Wednesday, Thursday and Friday saw more eye-witness testimony and further evidence aimed at prosecuting Officer Derek Chauvin. The defence have been able to maintain the accusations of inebriation, as well as aiming to provide resistance on behalf of Mr. Floyd. However, the Prosecution’s watertight case is going to be difficult for Mr. Chauvin’s team to overcome. `
The day began with footage of inside Cup Food convenience store, the store that accused Mr. Floyd of producing a fake note. The footage was accompanied by the questioning of one of the teenage store employees, Christopher Martin. Mr. Martin was asked to describe the demeanour of George Floyd during his encounter; he admitted that it “would appear that he was high” but clarified that he could maintain a conversation. Of very few, this was a good moment for the defence, as it supports their claim that Floyd was inebriated during the arrest. Furthermore, he described the note in question and testified that the blue pigment of the note was ‘odd’ and therefore raised suspicions.
Another eyewitness account surfaced on the third day of questioning, when Charles McMillian recalled the event. He grew very emotional when he watched the video of the arrest, revealing the deep hurt and anger he had felt since that day. After regaining composure, Mr McMillian stated that he felt “helpless”.
The second part of the day saw unseen body camera footage from some of the officers. The first video showed the officer when he initially approached Mr. Floyd in his vehicle. As the situation grew more combative, the officer drew a gun on George Floyd to which he said “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I did nothing.”. He then asked the officer “can you not shoot me man?”. These words directly resonated with the public – an individual’s heart-felt plea for compassion was sadly ignored.
To start the day, George Floyd’s Girlfriend, Courteney Ross, testified about his personality as well as their opioid addiction. “We both suffered from chronic pain”, “we both had prescriptions” “we got addicted” said Mrs. Ross. When she was asked if she thought during the days leading up to May 25th that Mr Floyd’s behaviour had changed relating to opioids, she emotionally replied, “yes”.
Later on in the day, paramedics testified about his condition at the scene. The first medic to testify said that Floyd appeared unresponsive when he first approached the scene. Derek Smith, the paramedic that checked for Mr. Floyd’s pulse, admitted that pupils were large and dilated but also confirmed that a pulse was not found during the initial assessment.
Finally, unseen footage from the body camera of Derek Chauvin detailed a call he had made to his supervisor after the arrest. Mr. Chauvin told the supervisor that “we had to hold a guy down, he was going crazy”. The supervisor in question testified that he believed the officers did restrain for too long and that Chauvin was at fault. This was a major blow for the defence.
The fifth day of the trial was centred around the questioning of two high-ranking policemen. Firstly, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who leads the department’s homicide unit, testified that Chauvin’s actions did, in fact, violate the department’s policy. The defence aimed to distract from the damning statements from Zimmerman by pivoting the details surrounding the restraint itself. Defence lawyers are arguing that Chauvin did not put a knee on his neck but instead his shoulders and back. Zimmerman agreed that officers are trained to kneel on shoulder during restraint but certainly not the neck. However, he made it blatantly obvious earlier in his statements that he believed this argument was not the reality of the situation.
The final testimony of the week was of Sgt. Jon Edwards who was sent to the store after arrest to secure the crime scene and ensure they could obtain all evidence for potential trial. Mr Edwards’ questioning was largely procedural and therefore did not reveal any new or important evidence for either side.
The first week consisted of opening statement, unseen footage and key testimony from eyewitnesses to professional. The case against the defendant is mounting, with many seeing only one clear option for the jury – a conviction.