On May 25 last year, George Floyd was in a good mood. Before the video showing him agonizing with three policemen on him, the African American bought cigarettes with a supposedly fake $ 20 bill at the Cup Foods store in southern Minneapolis. There he moved with ease and seemed sociable. Once inside his car, with a pistol pointing at his head, an agent orders him to get out, and Floyd, terrified, replies, “Don’t shoot me.” On the third day of the trial against ex-agent Derek Chauvin, accused of murdering the man who became a symbol of the anti-racism movement in the United States, the images recorded inside the store and the cameras attached to the cameras were presented to the public for the first time. police uniforms, which will allow the jury to understand the context that led to the brutal eight minutes and 46 seconds during which Floyd was asphyxiated, until his heart stopped.
Christopher Martin, 19, worked as a cashier at Cup Foods on the day of the crime. In his testimony, released Wednesday in the Hennepin County Courthouse, which covers Minneapolis, he said he immediately noticed that the $ 20 bill used by Floyd in his purchase could be false. Following the establishment’s policy, Martin would suffer a discount on his salary if he accepted counterfeit money, but he still received it. “I thought George didn’t really know it was a fake note, so I thought I was doing him a favor,” said Martin to Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson. After the transaction, his boss told him to go after Floyd in his car and ask him to go back to the store to clear up the matter. The 46-year-old African-American and father of five children refused to return. The owner of Cup Foods again sent his employee to pick him up, but it didn’t work, and then asked them to call the police.
The young man reported that he witnessed “incredulity” as Agent Chauvin dug his knee into Floyd’s neck and felt “guilty” for it. “If I had simply not accepted the note, this could have been avoided,” lamented Martin, adding to the narrative of witnesses to the fact, tormented that they had done nothing to avoid the arrest that ended in Floyd’s death. So far, the 14 members of the jury – of which 12 will deliberate – had seen the case only from the perspective of passersby who recorded the assault with their cell phones, but on Wednesday afternoon they were able to observe the episode that triggered the murder and with the eyes of the police involved, thanks to the videos from the cameras built into their uniforms.
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These images show the policemen’s aggressiveness as soon as their interaction with Floyd, who was sitting in his car, was visibly nervous. With a pistol pointed at him, Floyd pleads with the police not to do anything to him and starts to cry. The first two agents who arrest and handcuff him then try to calm him down. “You make me nervous,” says one, to which Floyd replies, “I’m terrified.” The cameras give a clear picture of how the detainee was reluctantly reluctant to climb into the police car, although, handcuffed, he is not seen as a real threat to agents.
This Wednesday the images captured by the camera of former agent Chauvin surfaced for the first time. The policeman arrived on the scene when Floyd was trying to prevent two agents from putting him in the car, claiming that he suffered from claustrophobia. Chauvin grabs Floyd’s neck tightly from behind, which apparently causes his camera to detach from his uniform, ending up under the police vehicle. Of the four agents on the scene, the only camera that records only a few brief seconds of detention is that of the defendant, Chauvin.
With the material recorded on the other policemen’s other cameras, it is observed that they talk calmly to each other while Floyd complains that he cannot breathe in front of a dozen witnesses who are increasingly disturbed. “I think he passed out,” says a police officer. Another tells Chauvin that he doesn’t feel the detainee’s pulse. Neither of these interventions, nor the cry of the witnesses, causes the now accused to change his posture. Even when the ambulance arrives, Chauvin waits a moment before removing his knee from Floyd’s neck, who lies unconscious on the asphalt after repeating 27 times that he was unable to breathe.
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