What to Watch For on Day 4 of Derek Chauvin’s Trial

George Floyd’s final hours are being reconstructed with the help of new video footage from inside Cup Foods and testimony from those who watched the police detain him.,

LiveUpdated April 1, 2021, 9:29 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 9:29 a.m. ET

Mr. Floyd’s final hours are being reconstructed with the help of new video footage from inside Cup Foods and testimony from those who watched the police detain him.

ImageDerek Chauvin's trial is taking place inside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
Derek Chauvin’s trial is taking place inside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.Credit…Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
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April 1, 2021, 3:14 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 3:14 a.m. ET
In this image from police bodycam video, Minneapolis officers began removing George Floyd from his vehicle in May.
In this image from police bodycam video, Minneapolis officers began removing George Floyd from his vehicle in May.Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press

Jurors will enter the fourth day of proceedings in the Derek Chauvin trial on Thursday with a newfound understanding of what happened on the day George Floyd died, thanks to camera footage and witness testimony that laid out his actions moment by moment.

Before Wednesday’s testimony, the jury had not heard such a thorough retelling, from inside the corner store where Mr. Floyd bought cigarettes to his time pinned on the pavement to when he was carried away on a stretcher. For the first time, jurors saw footage from the body camera of Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing Mr. Floyd.

Altogether, the videos from within Cup Foods and officers’ body cameras provided a fuller picture of Mr. Floyd in his final hours. In the store, he chatted and laughed with other customers. After he bought cigarettes — with what the cashier thought was a fake $20 bill — he left without incident.

But when the first officers arrived, things escalated almost immediately. What may have been a petty crime turned into a life-or-death situation. Jurors watched as an officer approached Mr. Floyd with his pistol raised, and as he reacted with dread. “Please, don’t shoot me,” he said.

Throughout the arrest, Mr. Floyd appeared to be terrified — of the pistol, of the claustrophobic sensation of being shoved in a police cruiser, of Mr. Chauvin’s restrictive kneehold.

Remembering the events of May 25, Charles McMillian began to sob during his testimony. “I can’t help but feel helpless,” said Mr. McMillian, who saw Mr. Floyd being arrested and spoke with Mr. Chauvin afterward.

It is unclear how the jarring testimonies this week will affect the jurors. But the scope of Mr. Floyd’s death is clear: Nearly everyone who watched him struggle seems to have been shaken to their core, from sheer trauma or from feelings of guilt and powerlessness.

The prosecution has so far focused on the shared suffering of witnesses, reinforced by graphic videos from many angles. During the testimony of the store clerk who accepted Mr. Floyd’s $20 bill, one of the jurors fell ill. The proceedings were halted for 20 minutes, with the judge calling her illness a “stress-related reaction.”

The juror, a white woman in her 50s, said of Mr. Floyd during the jury selection, “He didn’t deserve to die.”

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March 31, 2021, 7:04 p.m. ETMarch 31, 2021, 7:04 p.m. ET

The New York Times

On Day 3 of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd, people across Minneapolis kept track of the proceedings on television and on their phones. The trial drew protesters outside the courthouse on Wednesday.

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March 31, 2021, 6:27 p.m. ETMarch 31, 2021, 6:27 p.m. ET
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Chauvin Trial: Day 3 Key Moments

On the third day of the Derek Chauvin trial, the jury learned more about what had happened inside Cup Foods before the police were called, and body camera footage from the officers was presented.

“Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, and nothing but the truth?” “I do.” “Have a seat.” “Please. Thank you. And so when we’re looking, I’m going to have you identify this individual here –” “George Floyd.” “And that’s Mr. Floyd, who you had the conversation with.” “Correct.” “All right. And then this individual right in here. Who’s that?” “That’s me.” “All right.” “Can you describe for the jurors, you know, generally what his demeanor was like — what was his condition like?” “So when I asked him if he played baseball, he went on to respond to that. But it kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say. So it would appear that he was high.” “So you just had some signs that you thought he was under the influence of something?” “Yes.” “All right. But were you able to carry on at least some conversation with him?” “Yes.” “And did you eventually sell him something?” “Yes.” “That was what?” “The cigarette.” “Now, freeze it here. I’m sorry, I said I was going to let it run, but we saw you holding something up. Can you describe it? And again, for the record, this is 7:45:10 — describe for the jurors what you were doing there.” “I was holding up the $20 bill that I just received.” “And is that something you always do or something about this?” “No, when I saw the bill, I noticed that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of how a $100 bill would have. And I found that odd. So I assumed that it was fake.” “I know this is difficult. Can you just explain sort of what you’re feeling in this moment?” “I can’t. I feel helpless. I don’t have a mama either, but I understand him …” [sobbing] “Let’s see your hands. Stay in the car. Let me see your other hand.” “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” “Let me see your other hand.” “Please, please …” “Both hands.” “Put your hands up right now.” “Let me see your other hand.” “What’d I do, though?” “Put your hand up there. Put your hand up there. Keep your hands on the wheel. Hands on the wheel. Step out and face away.” “Please don’t shoot me.” Please don’t shoot me, man.” “Step out and face away.” “Can you not shoot me, man?” “I’m not shooting. Step out and face away.” “OK, OK. Please …” “You can’t win.” “I’m not trying to win.” “Don’t get in a car. Don’t do me like that, man. OK, can I talk to you, please?”

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On the third day of the Derek Chauvin trial, the jury learned more about what had happened inside Cup Foods before the police were called, and body camera footage from the officers was presented.CreditCredit…Still Image, via Court TV

The grief and guilt of witnesses have been center stage throughout the first three days of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. On Wednesday, the judge temporarily halted the proceedings after a 61-year-old witness broke down in sobs as he recounted his memory of Mr. Floyd’s arrest.

The witness, Charles McMillian, was among several who have spoken through tears on the witness stand. Jurors also heard on Wednesday from Christopher Martin, the 19-year-old Cup Foods employee who first confronted Mr. Floyd about the apparently fake $20 bill that he used to buy cigarettes. Here are Wednesday’s highlights.

  • If there were any doubts that witnesses of Mr. Floyd’s arrest have been traumatized by what they saw, those suspicions were dispelled on Wednesday. A major focal point of the trial so far has been the scars that the events of May 25 have left on those who were there. The prosecution has used their stories — and the raw emotion that has come with them — to underscore the case they are building against Mr. Chauvin through videos of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. Witnesses have repeatedly said that they believed that Mr. Floyd was in grave danger. And they have shared feelings of helplessness. It is almost always a crime to interfere with officers as they make an arrest, and several witnesses testified that they have struggled with being stuck just feet away from a man who they knew was dying, with no way to help.

  • The testimony of Mr. Martin, the Cup Foods cashier, gave jurors, for the first time, a clearer understanding of what happened in the store before Mr. Floyd’s arrest. Video footage from the store showed Mr. Floyd walking around and chatting with other shoppers before buying cigarettes. Mr. Martin said he quickly recognized that Mr. Floyd’s $20 bill appeared to be fake. At the urging of his boss, Mr. Martin went outside and asked Mr. Floyd to pay or to come in and talk to the manager. Mr. Floyd refused, and eventually a manager asked another employee to call the police.

  • Mr. Martin told the court that he felt “disbelief and guilt” when he saw Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd. He had initially planned to replace the fake $20 bill with a real one of his own, but then changed his mind and told the manager what happened. Had he not taken the bill from Mr. Floyd in the first place, “this could have been avoided,” he said.

  • Jurors also watched the arrest from the perspective of the police officers’ body cameras. The footage showed officers confronting Mr. Floyd with their weapons drawn as he sat in a car. “Please don’t shoot me,” Mr. Floyd said, crying. Later, officers struggled to put a distressed Mr. Floyd in the back of a police vehicle. Mr. Floyd told them repeatedly that he was claustrophobic and scared, and officers continued to try to force him into the cruiser. Though Mr. Floyd was clearly distraught, he never appeared to pose a threat to the officers. As they pinned him to the ground next to the vehicle, the body cameras captured the words that reverberated around the world last summer: “I can’t breathe.” After a few minutes, Mr. Floyd went silent. “I think he’s passed out,” one officer said. When another officer told Mr. Chauvin that he couldn’t find Mr. Floyd’s pulse, Mr. Chauvin appeared unmoved.

  • With the body camera footage, the jurors are seeing the arrest of Mr. Floyd from every possible angle. Videos from the viewpoint of the officers are particularly jarring. From the beginning of the interaction, Mr. Floyd appeared not as a threat, but as someone who was scared and helpless. It also shows that officers took no action to address Mr. Floyd’s medical condition as he went limp.

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March 30, 2021, 1:08 p.m. ETMarch 30, 2021, 1:08 p.m. ET
Protestors passed Minneapolis City Hall on Monday on the way to the Hennepin County Government Center, where the Derek Chauvin trial was beginning.
Protestors passed Minneapolis City Hall on Monday on the way to the Hennepin County Government Center, where the Derek Chauvin trial was beginning.Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

The 12-person jury in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin was selected from an original pool of more than 300 people from across Hennepin County. Over three weeks of jury selection, anonymous citizens sat one at a time on the witness stand and answered questions from the lawyers and judge about the political views and ability (or inability) to be impartial in the case.

Here are the jurors in the trial. After the two sides present their cases, 12 of the jurors will begin deliberations. Two others are alternates.

Juror No. 2 A white man in his 20s who works as a chemist and said he had not seen the bystander video and had strong views that the criminal justice system is biased against minorities.

Juror No. 9 A woman in her 20s who identifies as mixed race. She has an uncle who is a police officer and said she wanted to be on the jury.

Juror No. 19 A white man in his 30s who works as a financial auditor. He has a friend in the Minneapolis Police Department and said that George Floyd being under the influence of drugs shouldn’t be a factor in the case.

Juror No. 27 A Black man in his 30s, who immigrated to the United States 14 years ago and works in information technology. He disagreed with defunding the police and told his wife that Mr. Floyd “could have been me.”

Juror No. 44 A white woman in her 50s who is a health care executive. She said Mr. Floyd’s death awakened her to “white privilege.”

Juror No. 52 A Black man in his 30s who writes poems and coaches youth sports. He said he did not believe Mr. Chauvin intended to kill Mr. Floyd but wondered why the other three officers did not intervene.

Juror No. 55 A white woman in her 50s who took up motorcycle riding to honor her late husband. She said she had never watched the full bystander video because it disturbed her.

Juror No. 79 A Black man in his 40s who lives in the suburbs and said last year’s protests had no impact on his community.

Juror No. 85 A woman in her 40s who identifies as multiracial and works as a corporate consultant.

Juror No. 89 A white woman in her 50s who is a nurse and has worked with Covid-19 patients.

Juror No. 91 A Black woman in her 60s who is a grandmother. Asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, she said, “I am Black, and my life matters.”

Juror No. 92 A white woman in her 40s who works in the insurance industry. She said Mr. Floyd did not deserve to die and that the officers used excessive force.

Juror No. 96 A white woman in her 50s who volunteers at homeless shelters. She said she had a “neutral” opinion of Mr. Floyd.

Juror No. 118 A white woman in her 20s who is a social worker and recently married.

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March 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ETMarch 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ET
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How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody

The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

It’s a Monday evening in Minneapolis. Police respond to a call about a man who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Seventeen minutes later, the man they are there to investigate lies motionless on the ground, and is pronounced dead shortly after. The man was 46-year-old George Floyd, a bouncer originally from Houston who had lost his job at a restaurant when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Crowd: “No justice, no peace.” Floyd’s death triggered major protests in Minneapolis, and sparked rage across the country. One of the officers involved, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. The Times analyzed bystander videos, security camera footage and police scanner audio, spoke to witnesses and experts, and reviewed documents released by the authorities to build as comprehensive a picture as possible and better understand how George Floyd died in police custody. The events of May 25 begin here. Floyd is sitting in the driver’s seat of this blue S.U.V. Across the street is a convenience store called Cup Foods. Footage from this restaurant security camera helps us understand what happens next. Note that the timestamp on the camera is 24 minutes fast. At 7:57 p.m., two employees from Cup Foods confront Floyd and his companions about an alleged counterfeit bill he just used in their store to buy cigarettes. They demand the cigarettes back but walk away empty-handed. Four minutes later, they call the police. According to the 911 transcript, an employee says that Floyd used fake bills to buy cigarettes, and that he is “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.” Soon, the first police vehicle arrives on the scene. Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng step out of the car and approach the blue S.U.V. Seconds later, Lane pulls his gun. We don’t know exactly why. He orders Floyd to put his hands on the wheel. Lane reholsters the gun, and after about 90 seconds of back and forth, yanks Floyd out of the S.U.V. A man is filming the confrontation from a car parked behind them. The officers cuff Floyd’s hands behind his back. And Kueng walks him to the restaurant wall. “All right, what’s your name?” From the 911 transcript and the footage, we now know three important facts: First, that the police believed they were responding to a man who was drunk and out of control. But second, even though the police were expecting this situation, we can see that Floyd has not acted violently. And third, that he seems to already be in distress. Six minutes into the arrest, the two officers move Floyd back to their vehicle. As the officers approach their car, we can see Floyd fall to the ground. According to the criminal complaints filed against the officers, Floyd says he is claustrophobic and refuses to enter the police car. During the struggle, Floyd appears to turn his head to address the officers multiple times. According to the complaints, he tells them he can’t breathe. Nine minutes into the arrest, the third and final police car arrives on the scene. It’s carrying officers Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin. Both have previous records of complaints brought against them. Thao was once sued for throwing a man to the ground and hitting him. Chauvin has been involved in three police shootings, one of them fatal. Chauvin becomes involved in the struggle to get Floyd into the car. Security camera footage from Cup Foods shows Kueng struggling with Floyd in the backseat while Thao watches. Chauvin pulls him through the back seat and onto the street. We don’t know why. Floyd is now lying on the pavement, face down. That’s when two witnesses begin filming, almost simultaneously. The footage from the first witness shows us that all four officers are now gathered around Floyd. It’s the first moment when we can clearly see that Floyd is face down on the ground, with three officers applying pressure to his neck, torso and legs. At 8:20 p.m., we hear Floyd’s voice for the first time. The video stops when Lane appears to tell the person filming to walk away. “Get off to the sidewalk, please. One side or the other, please.” The officers radio a Code 2, a call for non-emergency medical assistance, reporting an injury to Floyd’s mouth. In the background, we can hear Floyd struggling. The call is quickly upgraded to a Code 3, a call for emergency medical assistance. By now another bystander, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, is filming from a different angle. Her footage shows that despite calls for medical help, Chauvin keeps Floyd pinned down for another seven minutes. We can’t see whether Kueng and Lane are still applying pressure. Floyd: [gasping] Officer: “What do you want?” Bystander: “I’ve been –” Floyd: [gasping] In the two videos, Floyd can be heard telling officers that he can’t breathe at least 16 times in less than five minutes. Bystander: “You having fun?” But Chauvin never takes his knee off of Floyd, even as his eyes close and he appears to go unconscious. Bystander: “Bro.” According to medical and policing experts, these four police officers are committing a series of actions that violate policies, and in this case, turn fatal. They’ve kept Floyd lying face down, applying pressure for at least five minutes. This combined action is likely compressing his chest and making it impossible to breathe. Chauvin is pushing his knee into Floyd’s neck, a move banned by most police departments. Minneapolis Police Department policy states an officer can only do this if someone is, quote, “actively resisting.” And even though the officers call for medical assistance, they take no action to treat Floyd on their own while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Officer: “Get back on the sidewalk.” According to the complaints against the officers, Lane asks him twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side. Chauvin says no. Twenty minutes into the arrest, an ambulance arrives on the scene. Bystander: “Get off of his neck!” Bystander: “He’s still on him?” The E.M.T.s check Floyd’s pulse. Bystander: “Are you serious?” Chauvin keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost another whole minute, even though Floyd appears completely unresponsive. He only gets off once the E.M.T.s tell him to. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, according to our review of the video evidence. Floyd is loaded into the ambulance. The ambulance leaves the scene, possibly because a crowd is forming. But the E.M.T.s call for additional medical help from the fire department. But when the engine arrives, the officers give them, quote, “no clear info on Floyd or his whereabouts,” according to a fire department incident report. This delays their ability to help the paramedics. Meanwhile, Floyd is going into cardiac arrest. It takes the engine five minutes to reach Floyd in the ambulance. He’s pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 9:25 p.m. Preliminary autopsies conducted by the state and Floyd’s family both ruled his death a homicide. The widely circulated arrest videos don’t paint the entire picture of what happened to George Floyd. Crowd: “Floyd! Floyd!” Additional video and audio from the body cameras of the key officers would reveal more about why the struggle began and how it escalated. The city quickly fired all four officers. And Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting murder. But outrage over George Floyd’s death has only spread further and further across the United States.

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The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 to report that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

By combining videos from bystanders and security cameras, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Mr. Floyd’s death. Our video shows officers taking a series of actions that violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and turned fatal, leaving Mr. Floyd unable to breathe, even as he and onlookers called out for help.

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March 29, 2021, 8:15 a.m. ETMarch 29, 2021, 8:15 a.m. ET
The Derek Chauvin trial plays on a television at a gym in Georgia on Monday.
The Derek Chauvin trial plays on a television at a gym in Georgia on Monday.Credit…Nicole Craine for The New York Times

The trial of Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd is unusual for many reasons: It is being livestreamed from Minneapolis, attendance is severely limited because of the coronavirus, and the public’s interest in the case may make this one of the highest-profile trials in recent memory.

The trial can be watched on nytimes.com, via a livestream provided by Court TV, which is also airing the trial in full. Witness testimony and lawyers’ presentation of evidence should last several weeks before the jury begins to deliberate over the verdict.

Among the people allowed in the courtroom, on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center, are the judge, jurors, witnesses, court staff, lawyers, Mr. Chauvin, and only a handful of spectators. The judge, Peter A. Cahill, wrote in an order on March 1 that only one member of Mr. Floyd’s family and one member of Mr. Chauvin’s family would be allowed in the room at any time. Two seats are reserved for reporters, and various journalists, including from The New York Times, are rotating throughout the trial.

The lawyers, spectators, jurors and witnesses are required to wear masks when they are not speaking. Spectators are prohibited from having any visible images, logos, letters or numbers on their masks or clothing, according to Judge Cahill’s order.

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