Prosecutors showed chilling video from police body cameras as Derek Chauvin and other Minneapolis police officers confronted and tried to arrest George Floyd outside the Cup Foods in Minneapolis on May 25.
At least some of the footage from Mr. Chauvin and the three officers who were with him — Thomas Lane, Alex Kueng and Tou Thao — was made available for limited viewing in July, but it was likely to be new to most of the people watching the trial on Wednesday, including jurors.
It shows Mr. Floyd, sitting in the driver’s seat of a car, becoming visibly distraught as soon as officers approach him with weapons drawn, and repeatedly begging the officers not to shoot him. He sobs and screams in terror throughout much of the footage, and at no point does he appear to pose any threat to the officers.
At the beginning of the footage, while Mr. Floyd is still in the driver’s seat, one officer curses at him while ordering him to keep his hands in sight — showing the immediate aggressiveness with which the police acted. As the officers order him to get out of the car, he appears to be scared that they will kill him if he moves; it is at this point that he starts saying, “Don’t shoot me.”
He also says tearfully, “I didn’t know, man,” possibly referring to the accusation that the $20 bill he had used was counterfeit.
As the officers try to push Mr. Floyd into the back seat of a police vehicle, the footage shows him screaming and saying repeatedly that he is claustrophobic and scared.
It also underscores the nonchalance with which Mr. Chauvin responded to Mr. Floyd’s obvious distress. As Mr. Floyd begs for his life and says he can’t breathe, the officer says, “Takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to say that.” When another officer says he can’t find Mr. Floyd’s pulse, Mr. Chauvin says simply, “Uh-huh.”
The videos — introduced during testimony by Lt. Jeff Rugel, a body camera expert, who explained how the Minneapolis Police Department’s body cameras worked and verified the legitimacy of the footage — provide additional, horrifying perspectives on events that the public has previously seen from one or two angles.
In all of them, one of the things that stands out most is the depth of Mr. Floyd’s terror as he begs for his life, again and again, for minute after agonizing minute.
“Please! Please! Please!” he screams between sobs. “Mama! Mama! Mama!”
“Mom, I love you,” he says at one point, and then: “Please. I can’t breathe.”
His voice becomes quieter and quieter as he loses consciousness.
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