A 61-year-old bystander approached Chauvin after Floyd was carried away by an ambulance, and body camera captured their exchange.
MINNEAPOLIS — Editor’s note: Some of the images depicted in the video and testimony are graphic. Have a question you’d like to hear our trial experts answer? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or text it to 763-797-7215.
- ‘We’ve got to control this guy because he’s a sizable guy,’ Chauvin says on new body camera video
- 61-year-old man who told Floyd ‘You can’t win’ breaks down on the stand watching body camera footage
- Jury sees surveillance video of George Floyd walking around Cup Foods before his death
- Former Cup Foods employee testifies that he suspected George Floyd’s $20 was counterfeit, offered to pay it out of his pocket
- Defense finishes questioning off-duty firefighter who called 911 on officers, wanted to render aid to George Floyd
Court resumed Wednesday in the Derek Chauvin trial, where multiple videos that had not yet been viewed publicly were shown to the jury.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with second-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder in the death of George Floyd.
The jury heard from Chauvin himself on Wednesday when prosecutors played body camera video of his interaction with a 61-year-old bystander. Charles McMillian, who can be heard on bystander video telling George Floyd “You can’t win,” confronted Chauvin after the ambulance left the scene. Chauvin can be heard telling him, “We’ve got to control this guy because he’s a sizable guy” and adding that Floyd looked like he was “on something.”
McMillian broke down on the stand while watching video of Floyd, saying he felt “helpless.”
Prosecutors also showed surveillance video of Floyd walking around Cup Foods in the last moments before his death. A 19-year-old former employee testified, saying he believed Floyd was unknowingly using a counterfeit $20 bill. He said he offered to pay for it out of his own pocket.
That witness said that Floyd appeared to be high when he was in the store on May 25. Floyd’s drug use is expected to be a key part of Chauvin’s defense. Attorney Mike Bryant, who offered commentary on the trial for KARE 11, said he believes the prosecution is taking the approach of acknowledging the drug use early on rather than letting the defense introduce it later.
The state’s fourth witness of the day, 61-year-old Charles McMillian, broke down crying while viewing video of George Floyd. He is the bystander who can be heard on video telling Floyd, “You can’t win.” He told the prosecution he felt “helpless” watching the body camera footage.
The judge called for a 10-minute break, after which the prosecution resumed questioning.
McMillian said he told Floyd to get up and get in the car because he was “trying to help him.”
“Once the police get the cuffs on you, you can’t win,” he said, explaining his comments to Floyd. He said Floyd responded to him, “I can’t.”
“He appeared to be in and out with the foam running out of his mouth,” he said.
He said he told the officers Floyd couldn’t breathe and they responded, “Well, if he can keep talking he can breathe.”
Eldridge showed video of McMillian confronting Chauvin after Floyd was carried away, saying he didn’t respect what he did. Chauvin could be heard on that video saying, “We’ve got to control this guy, he’s a sizable guy.” Chauvin also said on the video that it looks like Floyd was “on something.”
The prosecutor asked McMillian why he felt it was important to confront Chauvin.
“Because what I was watching was wrong,” he said.
The defense declined to cross-examine McMillian.
Prosecutor Erin Eldridge began interviewing the fourth witness of the day Wednesday, a man named Charles McMillian who lives near Cup Foods.
He said he was near the corner of 38th and Chicago on May 25, 2020, when he saw police standing next to a blue Mercedes. He pulled over because he wanted to know what was going on.
“Being nosy, you know, just being nosy,” he said. “I’m in the neighborhood, I’m a nosy person.”
McMillian is 61 years old, and can be heard on bystander video telling George Floyd, “You can’t win.”
McMillian is the only witness so far who saw almost the entire interaction between the officers and Floyd.
He told prosecutors that he was saying to Floyd, “‘Just comply with them, get in the car because you can’t win,’ something of that nature.” He said he was trying to “make the situation easy.”
“I’m not trying to win,” Floyd shouted back.
McMillian said he knew Chauvin because he saw him five days previously and had a conversation with him. “I told him like I tell all officers, ‘At the end of the day you go home to your family safe, and that the next person go home to their family safe.'”
Eldridge then showed body camera video of officers struggling to get Floyd into the squad car. He can be heard repeatedly telling officers that he is claustrophobic, and saying “I can’t breathe.”
McMillian became emotional and cried on the stand when he saw the video, taking a couple minutes to regain his composure. Eldridge asked him what he was feeling and he said, “I feel helpless.”
The judge called for a 10-minute break.
After the third witness of the day wrapped up, Judge Peter Cahill took a lunch break and said testimony will resume around 1:15 p.m.
The prosecution called another bystander to the stand Wednesday: 45-year-old Christopher Belfrey. He said he went to Cup Foods on May 25, 2020 to get some food.
He said when he heard a “commotion” he moved across the street because he did not want to be in the middle of it. Prosecutor Matthew Frank showed the jury a video Belfrey took from his car, showing officers trying to get Floyd into a squad.
Belfrey said he stopped recording after a while because he was “slightly scared” and “nervous.”
“One of the officers kept staring at me when I was recording,” he said.
Belfrey said he went home after officers began to put Floyd in the police car, assuming the incident was over.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson had a chance to cross-examine a former Cup Foods employee who initially took what he believed to be a counterfeit $20 bill from George Floyd.
Martin confirmed to Nelson that he “immediately knew” the $20 bill was a fake. He said he believed that Floyd’s friend had handed him a similar fake earlier in the day, as well. He testified that he decided not to confront Floyd, and to pay for it out of his own pocket later.
“Was that in part maybe because you felt he was under the influence?” Nelson asked.
Martin said “partially,” but added, “I thought that George didn’t really know that it was a fake bill, so I thought that I’d be doing him a favor.”
Nelson recounted Martin’s previous interview with law enforcement, describing the crowd as “yelling and screaming” and at one point holding another friend back from getting involved. He said that he told his friend to “calm down, stand back.”
The prosecution had a chance to ask Martin more questions upon redirect. Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked what Floyd’s demeanor was like when he was in the store.
“He seemed very friendly, approachable, he was talkative,” Martin said. “He seemed to be having just a very average Memorial Day, living his life. But he did seem high.”
Frank asked Martin about a “side lunge” he described Floyd doing. He asked if Floyd looked like he was going to fall down, and Martin said no. Frank confirmed with Martin that Floyd was able to ask him for cigarettes and indicate which ones he wanted.
After Martin’s testimony, Jamar Nelson, a spokesperson for Cup Foods, denied that the store has ever made an employee pay for a counterfeit bill.
Nelson told KARE that Cup Foods only tells employees they have to pay for counterfeit bills if they don’t check them as a “deterrent.”
After a mid-morning break, testimony continued from a Cup Foods employee who received what he believed to be a counterfeit $20 bill from George Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Nineteen-year-old Christopher Martin told prosecutor Matthew Frank that when he told the manager his suspicion, the manager asked him to go find George Floyd and ask him to come back inside.
Martin and one other person approached Floyd’s car and spoke with him, but Floyd did not want to come in. Martin said he offered to pay the $20, but his manager sent him back out to try again. This time, he brought two other people with him.
Martin said the person in the passenger seat did most of the talking this time. That person said they tried to use a fake bill but that Martin caught them, so they did not go through with it. They tore the bill in half in front of him, Martin said.
Martin said Floyd was putting his hands in the air and shaking his head, indicating “why is this happening to me.” He said Floyd still did not want to come into the store.
At that point, Martin said the manager instructed another coworker to call the police.
Martin later went outside and saw Floyd being detained by police on the ground. He called his mom first and told her not to come downstairs, he said. Then he started filming. When he decided later that he believed Floyd was dead, he said, he deleted the video.
“I just didn’t want to have to show it to anyone,” he said.
Martin said an officer pushed one of his teen coworkers at the scene.
Prosecutors asked Martin what was going through his mind while he stood watching the scene outside the store.
“Disbelief and guilt,” he said.
Martin stopped working at Cup Foods after that, he said, because he “didn’t feel safe.”
The prosecution called 19-year-old Christopher Martin to the stand Wednesday morning.
He said in May of 2020, he was living above Cup Foods with his mom and his sister. He also worked at the store as an employee.
Martin said he saw George Floyd come into the store and noticed his size. He asked Floyd if he played baseball, and Floyd responded that he played football. “It would appear that he was high,” he said, because Floyd took some time to respond to the question.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank showed Martin surveillance video showing George Floyd inside the store, asking him to point out what was happening at different points.
Martin told Frank that he was able to carry on a conversation with Floyd.
The surveillance video shows Martin holding something up in the air. He told the prosecution that was a $20 bill that he believed to be counterfeit. He said the store’s policy is that if a clerk takes a counterfeit bill, they have to pay for it themselves.
Martin said the manager told him to go out to the vehicle and ask Floyd to come back inside.
The defense attorney for Derek Chauvin finished his cross-examination of Genevieve Hansen Wednesday morning with just one question.
Eric Nelson asked the Minneapolis firefighter if she showed any identification to officers on the scene of George Floyd’s arrest when she asked them to let her render aid. She said she did not.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank returned to question Hansen on redirect, asking her if she had any ID on her that day. She said she did not. Hansen has previously testified that she was off duty on May 25, 2020.
Before Genevieve Hansen testified, prosecutors played bystander video for the jury that showed her asking officers to check Floyd’s pulse.
In the video, Hansen tells officers that she’s a Minneapolis first responder.
“The fact that you guys aren’t checking his pulse and doing compressions if he needs them, you guys are on another level,” she can be heard saying.
“I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man,” she later said on a 911 call. “I am a first responder myself.”
Earlier in the day, the court also heard from a bystander who filmed the viral video that showed Derek Chauvin holding his knee on Floyd’s neck, a woman named Darnella who was only 17 at the time. Through tears, she recounted the events of May 25, 2020, saying, “It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more.”
Four young people, including Darnella and her 9-year-old cousin, took the stand on Tuesday to tell the court what they saw that day. Because of a decision made by the judge, they weren’t shown on video.
Tuesday also saw the conclusion of testimony from Donald Wynn Williams II, a mixed martial arts fighter who can be heard on bystander video asking officers to check George Floyd’s pulse. His testimony was cut short on Monday due to a technical issue in the court’s live video feed.
Williams told prosecutor Matthew Frank that when he saw Derek Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck, he recognized the move as a “blood choke.”
Williams also told Frank that he called 911 after George Floyd was taken away in the ambulance. He said he didn’t know what else to do at the time.
“I did call the police on the police,” he said. “Because I believe I witnessed a murder.”