An activist listens to Judge Cahill outside the Hennepin County Government Center during the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 30, 2021.
An activist listens to Judge Cahill outside the Hennepin County Government Center during the murder trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, Minnesota on March 30, 2021.
Photo by AFP

In the Derek Chauvin trial, witness after witness are describing how Chauvin was unmoved by their pleas when he pinned George Floyd facedown outside a convenience store last May resulting in Floyd's death.

Genevieve Hansen, one of several bystanders cried on Tuesday as she recounted how she was unable to come to Floyd's aid or tell police what to do, such as administering chest compressions.

Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd while fellow Officer Tou Thao held the crowd of about 15 back, even when Hansen identified herself as a firefighter and pleaded repeatedly to check Floyd's pulse, according to witnesses and bystander video.

"There was a man being killed," said Hansen, who testified in her dress uniform and detailed her emergency medical technician training. "I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities. And this human was denied that right."

"They definitely put their hands on the Mace, and we all pulled back," said 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, one of several witnesses.

The defense has argued that Chauvin did what his training told him to do and that Floyd's death was not caused by the officer but by a combination of illegal drug use, heart disease, high blood pressure and the adrenaline flowing through his body.

Chauvin's attorney Eric Nelson also sought to portray the onlookers as angry and agitated, in an apparent attempt to show that the crowd posed a potential threat to police that might have distracted them during their encounter with Floyd.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter, accused of killing Floyd by pinning the 46-year-old handcuffed Black man to the pavement for what prosecutors said was 9 minutes, 29 seconds. Floyd was arrested after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at the convenience store. The most serious charge against Chauvin carries up to 40 years in prison.

Floyd's death, along with the bystander video of him pleading that he couldn't breathe, triggered protests around the world and a reckoning over racism and police brutality across the US.

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