Photo: Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office/Benjamin Crump
  /  03.29.2021

Day one of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial has officially wrapped up.

Multiple witnesses took the stand on Monday (March 29), including Donald Williams, a professional mixed martial arts fighter. He was heard on video criticizing the former Minneapolis cops for the way they mishandled George Floyd. Williams said he was walking around the corner near the Cup Foods store when he heard the commotion.

The MMA fighter then saw Floyd on the ground as Chauvin knelt on him. He said Floyd “was speaking in a distressed way” by the time he got there. Williams also said that the victim was in pain and called out for his mom.

“His breathing was getting tremendously heavy,” Williams said, adding that it was obvious that he was struggling to catch his breath.

“I watched the position 1) of where the position of the knee was on the neck, 2) what body movements was going on while the knee was on the neck and 3) what was the condition of George Floyd as he was going through this torture,” he testified. “I felt the officer on top was shimmying to actually get the final choke in while he was on top.”

“Sometimes you could get in a blood choke and not know you’re in a blood choke until you’re unconscious,” Williams added.

Williams said he was “pissed off” that Tou Thao, another officer who was at the scene, blamed drugs for the way Floyd reacted to the restraint, saying, “This is what drugs do to you.”

Chauvin is facing charges of manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder. Monday’s proceedings ended abruptly when a “major technical glitch” hindered a video feed to other rooms in the courthouse where family members were viewing. Williams will resume his testimony on Tuesday (March 30) at 9:30 a.m. CT.


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