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Thursday, May 13, 2021

Derek Chauvin trial: New footage shows George Floyd pleading with officers

A Minneapolis court has been shown new police bodycam footage of George Floyd pleading with officers during his arrest, saying: “I’m not a bad guy”.

The video shows police officer Derek Chauvin with his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, and Mr Floyd begging not to be harmed.

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Mr Chauvin, 45, who has since been fired from the police force, denies charges of murder and manslaughter.

Mr Floyd’s death in 2020 sparked global protests over policing and racism.

Defence lawyers have indicated they will argue that 46-year-old Mr Floyd died of an overdose and poor health, and the force used was reasonable.

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Observers on the third day of the trial said footage shown of Mr Floyd’s actions before and during the arrest may be an attempt by prosecutors to deal with the allegation that drugs played a part in his death.

What does the bodycam film show?

The court has been shown footage from the body cameras belonging to officers Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao. Mr Chauvin’s camera fell to the ground as the arrest unfolded and so did not give a visual recording of the event.

In Mr Lane’s footage, Mr Floyd is seen being confronted by police. He begs them: “Please don’t shoot me… I just lost my mom.”

Mr Floyd is handcuffed and continues to plead with Officers Lane and Kueng, saying he is not resisting them and “will do anything you tell me to”.

A scuffle occurs when police try to get Mr Floyd into a vehicle, and he starts crying and resisting while saying he is claustrophobic and has anxiety.

Mr Chauvin and his partner Mr Thao arrive as the arrest goes on.

As the police officers drag him out of the car and restrain him on the ground, Mr Floyd can be heard calling for his mother and telling his family members he loves them.

Bystanders begin to shout at officers to check Mr Floyd’s pulse and stop restraining him.

What did witnesses say on Wednesday?

Shop employee Christopher Martin, 19, told the court he briefly interacted with Mr Floyd as a customer inside Cup Foods shortly before his arrest.

He said Mr Floyd “appeared to be high” because he struggled to respond to a simple question, but he was lucid enough to able to hold a conversation. He described Mr Floyd as “friendly and approachable”.

In the shop’s surveillance video, Mr Floyd can be seen laughing, talking to people, and walking around.

Mr Martin told the jury he had sold Mr Floyd a packet of cigarettes, and received a counterfeit note as payment. Mr Martin described knowing the bill was fake by its colour and texture, but added that Mr Floyd “didn’t seem to know it was a fake note”.

He said he had considered letting the shop deduct it from his wages instead of confronting Mr Floyd, but then decided to tell his manager. Another employee went on to call the police.

Mr Martin, who witnessed the arrest, said he felt “disbelief and guilt” because “if I’d have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided”.

Charles McMillian, 61, was another witness who took the stand on Wednesday.

Based on CCTV footage, Mr McMillian appears to have been the first bystander on the scene of Mr Floyd’s arrest. He told the court he engaged in conversation with Mr Floyd, urging him to get into the police car.

Mr McMillian said he remembers feeling “helpless” seeing the incident unfold. He can be heard on video telling Mr Chauvin: “Your knee on his neck, that’s wrong man.”

As the court was shown footage of the arrest, Mr McMillian began to sob, and the judge called for a brief recess.

What else has happened in the trial so far?

In opening statements on Monday, Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury that Mr Chauvin had “betrayed his badge” by kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck, and using “excessive and unreasonable force” to detain him.

Meanwhile, Mr Chauvin’s lawyer Eric Nelson said the case was about the evidence, not about a “political or social cause”. He said Mr Floyd had ingested drugs at the time of his arrest “in an effort to conceal them from the police”, and suggested this had contributed to his death.

Four young witnesses took to the stand on Tuesday. Darnella – the teenager whose film of Mr Floyd’s death sparked global protests – said she “stays up apologising” to him for “not doing more”.

Source: BBC

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