Echoes of guilt on George Floyd at Derek Chauvin’s trial

Christopher Martin took the stand on day three of Derek Chauvin’s criminal trial, echoing other witnesses who expressed helplessness and regret for what they did and did not do before Floyd’s murder in May 2020.

Martin is barely older than others who have described to the jury their pain and shame as survivors. He testified that he felt[traduction]”Incredulous and guilty” that his brief interaction had led to Floyd’s death and the turmoil that followed.

“If I just hadn’t taken the bill, it could have been avoided,” said Martin, who was a cashier at Cup Foods, where the first police call was made that day.

Martin quickly stopped working at the store. He said he didn’t feel safe.

Another prosecution-called witness, Charles McMillian, 61, cried and rose on the witness stand after viewing police body camera footage of Floyd’s arrest.

In the video, Floyd gasped that he was claustrophobic. He said he couldn’t breathe and called his mother. McMillian broke down.

Onlookers have testified to their horror and fear of seeing Floyd die on May 25, 2020. Their testimony – along with the burning eyewitness videos – is the backbone of the state’s case. Prosecutors asked jurors to focus on the video – the 9 minutes and 29 seconds that Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that the video does not fully capture the complexity of the moment. Chauvin was undergoing his police training, the lawyer said. He argued that Floyd’s cause of death was a combination of drug use and pre-existing health issues. Crowds of spectators distracted the officer, he said.

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Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.

The case sparked a social toll with American racism and police brutality.

On Tuesday, a high school student who recorded and shared a video of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd said she lost sleep thinking about what else she could have done.

“I’ve been up for nights to apologize to George Floyd for not doing more, not interacting physically and saving his life. But that’s not what I did. should have done, that’s what he should have done, “she said, referring to Chauvin. .

Another witness was 9 years old.

“I was sad and a little bit crazy,” the girl said. “Because it was like he was stopping his breathing, and it was kind of like hurting him.”

Minneapolis firefighter and EMT-certified Geneviève Hansen, who was out for a walk on her day off, told the jury that she wanted to help Floyd. She said she repeatedly asked the police to check the pulse. They refused. She felt helpless.

“I tried calm reasoning, I tried to be assertive, I pleaded and I was desperate,” she said. “I desperately needed to help.”

During cross-examination by Nelson on Tuesday, Hansen challenged his examination. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen someone die in front of you, but it’s very upsetting,” she said at one point.

After dismissing the jury, Judge Peter Cahill warned Hansen, telling him to answer questions and stop arguing.

CNN’s Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.

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