Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2314 GMT (0714 HKT) March 30, 2021
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10:21 a.m. ET, March 30, 2021

NOW: Chauvin trial resumes with witness who saw Floyd's death

From CNN's Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper

Pool
Pool

The second day of Derek Chauvin's trial in George Floyd's death just began. There will be further questioning of a professional mixed martial arts fighter who stumbled onto the scene of the 46-year-old Black man's final moments.

Donald Wynn Williams II began testifying Monday as the third witness in the trial. Relying on his own MMA experience, he said that Chauvin performed a "blood choke" on Floyd and adjusted his positioning several times to maintain pressure on Floyd's neck.

He testified he watched Floyd gasp for air, his eyes roll to the back of his head and blood start to come out of his nose.

His testimony was abruptly cut off Monday because of a technological issue.

The opening statements in Chauvin's trial yesterday came 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.

10:09 a.m. ET, March 30, 2021

Chauvin trial could resume as early as 10:15 a.m. ET 

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper

The trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the death of George Floyd is set to resume this morning. 

We expect the jury to enter the courtroom between 10:15 a.m ET and 10:30 a.m. ET (9:15-9:30am local) to continue receiving testimony. 

Direct examination of the third witness, Donald Williams II, will continue today. His testimony was abruptly cut off Monday because of a technological issue.

More on the trial: Chauvin knelt on 46-year-old Floyd’s neck May 25 as Floyd told Chauvin and three other officers he couldn't breathe.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

This is the 14th day of the trial and the second day of testimony.

10:10 a.m. ET, March 30, 2021

Day 2 of testimony in Derek Chauvin's trial starts soon. Here's what we know about the death of George Floyd.

A poster with George Floyd's picture hangs from a security fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 30 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
A poster with George Floyd's picture hangs from a security fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 30 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

The murder trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin will continue today with further questioning of witnesses.

Chauvin faces of second-degree unintentional murder, second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder for the May 2020 death of George Floyd.

Here's a recap of the case that spurred widespread protests against police brutality and racism:

  • May 25: Floyd, 46, died after pleading for help as Chauvin kneeled on Flloyd’s neck to pin him – unarmed and handcuffed – to the ground. Floyd had been arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit bill at a convenience store, police have said.
  • May 26: It is announced that four Minneapolis police officers have been fired for their involvement in the death of Floyd.
  • May 27: Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the Minnesota National Guard after protests and demonstrations erupt throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • Also on May 27: Surveillance video from outside a Minneapolis restaurant was released and appears to contradict police claims that Floyd resisted arrest before an officer knelt on his neck.
  • May 28 to 29: Several buildings were damaged and the Minneapolis police department’s Third Precinct was set ablaze during protests.
  • May 29: Chauvin is arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
  • June 3: Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder for the three previously uncharged officers.
  • July 15: Floyd’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and the police officers involved in his death.
  • October 21: A Hennepin County judge drops the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin (This charge would later be reinstated due to an appeals court ruling.)
  • March 12: The Minneapolis city council unanimously voted to approve a $27 million settlement with Floyd’s family.

8:57 a.m. ET, March 30, 2021

Philonise Floyd: Derek Chauvin's team is trying to assassinate George Floyd's character

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, speaks alongside attorney Ben Crump, left, and Brandon Williams, nephew of George Floyd, right, during a news conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 29 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, speaks alongside attorney Ben Crump, left, and Brandon Williams, nephew of George Floyd, right, during a news conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center on March 29 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Brandon Bell/Getty Images

George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd said the former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin's legal defense team is “trying to assassinate" his brother's character.

“He's fighting for his life, just like I'm fighting for my brother's life. We have seen the video. We have facts. They are in there trying to assassinate his character. When you don't have facts, that's what you have to do,” he told CNN.

Describing the first day of Chauvin’s trial as an “emotional roller coaster,” Floyd said he didn’t know that the former police officer knelt on his brother for nine minutes and 29 seconds.

The video, every time I watched it, I only just hear eight minutes and 46 seconds. I never try to watch the entire video. It's not something that you want to watch — your brother tortured and screaming and asking for our mom and saying ‘tell my kids I love them. I can't breathe.’”

He added:

“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. 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,” he said Tuesday.

WATCH:

8:32 a.m. ET, March 30, 2021

Family attendance at Derek Chauvin's trial is very limited. Here's why.

From CNN's Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper

Only one member of George Floyd's family will be allowed to attend the trial in a Minneapolis courtroom because of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, a judge ruled in the case.

The same restriction applies to the family of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd's death. For each family, a different family member can rotate through that in-court position with appropriate credentials, Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter Cahill wrote in the ruling.

Floyd family attorneys Benjamin Crump and Antonio Romanucci said the family was disappointed by the ruling.

"This has been a deeply painful and emotional year for every member of the Floyd family, many of whom intended to be in the courtroom to witness this trial," they said in a statement. "While they understand the judge's reasons to limit attendance in the courtroom, the family is understandably disappointed by this ruling.
"The family is looking forward to the start of the trial as a critical milestone on the path to justice and a step toward closure in this dark chapter of their lives."

Read more about the judge's ruling here.

8:43 a.m. ET, March 30, 2021

Here's what happened on the first day of Chauvin's trial

Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen during pre-trial motions on March 29 in the trial of Chauvin at Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen during pre-trial motions on March 29 in the trial of Chauvin at Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Court TV/Pool/AP

Jurors heard opening statements and testimony from three prosecution witnesses during the first day of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin's trial in the death of George Floyd.

If you're just reading in, here's what you need to know about the first trial day:

  • 9 minutes and 29 seconds: In both opening statements, attorneys referenced the 9 minutes and 29 seconds, Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck — correcting the 8:46 timing that has become a symbol of police brutality. Prosecuting attorney Jerry Blackwell repeatedly emphasized the new 9:29 timing, telling jurors they were the "three most important numbers in this case." He broke down the timing of Chauvin's kneeling into three sections: 4 minutes and 45 seconds as Floyd cried out for help, 53 seconds as Floyd's flailed due to seizures and 3 minutes and 51 seconds as Floyd was non-responsive.
  • Minneapolis 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry said she dispatched Chauvin and other officers to Cup Foods the day Floyd died. Scurry told prosecutor Matthew Frank she has not changed her mind about seeing potential excessive force which motivated her to call a police sergeant. Earlier in her testimony, Scurry said that while watching footage of the arrest and Floyd on the ground, her instincts were telling her "that something's wrong, something is not right."
  • Witness Alisha Oyler said she shot seven video clips of Floyd’s arrest on her cell phone. She was working the cash register at a Speedway, located across the street from where the arrest took place. She told prosecutor Steve Schleicher that Floyd was not resisting when officers brought him across the street
  • Witness Donald Wynn Williams II testified that he witnessed Floyd’s death, and watched Floyd gasping for air, his eyes roll to the back of his head, and blood start to come out of his nose. Williams, who said he is trained in mixed martial arts, testified that he saw Chauvin use a move called a “blood choke.”

Reporting from CNN's Eric Levenson and Aaron Cooper contributed to this post.

HLN's Mike Galanos and CNN's Omar Jimenez recap day 1 of the trial and offer a preview of what is to come today:

12:12 p.m. ET, March 30, 2021

Witness testimony continues today in Derek Chauvin's trial

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper in Minneapolis

Witness Donald Wynn Williams II will resume his testimony today after a “major technical glitch” interrupted a video feed to other rooms in the courthouse where family members were watching.

Williams testified yesterday that he witnessed George Floyd’s death, and that he saw Chauvin use a move called a “blood choke.”

He testified that he has experience with chokeholds. Williams said he was a high school and college wrestler who pursued mixed martial arts, and had also worked with police officers in his security job. He said he trained with them in mixed martial arts at a gym.  

Williams, who was shown a bystander video during his testimony, said it appeared that Chauvin was trying to “shimmy” his knee to make the hold tighter.

“Every time his shoulders move, he is pushing that pressure down on his neck,” Williams testified.

He testified that he watched Floyd gasping for air, his eyes roll to the back of his head, and blood start to come out of his nose.