UPDATED 9:25 AM PT – Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Defense attorneys for former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin said onlookers during George Floyd’s arrest made the situation worse.
During day two of Chauvin’s trial on Tuesday, the first witnesses for the prosecution took the stand. Prosecutors then laid out the narrative seen in the viral video captured by 18-year-old Darnella Frazier.
PROSECUTOR JERRY BLACKWELL: “When you walked past the squad car there, did you see anything happening there on the ground as you were walking towards Cup Foods with your cousin?”
WITNESS, DARNELLA FRAZIER: “Yes, I see a man on the ground, and I see a copy kneeling down on him.”
However, Chauvin’s defense team said far more happened off-camera. They argued the former officer felt threatened by a growing crowd that was hurling insults at him. The defense team highlighted this when cross-examining 33-year-old Donald Williams who called 9-1-1 after Floyd fell unconscious. They claimed Williams was calling Chauvin names while he was on the phone.
NELSON: “You called him a bum at least 13 times.”
WILLIAMS: “That’s what you count in the video?”
NELSON: “That’s what I counted.”
WILLIAMS: “Then that’s what you’ve got. 13.
NELSON: “And that was early on. Those terms grew more and more angry. Would you agree with that?”
WILLIAMS: “Shey grew more and more pleading for life.”
The defense team pointed out that a third witness, firefighter Genevieve Hansen, was also getting frustrated during the incident, adding to the chaos around the scene. Hansen apparently also got angry on the stand and was at one point reprimanded by Judge Peter Cahill.
“You will not argue with the court…you’ll not argue with counsel…they have the right to ask questions,” stated the judge. “Your job is to answer.”
The trial, which will be live-streamed for the first time in Minnesota history, is likely to last roughly four weeks.