Prosecutors continued laying out their case on Tuesday against Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis officer charged in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin, who was seen in a disturbing video kneeling on the neck of the unarmed Black man, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.
Tuesday afternoon, Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen, who was heard on video repeatedly asking the officers to take Floyd’s pulse, testified she was “desperate” to help the man. But she said officers wouldn’t allow her to provide medical assistance, leaving her feeling frustrated, helpless and “totally distressed.”
“There’s a man being killed, and had I had access to a call similar to that, I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my ability, and this human was denied that right,” said Hansen, who is also an emergency medical technician.
Earlier in the day, the teen who filmed the widely-viewed cellphone video of the incident took the stand. Her testimony was broadcast via audio only due to her age. The teen, Darnella Frazier, became emotional as she described seeing Floyd “suffering” and begging for his life.
“This was a cry for help, definitely,” she said.
Another teenage witness who also videotaped the encounter said she could see that Floyd was “fighting to breathe” and that “time was running out, or that it had already.”
Earlier, the jury heard from a bystander trained in mixed martial arts who repeatedly yelled for for Chauvin to relieve pressure on Floyd’s neck. Donald Williams II finished his testimony after a tense exchange with defense attorney Eric Nelson, who characterized Williams’ comments to Chauvin as “angry.”
Floyd‘s killing last May drew outrage and a worldwide reckoning on police reform and racial justice. Three other officers involved in the fatal arrest are charged with aiding and abetting, and will be tried jointly in August.
A key point of dispute in opening statements on Monday was how Floyd died. Prosecutors played the video of Floyd being pinned down, saying Chauvin used lethal force against a “defenseless” and handcuffed Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said Floyd died of oxygen deprivation beneath the pressure of Chauvin’s knee. But the defense argued Floyd died of a heart arrhythmia complicated by the fentanyl and methamphetamine he had ingested before his arrest.