MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police body camera footage showed George Floyd pleading with officers as they attempted to put him in a squad car on May 25, 2020, minutes before his death.
Jurors watched the video Wednesday on the third day of Derek Chauvin’s trial on murder and manslaughter charges in Floyd’s death.
Charles McMillian, 61, told jurors that he watched as policed detained Floyd and that he urged the 46-year-old to cooperate with police.
“I was telling him, Mr. Floyd, Mr. Floyd just comply, get in the car because you can’t win. Something to that nature,” McMillian said, telling prosecutors he aimed to make things easier for everyone involved. “I’ve had interactions with officers myself, and I understand once you get in the cuffs, you can’t win, you’re done.”
In the body camera footage played Wednesday, Floyd could be seen resisting as officers tried to get him into a police car. He yells that he’s claustrophobic and asks whether officers can put him in the front of the car instead of the back.
“I’m scared as (expletive) man,” Floyd can be heard saying as McMillian shouts for him to cooperate.
McMillian said he also heard Floyd yelling for his mother, saying that he can’t breathe and warning that his body was shutting down.
After the video played, the court took a brief recess after McMillian appeared to become overwhelmed by emotion on the stand.
“I feel helpless,” McMillian said through tears.
His testimony came on the third day of the trial against Chauvin, who was arrested in May 2020 after video surfaced on social media showing him pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for minutes.
The Hennepin County medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, determining that Floyd’s heart stopped as he was being restrained. A separate autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family also called his death a homicide but concluded that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.
Floyd’s death prompted global outrage and sparked a national reckoning over racism and police brutality.
Three other officers also face charges in Floyd’s death. Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They are expected to face juries in August.