Teen bystander who took Floyd video testifies in Chauvin trial

Darnella Frazier, the young woman who took the widely shared Facebook video of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd, testified Tuesday as one of the key witnesses for the state. 

Jerry Blackwell, one of the prosecutors, asked Frazier to describe what she saw outside Cup Foods on May 25, 2020 that prompted her to take out her phone and start filming. 

Frazier, who was 17 at the time, described to the jury seeing Floyd on the ground with an officer, who she positively identified in court as Chauvin, kneeling on him. She said Floyd was "terrified, scared, begging for his life." 

She told her cousin to go inside Cup Foods because she did not want her to see what was happening. 

"It wasn’t right," Frazier said. "He was suffering. He was in pain." 

Frazier testified she was alone on sidewalk when she began recording the video of Floyd’s arrest on her cell phone, but other bystanders joined her within a minute or so. She became particularly upset in court when she was shown a photo of Chauvin from the scene and asked to confirm he was the officer she saw kneeling on Floyd. 

Blackwell asked Frazier how Chauvin responded to her and the other bystanders on the scene who were telling him to get off Floyd. 

"He just stared at us, looked at us," she said. "He had like this cold look, heartless. He didn’t care. It seemed as if he didn’t care what we were saying." 

Frazier said Chauvin did not remove his knee from Floyd’s neck until after paramedics arrived and checked his pulse. 

"The paramedic did like a motion like ‘get up’ basically telling [Chauvin] to remove his knee," she said. "He knee was still there. Even at the end. Even when [Floyd] was unresponsive." 

During his cross examination, defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Frazier about the crowd of people at the scene that night. She confirmed there were about 12 people there by the time the ambulance arrived, but she said 38th and Chicago is generally a busier intersection.

Frazier acknowledged the crowd became louder as time went on, with some people calling the officers' names. 

At the end of her testimony on Tuesday, Frazier said she sees her dad, brothers, cousins and uncles in George Floyd because they are all Black. 

"That could have been one of them," she said. 

Frazier tearfully told the jury she stays up at night "apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting, not saving his life."

Frazier’s 9-year-old cousin testified after her. She positively identified Chauvin in court when he stood up and took off his mask. She told the jury she recalled him kneeling on Floyd. 

Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His trial is expected to last until mid to late April.