Darnella Frazier, the teenage witness who took the famous video of George Floyd being crushed into the ground by Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020, took the stand in Chauvin’s trial on Tuesday and described Floyd as a “man terrified, scared, begging for his life.”
Frazier, who was 17 when the incident took place, was not shown on camera and only her voice was heard during her testimony. In the midst of her testimony, Frazier was soft-spoken and at times wept she when she recounted the events of that day.
She told the prosecutor that on May 25, she was walking to the Cup Foods grocery store with her 9-year-old cousin to get some snacks. Outside the store, she saw Floyd on the ground with Chauvin on top of him and told her cousin to go inside the store so that the younger child would not see what was happening.
“I heard George Floyd saying I can’t breathe, please get off of me. I can’t breathe. He cried for his mom. He was in pain. It seemed like he knew it was over for him. He was terrified. He was suffering,” Frazier told prosecutor Jerry Blackwell.
Blackwell asked her whether or not other civilian bystanders that were with her acted violently or behaved like a mob; Frazier replied no, adding that the only violence she saw came from the police.
According to Frazier, a firefighter arrived at the scene and asked Chauvin to check Floyd’s pulse, but he didn’t. Fraizer continued and said that she felt threatened by Chauvin and the other officers at the scene.
When asked how Chauvin reacted to the crowd yelling at him, she said he had a cold and heartless look. “He just stared at us, looked at us. He had like this cold look, heartless,” Frazier said, adding that he “rubbed me the wrong way.”
It wasn’t until a paramedic arrived and told Chauvin to get off of Floyd’s neck that he actually moved, said Frazier, the fourth witness called to testify in the trial. Chauvin, who is no longer on the police force, has pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, 2nd degree murder, and 3rd degree murder.