George Floyd killing: Key moments from first week of Derek Chauvin murder trial

This week prosecutors have been laying out their case for the second and third-degree murder and manslaughter of George Floyd.

Derek Chauvin, 45, is accused of murdering Mr Floyd in Minneapolis last year by kneeling on the 46-year-old’s neck for more than nine minutes, as he lay face-down in handcuffs.

Mr Floyd was being detained after he was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill at a shop.

Former police officer Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to the charges, with his defence team arguing he was just doing what he was trained to do.

Derek Chauvin (R) listens during the opening of his trial
Derek Chauvin (R) during the opening of his murder trial

Video of George Floyd’s death is the cornerstone of the prosecution case, while the defence disputes the cause of his death, claiming drugs were involved.

George Floyd Killing: The Trial – We will bring you live continuous coverage of court proceedings in the trial of Derek Chauvin on our website, app, YouTube and Sky Pop Up Channel on 524

Here are 10 key moments from the trial so far.

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1. Emergency dispatcher Jena Scurry told the court said she was so concerned by the treatment of George Floyd she saw on a CCTV monitor that she decided to “snitch” to the sergeant on duty.

The officers were on top of Mr Floyd for so long, she told the jury, she thought the video feed had frozen.

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George Floyd is restrained by police

2. Passer-by Donald Williams was one of the most vocal witnesses to be called in the trial so far.

A wrestler and mixed martial arts expert, he said he remonstrated with the officers holding Mr Floyd down for failing to check for a pulse.

He then dialled 911 because he said he believed he had witnessed the murder of Mr Floyd.

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‘I believe I witnessed a murder’

3. Darnella Frazier was 17 when she recorded the viral video of Mr Floyd’s last moments that sparked international outrage.

She said since the incident she had stayed up some nights apologising to the memory of George Floyd for not doing more to intervene.

4. Genevieve Hansen was not only an eyewitness but an expert witness too.

An off-duty firefighter, she tried to approach Mr Floyd to check his condition but was told to move back. She also called 911 to report what she saw.

Genevieve Hansen, a firefighter who witnessed the death of George Floyd
Firefighter Genevieve Hansen witnessed the death of George Floyd. Pic: AP

5. Christopher Martin was the cashier in the Cup Foods shop where Mr Floyd was accused of using a forged $20 bill to buy cigarettes.

He told the jury he felt guilty for not refusing to accept it in the first place, so as to avoid what came next.

6. Charles McMillian was one of the first bystanders on the scene, urging first Mr Floyd to comply and then police officers to show him compassion.

After it was all over he told Chauvin he did not respect what he had done. Chauvin replied: “That is one person’s opinion.”

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George Floyd’s girlfriend recalled his March 2020 overdose

7. George Floyd’s girlfriend Courtney Ross became emotional as she described their relationship and their struggles with opioid addiction.

She acknowledged Mr Floyd had suffered an overdose two months before he died and was using again two weeks before he died.

The defence claim Mr Floyd died of a drug overdose, not Chauvin’s knee on his neck.

8. Paramedics Seth Bravinder and Derek Smith told the court that Mr Floyd appeared unresponsive when they arrived on the scene.

Paramedic Seth Bravinder describes trying to save George Floyd. Pic: AP
Paramedic Seth Bravinder gave evidence. Pic: AP

Mr Smith checked for a pulse while Chauvin was still kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck. “In layman’s terms, he was dead,” he said.

9. We heard snippets of Chauvin’s voice from that day.

In a phone conversation with his supervisor, recorded on his body-worn camera, he failed to mention that he had knelt on Mr Floyd who, he said, was “going crazy” and refusing to be put into a police car.

In this image from video, witness Lt. Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department David Pleoger, testifies as Hennepin County Judge Peter...Cahill presides Friday, April 2, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department said the restraint used was ‘totally unnecessary’

10. The final witness of the week was the longest-serving officer in the Minneapolis police department.

Richard Zimmerman had attended the scene of Mr Floyd’s death and reviewed body-camera evidence.

“Totally unnecessary”, was how he described the restraint of Mr Floyd. “If your knee is on someone’s neck – that could kill them.”