George Floyd trial LIVE – Cop Derek Chauvin’s murder trial witness says ‘he slowly faded away like a fish in a bag’

DEREK Chauvin's murder trial got underway on Monday, 10 months after the killing of George Floyd sent shockwaves around the world.

The high-profile trial began on March 29 after Floyd's family knelt outside of the courthouse for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the length of time Chauvin was filmed kneeling on the 46-year-old's neck before he died.

On the first day of the trial:

  • Prosecution showed video footage taken by bystanders of Floyd's death
  • Defense claimed the video alone can not be used as proof as "evidence far greater than nine minutes"
  • Both opening statements referenced Floyd's opioid addiction
  • Chauvin faces charges of unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter

The trial began with Judge Peter Cahill reminding the jury that they should not seek out further information about the trial and warning that it would contain graphic footage.

The prosecution led the opening statements with attorney Jerry Blackwell playing a video from one of the bystanders to the jury, showing what Floyd's family has branded as "torture."

Blackwell said that Chauvin "betrayed the badge" when using the "excessive force" seen in the video while arresting Floyd on May 25 last year.

The first footage showed Chauvin continuing to kneel on Floyd despite both the father-of-one's own pleas for help and those of the angered bystanders.

Follow our George Floyd trial live blog below for the very latest news and updates…

  • Niamh Cavanagh

    WITNESS TO DEADLY ARREST OF FLOYD RETURNING TO STAND IN CHAUVIN TRIAL

    A professional mixed martial arts fighter who witnessed the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May is due to return to the stand on Tuesday for the second day of testimony in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

    Donald Williams can be heard on a bystander's cellphone screaming at Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd's neck for about nine minutes during the arrest on May 25, 2020, shortly after Floyd was accused of passing a fake $20 bill.

    Williams calls Chauvin a "bum" in the video, accuses the white police officer of "enjoying" his restraining of Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed Black man, and told jurors on Monday he believed that Chauvin was using his knee in a "blood choke" on Floyd, a wrestling move to knock an opponent unconscious.

  • Debbie White

    'DEREK DID WHAT HE WAS TRAINED TO DO' – DEFENSE

    Derek Chauvin's lawyers argue that the main cause of George Floyd's death, which the county examiner ruled a homicide caused by police restraints, was a drug overdose.

    Eric Nelson, Chauvin's lead attorney, used his 25-minute opening statement to describe Mr Floyd's drug use, his underlying health problems and a chaotic scene during the arrest.

    "This was not an easy struggle," he said, adding that the screaming of bystanders ended up "causing the officers to divert their attention from the care of Mr Floyd."

    "Derek Chauvin did exactly what he was trained to do over the course of his 19-year career," Mr Nelson told the jury in Minnesota on Monday.

  • Debbie White

    GEORGE FLOYD VIDEO PLAYED IN COURT

    Video played during opening statements in court on Monday was posted to Facebook by a bystander who witnessed George Floyd being arrested after he was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store.

    Jurors watched intently as the footage was shown on multiple screens, with one drawing a sharp breath as Mr Floyd said he couldn't breathe.

    Derek Chauvin sat calmly during the opening statements and took notes, looking up at the video periodically.

    "My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts," MrFloyd says in the video, and: "I cant breathe, officer".

    Onlookers repeatedly shout at the cop to get off Mr Floyd, saying he is not moving, breathing or resisting. One woman, identifying herself as a city Fire Department employee, shouts at Chauvin to check Mr Floyd's pulse.

  • Debbie White

    DONALD WILLIAMS TOLD COURT ABOUT GEORGE FLOYD STRUGGLING TO BREATHE

    Bystander Donald Williams, who said he was trained in mixed martial arts, including chokeholds, testified that Derek Chauvin appeared to increase the pressure on Floyd's neck several times with a shimmying motion.

    He said he yelled to the officer that he was cutting off Mr Floyd's blood supply.

    Mr Williams recalled that Mr Floyd's voice grew thicker as his breathing became more labored, and he eventually stopped moving.

    He said that he saw Mr Floyd's eyes roll back in his head, likening the sight to a fish he had caught earlier that day.

    Mr Williams said he saw Mr Floyd slowly fade away … like the fish in the bag.

  • Debbie White

    TECHNICAL GLITCH ENDS FIRST DAY OF TRIAL

    State witness Donald Williams today gave "gripping testimony drawing on his experience in martial arts – he tells the court he believes Chauvin put Floyd in a 'blood choke' that could be lethal, and is warned by the judge not to opine when he has not been asked to do so," reports BBC News.

    But, during his testimony the court was forced to adjourn, the broadcaster adds.

    "A technical glitch has cut the feed, so the jury is dismissed until 9.30am local time tomorrow," says the BBC.

  • Debbie White

    WITNESS ASKED TO IDENTIFY COP

    Donald Williams was asked during the opening day of the trial to point out ex-cop Derek Chauvin as the policeman who put his knee on George Floyd's neck.

    Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said: "From that vantage point, depicted in exhibit 17, that officer, do you see that person present in the courtroom?"

    BBC News reports that Chauvin stood up and took his mask off, while briefly looking at Mr Williams.

    Williams replied: "That's correct, he's standing right there."

  • Debbie White

    GEORGE 'DIDN'T HAVE NO LIFE IN HIM NO MORE'

    Minneapolis father Donald Williams, 33, who works in private security, has been giving his testimony during today's George Floyd trial.

    BBC News reports that Williams explained to the court that he told cops they should check Mr Floyd's pulse.

    Williams graphically recounted the man's final moments, saying: "He's slowly fading away like a fish in a bag.

    "His eyes slowly rolled to the back of his head" until "he didn't have no life in him no more in his body," he says.

    Donald Williams testifying todayCredit: Zuma Press
  • Debbie White

    ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY, RESPONDS:

    "The evidence will show that when confronted by police, Mr Floyd put drugs in his mouth in an effort to conceal them from the police."

    "You will see that three Minneapolis police officers could not overcome the strength of Mr Floyd. Mr Chauvin stands five foot, nine (inches) (1.75 m) and 140 pounds (64 kg). Mr Floyd is six (feet) three (inches) (1.9 m) and weighs 233 pounds (106 kg).

    "You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he was trained to do over the course of his 19-year career. The use of force is not attractive but it is a necessary component of policing.

    "What was Mr Floyd's actual cause of death? The evidence will show that Mr Floyd died of a cardiac-arrhythmias that occurred as a result of hypertension, coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl and the adrenaline flowing through his body, all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart."

  • Debbie White

    JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTOR, OPENS TRIAL:

    "You will learn that on May 25 of 2020 Mr Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when (he) used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of Mr George Floyd, that he put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him until the very breath, no ladies and gentlemen, until the very life was squeezed out.

    "The most important numbers you will hear in this trial are nine-two-nine. What happened in those nine minutes and 29 seconds when Mr Derek Chauvin was applying this excessive force to the body of Mr George Floyd.

    "You will see that he does not let up and he does not get up. Even when Mr Floyd does not even have a pulse, it continues on."

    "The evidence is going to show you that there was no cause in the first place to use lethal force against a man who was defenseless, who was handcuffed, who was not resisting."

  • Debbie White

    CAMERAS IN COURT FOR GEORGE FLOYD DEATH TRIAL

    The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in George Floyd's death is being conducted under special circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    For example, the trial is being televised, which is common in many states but not in Minnesota.

    Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill cited intense interest in the trial, the limited courtroom space and the need for transparency, to allow cameras in.

    Cahill also cited Chauvin's right to a public trial.

  • Chiara Fiorillo

    DEREK CHAUVIN 'BETRAYED HIS BADGE', PROSECUTOR SAYS

    Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin betrayed his badge in the deadly arrest of George Floyd last May, a prosecutor told jurors in his opening statement at the trial.

    Jerry Blackwell, a prosecutor with the Minnesota Attorney General's Office, told the racially diverse jurors that officers who wear the Minneapolis police badge pledge never to use "unnecessary force or violence."

    "You will learn that on May 25, Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of George Floyd," said Blackwell.

  • Debbie White

    JURORS SHOWN VIDEO IN EX-COP'S TRIAL

    The video of George Floyd gasping for breath was essentially Exhibit A as the former Minneapolis police officer who pressed his knee on the man’s neck went on trial today on charges of murder and manslaughter.

    Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell showed the jurors the footage at the earliest opportunity.

    The white officer “didn’t let up” even after a handcuffed Floyd said 27 times that he couldn’t breathe and went limp, Blackwell said.

    “He put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him, until the very breath – no, ladies and gentlemen – until the very life was squeezed out of him,” the prosecutor said.

    But Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson countered by arguing: “Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career.”

    Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sits in front of a picture of George Floyd displayed during the trialCredit: Reuters
  • Debbie White

    'INSTINCTS TELLING ME SOMETHING WAS WRONG' – COP DISPATCHER

    The first witness called to today's trial was Minneapolis police dispatcher Jena Scurry.

    She testified that she saw part of George Floyd's arrest unfolding via a city surveillance camera, and she was so disturbed that she called a duty sergeant.

    Scurry said she grew concerned because the officers hadn't moved after several minutes.

    "You can call me a snitch if you want to", Scurry said in her call to the sergeant, which was played in court.

    She said she wouldn't normally call the sergeant about the use of force because it was beyond the scope of her duties, "but my instincts were telling me that something is wrong".

  • Debbie White

    BARRICADES AND SECURITY DURING TRIAL

    The courtroom at the heart of Derek Chauvin's trial is in a tower in downtown Minneapolis, which is ringed with concrete barriers, barbed wire and soldiers from the state’s National Guard.

    For blocks around, businesses are closed and windows boarded up, fearing a repeat of the arson and other property damage that occurred after George Floyd’s death.

    Less than three miles away, residents maintain a vigil at the intersection where Chauvin kept his knee on a handcuffed Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes as he used his final breaths to plead for his life.

    Chauvin and three other officers were arresting Mr Floyd on suspicion of passing a fake $20 bill at the Cup Foods grocery store nearby.

    Four sets of barricades block police from coming to the intersection, now called George Floyd Square, which is filled with flowers, posters, murals and other tributes to the dead man.

    Members of the National Guard stand outside the Hennepin County Government CenterCredit: EPA
  • Debbie White

    HOW HAS DEREK CHAUVIN PLEADED IN GEORGE FLOYD TRIAL?

    Ex Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

    His lawyers are arguing that he followed his training and that the main cause of George Floyd’s death, which the county examiner ruled a homicide, was a drug overdose.

    He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge.

    The Minneapolis Police Department fired Chauvin and the three other officers involved the day after the arrest.

  • Debbie White

    COURTHOUSE HEAVILY FORTIFIED

    Former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin squeezed the life out of George Floyd while joining other officers in arresting him last May, a prosecutor told jurors in his opening statement at Chauvin’s murder trial in a heavily fortified courthouse on Monday.

    Chauvin’s lead attorney, Eric Nelson, said in his opening statement that the former officer followed his police training.

    Jerry Blackwell, a prosecutor with the Minnesota attorney general’s office, told jurors that officers who wear the Minneapolis police badge pledge to never use “unnecessary force or violence.”

    “You will learn that on May 25, Mr. Derek Chauvin betrayed this badge when he used excessive and unreasonable force upon the body of George Floyd,” said Blackwell, who addressed the jury for just shy of an hour.

    He displayed a still image from a bystander’s cellphone video of Chauvin, who his white, with his knee on the neck of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man in handcuffs, saying it showed Chauvin “grinding and crushing him until the very breath — no, ladies and gentlemen — the very life was squeezed out of him.”

    Lawyer Jerry Blackwell makes opening statements as defense attorney Eric Nelson sits beside former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during his trialCredit: Reuters
  • Debbie White

    WHAT IS EX-COP DEREK CHAUVIN CHARGED WITH?

    Derek Chauvin, 45, is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

    George Floyd died on Memorial Day in 2020 while being arrested by Chauvin and other officers.

    The key questions – writes the Associated Press – will be whether Chauvin caused Mr Floyd’s death and whether his actions were reasonable.

    For the unintentional second-degree murder charge, prosecutors have to prove Chauvin’s conduct was a “substantial causal factor” in Mr Floyd’s death, and that Chauvin was committing felony assault at the time.

    For third-degree murder, they must prove that Chauvin’s actions caused Floyd’s death and were reckless and without regard for human life.

  • Debbie White

    MEDICAL EXAMINER – GEORGE FLOYD'S CAUSE OF DEATH

    The medical examiner’s autopsy noted fentanyl and methamphetamine in Mr Floyd’s system.

    But the examiner listed his cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson told the jury today: “There is no political or social cause in this courtroom.

    “But the evidence is far greater than nine minutes and 29 seconds.”

  • Debbie White

    US PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN 'WATCHING TRIAL CLOSELY'

    Joe Biden will closely monitor developments in the trial of the police officer charged with murdering George Floyd last year, the US president's spokeswoman said on Monday.

    "He certainly will be watching closely, as Americans across the country will be watching," Jen Psaki said.

    "At the time of George Floyd's death, he talked about this as being an event that really opened up a wound in the American public," she added.

  • Debbie White

    GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH 'DUE TO HEART RHYTHM DISTURBANCE' – DEFENSE

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson also said that George Floyd had none of the telltale signs of asphyxiation, and he had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.

    He told the jury that Mr Floyd’s drug use combined with his heart disease and high blood pressure, as well as the adrenaline flowing through his body, caused his death from a heart rhythm disturbance.

  • Debbie White

    COP 'DOING HIS JOB' – DEFENSE

    Defense attorney Eric Nelson countered the prosecutor's opening statement by arguing that Chauvin arrived to help other cops who were struggling to get Floyd into a squad car, as the crowd around them grew larger and more hostile.

    “Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career,” Nelson added.

  • Debbie White

    'DIDN'T LET UP'

    White officer Derek Chauvin “didn’t let up, he didn’t get up,” prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury.

    He "didn't let up" even after a handcuffed George Floyd said 27 times that he couldn’t breathe and went motionless, Blackwell added.

    “He put his knees upon his neck and his back, grinding and crushing him, until the very breath – no, ladies and gentlemen – until the very life was squeezed out of him,” the prosecutor said.

  • Debbie White

    OPENING STATEMENT IN TRIAL – 'REMEMBER THE NUMBERS'

    In opening statements, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury that the number to remember was nine minutes, 29 seconds — the amount of time Chauvin had Floyd pinned to the pavement with his knee last May.

  • Debbie White

    DEREK CHAUVIN ON TRIAL FOR GEORGE FLOYD DEATH

    The former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing George Floyd has gone on trial today, Monday.

    Prosecutors showed the jury video of Derek Chauvin pressing his knee on the man’s neck for several minutes as onlookers yelled at him repeatedly to get off and Floyd gasped that he couldn’t breathe.

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