The first person Defense attorney Eric Nelson called to the stand was retired Minneapolis police officer Scott Creighton to introduce portions of body camera video from a May 2019 traffic stop, during which Floyd behaved in a very similar fashion.
Floyd would not obey commands to show his hands. He also was pleading with officers and saying, “Please man.”
“In my mind, his behavior was very nervous anxious,” said Creighton who had trouble hearing through questioning.
“The passenger was unresponsive and noncompliant to my commands, I then had to physically reach in and I wanted to see his hands because I couldn’t see his hand,” he testified. “I reached in to grab his hand and put [it] up on the dash, and that individual was taken from the vehicle and handcuffed.”
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The court played a clip from his body camera video, during which Floyd said, “Don’t shoot me, man!” before he was pulled from the car and handcuffed.
This beckons the question, has Floyd established a pattern of similar altercations where he feigned the victim so the cops feel sorry for him?
During the clip, you also hear another officer say, “Spit that out.”
Under a pointed cross-examination by prosecutor Erin Eldridge, Creighton admitted that Floyd was given conflicting commands about where to place his hands. She also pointed out that Floyd didn’t go to the ground — as he did during his arrest in 2020 — and obviously survived this encounter nearly two years ago, and Creighton agreed. Eldridge did not note that it was Floyd who asked to be placed on the ground after he resisted the officer’s attempts to get in the squad.
Peter Chang Park Police
Months after Floyd’s death, park police body-worn footage was released, but with black boxes and the sound cut off. Today Chang, who was stationed at a nearby park when he responded to assist, shared his footage with the court.
Officer Peter Chang’s camera gives an across-the-street perspective of Floyd’s arrest.
When he arrived, Floyd was handcuffed and seated on the sidewalk. He was asked to run Floyd’s information on the computer. He then returned to the squad car where Lane and Kueng were struggling with Floyd. They told Chang to watch Floyd’s SUV across the street, but I wonder if it was to babysit Hill and Hall? Chang tries to keep them away from the SUV.
On Park Police body-cam, Morries “Maurice” Hall tells the officer his name is “Ricky Ricardo.” Chang doesn’t catch that’s also Lucille Ball’s husband.
Hall tells Chang the SUV belongs to a friend. Seems like he says it belongs to “Sylvia.” For the record, Floyd is registered as owning a Dodge Ram.
For some reason, Hall tells Chang he wants to look for a mask in the car since it’s not in his backpack but Chang tells him it’s not really necessary since there is no one coming close to them. By the end of the interaction, Hall is donning a blue face mask.
At one point you can hear Donald Williams, one of the witnesses, off-camera, saying “You’re a bum, bro.”
Chang said Hill and Hall saw the initial struggle but later could not see their friend being held to the pavement.
She tells Chang that she knows “Floyd” very well. Guess he also goes by Floyd. Chang calls him that too. Hill also tells him she knows the people at Cup Foods very well before she gets a sneak at what is happening across the street.
“Something’s going on. They’re taking pictures over there,” Hill said.
“Everybody recording this shit, man,” Hall said.
Every once in a while the audio disappears so there is something they don’t want us to hear.
“Damn, he still won’t get in the car; just sit down, George,” Hill was heard saying on the officer’s video. “He’s fighting to get out, what is he doing? Now he going to jail.”
By the time the ambulance arrived, Hill walked to the corner to attempt to see what happened.
“Can I just see what y’all did to him? He on the ground and everything? Oh my God… Why is he going to the hospital?”
“Shawanda, you’re not helping,” Chang said. “Once my partners get over here, they can explain to you guys.”
After the ambulance left, Hall and Hill tried to get Floyd’s phone from the SUV, but Chang said Floyd would get it later and that his car wasn’t going anywhere.
At one point Hill grabs it and Kueng, who has returned to the SUV, instructs her to put it back and that “Floyd is on the way to the hospital and will get it when he’s done.”
“Are you sure?” she asks bewildered.
“I don’t know what their plan is with the car,” Chang is later heard saying on his body-worn camera. When he says “their plan,” who are they?
Witness Charles McMillian can later be heard telling Hill and Hall that, “I told him he can’t win. To get in the car.”
Under cross-examination, Nelson asked why Chang moved away from Floyd’s car; he testified, “I was concerned for the officer’s safety because of the crowd, so I wanted to make sure the officers were OK.”
People were at every corner of the intersection, he said, testifying earlier that the crowd was “very aggressive toward the officers, yes.”
He agreed under cross-examination that his attention was on Hill, Hall, and the SUV while Floyd struggled with the other officers.
While the crowd became more aggressive, “Chang’s focus did not change because there were four officers dealing with Floyd?” Frank asked. Chang concurred.
“You assumed they were OK?” Frank asked. Chang said, “Yes.”
“They never radioed for help, did they?” Frank continued.
Chang said his radio would have aired such a call, and he replied, “No,” they never called for additional officers to come to the scene.
Nicole Mackenzie & EDS
Minneapolis police medical support coordinator Nicole Mackenzie returned to the stand on behalf of the defense to be questioned about “excited delirium,” a controversial syndrome that is taught to MPD cadets. Chauvin didn’t receive this training likely because Excited Delirium wasn’t classified yet.
Back in Hennepin, it was Officer Thomas Lane – who was on the scene with Chauvin during the restraint – who raised this condition as a potential explanation for Floyd’s behavior.
Mackenzie said the training points out that the syndrome leads to psychotic behavior, agitation, incoherent speech, superhuman strength, and hyperthermia among other symptoms.
(For the record, I recently witnessed Excited Delirium in Orlando. There was a young girl who was on something. She took off her clothes and was agitated and violent. The cops took her away like a sick mental patient, by strapping her wrists and putting her on a gurney. It was not pretty. My friend who was trying to calm her brother who was cuffed on his stomach with arms behind him and also acting erratic, head-butted her while restrained.)
She said cadets are trained to have an ambulance stage at a safe distance from the scene where a suspect might be experiencing Excited Delirium. She said an ambulance is needed because a “suspect can rapidly go into cardiac arrest.” Nelson contends that Floyd’s heart, along with illicit drug use, arguably raises reasonable doubt.
The prosecution pointed out that excited delirium’s training emphasizes that the suspect should be put in the side recovery position, which did not happen during Floyd’s arrest. Mackenzie also said that CPR is also taught under this situation. Floyd was not given CPR on May 25 until after he was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
Next up was Michelle Moseng, a now-retired HCMC paramedic who tended to Floyd at the Police Department’s Fourth Precinct in north Minneapolis after his May 2019 arrest.
While it’s not made clear, Moseng was seeing Floyd because he had swallowed pills at the scene of his arrest. She said Floyd’s blood pressure was extremely high, and she wanted him to go to the hospital because she was concerned that he was at risk of a stroke. She said Floyd explained that “he had a history of hypertension and hadn’t been taking his medication.”
She also said Floyd told her he had been taking multiple opioid pills every 20 minutes that day.
Under cross-examination, Eldridge’s line of questioning had Moseng acknowledge that Floyd was alert, obeying commands, and his respiration and pulse rates were normal. She said her records indicated he had taken about seven Percocet.
“I asked why, and he said it was because he was addicted,” Moseng said.
“He was able to walk, correct? He was able to stand up?” Eldridge asked.
“I know he was real resistant to get on our bed. It was hard to tell exactly what he was upset about,” Moseng said, prompting an objection from the prosecution, and the answer ordered stricken.
Floyd “didn’t have a stroke while you were with him?” Eldridge asked. “No,” Moseng said.
“Didn’t stop breathing?” Again, Moseng said no.
She asked Moseng whether she knew that Floyd was going to the hospital and was released two hours later? She said she did not know that.
The prosecution doesn’t want to paint Floyd like a junkie criminal but more like a man trying to do good and beat opiate addiction like so many in our nation.
In the case of both witnesses, Judge Peter Cahill ordered jurors to consider the witnesses’ testimony as to what impact “the ingestion of opioids may or may not have on the physical well-being of George Floyd.” The testimony, he said, was not to address Floyd’s character.
Prosecutors’ case has attempted to show Chauvin ran afoul of his police training, kept Floyd detained knowing he was going to die, and failed to provide medical aid as he gasped for air.
Nelson has argued that Floyd died from serious problems with his heart and the use of the illicit drugs fentanyl and methamphetamine, rather than a lack of oxygen as the prosecution has said. Nelson will call witnesses over the next several days in support of his position with the goal of raising enough doubt in the minds of the jurors. What will happen on the streets if Chauvin is acquitted?
Cahill ended Monday’s proceedings by telling jurors that the defense could finish its case by Thursday, adding that the court would likely take Friday off and resume next Monday with closing arguments from both sides.
“So, pack a bag” and bring it to court on Monday, the judge told the jurors, who will be sequestered throughout their deliberations.
You can read reports from past trial days at Maryam Henein’s article archive HERE.
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