Derek Chauvin Trial: Who are the witnesses?

Both the State of Minnesota and the defense team for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will call several witnesses throughout the trial in the death of George Floyd.

So far, the court has heard from witnesses who were at the scene on May 25, 2020, as well as Minneapolis police officers who train those on the force. Here is a rundown of who has testified so far. 

Monday, March 29

  • Jena Scurry: A 911 dispatcher for Minneapolis who saw George Floyd's arrest on video and called police on the police
  • Alisha Oyler: An employee at Speedway on 38th and Chicago who witnessed the arrest
  • Donald Williams: A trained mixed martial arts fighter who can be heard in the bystander video telling officers to get off Floyd, that they were killing him. He testified he called 911 because he believed he "witnessed a murder." 

Tuesday, March 30

  • Darnella Frazier: The teenager who took the bystander video that went viral. Frazier said she often stays up at night apologizing to Floyd for not doing more to save his life. 
  • Juvenile bystanders: Three juvenile bystanders who also witnessed Floyd's deadly arrest testified, including Frazier's 9-year-old cousin. Video of them was not shown in court after the judge ruled their testimony would be audio only to protect their privacy. One of the bystanders, a teenage girl, said she has not returned to 38th and Chicago since the incident because she does not want to be reminded of that day. 
  • Genevieve Hansen: A Minneapolis firefighter and first responder who was at the scene and pleaded with officers to check for a pulse on George Floyd. Hanson said she "desperately" wanted to help Floyd and that she believed she had seen officers kill him in front of her.

Wednesday, March 31

  • Christopher Martin: A teen employee at Cup Foods, where Floyd was accused of using a counterfeit $20 bill. Martin said he thought the bill appeared fake, so he spoke to his manager. Martin said he wished he had just not taken the bill or had just put the cost on his own tab.
  • Christopher Belfrey: A 45-year-old man who parked behind Floyd's car and noticed police. He started recording with his phone, but later left because he believed things had wrapped up and Floyd was being taken into custody. He also wanted to "get away from the commotion."
  • Charles McMillian: A 61-year-old man who was near the scene when he noticed the incident and was "just being nosy." McMillian said he told Floyd to "just get in the car" and that he "can't win" with police. He said he was just trying to make the situation easier and that he had met Chauvin on the street five days prior. When he was shown the body camera video of Floyd's arrest, McMillian cried and said he could relate to Floyd's calls for his mother. McMillian can be heard on body camera telling Chauvin that what he did was wrong.
  • Lt. James Rugel: A lieutenant with the Minneapolis Police Department who manages police technology, including body-worn cameras. During Rugel's testimony, the court published videos from the body-worn cameras of the former officers showing George Floyd's arrest in full. The former officers include Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin.

Thursday, April 1

  • Sgt. David Pleoger: Chauvin's supervisor the night of May 25, 2020. He is the sergeant the concerned 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry called after watching Floyd’s deadly arrest. He testified that he was not told right away that Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd's neck. He also said that restraint on George Floyd should have ended when he stopped resisting and called the use of force "totally unneccesary." 
  • Capt. Jeremy Norton: Member of the Minneapolis Fire Department who responded to Floyd’s deadly arrest. Norton confirmed he alerted MFD administration about the deadly incident outside Cup Foods because Floyd died in police custody and because a fellow firefighter, Genevieve Hansen, was a witness.
  • Derek Smith: A Hennepin EMS paramedic who responded to the scene at Cup Foods on May 25, 2020. When asked his medical assessment of Floyd when arriving at Cup Foods, he said, "in lay terms, I thought he was dead."
  • Seth Bravinder: A paramedic with Hennepin EMS and Smith’s partner. He testified Floyd’s cardiac activity was "flat line" in the ambulance and that he never regained a pulse. 
  • Courteney Ross: George Floyd’s girlfriend. The two met in 2017. She detailed the couple’s struggles with opioid addiction, telling the court she and Floyd went through periods of using and sobriety during the three years of their relationship. She testified she believed he had begun using again in the weeks before his death. 

Friday, April 2

  • Lt. Richard Zimmerman: Head of the Minneapolis Police Department's Homicide Unit. Zimmerman arrived on the scene after Floyd’s deadly arrest and helped secure the scene. He also reviewed the body camera video of the incident afterwards. When asked if he had ever been trained to "kneel on the neck of someone who’s been handcuffed behind their back in a prone position," Zimmerman said no. He testified that kneeling on someone’s neck would be considered deadly force because "if your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them." 
  • Sgt. Jon Edwards: Responded to the scene on May 25, 2020 and helped secure the area.

Monday, April 5

  • Dr. Bradford Langenfeld: The doctor who provided care for George Floyd at Hennepin County Medical Center and officially pronounced him dead. Dr. Landenfeld said the paramedics tried to resuscitate Floyd for 30 minutes, and he worked on Floyd for about 30 minutes. He said paramedics never suggested it was a drug overdose or heart attack during the handoff at the hospital.
  • Chief Medaria Arradondo: Minneapolis Police Chief who fired officers Chauvin, Thao, Kueng and Lane the day after George Floyd's arrest. Chief Arradondo testified about the department's policies and teachings. When asked about Chuavin's tactics, he said, "Once there was no longer any resistance, and clearly after Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way shape or form is policy."
  • Officer Katie Blackwell: Inspector for Minneapolis Police Department's 5th precinct, former commander of the training division. 

Tuesday, April 6

  • Lt. Johnny Mercil: Lieutenant with the Minneapolis Police Department. Trains officers on use of force. Chauvin attended a 2018 training session he conducted. He testified Chauvin’s knee to the neck was not a trained MPD use of force and would not be authorized after Floyd was handcuffed and under control.
  • Officer Nicole Mckenzie: Minneapolis Police Officer who provides medical training to officers. Mackenzie said that "just because someone is talking doesn’t mean they are breathing adequately. Mackenzie was also asked about agonal breathing and excited delirium.
  • Sgt. Jody Stiger: A sergeant with the Los Angeles Police Department and use of force expert. Sgt. Stiger said that based on his analysis, Floyd was no longer resisting once he was in the prone position and that Chauvin used excessive force during the arrest.

Wednesday, April 7

  • Sgt. Jody Stiger: Sgt. Stiger stated that, based on his analysis, Chauvin's knee did not move off of or away from Floyd's neck until he was placed in the ambulance. He walked the jury through MPD's use of force matrix as it relates to the resistance of a subject, concluding that "no force should have been used" once Floyd was handcuffed, in a prone position and not resisting. 
  • Special Agent James Reyerson: Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Lead Investigator who investigated the scene and the squad involved in George Floyd's arrest.
  • Mckenzie Anderson: Crime scene lead with the Minnesota BCA. Investigated the scene of George Floyd's arrest as well as the two cars involved - Floyd's vehicle and the squad. Pills were found in both vehicles. Eight blood stains were photographed and documented in the backseat of the squad. They tested positive as blood and, after testing, were found to match Floyd's DNA. 
  • Breahna Giles: Forensic scientist with the Minnesota BCA, specializing in drugs. Giles tested a pipe that contained THC as well as two pills.
  • Susan Neith: Forensic chemist for NMS Labs in Pennsylvania. Analyzed the pills found in both Floyd's car and the squad.

Thursday, April 8

  • Dr. William Smock: Emergency room physician from Louisville, Kentucky. He is a paid state witness. Smock testified that in his medical opinion, Floyd "died from positional asphyxia," or in simpler terms, he had "no oxygen left in his body." 
  • Dr. Daniel Isenschmid: A forensic toxicologist at the NMS Laboratory in Pennsylvania. His lab did the autopsy blood work and testing for George Floyd. 
  • Dr. Martin Tobin: A Chicago area pulmonologist and critical care physician who researches breathing. He was an expert witness for the state, but was not paid to testify. He reviewed the medical records, interviews and videos in the case and concluded Floyd died from a low level of oxygen that caused brain damage and a PEA (pulseless electrical activity) arrhythmia that caused his heart to stop. 

Friday, April 9

  • Dr. Andrew Baker: Hennepin County Medical Examiner who performed the official autopsy on Floyd, finding Floyd died of a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement, but also listing drugs and underlying health conditions as significant factors. His report ruled Floyd's death a homicide. He told the jury the officers' restraint was "just more than Mr. Floyd could take." 
  • Dr. Lindsey Thomas: a forensic pathologist who retired from the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office in 2017. Dr. Thomas testified the state reached out to her for her opinions on Floyd’s cause of death, but she is not being paid to testify. Dr. Thomas helped train Dr. Baker, the medical examiner who ruled Floyd’s death a homicide. She told the jury she concurs with Dr. Baker’s findings that Floyd died of cardiopulmonary arrest due to law enforcement subdual, restraint and neck compression. She said the primary mechanism was asphyxia, or low oxygen.

Monday, April 12

  • Dr. Jonathan Rich: A cardiologist in Chicago, often focused on ICU patients and working closely with pathologists. After studying Floyd's medical records and the videos of the arrest, Dr. Rich determiend George Floyd died from cardiopulmonary arrest, caused by low oxygen levels, "and those low oxygen levels were induced by the prone restraint and positional asphyxiation he was subjected to."
  • Seth Stoughton: a former police officer and current professor at the University of South Carolina who specializes in policing issues and use of force. He testified there was no threat from bystanders gathered around the scene of Floyd's deadly arrest outside Cup Foods. 
  • Philonise Floyd: George Floyd's brother gave the "spark of life" testimony, which lets the jury hear more about the victim in a case. Philonise told the jury about his brother's special bond with their mother, and prosecutors displayed several photos of George through the years. The defense did not cross examine him. 

Tuesday, April 13

  • Barry Brodd: A paid use of force expert. According to media reports, Brodd previously testified in the Jason Van Dyke/Laquan McDonald deadly shooting in Chicago, concluding the shooting was justified. 
  • Officer Nicole Mackenzie: Member of MPD recalled by the defense. Both sides asked her about the "excited delirium" training Officer Thomas Lane received. 
  • Officer Peter Chang: Minneapolis Park Police officer. Chang testifies from his perspective across street from Cup Foods, crowd of bystanders watching Floyd's arrest grew "more loud and aggressive," noting some were yelling. Chang testifies he was concerned for the officers directly handling Floyd.
  • Shawanda Hill: She was with Floyd the night of his deadly arrest outside Cup Foods and in his car. 
  • Michelle Monseng: Retired Hennepin EMS paramedic. She testified about Floyd's drug arrest in May 2019, telling the court Floyd's blood pressure was extremely high. She said Floyd told her he had taken a bunch of pills, reportedly said he was addicted. 
  • Scott Creighton: A retired MPD officer. Creighton was part of Floyd's 2019 drug arrest. Judge Cahill has allowed Chauvin's defense attorney permission to play a short clip from officer Creighton's body worn camera footage from the 2019 arrest, showing Creighton's approach only until Floyd gets out of vehicle and is handcuffed. 

Wednesday, April 14 

  • Dr. David Fowler: Retired forensic pathologist who is a paid medical expert by the defense. He reached a different conclusion than the Hennepin County Medical Examiner, testifying that he believes Floyd died from sudden cardiac arrhythmia brought on by his heart disease while he was being restrained by police. He concluded Floyd's manner of death should be listed as undetermined, rather than a homicide because of all the factors at play.