(Reuters) – The jury in former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin’s murder trial heard testimony on Wednesday from a cashier who was one of the last people to speak with George Floyd, and a bystander who wept on the witness stand as he described Floyd’s deadly encounter with Chauvin on May 25, 2020.
Chauvin, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to murder and other charges in the arrest of Floyd, a Black man whose death led to daily protests against racial injustice in cities across the country.
Here is some testimony from court on Wednesday:
CHARLES MCMILLAN, EYEWITNESS
“You can’t win!” Charles McMillan can be heard telling Floyd over and over again in videos of the arrest.
One of the first to notice the arrest, McMillan, 61, pulled off his white spectacles and dropped his head into his hands in tears as he watched video of himself stood near Floyd as they dying man called out for his recently deceased mother. The court recessed for about 10 minutes so McMillan could gather himself.
McMillan, who that day was dressed in flip-flops, shorts and a black t-shirt, was one of the last people to speak with Floyd.
“Get up and get in the car,” McMillan says to Floyd.
“I can’t,” Floyd replies in an agonized voice from beneath Chauvin.
McMillan summarized his thinking to the jury: “Once police get the cops on you, you can’t win, so I’m trying to tell him to just cooperate.”
After Floyd’s limp body was loaded into an ambulance, Chauvin got into a police car, and McMillan walked over: “I don’t respect what you did,” he told the officer
“I had to control this guy because he’s a sizeable guy,” Chauvin replies through the window. “It looks like he’s probably on something.”
CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, EYEWITNESS AND CUP FOODS CASHIER
It was Martin, a cashier at the Cup Foods grocery store, who accepted the $20 bill that triggered everything that followed.
“I thought that George didn’t really know it was a fake bill,” Martin, 19, told the jury. He considered letting Cup Foods just dock it from his wages, but ended up telling his manager and a few minutes later police were arresting Floyd on suspicion of passing a counterfeit.
Silent security-camera video played for the jury shows Floyd dressed in a black tank top approaching Cup Food’s counter with a banana in hand, smiling and making cheerful conversation and putting his arm around a woman. Floyd appears to be filled with energy and constantly in motion, at one point almost dancing on the spot, shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
Martin, 19, told the jury that he made conversation with Floyd, asking him if he played baseball. Floyd seemed to take time to find his words but replied that he played football, Martin said.
“He seemed very friendly, approachable, he was talkative, he seemed to be having just an average Memorial Day, just living his life,” Martin recalled. “But he did seem high.”
Although the county medical examiner ruled Floyd’s death a homicide resulting from the police restraint, fentanyl and methamphetamine was found in Floyd’s blood at autopsy and Chauvin’s lawyers argue the death was really a drug overdose.
Martin sold Floyd a pack of cigarettes. He told the jury he thought the bill was counterfeit and considered just letting the store deduct it from his wages, but then decided to tell his manager, who told Martin to go and confront Floyd, who had got back into a car outside with two other passengers.
Floyd was “just kind of shaking his head and putting his hands in the air, like, ‘Why is this happening to me?'” Martin said.
Martin’s manager told a coworker to call the police after Floyd and the other passengers refused to come back inside the store.
Martin later said he was upset to see Chauvin on top of Floyd, and went up to another Black man on the sidewalk.
“They’re not going to help us, this is what we deal with,” he recalled telling the other bystander, referring to police.
Martin said he felt guilty.
“I thought if I would not have taken the bill this would have been avoided,” he said.
GENEVIEVE HANSEN, EYEWITNESS AND MINNEAPOLIS FIREFIGHTER
Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter and paramedic who was near the scene of the arrest, can be heard on the video screaming at the police to check Floyd’s pulse.
“I pled and was desperate,” she testified on Tuesday, dressed in her Minneapolis Fire Department uniform of a white shirt with a badge and black tie. A water bottle shook in her hand as she sipped it to calm her tears.
“It’s what I would have done for anybody,” she said.
She said another officer at the scene told her: “If you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved.”
After her increasingly combative exchanges with Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lead lawyer, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill sent out the jury and chastised Hansen, warning her not to argue with the court or with lawyers and to return the following day.
On Wednesday, she was on the stand for only a few minutes. Nelson asked her if she showed the police her firefighter identification. She said no. Matthew Frank, a prosecutor, then asked her if she even had her identification with her. She said she did not, because she was off-duty.
(Compiled by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; editing by Grant McCool)