The mixed martial arts fighter who witnessed ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s May 2020 arrest of George Floyd told a jury on Tuesday he called 911 after watching the events unfold because he believed he “witnessed a murder.”
The trial continued into its second day on Tuesday for Chauvin, a 45-year-old former officer who was seen on video holding his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes during the May 25 arrest. He is facing charges of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter.
Donald Williams, a wrestler who said he was trained in MMA fighting, including chokeholds, began his testimony on Monday, when he described the restraint allegedly used by Chauvin as a “blood choke.”
On Tuesday, he continued his description, recalling how Floyd’s eyes were “slowly rolling back.”
“You could see he was in tremendous pain,” Williams continued. “You could see that he was trying to gasp for air, and trying to be able to breathe as he’s down there. Trying to move his face side to side to … I’m assuming, gasp for more air.”
He said he felt that Floyd was “very much [in] danger.”
He remained on the scene, even as the ambulance and paramedics arrived, and said Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck even as they did so. He added that when someone is rendered unconscious during an MMA fight, the matched is stopped “immediately,” and medical professionals are brought in “right away.”
Williams said he later called the police because, “I believe I witnessed a murder.”
While on the call, Williams told the dispatcher “Officer 987,” whom he identified at trial as Chauvin, “pretty much just killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest.”
“He had his knee on this dude’s neck the whole time,” Williams said during the call. “He wasn’t resisting arrests or nothing. [He] was already in handcuffs.”
Williams could be heard during the call saying, “Y’all is murderers,” and adding: “They just killed that man in front of the store.”
During cross-examination on Tuesday, Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson asked Williams if he had ever rendered someone unconscious, only for them to regain consciousness and start fighting again.
“Personally, no. Have I seen it? Yes,” he responded.
“I’ve seen it at UFC multiple times where, when someone gets choked out, they come back to and they continue to try to fight,” he said. “I’ve been knocked out and I had to come back conscious and the first thing I wanted to do was continue to fight.”
Nelson also sought to show that Chauvin and his fellow officers found themselves in an increasingly tense and distracting situation, with the crowd of onlookers getting agitated over Floyd’s treatment.
Nelson pointed out that Williams seemed to grow increasingly angry at police on the scene, swearing at and taunting Chauvin with “tough guy,” “bum” and other names, then calling Chauvin expletives, which the defense attorney repeated in court.
Williams initially admitted he was getting angrier, but then backtracked and said he was controlled and professional and was pleading for Floyd’s life but wasn’t being heard.
Williams said he was stepping on and off the curb, and at one point, Officer Tou Thao, who was controlling the crowd, put his hand on Williams’ chest. Williams admitted under questioning that he told Thao he would beat the officers if Thao touched him again.
Williams was trained at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy and was among the first prosecution witnesses. He described Monday how he was walking to the nearby Cup Foods store on May 25 when he “noticed there were two police squad cars there” and heard Floyd shouting: “My stomach hurts I can’t breathe, my head hurts, I can’t breathe … he pleaded with them.”
He said he thought Chauvin was using a shimmying motion that increased the pressure on Floyd. He also recalled yelling to Chauvin that he was cutting off Floyd’s blood supply.
Williams described Monday how he believed Floyd’s condition worsened “while he was going through this torture,” with his voice growing thicker and his breathing becoming more labored.
“From there on he was lifeless,” Williams said. “He didn’t move, he didn’t speak, he didn’t have no life in him no more on his body movements.”
After Williams’ testimony on Tuesday, prosecutors called to the stand 18-year-old Darnella Frazier, who recorded a now-viral video of the arrest because “it wasn’t right, he was suffering, he was in pain.”
Frazier said she was walking to a convenience store with her younger cousin when she came upon the officers and sent the girl into the store because she didn’t want her to see “a man terrified, scared, begging for his life.”
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.
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