Never-before-seen bodycam footage presented at trial today showed the moment George Floyd begged and pleaded with police officers before his death.
Warning: This article contains details that some readers may find upsetting.
Now, the world was forever changed on May 25th, 2020, when George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by police officers.
Footage of his horrifying death spread like wildfire online, and triggered an overwhelming level of global outrage.
The forty-six-year-old father was arrested and forced to the ground in Minneapolis...
Where former police officer, Derek Chauvin, proceeded to kneel on his neck, while 3 other officers knelt on his back.
After nearly ten minutes, Floyd was completely unresponsive. An ambulance arrived and took the unconscious man to the hospital but, devastatingly, he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
In the days following the incident, there was an overwhelming demand for the 4 police officers involved - Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng, and Tou Thao - to face criminal charges for their actions.
The officers were each fired from their jobs before being arrested.
Though all eyes were upon Derek Chauvin in particular, the man who had knelt on Floyd's neck.
He was eventually arrested and charged with murder in the third degree and manslaughter.
His bond was set at $50,000 before he faced an upgraded charge of second-degree murder, according to Minnesota Senator, Amy Klobuchar.
And now, less than a year after Floyd's death, Chauvin is finally facing trial.
His charge for third-degree murder has been reinstated, which comes after a Court of Appeals ruling asked Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to reconsider restoring the charge based on its precedent in a separate case.
Earlier last month, Cahill said he had to reinstate the charge because he was "bound" by the Court of Appeals ruling.
Chauvin had tried to appeal to block the charge from being reinstated, however, the appeal was blocked by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
The additional charges now mean that prosecutors have another route to convict him.
Speaking to Buzzfeed, Ted Sampsell-Jones, a Mitchell Hamline School of Law professor said:
"For example, if the jurors were divided about second-degree murder, they could settle on third-degree murder as a compromise."
If convicted of the most serious count, Chauvin could face up to forty years in prison...
8 minutes and 46 seconds is way too long to have your knee on a human being's neck. 1 minute is too long.— ReallyAmerican.com 🇺🇸 (@ReallyAmerican1) March 29, 2021
It should be illegal.
Derek Chauvin should be convicted of murder.
But if he's found guilty of manslaughter, he faces a maximum penalty of ten years; though he could be free within 5.
Well, Chauvin's trial kicked off this week in Minneapolis at the Hennepin County Courthouse.
According to the Daily Mail, the prosecution started by playing the horrifying video of the moment the former cop dug his knee into Floyd's neck as he cried out, "I can't breathe."
Special prosecutor Jerry Blackwell told the jury in his opening statement:
As the trial of Derek Chauvin begins, my thoughts are with the Floyd family and every American impacted by racist police brutality collectively reliving this trauma today. May justice be served.— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 30, 2021
"You can believe your eyes. That it's homicide, it's murder."
Many people have been called forward to testify...
Including a 911 operator who witnessed the ordeal via CCTV.
"You're going to learn that there was a 911 dispatcher. Her name is Jena Scurry," Blackwell told the jury. "There was a fixed police camera that was trained on this particular scene. She could see through the camera what was going on."
Scurry witnessed the entire ordeal...
And was the one to call the police on the police.
Fearing that Chauvin and the 3 other officers who stood by were taking things too far, Scurry called Minneapolis Sgt. David Pleoger, who oversaw the officers involved in the arrest in progress.
"You will learn that what she saw was so unusual and, for her, so disturbing that she did something that she had never done in her career."
As prosecutors played the police camera video of Floyd on the ground, Scurry explained:
"My instincts were telling me something was wrong. It was a gut instinct of the incident: Something is not going right. Whether it be they needed more assistance. Just something wasn't right."
But today, new bodycam footage giving a new perspective into the events of May 25th has been presented to the jury...
And people are utterly horrified.
The new video details the minutes leading up to Floyd's arrest...
And shows the moment he is confronted in his car by the officers.
It's a truly heartbreaking perspective...
And, since the video was released, people have been reacting in horror.
I’ve been trying to avoid watching the Chauvin trial mainly because I can’t bear to see more footage of what happened to George Floyd. But, my parents are following it closely and I happened to see the bodycam footage of George pleading with the officers and its so heartbreaking.— Admiral of the Not Good Fleet (@jonny868) April 1, 2021
This gave me chills. Hopefully Justice is served!!— Maame Aba (@Jenniferabaamo1) April 1, 2021
Heartbreaking.— Mary Cooley (@JerseyCoolOne) April 1, 2021
He probably knew they were going to kill him. This is horribly sad.— Reneeme (@Reneeme14) April 1, 2021
This is so disgusting I was looking forward to watching the trial I can’t keep hearing him over and over only asking to be able to breath .... god bless that man— Melisa Cunningham (@MelisaC64216898) April 1, 2021
As an Australian watching this trial from afar I am really struggling to comprehend how this poor man was treated, it’s gut wrenching, hard to stomach. We have racial issues here in Australia but not the level of violence I am witnessing in the USA, it’s just in humane, tragic!!!— Stewart Lopez (@StewartLopez14) April 1, 2021
Terrifying. Police's powers need to be curtailed, especially in developing world— Sunil Sihag (@sunilssihag) April 1, 2021
As reported by BBC News, the court was shown bodycam footage from Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao, all of whom are facing aiding and abetting charges.
In the footage, Floyd can be seen sitting behind the wheel of his car, begging the officers not to shoot him.
At one point, one of the officers pulls his gun as Floyd continues to plead with them.
The fear in his face is simply chilling.
Floyd was visibly very distressed by the presence of the police officers, and can be heard saying:
"Please don't shoot me, please, man… I just lost my mom."
He can then be heard trying to assure the officers that he'll "do anything you tell me to"...
"I'm not a bad guy, man."
You can watch the video for yourself below.
Make sure to stay posted for further updates on the trial of Derek Chauvin.