MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — A professional mixed martial arts fighter who witnessed the deadly arrest of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May is due to return to the stand on Tuesday for the second day of testimony in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.
NewsNation will provide live coverage of the trial on NewsNationNow.com and the NewsNation Now app. It will continue Tuesday morning at 9:30 am CT.
Donald Williams can be heard on a bystander’s cellphone screaming at Chauvin, who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes during the arrest on May 25, 2020, shortly after Floyd was accused of using a fake $20 bill.
Williams calls Chauvin a “bum” in the video, accuses the white police officer of “enjoying” his restraining of Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed Black man, and told jurors on Monday he believed that Chauvin was using his knee in a “blood choke” on Floyd, a wrestling move to knock an opponent unconscious.
Chauvin’s lawyers are expected to counter that Williams has no knowledge of police maneuvers.
On Monday, prosecutors led off their case by playing part of the bystander video that captured Floyd’s arrest.
The white officer “didn’t let up” even after a handcuffed Floyd said 27 times that he couldn’t breathe and went limp, Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said.
The video, which prosecutors say shows excessive force, sparked outrage and daily demonstrations in the United States and around the world protesting police brutality against Black people.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson countered by arguing: “Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career.”
Fourteen jurors or alternates are hearing the case — eight of them white, six of them Black or multiracial, according to the court. Only 12 will deliberate; the judge has not said which two will be alternates.
After the day’s proceedings, a few hundred protesters gathered outside the courthouse. Speakers called for justice for Floyd and others whose lives were lost in encounters with police.
The downtown Minneapolis courthouse has been fortified with concrete barriers, fences and barbed and razor wire. City and state leaders are determined to prevent a repeat of the riots that followed Floyd’s death, with National Guard troops already mobilized.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, which carries up to 40 years in prison, as well as third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He and the three other officers on the scene were fired the day after Floyd’s death.
The three other former officers go on trial in August.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. All reporting by AP’s Steve Karnowski and Amy Forliti and Reuters’ Jonathan Allen.