In the criminal trial against the American police officer who killed black arrestee George Floyd in May last year, images of the fatal incident were played on Wednesday, made by the then cop and defendant Derek Chauvin’s bodycam.
These images show how Chauvin tried to justify his actions afterwards.
After the ambulance drove away with the unconscious Floyd, Chauvin was approached by witness Charles McMillian, who can be seen in the video. “I have no respect for what you have done,” he tells Chauvin. “We had to control this man because he’s a big guy and because it looked like he was under the influence,” said Officer Chauvin.
The prosecutor had summoned McMillian as a witness in the criminal trial against Chauvin. The man, one of the first bystanders to the incident, was visibly struggling in court on Wednesday. After seeing the video footage of the incident between Floyd and the police, McMillian burst into tears.
The video showed the officers trying to get a struggling Floyd into the police car. He tries to clarify to the officers that he is “claustrophobic” and has difficulty getting air. McMillian would have told Floyd before the fight that he had to cooperate with the agents. “You can’t win,” he allegedly said to Floyd.
Floyd was arrested on May 25 last year in the American city of Minneapolis after he allegedly paid for a pack of cigarettes with a counterfeit 20 dollar bill. Christopher Martin, the cashier at the store where Floyd bought the cigarettes, also testified in court on Wednesday.
Martin said that Floyd appeared to be “high” when he was in the store but also “very friendly, approachable and talkative.” The 19-year-old shop assistant also had a hard time in court. “If I hadn’t taken that note, none of this would have happened,” said Martin. When he saw Floyd lying motionless outside just after checkout with Chauvin’s knee in his neck, Martin felt “disbelief and guilt,” he testified.
Chauvin’s lawyer claimed in his opening plea that Floyd’s death was not caused by asphyxiation. According to the defence, this was mainly the result of drug or medication use and underlying health problems.
Specifically, the prosecutor’s strategy is to convince the jury that Chauvin falsely used dangerous strangulation to force Floyd to cooperate. When Chauvin is found guilty of manslaughter, the most serious charge against him, he could face 40 years in prison.
George Floyd’s death sparked outrage worldwide last year. Mass demonstrations against racism and excessive police brutality occurred in many places in and outside the United States.