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Mar. 31 updates for the murder trial of Derek Chauvin Day 3

Watch the Derek Chauvin trial livestream and get live updates and news as witnesses testify in the murder trial in George Floyd's death.

Live coverage on this blog has ended, please click here for coverage of Day 4 of testimony.

Prosecutors in Derek Chauvin's murder trial introduced video from officer-worn body cameras into evidence Wednesday afternoon, giving jurors a first look at the perspectives of the four officers on the scene.

The other former officers, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter. They are expected to go to trial in August.

Earlier on Wednesday, witness testimony and surveillance video shown in court provided the first glimpse of George Floyd's actions inside Cup Foods before his death.

The surveillance footage from inside the store shows Floyd casually walking into Cup Foods and talking with customers and employees.

The footage is the first piece of evidence in the trial taken from inside the convenience store before police were called on May 25 after an employee alleged that Floyd had tried to pass a counterfeit $20 bill.

The previous two days of witness testimony have featured several bystander videos taken outside the store after police had arrived on scene.

Jurors put 'into the shoes' of responding Minneapolis police officers

462d ago / 10:23 PM UTC

Police body camera footage put jurors "into the shoes" of officers, giving them the best look possible in judging their — potentially criminal — actions, a legal analyst said. 

"Body camera footage has gotten so detailed and the audio is so crisp, it really puts you into the shoes of the officer and a jury can assess, in looking at that, whether or not what they were doing was reasonable," NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos said.

While the footage played for jurors on Wednesday will probably work against former officer, and now murder suspect, Derek Chauvin, the videos do offer some room for the defense, Cevallos said.

Footage clearly showed George Floyd refusing to sit in the back of a police vehicle, leading to officers  putting him on the pavement — all, potentially, reasonable acts by the defendants.

"The defense is going to make the argument that there was resistance," Cevallos said. "What you do see is a kind of passive resistance. But is a jury going to conclude that it warrants putting your knee on the back someone's neck for nine minutes, even after they've completely stopped moving? That's where the defense has a problem." 

Day 3 of witness testimony ends Wednesday after body-worn camera footage from officers shown in court

462d ago / 10:08 PM UTC

The third day of witness testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial ended Wednesday after jurors watched extensive footage from the body-worn cameras of the officers involved in the arrest of George Floyd.

The footage showed the moments leading up to officers approaching George Floyd's car until he was taken away in an ambulance. 

The body-worn camera footage was shown during the testimony of Lt. Jeff Rugel, a Minneapolis police officer who manages the police business technology unit.

Rugel’s testimony was focused on technical aspects of camera footage, including how body cameras are worn and operated. He was not asked to comment on the contents of the videos.

His testimony followed that of a teenager who worked at Cup Foods and witnessed Floyd’s restraint and other bystanders.

Witness testimony will continue Thursday around 9:30 a.m. local time.

This concludes today's live coverage of the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Please check back tomorrow morning for live updates.

Body-worn camera shows officer interaction after George Floyd restrained on the ground

462d ago / 9:41 PM UTC

Police body-worn camera footage played in court in the Derek Chauvin trial Wednesday afternoon showed officers put George Floyd on the ground and restrain him until medical responders arrived and put him onto a stretcher.

“I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,” Floyd begins to say repeatedly after officers remove him from a police vehicle and place him on the ground to restrain him. Floyd had resisted getting in the police car, saying he was claustrophobic and recently had the coronavirus.

The officers hold Floyd down on the ground as he is handcuffed and tell him to stop moving while he begins to call out for his mother and cry out.

As Floyd says he can’t breathe, the officers tell him to relax.

“He’s got to be on something,” one of the officers says, and they discuss what drugs Floyd might possibly be on.

“They’ll kill me,” Floyd says, while repeating he can’t breathe.

At one point an officer asks if they should roll Floyd onto one-side and says he is worried about “delirium or whatever.”

“I think he’s passed out,” an officer says soon after.

Members of a crowd that had gathered can be heard yelling at the officers and asking them to check his pulse, saying Floyd was “unresponsive.”

The officers, including Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck, continue to hold him down.

Medical responders then arrive onto the scene and eventually pick up Floyd’s body and place it onto a stretcher and place him in an ambulance.

The videos shown in court Wednesday from cameras worn by officers Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng were previously unsealed this summer showing the encounter between Floyd and police.

Jurors shown the body camera footage from Tou Thao

462d ago / 9:35 PM UTC

Jurors watched body camera footage from former officer Tou Thao, showing how police appeared to ignore pleas of concerned bystanders in the moments before George Floyd's death.

Thao was responsible for keeping bystanders away from police, as murder suspect Derek Chauvin put his knee into Floyd's neck on May 25 outside Cup Foods. 

The footage from Thao dramatically captured off-duty firefighter Genevieve Hansen and mixed-martial arts fighter Donald Williams as they begged officers to help Floyd, who appeared to be losing consciousness while pinned under Chauvin's knee.

Jurors see body camera footage from of officer J. Alexander Kueng

462d ago / 9:07 PM UTC

Prosecutors showed jurors body camera footage from former officer J. Alexander Kueng, a co-defendant of murder suspect Derek Chauvin.

Kueng, who is who is charged with aiding and abetting murder, is one of the first two Minneapolis police officers to arrive at Cup Foods on May 25 to confront George Floyd over an alleged fake $20 bill. 

The officer's body camera footage showed he and his colleagues pinning Floyd to the pavement as Chauvin puts his knee into the man's neck.

Kueng, who is being tried separately is the closet officer to Chauvin and can hear Floyd telling officers he can't breathe and asking for his mother.

Jurors get first extended look at Officer Lane's body-camera footage

462d ago / 9:01 PM UTC

Jurors got a first extended look Wednesday afternoon of the body-worn camera footage captured by Officer Thomas Lane as he approached George Floyd in his car.

The video shows Lane approach Floyd’s vehicle and tap on the window.

Floyd opens the door and begins apologizing before asking what he did.

Lane tells him to put both of his hands up and pulls out a gun and points it at Floyd. 

The officer then tells Floyd to put his hands on top of his head. He then tells him to step out of the car.

“Mr. Officer, please don’t shoot me, please man,” Floyd begins to say.

The officer responds he will not shoot Floyd and tells him to step out of the vehicle.

Floyd continues to plead with the officer not to shoot him.

“I didn’t know man, I didn’t know Mr. Officer,” Floyd added.

As Floyd exits the vehicle, Lane tells Floyd to put his hands behind his back and handcuffs him. The officer asks Floyd to stop resisting, which Floyd denies doing.

Lane then encounters and questions two bystanders while another officer leads Floyd off the frame.

Lane can then be heard asking Floyd if he is “on something” because he is acting “erratic,” which Floyd denies.

Officers then lead Floyd across the street to the police car in front of Cup Foods.

Bystander explains why he challenged Chauvin, moments after Floyd's body was removed from scene

462d ago / 7:42 PM UTC

A bystander immediately challenged Derek Chauvin moments after George Floyd's lifeless body was hauled away, telling the officer he was wrong to put his knee into the man's neck.

In fuzzy audio from police video, Chauvin could be heard defending his actions to the criticism of Charles McMillian, 61. 

"That's one person's opinion," Chauvin could be heard saying in footage to McMillian, also adding that Floyd was a "sizable guy" who was "probably on something." 

When a prosecutor asked McMillian why he felt the need to challenge Chauvin in that moment, the witness said:  “'Cause what I watched was wrong.” 

McMillian also testified that he recognized Chauvin from patrols in that south Minneapolis neighborhood where Floyd was killed outside Cup Foods.

"I think I said to him five days ago, I told him the other day to go home to your family safe (and) let the dead person go to their family safe," McMillian testified, recalling his chat with Chauvin. "But today I got to look at you as a maggot." 

Witness breaks down in tears on stand as he watches video of George Floyd calling out for his mother

462d ago / 7:03 PM UTC

Charles McMillian, 61, who was driving near Cup Foods on May 25 when he came upon the arrest of George Floyd, sobbed on the witness stand after video was played of Floyd calling out for his mother.

McMillian yelled, "You can't win!" at Floyd while he was being arrested and as officers tried to put him in the back of a squad car, according to bystander video.

McMillian testified that he was trying to convince Floyd to get into the car. 

"Oh my God," McMillan sobbed after the video was turned off. He grabbed several tissues and wiped his eyes and face.

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge asked McMillian what he was feeling and he said that he felt "helpless" and that he understood Floyd because he had lost his mother on June 25. 

Judge Peter Cahill called for a 10-minute break.

Juror in Chauvin trial has 'stress-related reaction'

462d ago / 6:55 PM UTC

A juror in the high-profile trial against Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd had a “stress-related reaction” Wednesday.

Juror 7 returned to the courtroom Wednesday while the rest of the jury was out of the room during a break and was seated on the witness stand. 

Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill asked the woman how she was feeling.

“I’m shaky, but better,” the juror responded.

The judge asked her if she had a “stress-related reaction” adding, “We have to make a record of this.”

The juror said that she did and the judge said he understands she has been having trouble sleeping. 

The juror then said she had been awake since 2 a.m.

“I think I’ll be OK going forward,” she added.

Docking workers for fake money is against state labor law; Cup Food denies it ever did so

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462d ago / 6:51 PM UTC

It's against Minnesota labor law for employers to dock workers for receiving counterfeit money, as a store clerk testified in former officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial. 

Cashier Christopher Martin told jurors he flagged a possible fake $20 bill from George Floyd on May 25 at Cup Foods because it is store policy that any counterfeit money received by the store would be taken out of an employee's paycheck.

Such a move would be against state labor codes which say "no employer shall make any deduction" from a worker due to "lost or stolen property." Receiving counterfeit money would fall into this category of loss, a labor department representative said.

But a spokesman for Cup Foods pushed back at Martin's testimony, saying employees would only be liable "for counterfeit bills if they don’t check them" as a deterrent.

"We’ve never made an employee pay for a counterfeit bill," Cup Foods spokesman Jamar Nelson said in a statement.

After Martin told managers about the $20 Floyd used to buy a pack of cigarettes, it set in motion the deadly chain of events that ended with a police officer's knee on his neck.

“I took it anyways and I was planning to just put it on my tab until I second-guessed myself," Martin said. "I kept examining it and then I eventually told my manager." 

The state labor department has no record of any such a wage complaint against Cup Foods, the agency’s spokesman said.

Witnesses paint a calm picture of Cup Foods the day George Floyd was killed

462d ago / 5:53 PM UTC

Eyewitness accounts of the calm moments leading up to police arriving at Cup Foods raised doubts that officers needed to confront and arrest George Floyd, legal experts said.

Store clerk Christopher Martin told jurors he feels “disbelief and guilt” for the inadvertent role he played in the man's death, under the knee of then-officer Derek Chauvin.

Martin believed Floyd passed him a bad $20 bill and was going to let it slide, before having second thoughts and telling his manager. Martin also testified that he believed, due to slow speech, Floyd might have been under the influence of drugs — but was in otherwise good spirits while in the store on May 25.

"This is actually a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota," passing the counterfeit bill, former Hennepin County Public Defender Mary Moriarty told MSNBC's "MTP Daily." 

"It should not have meant that the police were approaching (Floyd’s) car with a gun and immediately taking him into custody. He could have been given citation." 

Martin's appearance on the witness stand on Wednesday followed compelling testimony from four minors, an off-duty firefighter and a mixed-martial arts fighter who all told jurors they saw police have control of a handcuffed Floyd.

NBC News legal analyst Danny Cevallos said Chauvin's defense has generally done well, by simply letting prosecution witnesses testify without much cross-examination.

“There are some witnesses that are just going to do damage and there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it,” Cevallos said. “Especially these witnesses who have been traumatized by what they saw.”

 

Cup Foods employee says he felt ‘disbelief and guilt’ while watching officers restrain Floyd

462d ago / 4:45 PM UTC

A Cup Foods cashier who believed George Floyd had used a fake $20 bill at the store said he felt “disbelief and guilt” while watching police officers restrain Floyd before he died.

The prosecution played video showing Christopher Martin, the 19-year-old former employee of Cup Foods, holding his head in his hands as he watched Derek Chauvin and other officers restrain Floyd on the ground outside the store.

Martin said he was feeling “disbelief and guilt” in that moment since the police report of the fake bill led to Floyd’s restraint.

“If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,” he said.

Martin said he did not work at Cup Foods for much longer.

“I didn't feel safe,” he said.

Cup Foods employee says he deleted recording of George Floyd's detainment believing he was dead

462d ago / 4:29 PM UTC

Christopher Martin, 19, who lived above Cup Foods at the time of George Floyd's arrest and was working as a cashier at the store May 25 when Floyd came in to buy cigarettes, testified that he had recorded video of Floyd's detainment but deleted it later that night because he believed Floyd had died.

Martin testified Wednesday that he suspected Floyd had used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at Cup Foods, a convenience store. 

When police responded to a clerk's call about the bill, Martin said he went outside the store.

"George was motionless, limp," Martin said. "Chauvin seemed very ... he was in a resting state, meaning like he just rested his knee on his neck."

Martin said he then called his mother and told her not to come down from their apartment before he began recording a video that he deleted that evening. 

He said he deleted the video because the ambulance that picked Floyd up "went straight on 38th instead of going straight on Chicago. And if you live in South Minneapolis, the easiest way to get to the hospital would have been straight on Chicago." Martin said that made it "clear that he was no longer with us." 

When prosecutor Matthew Frank said he was unsure why the path the ambulance traveled would make Martin delete the video, Martin said he "just didn't want to have show it to anyone" or be questioned about it.

A $20 bill's 'blue pigment' touched off fatal chain of events, witness says

462d ago / 3:22 PM UTC

"Blue pigment," on a $20 bill used by George Floyd, set in motion the deadly chain of events that ended with a police officer's knee on his neck, a store cashier said.

Floyd used a $20 bill to pay for a pack of cigarettes at Cup Foods on May 25, cashier Christopher Martin told jurors. 

“When I saw the bill I noticed that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of of how a $100 bill will have and I found that odd so I assumed it was fake," Martin said.

If the store received any counterfeit money, Cup Foods took it out of the paychecks of employees who accepted it, according to Martin.

“I took it anyways and I was planning to just put it on my tab until I second-guessed myself," he said. "I kept examining it and then I eventually told my manager." 

Police were eventually called to the Minneapolis convenience story, before then-officer Derek Chauvin put his knee on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd.

Martin, 19, is the first witness to testify about speaking with Floyd on the day he died under Chauvin's knee on May 25.

Employee of Cup Foods testifies George Floyd appeared to be under the influence

462d ago / 3:01 PM UTC

Christopher Martin, an employee at Cup Foods, the convenience store where George Floyd is alleged to have used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes last May, is the second witness to take the stand Wednesday. Martin said he lived above the Cup Foods at the time of Floyd's death. 

Martin, 19, is the first witness to testify who spoke to Floyd on May 25. 

It was also the first time the surveillance video, which shows Floyd casually walking into the store, had been shown to the public. It was played without audio.

Asked by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank whether he spoke to Floyd that day, Martin said that he did and that Floyd appeared to be under the influence when he entered the store.

"When I had asked him if he played baseball, he went on to respond to that," Martin said. "But it kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say. So it would appear that he was high."

Testimony resumes with off-duty Minneapolis firefighter

462d ago / 1:57 PM UTC

Testimony in the third day of the trial resumes Wednesday with Genevieve Hansen, the off-duty firefighter who was at the scene of George Floyd’s death, returning to the witness stand.

Hansen testified Tuesday that she was out for a walk on a day off when she came upon the scene last May 25. 

She said she feared for Floyd's life and desperately tried to intervene, but was rebuffed by police. She said she had offered to give him emergency medical attention or direct the officers to do so.

Minnesota Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank asked Hansen how she felt being unable to use her training and tend to Floyd, which prompted an emotional response. She said she felt "totally distressed" and became visibly upset. 

There were a series of testy exchanges Tuesday between Hansen and Derek Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, including when he asked her if it would be distracting to her if bystanders were yelling at her while she was trying to put out a fire. 

Hansen repeatedly said it would not faze her, because she is confident in her training and in her ability to properly fight a fire. 

Judge Peter Cahill dismissed the jury for the day Tuesday evening and admonished Hansen not to argue with Nelson, saying it is his job to ask her questions. 

"You will not argue with the court, you will not argue with counsel," Cahill told her. 

462d ago / 11:24 AM UTC

Chauvin's defense attempted to portray bystanders as angry mob that diverted officers' attention

462d ago / 11:16 AM UTC

During his opening statement Monday, the attorney for the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in George Floyd's death claimed that the crowd of onlookers who witnessed Floyd's death last May had made the responding officers worry for their safety and diverted their attention from him.

On Tuesday, the defense attorney, Eric Nelson, doubled down. He asked four witnesses, including the teenager who recorded the widely seen video of Floyd being detained, whether they and others in the crowd were angry as they watched Floyd pinned on the pavement by the former officer, Derek Chauvin.

Of the six people who took the stand, Nelson cross-examined four of them and pushed each to suggest that the crowd of onlookers had been angry. He repeatedly asked them if they themselves shouted at officers or heard others do so.

Click here to read the full story.

'Do not argue with the court': Chauvin trial judge warns witness in tense exchange

462d ago / 11:13 AM UTC

The judge overseeing the trial for former police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the death of George Floyd, warned a witness not to argue Tuesday after her replies to a defense attorney.

"Do not argue with the court, do not argue with counsel, answer the questions, do not volunteer information that is not requested," Judge Peter Cahill told Genevieve Hansen, a firefighter who was off duty at the time of Floyd's death and testified that she was not allowed to give him aid.

The judge's admonition followed Hansen's replies to defense attorney Eric Nelson.

After Nelson asked about the mood of the crowd near the May 25 police encounter that ended in Floyd's death and whether people were angry, Hansen replied: "I don't know if you've seen anybody be killed, but it's upsetting."

Click here to read the full story.

462d ago / 10:37 AM UTC