What do you think? Leave a respectful comment.

‘He was terrified:’ Witnesses offer emotional testimony about Floyd death in Chauvin case

The second day in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin was emotional and tense. One eyewitness to the death of George Floyd told jurors in Minneapolis that Chauvin, who is charged with second and third degree murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death, was cold and heartless. Yamiche Alcindor has our report.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The second day in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin was emotional and tense.

    One eyewitness to the death of George Floyd told jurors in Minneapolis that Chauvin was cold and heartless. Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd.

    Yamiche Alcindor has our report.

  • And a note:

    This story does include some video of the incident that was shown during the trial.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    For hours, witnesses described what they saw on May 25, 2020, detailing the last moments leading up to the death of George Floyd.

    Among those testifying today, Darnella Frazier, the young woman who filmed the now viral cell phone video of the incident. Frazier was not shown on the court's cameras because she was a minor at the time of Floyd's death.

    Still, through audible tears, she recalled that day.

  • Darnella Frazier:

    I heard George Floyd saying: "I can't breathe. Please, get off of me. I can't breathe." He cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew — like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering. This was a cry for help.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Frazier also described how filming Floyd's death changed her life.

  • Darnella Frazier:

    When I look at George Floyd, I look at — I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles, because they are all black. I have 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. It's been nights I 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.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Frazier's 9-year-old cousin also took the stand.

  • Girl:

    I was sad and kind of mad.

  • Jerry Blackwell:

    And tell us, why were you sad and mad?

  • Girl:

    Because it felt like he was stopping his breathing, and it is kind of like hurting him.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Earlier in the day, lawyers finished questioning Donald Williams, another witness on the scene. He spoke about how his wrestling and martial arts training shaped his view of Floyd's killing.

  • Donald Williams:

    You could see his eyes slowly rolling back.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    At times, Williams' testimony grew tense, as Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, tried to prove that Chauvin and the other officers were distracted by the group of onlookers.

  • Man:

    He's not responsive right now, bro.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    Williams is heard on Darnella Frazier's video shouting at Chauvin.

  • Eric Nelson:

    You called him a bum at least 13 times.

  • Donald Williams:

    That's what you counted in the video?

  • Eric Nelson:

    That's what I counted.

  • Donald Williams:

    Then that's what you got, 13.

  • Eric Nelson:

    And that was early on, right? Those terms grew more and more angry. Would you agree with that?

  • Donald Williams:

    They grew more and more pleading for life.

  • Eric Nelson:

    It's fair to say that you grew angrier and angrier?

  • Donald Williams:

    No. I grew professional and professional, and I stayed in my body. You can't paint me out to be angry.

  • Yamiche Alcindor:

    The day also included testimony from other witnesses who were at the scene, including two teenagers and a Minneapolis firefighter.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Yamiche Alcindor.

Listen to this Segment