Jurors heard from two Minneapolis police officers today during the fifth day of testimony in the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.
The high-ranking officers described what they saw on May 25, 2020, at the scene after George Floyd died. Trial proceedings ended early Friday, but will resume Monday morning.
Here's what happened today in court:
- Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who leads the Minneapolis Police's homicide unit and responded to the crime scene the night Floyd died, told the court that the use of force by Chauvin against Floyd was “totally unnecessary.” Zimmerman said the restraint should have “absolutely” stopped once Floyd was handcuffed and on the ground. The lieutenant said the actions like those used on Floyd are not part of police department training, saying “if your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill them.”
- Sgt. Jon Curtis Edwards was an overnight sergeant working at the Minneapolis Police Department’s third precinct the night Floyd died. He described how he secured the crime scene and made contact with J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, who were the only two officers there. Edwards said he had his body camera activated when he arrived, but neither officer had their body camera on when he met them. He asked both of them to activate them.
What else happened this week: Jurors heard testimony from bystanders described the moment they witnessed Chauvin kneel on Floyd's neck. Here's a recap of their statements:
- Day 1: Trial proceedings started with opening statements from the prosecution and defense. Prosecutors revealed that Chauvin was on Floyd's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds — an update on the initially reported 8 minutes and 46 seconds. After opening statements, jurors heard from three witnesses, including a 911 dispatcher, an employee from a nearby gas station and a professional mixed martial arts fighter who stumbled upon the scene.
- Day 2: Six bystanders testified on the second day of Chauvin's criminal trial: a 9-year-old girl, three high school students, a mixed martial arts fighter and a Minneapolis firefighter. They described their feelings of horror and fear as they watched Floyd slowly die under Chauvin's knee.
- Day 3: The third day of Chauvin's trial featured testimony from several bystanders who interacted with Floyd as well as graphic excerpts of police body camera footage showing his arrest and final moments. In the videos, Floyd gasps that he's claustrophobic, repeatedly says he can't breathe and calls for his mother.
- Day 4: Floyd's girlfriend spoke about Floyd's struggles with opioid addiction, and several first responders said that Floyd appeared dead when they arrived on the scene. A former police shift supervisor testified that Chauvin's use of force should have ended earlier. The jury also heard Chauvin explain his version of what happened in a call captured on body-camera footage.