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Who are the state witnesses in Derek Chauvin trial on George Floyd death?

Three testimonial witnesses were called to the stand in the first day of Derek Chauvin’s trial. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder of George Floyd.

Who are the state witnesses in Derek Chauvin trial on George Floyd death?

Three testimonial witnesses were called to the stand at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Monday - the first day of the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020. Chauvin is accused of causing Floyd’s death by kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The incident sparked outrage all around the world and gave prominence to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Chauvin had been held at Oak Park Heights correctional facility until he was released on conditional bail after posting a $1 million non-cash bail bond on 7 October 2020.

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Multiple witnesses called

Witnesses will include Jody Stiger, a sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department and Minneapolis Police Department Sergeant David Pleoger, arrived at the scene around 40 minutes after the original call from 911 dispatcher was sent out. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo will also be called to give a testimony.

The trial started on Monday and is expected to last up to a month. Day 1 began with prosecution lawyer Jerry Blackwell playing harrowing video footage taken by bystanders on mobile phones of Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground and ignoring his pleas that he couldn’t breathe.

911 dispatcher "instinctively knew something was not right"

The first witness called to the stand was Jena Scurry, a 911 dispatcher who dispatched police officers to Cup Foods corner store at 38th and Chicago Avenue in Minneapolis on the afternoon of Monday 25 May 2020 after getting a call about a man with a counterfeit bill. She watched Floyd’s arrest in real-time on her monitors and couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Yesterday, she was shown the CCTV footage of the squad car’s arrival at Cup Foods and police officers apprehending Floyd. She told the court, "I was in and out of looking at this screen and my work screen. I just know that they hadn’t moved. It was long enough that I could look multiple times. I first asked if the screens had frozen. I thought something might be wrong. I don’t know what but something wasn't right. It was an extended period of time. They hadn't told me if they needed more resources. I became concerned that something might be wrong. It was a gut instinct. I called Sergeant Kluger – sergeants are usually always notified for use of force. I don't know if they had to use force or not”. Scurry was also played a recording of the phone call she made to her supervisor in which she could be heard saying, “They got something out of the back of the squad, and all of them sat on this man. I don't know if they needed to or not, but they haven't said anything to me yet."

Alisha Oyler made several videos of the George Floyd incident

The other two witnesses to take the stand on Monday were both bystanders. Alisha Oyler, a cashier working at the Speedway gas station, directly opposite Cup Foods, made several video recordings of the incident on her mobile phone. One of her videos showed an ambulance arriving at the scene. In her testimony Olyer recalled the moment, “I think the person was going on a stretcher”. Her final video shows Chauvin still kneeling on Floyd even when paramedics laid a stretcher out next to them.

The final witness in Monday’s session was Donald Williams II, a martial arts fighter who works and trains at Minneapolis Martial Arts Academy. He was stood just a few feet away as Chauvin applied all of his force on Floyd's neck. He explained the difference between an air choke and a blood choke, martial arts holds which he had learned in training. Chauvin is looking directly at Williams in one of the photographs of the incident. He described how Floyd gasped for air, repeatedly saying he couldn't breathe. How he called for his mother and children and begged for his life.

Witness Donald Williams II in the stand at the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin
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Witness Donald Williams II in the stand at the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek ChauvinPOOLvia REUTERS

George Floyd murder trial enters Day Two

Williams gave another testimony on Day 2 of the trial on Tuesday, along with a minor, known as Darnella Frazier, who was 17 at the time and watched events as they unfolded from just a few metres away. She became very upset as she gave her account of the incident. “There was already a couple of bystanders there and I just heard some people talking, asking to let him up and just to stay calm. Talking to George... I heard him say he couldn’t breathe and that his stomach hurt and that he wanted his Mom. I knew initially that there was something wrong so I started recording," she explained. "A lot of people looked in distress on the sidewalk, George was in distress. He looked like he was fighting to breathe, he was focused on trying to breathe. It was difficult, I felt like I was failing because I was there but I couldn’t do anything physically that I wanted to do. There was another police officer pushing the crowd back, making sure everyone was on the sidewalk and didn’t get close”.