Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 7:04 PM ET, Mon March 29, 2021
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6:27 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Court adjourns after "major technical glitch"

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper in Minneapolis

The trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin will resume tomorrow after witness testimony was cut short when a “major technical glitch” interrupted a video feed to other rooms in the courthouse where family members were watching, Judge Peter Cahill said.

Donald Wynn Williams II, who testified that he witnessed George Floyd’s death, will resume his testimony tomorrow.

Williams testified that he was going to Cup Foods when he came upon Floyd being restrained by police. He testified that he watched Floyd gasping for air, his eyes roll to the back of his head, and blood start to come out of his nose.

“Just hearing people, different people, actually vocalizing their concerns to the officer, and hearing George on the ground, pretty much pleading for his life,” Williams said. 

Williams said he was among the bystanders vocally pleading for Floyd’s life. He testified that Officer Tou Thao said “this is what drugs do to you."

Williams, who said he was a high school and college wrestler who pursued mixed martial arts, testified that he has experience with chokeholds. He testified he had 10 amateur mixed martial art fights and 20 professional ones since 2009.  

He said he also worked with police officers in his security job and trained with them in mixed martial arts at a gym.  

Williams told prosecutor Matthew Frank that there were different types of chokeholds and he has been subjected to them in his mixed martial arts training and career.

He said the move Chauvin was using on Floyd looked like a “blood choke.”

Williams, who was shown a bystander video during his testimony, said it appeared that Chauvin was trying to “shimmy” his knee to make the hold tighter.

“Every time his shoulders move, he is pushing that pressure down on his neck,” Williams testified.

5:10 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Re-living what happened to George Floyd can be difficult. Here are some resources that may help.

It's the first day of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial in the death of George Floyd.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell this morning presented video evidence from the day George Floyd was killed. The graphic footage showed former police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck. Floyd could be heard saying "I can't breathe."

The video can be hard to watch as is the testimony, dissecting a second-by-second account of the circumstances surrounding Floyd's death.

Here are some resources that may help:

You can contact any of the organizations above to find peer groups and other group counseling services. These organizations often have affiliates in cities that host group meetings. They offer coping mechanisms to deal with stress, depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.

It's always important to speak to someone and not feel that you're facing this alone.

You can find more CNN resources that may help here.

4:50 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Witness says Floyd was not resisting arrest when officers brought him across the street

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper in Minneapolis

The second prosecution witness has concluded her testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin. 

Alisha Oyler shot seven video clips of Floyd’s arrest. She was working the cash register at a Speedway, located across the street from where the arrest took place.

On cross examination Oyler acknowledged that more people were gathering as the incident progressed and the crowd became angry.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson also pointed out a discrepancy between her testimony and an earlier statement she gave to investigators where she said there was a female officer on scene.

On redirect examination she told prosecutor Steve Schleicher that Floyd was not resisting when officers brought him across the street. 

4:15 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

A 911 dispatcher was the first witness in today's trial. Here's how she laid out the sequence of events.

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper in Minneapolis

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Pool

Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry concluded her testimony earlier this afternoon in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin. 

She dispatched Chauvin and other officers to Cup Foods the day George Floyd died.

During cross examination defense attorney Eric Nelson questioned her about how the dispatch center is setup and the sequence of events that evening.    

Here are some key things she shared:

  • Squad car 320 responded to the call at Cup Foods backed up by car 330 and park police car 830.
  • Scurry noted that officers Thomas Lane and Alexander Kueng were in squad car 320 and were backed up by officers Chauvin and Tou Thao in squad car 330.
  • Scurry said she dispatched the additional officers for backup when Lane and Kueng said they were taking someone out of the police car and she heard a loud noise on the radio. 
  • To the defense, Scurry noted that at one point squad car 330, either Chauvin or Thao, called for a faster ambulance response.
  • Scurry said she is not familiar with the use of force requirements and did not hear any radio call for a sergeant to review the use of force.
  • She reviewed the video for the defense and noted that it showed the police car rocking back and forth when officers were struggling with Floyd. 
  • She noted she did not hear any audio from that camera. 

On redirect examination, Scurry told prosecutor Matthew Frank she has not changed her mind about seeing potential excessive force which motivated her to call a police sergeant. 

Earlier in her testimony, Scurry said that while watching footage of the arrest and Floyd on the ground, her instincts were telling her "that something's wrong, something is not right."

 

3:51 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Witness testifies she recorded 7 videos of Floyd arrest

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Pool

Witness Alisha Oyler testified that she recorded seven cell phone videos of George Floyd's interaction with Minneapolis officers.

She was working the cash register at a Speedway when she noticed police "messing" with Floyd near a store across the way.

Oyler testified that Floyd was in handcuffs and police eventually placed him inside a police car.

Soon after, she started recorded with her cell phone. Two of the seven videos she recorded were taken from inside her workplace. The rest of the videos were taken outside.

3:43 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

Why you keep hearing references to 9 minutes and 29 seconds at this trial

From CNN's Eric Levenson

Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over pre-trial motions prior to opening statements on March 29.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over pre-trial motions prior to opening statements on March 29. Court TV via AP

The murder trial of Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial, charged in the May 2020 death of George Floyd, kicked off this morning with prosecutors' and the defense team's opening statements.

In both opening statements, attorneys referenced the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck — correcting the 8:46 timing that has become a symbol of police brutality.

Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell repeatedly emphasized the new 9:29 timing, telling jurors they were the "three most important numbers in this case."

He broke down the timing of Chauvin's kneeling into three sections: 4 minutes and 45 seconds as Floyd cried out for help, 53 seconds as Floyd's flailed due to seizures and 3 minutes and 51 seconds as Floyd was non-responsive.

Chauvin's defense similarly accepted the new timing as accurate to support its own arguments. "The evidence is far greater than 9 minutes and 29 seconds," attorney Eric Nelson said in his opening, noting the many interviews and documents that he said would prove Chauvin is not guilty.

The 43-second difference between 8:46 and 9:29 has little impact on the case itself, but the 8:46 number had taken on a power of its own since Floyd died under Chauvin's knee on May 25, 2020.

Protesters, including Democratic members of Congress, have held moments of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, kneelings and "die-ins." Comedian Dave Chapelle released a standup special about police violence and anti-Black racism titled simply "8:46." The number even has its own Wikipedia page.

So where did the incorrect timing come from? The 8:46 timing initially was included in a criminal complaint against Chauvin

That number was based on bystander video of Floyd's death that went viral and led to public outrage. The video, which is over 10 minutes long in all, begins with Chauvin already on Floyd's neck, so it was not immediately clear how long he had been on Floyd prior to the video's start.

You can read more about the timing here.

2:49 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

The trial has resumed

Pool
Pool

Testimony has resumed in the Derek Chauvin trial.

911 dispatcher Jena Scurry is on the stand. She is being cross-examined by defense attorney Eric Nelson.

1:50 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

911 dispatcher testifies she called sergeant to voice her concerns about police response

911 dispatcher Jena Scurry testified that after she became concerned about what she was seeing on the video feed from George Floyd's arrest she decided to call a police sergeant.

The prosecution played Scurry's call for the jury.

On the call she tells the police sergeant, "I don't know if they had to use force or not. They got something out of the back of the squad and all of them sat on this man. So I don't know if they needed to or not but they haven't said anything to me yet."

Scurry testified that the purpose of the call was "voicing my concerns."

She said that she has never made a call like this to a police sergeant.

Watch:

1:34 p.m. ET, March 29, 2021

911 dispatcher: "My instincts were telling me that something's wrong" while watching video feed

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911 dispatcher Jena Scurry is testifying about what she saw on a video feed from the scene at 38th and Chicago where George Floyd was being taken into custody on May 25, 2020.

She testified that she recalled watching police attempt to put Floyd into the backseat of a police car. She said that she went back and forth between looking at the television and her computer screen.

Scurry said during her testimony that she was watching the footage on one of the TVs that is mounted on the wall inside the dispatch center where she works.

She testified at one point she looked up, and that police had Floyd on the ground. She said that as time passed she began to wonder why the image on the screen — with police holding Floyd on the ground — hadn't changed. She said that her first thought was that the screen had frozen. Then she saw people moving on the screen and thought "something might be wrong." 

"They had come from the back of the squad car to the ground and my instincts were telling me that something's wrong, something is not right," Scurry said. 

Watch the moment: