August 1, 2021

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Chauvin trial updates: Testimony ends abruptly as firefighter witness scolded by court – Duluth News Tribune

9 min read

Editor’s note: This video could contain language or visuals that some viewers might find offensive.

5 p.m.: Minneapolis firefighter scolded by court

The second day of trial ended abruptly during the testimony of a Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen. Hansen was off-duty and on a walk on the evening of May 25, 2020, when she came across a commotion at Cup Foods at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue.

Hansen said she saw lights and figured firefighters, her colleagues, were on scene so she began walking toward the area.

“There was a woman across the street screaming that they were killing him so that is when I was alerted the situation wasn’t a basic medical call,” she said.

Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter, testifies Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter, testifies Tuesday, March 30, 2021, in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Before Hansen took the stand, jurors watched a video that Hansen took the of the scene. She would later testify that “because memories of witnesses are never going to be as a good as a video.” Jurors also listened to the 911 phone call she made that day.

“I’m on block of 38th and Chicago and I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man and I am a first responder myself and I literally have it on video camera,” Hansen is heard saying the call.

During her testimony, Hansen said that had she been allowed to provide medical assistance she would have asked someone to run to a nearby gas station to look for an AED — an automated external defibrillator and checked Floyd’s airway and pulse.

Upon cross-examination, defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Hansen how she would respond if she was fighting a fire and had citizens yelling at her.

I’m confident in my job and what I do and what needs to be done and my training so I would continue to do that,” she said.

Toward the end of the day, Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the jury and scolded Hansen not to argue with the court or counsel.

Minutes later, he called into court a woman who had taken a cellphone photo elsewhere in the Hennepin County Courthouse building where photos were forbidden. The woman, who said she was a representative for an earlier witness, was made to delete the photos from her phone by Cahill.

A fourth young woman testified Tuesday afternoon. The girl, identified as 17-year-old Kaylynn, had gone with 18-year-old witness Alyssa to Cup Foods that May day. It was with Kaylynn’s phone that Alyssa took a series of bystander videos, which jurors were able to watch as part of Alyssa’s testimony.

The 17-year-old, who was not questioned by defense attorney Eric Nelson, testified the following:

  • She was nervous/anxious about being court and just wanted “the truth to come out.”
  • She stayed in a car for a short time before getting out and approaching the scene when she heard voices getting louder.
  • “I got out of the car and I walked up and that is when I saw George Floyd unconscious and Derek on his neck,” she said.
  • She said she did not see any bystanders getting aggressive and said “they were just using their voice.”
  • She said she felt scared and specifically scared of Chauvin, whom she said grabbed his mace and was shaking it at the bystanders

2:15 p.m.: ‘I knew time was running out’

The third witness of the day was an 18-year-old bystander identified in court as Alyssa.

She took a multiple videos of the incident that were played during the trial put next to video from a City of Minneapolis camera.

An 18-year-old witness named Alyssa is seen in a still image from a body camera. Alyssa circled herself as part of her testimony.

An 18-year-old witness named Alyssa is seen in a still image from a body camera. Alyssa circled herself as part of her testimony.

At one point in the video while Chauvin is still kneeling on Floyd’s next, Alyssa yells at the officer “in over a minute” noting how long it had been since Floyd moved.

“I knew time was running out or it had already,” Alyssa said. “That he was going to die.”

During her testimony, Alyssa also said she grew worried as she watched the incident unfold because “I slowly knew that if he were to be held down much longer that he wouldn’t live.”

On cross examination by defense attorney Eric Nelson questioned Alyssa about an interview she gave to agents with Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in September.

As part of that interview, Alyssa told the agents she saw them check for a pulse multiple times and then said it looked like the officers did not find one.

She later clarified on redirect that she remember seeing someone move their hands toward Floyd’s wrist but the officers did not change their behavior.

The court took a break after her testimony.

11:45 a.m.: ‘It has been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd.’

In this image from video, defendant Derek Chauvin removes his mask in court Tuesday, March 30, 2021, so as to be identified by a 9-year-old witness who was called to testify by the prosecution in the George Floyd case. (Forum News Service)

In this image from video, defendant Derek Chauvin removes his mask in court Tuesday, March 30, 2021, so as to be identified by a 9-year-old witness who was called to testify by the prosecution in the George Floyd case. (Forum News Service)

“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles,” 18-year-old Darnella Frazier said.

“They are all black. I have a black father, I have a black brother, I have black friends,” she continued. “I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them.

“It has been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life.”

“Its not what I should have done, it’s what he should have done,” Frazier concluded.

Because the livestream of the trial did not show Frazier during her testimony, it is unclear if she pointed at Chauvin or looked at him but by the conduct of Judge Peter Cahill, it appear the “he” in “he should have done” was in reference to Chauvin.

Frazier’s 9-year-old cousin was next to take the stand.

The young girl, who turns 10 in a week, said she saw an officer “putting a knee on the neck of George Floyd” and that the ambulance personnel had to “push” Chauvin off Floyd after they “asked him nicely to get off of him” and he “still stayed on him.”

Watching it happen, the girl said she was “sad and kind of mad.”

“It felt like he was stopping his breathing and it was kind of, like, hurting him,” she said.

Nelson did not ask the witness any questions. The trial paused for recess.

11 a.m.: Witness who took now infamous video testifies

“Did you see any violence at the scene?” Blackwell asked of the now 18-year-old Darnella Frazier.

“Yes, from the cops,” she said. “From Chauvin and from officer Thao.”

Frazier is not being shown on the livestream outside of the courtroom.

Darnella Frazier and her young cousin are shown walking to Cup Foods on May 25, 2020.

Darnella Frazier and her young cousin are shown walking to Cup Foods on May 25, 2020.

RELATED: Minneapolis teen opens up about her viral George Floyd video

Frazier and her young cousin had walked to Cup Foods that day to get snacks. Frazier walked her cousin to the door but stayed outside as she said she saw a man, later identified as Floyd, on the ground with a cop kneeling on him.

Special Assistant Attorney General Jerry Blackwell asked if there was anything about the scene that she didn’t want her cousin to see.

“A man terrified, scared, begging for his life,” she said.

  • When shown a picture of Chauvin from that day kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Frazier’s voice turned to a whisper when she said she recognized him.
  • Frazier testified that the officers were quick to pull out their mace on the crowd

10:30 a.m.: Williams testimony concludes

Trial resumed shortly after 9:15 a.m. Tuesday with the cross-examination of Donald Williams. a bystander and a wrestler and MMA athlete, by defense attorney Eric Nelson.

Williams called police May 25, 2020, after witnessing the response. When asked why he did that, he said, “I believe I witnessed a murder. I felt the need to call the police on the police.”

During the playing of that phone call, Williams appeared to become upset and dabbed at his eyes with a tissue or paper towel.

In this image from video, witness Donald Williams wipes his eye Tuesday morning, March 30, 2021, as he testified in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. (Forum News Service)

In this image from video, witness Donald Williams wipes his eye Tuesday morning, March 30, 2021, as he testified in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. (Forum News Service)

As part of the phone call, Williams is heard telling Officer Tou Thao that Thao would kill himself in two years for what he did that May day.

Nelson also spent time questioning Williams about the rules of wrestling and MMA including how matches or bouts are typically set by weight class.

Nelson also asked if Williams was able to recall any of the conversations he’s had while he was being rendered unconscious.

“We didn’t talk to each other, so no,” Williams said.

When later questioned by Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank, Williams clarified that the communication for a choke hold to stop was a tap out.

Williams testified on Monday that he has trained with members of law enforcement, including Minneapolis police officers.

“Have you ever officially been asked to train police officers in the use of choke holds,” Nelson asked.

“No, just witnessed it,” Williams responded.

A young woman, who was a minor at the time of the incident, was called next to testify. Only those in the courtroom were able to hear the person’s name, per a Judge Peter Cahill’s ruling.


— Donald Williams, witness

In this image from video, witness Donald Williams listens Tuesday morning, March 30, 2021, to a recording of the 911 call he made as he watched former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on suspect George Floyd on May 25, 2020. (Forum News Service)

In this image from video, witness Donald Williams listens Tuesday morning, March 30, 2021, to a recording of the 911 call he made as he watched former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on suspect George Floyd on May 25, 2020. (Forum News Service)


8 a.m.: Donald Williams testimony to continue

The trial of Derek Chauvin is scheduled to resume around 9:30 a.m. today, March 30, with further testimony from witness Donald Williams.

Williams was one of the bystanders who saw the arrest of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, that eventually ended up with Floyd’s death. Williams, a wrestler and MMA athlete was called as a witness by the prosecution on Monday, and has used his mixed martial arts background in describing the events of last Memorial Day.

RELATED:

In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen Monday morning, March 29, 2021, as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill readies to begin opening arguments in the murder trial in the death of George Floyd. (Forum News Service)

In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen Monday morning, March 29, 2021, as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill readies to begin opening arguments in the murder trial in the death of George Floyd. (Forum News Service)

Also testifying Monday was City of Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry, who described the calls from police on the scene. She also described her reaction to a live video feed of the incident she watched as it happened that spurred her to call a superior to report what she saw.

Witness Alisha Oyler testified about what she saw from her location at the now-shuttered Speedway gas station that was directly across Chicago Avenue from Cup Foods. Oyler took a total of seven videos on her cellphone at the time of the incident outside of Cup Foods in Minneapolis.

Following the discussion without the jury, jurors were brought back in shortly after 4:30 p.m. and were dismissed for the day. The court was notified of technical issues that some of the live video streams had been lost.

Forum News Service will provide updates on key developments through the trial. Stay with us today for updates.

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