The teenager who took the viral video of George Floyd’s death told the trial on Tuesday, 30, March, of the white police officer charged with killing the 46-year-old Black man that she regrets not being able to save his life.
Darnella Frazier, 18, was among the witnesses who provided emotional testimony on Tuesday at the high-profile trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Chauvin, 44, is charged with murder and manslaughter for his role in Floyd’s May 25, 2020 death, which was captured on video by Frazier and seen by millions, sparking anti-racism protests around the globe.
In the stomach-churning video, Chauvin is seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the handcuffed Floyd complains that he can’t breathe and eventually falls unconscious.
“I have a black father. I have a black brother, that could have been one of them,” Frazier told the court with tears running down her face.
“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” she said.
At the same time, “it’s not what I should have done it’s what he should have done,” Frazier added in a reference to Chauvin, who was seated at the defence table.
Frazier described Floyd as scared, terrified and begging for his life.
“It wasn’t right, he was suffering, he was in pain, I knew it was wrong. We all knew it was wrong,” she said.
Another witness on Tuesday said he made an emergency 911 call right after watching Floyd’s death to report a “murder.”
Donald Williams, 33, recounted how he pleaded with officers on the scene to render assistance to Floyd, who was being arrested for allegedly passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
Williams, a mixed martial arts instructor, said Floyd was already in danger when he arrived on the scene.
“You could see that he was trying to gasp for air, trying to breathe, you could see his eyes slowly rolling back in his head,” he said.
Williams said Floyd was being held by Chauvin in a “blood choke” used in wrestling or martial arts and he saw him lose consciousness.
After an unconscious Floyd was taken away in an ambulance, Williams said he made the 911 call.
“I believed I witnessed a murder, I didn’t know what else to do,” Williams told the court.
Portions of his 911 call were played in the courtroom.
Prosecutors are seeking to demonstrate that Chauvin had no justification for using a dangerous hold on Floyd that led to his death.
Chauvin’s attorney countered on Monday that Floyd was on drugs and his death was caused by the drugs and a medical condition rather than asphyxiation.
“You will learn that Derek Chauvin did exactly what he had been trained to do,” Nelson said.
Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the police force, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge of second-degree murder.
The trial is drawing worldwide attention and the White House said Monday that President Joe Biden will be among those watching closely.