The teenager who took the viral video of George Floyd’s death told the trial on Tuesday of the white police officer charged with killing the 46-year-old Black man that she regrets not being able to save his life.
Darnella Frazier, 18, was among the witnesses who provided emotional testimony on Tuesday at the high-profile trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death, which was captured on video by Frazier and seen by millions, sparking anti-racism protests around the globe.
In the stomach-churning video, Chauvin is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the handcuffed Floyd complains that he can’t breathe and eventually falls unconscious.
“I have a Black father. I have a Black brother,” Frazier told the court with tears running down her face. “That could have been one of them.
“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” she said.
At the same time, “it’s not what I should have done it’s what he should have done,” Frazier added in a reference to Chauvin, who was seated at the defense table.
Frazier described Floyd as “scared” and “terrified” and “begging for his life.”
“It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain,” she said. “I knew it was wrong. We all knew it was wrong.”
“WITNESSED A MURDER”
Another witness on Tuesday said he made an emergency 911 call right after watching Floyd’s death to report a “murder.”
Donald Williams, 33, recounted how he pleaded with officers on the scene to render assistance to Floyd, who was being arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
Williams, a mixed martial arts instructor, said Floyd was already in “danger” when he arrived on the scene.
“You could see that he was trying to gasp for air, trying to breathe,” he said. “You could see his eyes slowly rolling back in his head.”
Williams said Floyd was being held by Chauvin in a “blood choke” used in wrestling or martial arts and he saw him lose consciousness.
After an unconscious Floyd was taken away in an ambulance, Williams said he made the 911 call.
“I believed I witnessed a murder,” Williams told the court. “I didn’t know what else to do.”
Portions of his 911 call were played in the courtroom.
“He just went and killed this guy,” Williams said in the call. “Murderers, bro… they just killed that man in front of the store.”
Asked who he was referring to, Williams said “the officer sitting over there” and pointed to Chauvin.
“Did you see Mr. Floyd fighting back?” prosecutor Matthew Frank asked Williams.
“No,” Williams said.
“TRAINED TO DO”
Under questioning from Chauvin’s defense attorney, Eric Nelson, Williams acknowledged that he called Chauvin and the officers names at the scene.
“You called him a tough guy,” Nelson said. “You called him a ‘bum’ 13 times.”
“They were not listening to anything I was telling them,” Williams said. “I had to speak out for Floyd.”
The video of Floyd’s death was played for the nine-woman, five-man jury on Monday and is expected to take center stage at Chauvin’s trial.
Prosecutors are seeking to demonstrate that Chauvin had no justification for using a dangerous hold on Floyd that led to his death.
Chauvin’s attorney countered on Monday that Floyd was on drugs and his death was caused by the drugs and a medical condition rather than asphyxiation.
“You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do,” Nelson said.
Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the police force, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge — second-degree murder.
The trial is drawing worldwide attention and the White House said Monday that President Joe Biden will be among those “watching closely.”
Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, called it a “landmark trial that will be a referendum on how far America has come in its quest for equality and justice for all.”
The trial is expected to last about a month.