A witness testified on Tuesday that he called 911 to report the actions of then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin after he watched him kneel on George Floyd’s neck.
Donald Williams II, the MMA-trained fighter who on Monday testified that Chauvin had used a “blood choke” on Floyd, became visibly emotional as the court listened to the 911 he placed following the fatal incident. Williams said on the stand that he “called the police on the police” as he “believe[d] he witnessed a murder.”
“You could see he was in tremendous pain,” Williams said of Floyd during his testimony, according to Fox News. “You could see that he was trying to gasp for air, and trying to be able to breathe as he’s down there. Trying to move his face side to side to…I’m assuming, gasp for more air.”
Williams reportedly told the 911 dispatcher that then-Minneapolis police officer Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even as Floyd was handcuffed and was not resisting arrest. Williams is also heard during the phone call declaring the police officers were “murderers.”
Conversely, lead defense attorney Eric Nelson questioned Williams about his use of language and demeanor during Floyd’s arrest. At one point, Nelson Williams whether he called Chauvin “bums” in addition to other expletives.
On Monday, the defense argued that an unruly — and purportedly threatening — crowd prevented responding officers from tending to Floyd during the May 2020 arrest that ended with his death.
“I stayed in my body. You can’t paint me out to be angry,” Williams told Nelson during a contentious exchange.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 44, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
Floyd was heard gasping for air and saying he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and died.
While Hennepin County’s autopsy report stated that there was no evidence “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation,” an independent autopsy asserted that sustained forceful pressure on Floyd’s neck and back led to his death. Both reports mentioned drugs in Floyd’s system but concluded his death was a homicide.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death. In addition to Chauvin, three other ex-officers, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.
Chauvin is being tried separately from the other three former officers, who will stand trial together. Their trial is scheduled to begin this summer.