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‘Begging for his life’: Teen who took viral Floyd video cries at Chauvin trial

THE Minneapolis teenager whose cellphone video of Derek Chauvin’s deadly arrest of George Floyd sparked worldwide protests began weeping as she was shown an image from the video at the former policeman’s murder trial on Tuesday. 

Prosecutors have begun their case by calling several people who witnessed the arrest on May 25, 2020: a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher; a young woman who worked at the gas station across the street; a mixed martial arts fighter who was passing by.

During the witness testimony, prosecutors have played videos of the arrest to the jury taken from multiple angles, including the teenager’s video that shows Chauvin, who is white, pressing his knee into the neck of a dying Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, for about nine minutes.

The footage, which prosecutors say show excessive force, horrified people around the world and led to one of the largest protest movements seen in the United States in decades. Many have held up Floyd’s death as an example of the brutality they say is routinely doled out by U.S. law enforcement in encounters with people of color.

Lawyers for Chauvin, 45, say he followed his police training and is not guilty of the charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter.

Here is some of the main testimony heard by the jury on Tuesday:


Darnella Frazier, 18, was walking her younger cousin to buy some snacks at Cup Foods, where a worker had moments before accused Floyd of using a fake $20 bill, when she saw police arresting Floyd outside and pulled out her cellphone.

“I see a man on the ground and I see a cop kneeling down on him,” Frazier told the jury, explaining why she first made sure her young cousin had safely gone inside the store, out of sight. “A man terrified, scared, begging for his life.”

Frazier lost her composure and her voice quavered when prosecutors brought up a still from her video, showing the moment when Chauvin, his knee on Floyd’s neck, appears to look directly into Frazier’s camera lens.

“Yes,” she said, crying and catching her breath, when asked if she recognized him. “This was the officer that was kneeling on George Floyd’s neck.”

Chauvin’s lawyers have said that Chauvin was distracted from “the care” of Floyd by the angry bystanders that joined Frazier on the sidewalk. Prosecutors asked her whether he heard any bystanders threaten the police, and she said no.

“Would you describe yourselves as an unruly mob?” Jerry Blackwell, a prosecutor, asked her.

“No,” Frazier said, adding the only person she saw being violent was Chauvin.


Williams is a 33-year-old professional mixed martial arts fighter and father who can be heard on the videos of the arrest of Floyd screaming insults at Chauvin and demanding police check for Floyd’s pulse. He told jurors he believed that Chauvin was using his knee in a “blood choke” on Floyd, a wrestling move to knock an opponent unconscious, and a “shimmy” move to tighten pressure on Floyd’s neck.

“You can see his eyes slowly rolling back,” Williams said of Floyd. “You can see that he’s trying to gasp for air.”

A 911 call Williams made after the arrest was played to the jury. Williams dabbed his eyes with a white tissue as his distressed voice filled the room.

“I believe I witnessed a murder,” Williams told the jury. “So I felt I needed to call the police on the police.”

In a sometimes tense cross-examination, Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead lawyer, read aloud some of the obscene insults Williams hurled at Chauvin in the video.

“You call him a ‘tough guy’?” Nelson asked, demanding only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. “You call him a ‘real man?’”Slideshow ( 4 images )

Williams looked over at Chauvin with a slight smile as each insult was read out.

“You call him a ‘bum’ at least 13 times?” Nelson continued.

“If that’s what you count in the video,” Williams replied, smiling again, “then that’s what you got: 13.”

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