Chauvin trial Day 3: Body-cam videos expose the cruelty of the Minneapolis police officers involved in this travesty

George Floyd moments before being killed by Minneapolis police officers.
Photo by USAToday.com

I just watched all the body-cam videos of the takedown and murder of George Floyd. The only thing I can say is that while he may not have been the most cooperative person, Floyd didn’t deserve the treatment he was subjected to by Minneapolis police officers.

I find myself unable to go into great detail about the body-cam videos because of how disturbing they are.

Basically, what they show is the officers’ initial contact with Floyd when they force him out of his car while repeatedly using the F-word and continue on to the moment he went quiet and died with an officer’s knee on his neck. And their lack of compassion is on full display as they disregard his pleas not to be thrown in the cramped backseat of their squad car because he is claustrophobic and ignore his strained calls for help because he couldn’t breathe.

 All I can say is that this cannot be the way police work is done in the United States of America. This kind of thing cannot be allowed to continue. It is the epitome of cruel and unusual punishment.

These officers’ lack of compassion and understanding is sickening.

This is just wrong.

It makes me wonder what police do when they are not being recorded.

I have to think back to when I was a young reporter covering police before cell phones and video cameras. I’d get calls from people complaining about police brutality but was not allowed to use the information because we had no proof. It was the cops’ word against the citizens’.

I always wondered, if it came down to it, who would be right. Now I’m sure it would have been the citizens.

One more point: If Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is not convicted, this country deserves everything it gets.

————————

The following is what I wrote before watching the body-cam videos:

It’s Day 3 of the trial of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, and I can’t really describe how I feel.

I just watched a 61-year-old man break down on the stand after being shown a video of George Floyd begging – pleading – with police to not put him in the back of a squad car because he is claustrophobic and can’t breathe.

They did it anyway.

After a struggle during which Floyd repeatedly screamed that he “can’t breathe,” officers eventually let him out of the car only to lay him on the ground where Chauvin put his knee on his neck and two other officers held him down.

Chauvin can be heard on a later video saying Floyd had to be controlled because “he was a big guy.”

The man who broke down on the stand, Charles McMillian, a Minneapolis-area resident, was heard yelling at Floyd as the police were trying to force him into the car as the incident began, to just comply. “You can’t win,” he screamed over and over. “You can’t win.”

McMillian testified that the reason he got involved was to help Floyd and make it easier for him.

Once he is out of the squad car and on the ground, Floyd called for his mother and repeatedly shouted, “I can’t breathe.”

“Mama, they’re killing me,” Floyd can be heard saying.

McMillian, in tears on the stand, said his mother had recently died so he understood what Floyd was going through. After a short break to allow McMillian to regain his composure, testimony and the videos continued.

As Floyd is being held down by Chauvin and two other officers, McMillian can be heard on the tape telling Floyd to get up and get in the car. In response to McMillian, Floyd says that he will, but he can’t.

Floyd also pleads with police to let him stand up, saying his stomach hurts, his neck hurts, everything hurts.

“They’re gonna kill me,” Floyd is heard saying on the video as he lay on the ground, with Chauvin’s knee clearly on his neck.

Watching this is not getting any easier.

Finally, McMillian is done. Before the next witness is called, a 20-minute break is taken so the attorneys can, in the judge’s words, possibly find a way to streamline the process. 

For some background, this all started when Floyd allegedly tried to pass what the store clerk thought was phony $20-dollar bill at a local store.

This, from a Yahoo News story:

“The Black man (Floyd) was later arrested outside [the store], where Chauvin pinned his knee on Floyd’s neck for what prosecutors said was 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as a handcuffed Floyd lay face-down on the pavement. Floyd, 46, was later pronounced dead at a hospital.”

The length of time Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck has been inconsistent. This from an AP story:

https://apnews.com/article/trials-derek-chauvin-minneapolis-racial-injustice-060f6e9e8b7079505a1b096a68311c2b

“It was recorded as 8 minutes, 46 seconds in an initial criminal complaint — a figure that became symbolic to many in the weeks after Floyd’s death — before a math error was corrected to make it 7:46. But filings since then, citing time-stamped police body-camera video, now make it at least nine minutes.”

I’m sure tomorrow’s court session will be just as dramatic.

Published by Mike Sturman

I am a retired journalist with nearly 30 years in the field, during which time I was a reporter and held numerous editor positions at local newspapers and a number of magazines. After I retired, I was a sub in my local school district, then did PR for that district. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in journalism, and as for my politics, that's simple: I'm a liberal Democrat. I'm married, and my wife recently retired after 25 years as a teacher. We have one daughter, who has earned her PhD and works at a UC. Through this blog, I hope to pass on some interesting thoughts and ideas, entertain with some lighthearted posts and generally quell my pandemic-induced boredom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: