been with the department for over 30 years and manages the technical equipment used by the department. District Attorney Steve Schleicher called him “more of a foundational witness.”
Rugel said there were about 250 public security cameras in high-traffic areas of the city. The cameras are on 24/7 and one is positioned at the top of the Speedway across from Cup Foods.
Chauvin said, “You need a lot of oxygen to keep talking,” in response to Floyd pleading he couldn’t breathe in body camera footage. After the ambulance was seen taking Floyd away from the area, Chauvin defended himself to passers-by, saying Floyd was “a big guy” and “probably on to something,” according to video by police released to court on Wednesday.
When Floyd was finally taken away by paramedics, Charles McMillian, a 61-year-old bystander who recognized Chauvin from the neighborhood, told the officer he didn’t respect what Chauvin had done.
“It’s one person’s opinion,” Chauvin could be heard replying. “We have to control this guy because he’s a big guy…and it looks like he’s probably onto something.”
McMillian showed strong emotion as he took the witness stand after seeing video of what happened last May. The court paused briefly so McMillian could regain his composure to complete his questioning.
As Floyd was pinned down by Chauvin and other officers, McMillian, the onlooker, could be heard on video telling Floyd, “You can’t win” and “Get up and get in the car.”
“I can’t,” Floyd replied.
“I can’t, I feel helpless. I don’t have a mother either. I understand that,” McMillian said Wednesday before the court took a brief break.
When Lane confronted Floyd in his SUV, pulled out his gun and demanded with some swearing that he show his hands, a panicked Floyd said, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” and “I got shot before .” Seemingly crying, he repeatedly pleaded, “Please don’t shoot me, man.”
When told to get in the team car, Floyd repeatedly shouted, “I’m not that kind of guy!” and “I’m claustrophobic!” As the officers pushed his upper body and then his legs into the car, he twisted and shouted, “Please! Please! … I can not breathe !
Officers were clearly exasperated when Floyd leaned against the police cruiser and arched his body as police attempted to usher him in. At one point he threw his upper body out of the car and officers attempted to push him back inside. Officers eventually pulled him out and threw him to the ground. Floyd thanked officers as they pulled him out of the police cruiser.
Once Floyd was on the ground — with Chauvin’s knee on his neck, Kueng’s knee on his back, and Lane holding his legs — the officers calmly asked if he could do drugs.
Coverage of Derek Chauvin’s trial by KSTP
Lane was heard saying officers found a “weed pipe” on Floyd and wondered if he might be on PCP, saying Floyd’s eyes were twitching rapidly back and forth.
“He didn’t want to get out of the car. He just wasn’t following instructions,” Lane said. The officer also asked twice if officers should roll Floyd onto his side during the incident. Floyd ends up quiet with Chauvin, Kueng and Lane staying on top of him. We hear Lane say “he passed out” in a calm attitude.
Earlier today, Floyd allegedly handed a cashier at Cup Foods a counterfeit ticket for a pack of cigarettes. That cashier, identified as 19-year-old Christopher Martin, testified on Wednesday. He said he watched Floyd’s arrest on the outside with “disbelief — and guilt.”
“If I just hadn’t accepted the bill, it could have been avoided,” Martin lamented, joining the growing list of witnesses who have expressed a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt over Floyd’s death. .
Martin said he immediately believed the $20 bill was fake. However, he said in court that Cup Foods does not train anyone to determine if the currency is counterfeit. But he said he accepted it, although he said the amount would be deducted from his paycheck by his employer because he didn’t think Floyd knew it was a forgery and “I Thought I would do her a favour.” He added that the man seen as a passenger in the body camera footage was inside the store with Floyd and, according to Martin, was acting “more suspicious” than Floyd.
However, Martin then second-guessed his decision and told a manager, who sent Martin outside to ask Floyd to return to the store. But Floyd and a passenger in his SUV twice refused to return to the store to fix the problem, and the manager asked a colleague to call the police, Martin said.
The teenager said that when Floyd was inside the store buying cigarettes, he spoke so slowly “it sounded like he was stoned”. But he described Floyd as friendly and chatty.
After the police arrived, Martin walked out as people gathered on the sidewalk and yelled at the officers. He said he saw Officer Tou Thao push one of his colleagues. Martin said he also restrained another man who was trying to defend himself after being shoved by Thao.
“That’s why you kids don’t do drugs,” Thao tells passers-by in his own body camera footage.
Another witness, Christopher Belfrey, 45, testified, as he was seen stopping with his vehicle behind Floyd when police arrived at the scene. Belfrey told the court he waited inside his vehicle as his fiancé rushed to Cup Foods to get something. He said he ended up moving his vehicle across the street because he saw an officer pull out his gun and approach Floyd’s vehicle.
Belfrey recorded two videos of the incident from different viewpoints, leaving as his fiancée got back into the car. He said as he walked away that Floyd “looked detained.”
Chauvin faces charges of second and third degree murder, as well as a charge of second degree manslaughter. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted. Court will resume Thursday morning, with motions to be dealt with from 9 a.m. and the jury to be summoned at 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday morning’s testimony was briefly interrupted when a juror stood up, raised his hand and gestured for the door. She later told the judge she was feeling stressed and having trouble sleeping, but told the judge she was okay to continue.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.