As former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial goes ahead in Minneapolis, another witness stood on trial yesterday and broke down in tears when recalling the events of that dreaded day...
Read on for all the details of the trial including the latest witness testimony.
Now, the world changed forever on May 25th, 2020 when George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was ruthlessly killed by police officers...
Floyd tragically died after a police officer pinned him on the ground and knelt on his neck for almost 9 minutes.
And the independent autopsy confirmed that he had passed away as a result of "asphyxiation from sustained pressure."
This pressure had cut off blood flow to his brain, the autopsy concluded.
In the days following the incident, there was an overwhelming demand for the 4 police officers involved to face criminal charges for their actions.
Their names were Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng, and Tou Thao.
Well, the day after Floyd's death, it was announced that all 4 officers had been fired...
via: GettyAnd after an overwhelming surge of anger and protest, the officers were arrested just days later.
Derek Chauvin, the man who had knelt on George's neck, was 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.
Floyd's family still have to live and deal with the devastating loss.
Something that will never get easier.
And now, less than a year after Floyd's death, Derek Chauvin's murder trial has finally begun...
And 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."
Well, Chauvin's trial kicked off on Monday in Minneapolis...
And what happened outside of the courtroom was truly touching.
Floyd's brother took a knee in front of Hennepin County Courthouse for 8 minutes and 46 seconds – the length of time Chauvin knelt on his brother's neck.
Reverend Al Sharpton, Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump, Floyd's nephew Brandon Williams and other supporters joined the brother, Philonise Floyd, in his silent act of protest.
It was a moment of both solidarity and protest...
And for everyone who was there, the raw emotion in the air was undeniable.
And as for what happened in the courtroom?
According to the Daily Mail, the prosecution started on Monday 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."
Trial attorney Jerry Blackwell told the jury in his opening statement, where he argued that Chauvin "betrayed the badge" when he crushed the life out of Floyd:
The prosecutor in the Derek Chauvin case just told the jury: as several bystanders watched police officers ending George Floyd's life, the bystanders CALLED THE POLICE ON THE POLICE. Those bystanders knew they were watching a murder in progress. They were right. #JusticeMatters— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) March 29, 2021
"You can believe your eyes. That it's homicide, it's murder."
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.
The teenager who filmed the harrowing footage of Floyd's death testified in court on Tuesday...
Her recount of the events that took place that day were truly disturbing.
Eighteen-year-old Darnella Frazier began her testimony by describing what it was like to witness "a white man pinning a Black man to the ground"...
And her emotions were clearly running high, according to the Star Tribune.
"When I look at George Floyd I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father, I have a Black brother, I have Black friends. I look at that and how it could have been one of them," she said.
She added that there have been nights since then when "I've stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life."
"It's not what I should have done, it's what [Chauvin] should have done."
Many of the jurors had visibly sympathetic expressions when Frazier spoke about apologizing to Floyd...
And Frazier wept at times, allowing her tears to flow without wiping away.
She also testified that she viewed Chauvin that night as having a "cold look, heartless. It didn't seem like he cared."
When asked about the initial incident, the young woman said she was walking with her 9-year-old cousin to the Cup Foods and soon saw Floyd and the police presence.
She then said he was "terrified, scared, begging for his life."
She sent her cousin into the store and stood closer to where Chauvin had Floyd pinned which is when she took out her cellphone and recorded Chauvin on Floyd's neck as another officer kept watch a growing crowd of increasingly angry bystanders.
Asked what she witnessed as she panned her phone onto Floyd and Chauvin, Frazier replied:
"I heard George Floyd say, 'I can't breathe. Please get off me'... He cried for his mom... It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was suffering."
Special Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell then reportedly showed Frazier a still image of Chauvin from her video as he knelt on Floyd's neck and asked whether she recognized him...
"Yes, this was the officer that was kneeling on George Floyd's neck."
And yesterday, an off-duty firefighter also testified in court.
Genevieve Hansen said she had been "desperate" to help George Floyd and literally begged police officers to check his pulse while he struggled to breathe under the weight of Derek Chauvin's knee, but they did not let her.
Hansen, a twenty-seven-year-old Minneapolis firefighter, broke down during her recount.
"I could have given medical assistance, and that's exactly what I should have done," she said.
She said she initially walked closer to the scene because she was concerned by the sight of "a handcuffed man who was not moving with officers with their whole body weight on their back and a crowd that was stressed out."
She then described that she went through a range of different tactics to get through the officers, from being "calm and reasoning" and "assertive" to being pleading and "desperate."
"Were you frustrated?" the prosecutor asked the firefighter.
"Yes," she replied, tearing up and taking a sip of water. "I was desperate to help."
And on the third day of the trial, some more upsetting footage has been released.
Yesterday, Charles McMillian, a witness who watched Chauvin handcuff and detain Floyd at the scene, also broke down on the stand while recalling the events of that dreaded day.
Prosecutors played back bodycam footage in which Floyd could be heard screaming out for his mother which immediately made McMillian start crying.
He was so upset that the court had to call for a recess so he could calm down.
In another video that was also played at the time, McMillian can be heard calling Chauvin a "maggot."
The witness confirmed that is what he called the officer.
Stay tuned for more updates.