Derek Chauvin trial: Witness says he ‘witnessed a murder’ during compelling testimony

A man who witnessed George Floyd’s death said he believed he had witnessed a murder while delivering testimony on Tuesday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who faces second-degree murder charges.

Donald Williams, a mixed martial artist who called 911 after watching the former police officer press his knee into Mr Floyd’s neck for several minutes, said: “I believe I witnessed a murder. I felt the need to call the police on the police.”

Mr Williams said Mr Floyd appeared to be “going through tremendous pain” as he was detained by Mr Chauvin, adding: “You can see it in his eyes, slowly rolling back in his head and him having his mouth open, wide open, slowly with drool and slobber and dryness on his mouth.”

Read live updates from The Independent on the Derek Chauvin trial

Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on 25 May after Mr Chauvin kneeled on his neck for over nine minutes in an arrest captured on bystander video, which subsequently went viral online and sparked international demonstrations against racism and police brutality. 

Mr Williams, who said he had worked in security and was trained in chokeholds and other techniques as a mixed martial artist, told jurors Mr Chauvin squeezed the life out of Mr Floyd through a “blood choke” that caused him to “slowly fade away” like “a fish in a bag”. 

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“You can see that he’s trying to gasp for air,” Mr Williams said of Mr Floyd, “trying to be able to breathe as he’s down there, trying to move his face side to side, I’m assuming to gasp for more air.”

Mr Williams appeared visibly upset as a recording of his phone call to police was played in court, wiping away tears from his face as he was heard describing what he witnessed occur to Mr Floyd. 

Asked why he made the call, Mr Williams said he believed “it was the right thing to do” and added: “He just pretty much killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest.”

This is a developing story. Check back for more.

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