The Minneapolis police chief testifies against a former officer charged with George Floyd's homicide.
It was a remarkable occurrence: the head of a police force testifying against a subordinate.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin that the cop used unnecessary force and violated department policies when he pinned George Floyd under his knee for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
“Once Mr. Floyd ceased resisting, and definitely once he expressed his distress verbally, it should have ended,” he told jurors.
He testified that continuing to apply pressure to Floyd's neck after his body went limp — as Chauvin did May 25 in front of a crowd of onlookers — was "in no way, shape, or form" a part of his training, and definitely not a part of his ethics or principles.
Arradondo shot Chauvin a day after Floyd's murder, which was videotaped, igniting a global protest movement against a long history of police violence against Black men.
The chief's measured, professional tone contrasted with the dramatic, at times wrenching testimony used by prosecutors during the first week of the trial to build rapport with jurors and lay the groundwork for their case against Chauvin, who is also charged with manslaughter.
These witnesses, who ranged in age from nine to sixty-one, appeared traumatized by Floyd's death and characterized his care as clearly false.
Darnella Frazier was one of them. She was 17 when she shot the cellphone video that went viral and brought the case to the world's attention.
On the witness stand ten months later, she seemed distraught about what she had seen.
She testified that she lays awake at night contemplating that evening — what she saw and whether she should have intervened more forcefully.
“I stayed up all night apologizing and making amends to George Floyd for not doing more,” she cried.
However, she claimed that the ultimate fault lies with Chauvin: "It is not what I should have done." That is precisely what he should have done.”
Christopher Martin, the Cup Foods convenience store clerk who suspected something was wrong with the $20 bill Floyd handed him to pay for cigarettes, testified before jurors that he couldn't shake the feeling that he had inadvertently set off a horrific chain of events.
Another clerk called the cops, and Martin was soon standing outside the shop, handcuffed and with Chauvin's knee on his stomach, looking on in "disbelief and shame."
“This could have been prevented if I had just refused to take the bill,” Martin testified.
He ceased employment at the store and stated that he avoids the town.
Charles McMillian, another witness, was driving around the intersection and saw police confronting Floyd. He testified that he pulled his van to the side of the road and exited to assess the situation more closely.
McMillian was seen on video pleading with Floyd to get into the police car.
“I am immobile,” Floyd said. He called out moments later, "Momma! Momma!"
McMillian shook his head, sobbed, and exclaimed, "Oh, my God," while testifying.
“I feel powerless,” he explained. “I, too, am without a mother. I comprehend him.”
Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter out for a walk in the area that evening, testified that she has been plagued for months by thoughts that she waited too long to call 911 and did not do enough to support Floyd.
“I should have immediately called 911, but I didn't,” she testified to jurors.
Chauvin seemed "very at ease with the majority of his weight balanced atop Mr. Floyd," she said.
“I immediately identified myself because I noticed he needed medical attention,” she explained. “It didn't take long for me to realize he was experiencing an altered state of consciousness.”
However, she was never given the opportunity to assist.
“There is a man being murdered, and I would have been capable of offering medical care to the best of my ability, but this human was denied the right,” she clarified.
Bystander testimony laid the groundwork for police officers to testify, defying a long-standing tradition of the so-called blue wall of silence.
Along with Arradondo, the city's first African-American chief, jurors heard Friday from many Minneapolis police officers who blasted Chauvin's tactics as reckless and unnecessary.
Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman, a career homicide detective, called Chauvin's use of force "absolutely needless."
“To begin, dragging him facedown to the ground and putting your knee on his neck for that length of time is simply uncalled for,” he said. “I saw no reason why the officers felt threatened, if that was their interpretation. And that is the emotion they will have to have in order to use that amount of force.”
Additionally, on Monday, jurors heard from an emergency room physician who ruled Floyd deceased.
Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld testified that Floyd arrived without a "reasonable pulse to support life" and that he attempted to save him for 30 minutes.
He said that he believed Floyd died of a lack of oxygen, which corroborated the prosecution's claim that Chauvin asphyxiated him. However, when questioned by defense attorney Eric Nelson, the doctor admitted that asphyxia could be caused by a variety of factors, including substance use.
Chauvin's defense, which will argue its case after the prosecution's conclusion, is expected to argue that Floyd died of a drug overdose. His body was toxicology tested and fentanyl and methamphetamine were discovered.
The trial is planned to last approximately one month.