The fourth day of the Derek Chauvin trial has concluded. As the former officer faces manslaughter and murder charges, the world continues to watch on with emotion, passion and eagerness.
On Monday (March 29), things kicked off with a pair of opening statements followed by testimony from witnesses including Donald Williams. Tuesday (March 30) proved to be even more eventful with testimony that included a calm back and forth between Williams and defense attorney Eric Nelson, a powerful statement from Genevieve Hansen and Judge Peter Cahill reprimanding a person in the courthouse. With all that that has happened, let us take a quick look back at the events from day three in this important trial.
What Happened Yesterday
Wednesday (March 31) was an eventful day for those involved with the Derek Chauvin trial. The day kicked off with the end of Genevieve Hansen's testimony. She spoke about her desire to offer George Floyd medical assistance, but being denied the opportunity to do so. Hansen was followed by Christopher Martin and Charles McMillan.
Martin is best known as the employee at Cup Foods who first noticed that Floyd had paid for his food with a counterfeit $20 bill. During his testimony, the court introduced new footage of Floyd inside of the store before his encounter with the police and Martin walked the court through what occurred. Martin said that Cup Foods had a policy that would deduct pay from employees if they accepted a counterfeit bill. However, Martin told his manager that he would pay the difference for Floyd, but the manager called the cops instead.
McMillan is one of the first bystanders who notice the interaction between Floyd and Chauvin. During his testimony, he broke down in tears while watching Chauvin lean over Floyd.
“Even I said to the officer, I said, ‘man said he can’t breathe.’ They [police] said, ‘if he keep talking, well, he can breathe,’” McMillan testified.
Following McMillan, Charles Belfrey took the stand. Like McMillan, Belfrey was also a bystander who observed the encounter. He attempted to record the incident, but stopped because he felt "nervous."
Adding on to the day's testimony, footage from Chauvin's body camera was shared. In this video evidence, jurors could see and hear Chauvin in the moments following his encounter with Floyd.
“We got to control this guy because he’s a sizeable guy, and it looks like he is probably on something,” Chauvin said.
What Happened Today
The fourth day of the Derek Chauvin trial kicked off with testimony from Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross. Her testimony provided a bit of background about the things that Floyd had dealt with leading up to May 25. Ross spoke about how the two met, his mother's death and his COVID-19 recovery. Much of her testimony centered around Floyd's struggle with addiction. In an attempt to get head of the defense's questioning, the prosecution asked Ross about how the two dealt with their individual opioid addictions.
"Floyd and I both suffered with opioid addiction," she said.
"Both Floyd and I, our story — it's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both have prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, and we got addicted, and tried really hard to break that addiction many times."
A potential argument for the defense will be to tie Floyd's death to his addiction, so the defense followed up with questions about his use of drugs. The defense also indicated that Floyd used heroin as well as opioids. Defense attorney Eric Nelson also honed in on Floyd being hospitalized for an overdose in March.
If you or someone you know suffers from addiction, feel free to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration's hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
Seth Zachary Bravinder
Following Ross, paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder took the stand. While on the stand, Bravinder said that he could tell Floyd had stopped breathing. After getting closer to Floyd, Bravinder examined Floyd and moved him onto a stretcher.
"I guess limp would be the best description. He wasn't — he was unresponsive and wasn't holding his head up or anything like that," he told the jury.
After loading him on the stretcher, Floyd was transported to the hospital. On the way there, Bravinder remembers stopping the ambulance to provide further medical assistant because the cardiac monitor was showing asystole.
"It's not a good sign," Bravinder explained.
"Basically just because your heart isn't doing anything at that moment. There's not — it's not pumping blood. So it's not — it's not a good sign for a good outcome."
After Bravinder delivered his testimony, a second paramedic by the name of Derek Smith took the stand. Confirming Bravinder's statements, he also said that he could tell from afar that Floyd had stopped breathing. After he got closer to Floyd, he attempted to revive him, but he was unsuccessful in doing so.
"I walked up to the individual, noticed he wasn't moving. I didn't see any chest rise or fall on this individual," Smith stated.
"He's a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life."
Captain Jeremy Norton of the Minneapolis Fire Department continued the day's proceedings. Norton was in the ambulance that Floyd was on. He said that when he arrived that Floyd was unresponsive. Norton later notified his supervisors that someone had been killed in police custody that day.
"I was aware that a man had been killed in police custody, and I wanted to notify my supervisors to notify the appropriate people above us in the city, in the fire department and whomever else, and then I also wanted to inform my deputy that there was an off-duty firefighter, who was a witness at the scene," Norton said before the court.
Sergeant David Pleoger
Following Norton's testimony, Sergeant David Pleoger was called to testify. The newly retired police officer was the person the 9-1-1 operator called after receiving a call about Chauvin's interaction with Floyd. During his testimony, Pleoger said that he spoke to Chauvin about the incident after it took place and he made no mention about putting his knee on Floyd's neck at the time.
"I believe he told me that they had — tried to put Mr. Floyd — I didn't know his name at the time, Mr. Floyd into the car. He had become combative," he recalled of the conversation he had with Chauvin that day. "I think he mentioned that he had injured — either his nose or his mouth, a bloody lip, I think, and eventually after struggling with him, he suffered a medical emergency and an ambulance was called and they headed out of the scene."
Morries Hall was inside a car with George Floyd when he was approached by Chauvin and his partner. His attorney Adrienne Cousins has informed the court that Hall has invoked the fifth amendment. As a result, he will not testify in court at this time.
What Is Everyone Saying
The fourth day of testimony moved relatively smoothly. Previous court sessions featured bystanders and those who noticed the incident as they walked by. Today, witnesses like Ross provided background as to who he was in the years prior to his death. Floyd's girlfriend provided an all too familiar of a man dealing with the loss of his mother, recovering from COVID-19 and battling a disease known as addiction. Her testimony hit home for many watching around the country.
While examining his relationship with his mother and providing details regarding his fight to overcome addiction added background for many, others did feel it drove away from the point of the trial. Derek Chauvin is on trial for murder and manslaughter, which is what many would like the trial to focus in on.
As the day went on, many were horrified by Chauvin's actions even after the paramedics arrived. As previously noted, two paramedics were sure that Floyd was not breathing before they could physically reach him. Yet, Chauvin remained on top of Floyd until they could move him into the ambulance.
What Resources Are Available
Watching the trial, taking in traumatic moments may be difficult as video is played and replayed and verbally described.
A few resources that may aid in processing the trial are below:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
The National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264
The Association of Black Psychologists 1-301-449-3082
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America 1-240-485-1001
The resources listed have resources including peer groups and other counseling services that may be helpful. They also offer ways to cope with stress, anxiety, depression and other conditions that are important to monitor.
The Black Information Network's trial-related content includes a nightly news special, titled "Searching for Justice for George Floyd," that airs at 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday on all BIN 24/7 affiliates. Emmy Award-winning journalist Vanessa Tyler will anchor the daily 30-minute commercial-free recap of that day's testimony.
Additionally, BIN's Morgyn Wood will anchor live coverage of the trial on our Minneapolis affiliate BIN 93.3 FM. Tune in to Black Information Network 24/7's coverage on 31 Black Information Network affiliate stations and on the iHeartRadio app. Frequent updates and breaking news will also air on all 92 iHeartMedia Hip Hop, R&B, and Gospel music stations.
Photo Credit: Getty Images