April 1 (UPI) — A store clerk testified Wednesday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin that he regrets confronting George Floyd about a possibly counterfeit $20 bill that led to his arrest and eventual death.
Christopher Martin, 19, witnessed Floyd’s arrest on May 25, 2020, and recalled watching in “disbelief’ as Chauvin restrained Floyd. He said he also felt “guilt.”
“I was standing there on the curb, and I was just like, ‘They’re not going to help him. This is what we have to deal with,'” he said.
Martin said he took a video of part of Floyd’s arrest, but later deleted it, and that he believed Floyd was already dead when he left in an ambulance.
“Later on that night, I deleted [the video] because when they picked George up off of the ground, the ambulance went straight onto 38th [Street] instead of going straight on Chicago [Avenue],” he said. “And if you live in south Minneapolis, the easiest way to get to the hospital would have been straight down Chicago. So that to me, kind of made it like clear that he was no longer with us.”
Jurors saw new video footage from Cup Foods, the convenience store where Floyd was taken into custody by police.
Martin became emotional as he testified to seeing Floyd under Chauvin’s knee on the pavement for several minutes.
“George was motionless, limp, and Chauvin seemed very … he was in a resting state, meaning like he just rested his knee on his neck,” he said.
Martin had questioned Floyd about the possibly counterfeit $20 bill that he used to buy cigarettes at the store. He said although he thought the bill was fake, he considered accepting it to avoid a confrontation — but remembered store policy that clerks who took counterfeit bills were required to pay for them later.
Martin added that he spoke to his manager about the bill, who then instructed him to ask Floyd about it. When he did, he was under the impression that Floyd was under the influence of some substance. Police were called a short time later.
Later Wednesday, jurors heard testimony from Charles McMillian, 61, who witnessed Floyd’s arrest and said he tried to encourage Floyd to comply with police. In videos from the scene, McMillian can be heard telling Chauvin to “get your knee off his neck.”
McMillian became emotional after watching a video of the arrest, crying and exclaiming, “oh my God.” The judge ordered a recess after the man began sobbing.
McMillian said that less than a week before Floyd’s death, he saw Chauvin in the neighborhood and spoke with him about treating the people police arrest with humanity.
“In my mind, I said to Mr. Chauvin … five days [ago], I said, ‘Go home to your family and let them go home to their families safe. But today, I look at you as a maggot,'” McMillian said he thought after watching the officers’ treatment of Floyd.
Prosecutors played several videos of Floyd’s arrest from both witnesses and body-worn cameras on the responding officers. Among the videos shown was from the camera worn by Chauvin, which fell to the ground during the arrest.
“We’ve got to control this guy because he’s a sizable guy,” Chauvin can be heard telling McMillian when the bystander confronted him. “It looks like he’s probably on something.
Jurors also heard more testimony from Minneapolis firefighter and emergency medical technician Genevieve Hansen on Wednesday. She’d been on the witness stand Tuesday and said she immediately recognized that Floyd was in medical distress during his arrest.
Apart from an acquittal, Chauvin faces conviction on second- or third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter.