MMA fighter who watched George Floyd’s death says he called police on the police #Breaking112
“I called the police on the police,” Donald Wynn Williams II testified Tuesday. “I believed I witnessed a murder.”
He was the second witness to report police’s behavior to the police. On Monday, a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher testified that she was able to watch live video of Floyd’s arrest — and called a police sergeant afterward to voice her concerns.
“I pulled out my phone, recording, capturing what I was seeing,” she testified. “I heard George Floyd saying, ‘I can’t breathe,’ please, get off of me. ‘I can’t breathe’ and crying for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew it was over for him.”
The testimony in Chauvin’s trial comes 10 months after Floyd’s death launched a summer of protest, unrest and a societal reckoning with America’s past and present of anti-Black racism and aggressive policing.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.
Blackwell played the harrowing bystander video of Floyd’s death and offered jurors a clear and simple case against Chauvin.
“You can believe your eyes that it’s a homicide,” he said. “You can believe your eyes.”
In response, Nelson argued that the case was more complicated than just that video. He said Chauvin was following his police use of force training and argued Floyd’s cause of death was a combination of drug use and preexisting health issues.
“The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing,” he said.
Witness says Chauvin used ‘blood choke’
Williams, the MMA fighter, testified on Monday and Tuesday that he had gone fishing with his son earlier in the day on May 25, 2020.
Relying on his own MMA experience, Williams said that Chauvin performed a “blood choke” on Floyd and adjusted his positioning several times to maintain pressure on Floyd’s neck. He said he wanted to get Chauvin off Floyd but didn’t physically intervene because former Minneapolis Police officer Tou Thao was directing him to stay away.
In a contentious cross-examination, Williams rejected defense attorney Eric Nelson’s description that he had grown “angry” on the scene.
“I grew professional. I stayed in my body. You can’t paint me out to be angry,” he said.
What it’s like in the courtroom
Only one member of Floyd’s family is allowed to attend the trial each day, and on Monday Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd took that spot in court.
Philonise Floyd told CNN on Tuesday that being in the courtroom was an “emotional roller-coaster.”
“To everybody else, it was a case and a cause. To me, it was my brother, somebody that I grew up with, eating with, sleeping in the same bed with, going fishing with, just watching him dance with my mother,” he said. “Those are the things that I think about when I think about my brother. He was a protector, he was someone who we can go to when we were in trouble and in need of anything.”
His place in the courtroom was just feet from Chauvin, who has been taking notes on a large notepad during jury selection and the trial.
“I’ve seen him. I watched him. I watched the reaction when the witnesses were responding to questions they were asked,” Philonise Floyd said. “He’s in there, he’s fighting for his life, just like I’m fighting for my brother’s life. We’ve seen the video. We have facts. They’re in there trying to assassinate his character. When you don’t have facts, that’s what you have to do.”
Witness testimony in the trial is expected to last about four weeks, followed by jury deliberations.
The second-degree murder charge says Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd with his knee, which unintentionally caused Floyd’s death. The third-degree murder charge says Chauvin acted with a “depraved mind, without regard for human life.” And the second-degree manslaughter charge says Chauvin’s “culpable negligence” caused Floyd’s death.
Chauvin could be convicted of all, some, or none of the charges. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend about 12.5 years in prison for each murder charge and about four years for the manslaughter charge.