Derek Chauvin Trial: Witness Who Filmed George Floyd Dying Begged Officers to Check His Pulse

“At one point I saw him put more and more weight on him,” she said. “I saw him move his knee down. Down into his neck.”
March 30, 2021, 9:22pm
Screen shot from security camera footage introduced in the trial of former Minneapolice police officer Derek Chauvin.
Screen shot from security camera footage introduced in the trial of former Minneapolice police officer Derek Chauvin. 

She was on an errand to buy a charging cable at Cup Foods in Minneapolis last May when she was one of the first witnesses on the scene to watch three police officers bear down on George Floyd, with increasing force, while another stood guard.

Alyssa, an 18-year-old who’s last name was withheld by the judge, pulled out her phone and started filming, she said, because she “didn’t think something was right.”

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The footage galvanized the Black Lives Matter movement, and provided horrific testimony in the second day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, who faces second-and third-degree murder charges, as well as a second-degree manslaughter charge in the death of George Floyd.

“At one point I saw him put more and more weight on him,” she said. "I saw [Chauvin's] back foot lift off the ground and his hands go in his pocket. I saw him move his knee down. Down into his neck.”

The court watched her video alongside traffic camera footage of the incident. During the playback, the witness repeatedly emphasized that Chauvin not only pressed harder on Floyd’s neck, but didn’t even remove his knee when paramedics arrived and attempted to check the dying man’s pulse. In the video displayed during the trial, the paramedic is shown reaching around Chauvin and his knee to check a pulse on Floyd’s neck. 

“I could hear George basically crying, I knew he was hurting,” she said, tearing up and taking a long pause before finishing. “He stopped being vocal and was struggling to breathe. His eyes began to roll in the back of his head.”

It was confirmed via video that none of the four former officers at the scene attempted CPR once Floyd had passed out. Instead, Chauvin continued to press his knee harder into the limp man’s neck. 

The witness went on to say that she and other bystanders started to beg Chauvin and the other three former Minneapolis police officers to check Floyd’s pulse—which never happened until paramedics arrived several minutes later, according to the video.

Even after medical professionals arrived on the scene, Chauvin kept his hands pressed inside his pockets and knee jammed in Floyd’s neck.

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“Time was running out or it had already,” she said when asked why she was yelling at the officers to check the handcuffed man’s pulse. “[I thought] that he was going to die. His eyes were closed and he was just lying there.”

Earlier during statements on the second day, a Black martial arts fighter, Donald Williams also testified, saying, through tears, that he called the police, on the police, because “I just felt like it was the right thing to do.”

“As I was sitting there, I just was really trying to keep my professionalism and make sure that I speak out for Floyd’s life,” Williams continued. “I felt like he was in very much danger. I see another man like me being controlled in a way.”

Chauvin is facing up to 65 years in prison with charges of second-and third-degree murder, in addition to a second-degree manslaughter charge. 

As the trial continues into April, protests are picking up again daily outside the Hennepin County Government Center. National Guardsmen and police from across the state have come to intimidate ideas of further protests during the trial, which the citizens say gives them little faith justice will be served in Floyd’s death.