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Review Of Witness Testimony In Day 2 Of Derek Chauvin Trial


Testimony continues this morning in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin is charged with the murder of George Floyd. Jurors heard emotional testimony yesterday from a 9-year-old girl and her teenage cousin who recorded the video of Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd's neck.

NPR's Cheryl Corley is in Minneapolis covering the trial and joins us. Cheryl, the teenager who recorded George Floyd's arrest is named Darnella Frazier. Can you tell us about her testimony?

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Yeah, she talked about walking to the neighborhood corner grocery store with her younger cousin and seeing George Floyd on the ground under officer Chauvin's knee. She said Floyd was saying he couldn't breathe. He was calling for help, for his mother as well. And so she sent her cousin inside the store; she didn't want her to see that. And she stayed outside to record what she saw happening with her cellphone. And according to the pool reporter who was in the courtroom, Frazier often had tears streaming down her face as she told her story. And she said, when she thinks about George Floyd, she thinks about her father, her brother and other relatives, all Black, and how what happened to Floyd could also happen to them.


DARNELLA FRAZIER: It's been nights I stayed up apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it's like, it's not what I should have done; it's what he should have done.

CORLEY: By he, Frazier is referring to Chauvin - that is what Chauvin should have done. And Frazier just turned 18. She was 17 at the time of that encounter. And three other minors testified, including her cousin, the 9-year-old, who turns 10 next week.

MARTIN: So how did the defense cross-examine her and others?

CORLEY: Well, for the minors, there were very few questions. He tread carefully with them. But the defense tried to portray other bystanders as people who were just angry and interfering with police trying to do their job. Several videos were played in court showing bystanders calling for Officer Chauvin to get off Floyd's neck.

And in one of those videos, Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter - she's also a trained emergency medical technician - she moved closer to the officers and demanded that they check Floyd's pulse. And during the trial, defense attorney Eric Nelson asked her and others testifying whether they were angry - weren't they just getting louder and louder and becoming threatening? And here's this exchange between him and Hansen after he says it took her just a short amount of time to become louder and more frustrated and upset.


GENEVIEVE HANSEN: Frustrated I'm not sure is the word I would use.


HANSEN: More desperate.

NELSON: You called the officers a [expletive], right?

HANSEN: Yeah. I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance. And there was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody.

MARTIN: I mean, we hear all the emotion in this testimony. What have you observed from this testimony in terms of the mood of the witnesses?

CORLEY: Well, I would just say that there seems to be this really - feeling of helplessness. You heard it from Darnella Frazier when she talked about wanting to do more, and you heard it during 911 - the 911 calls that were played during testimony made by Hansen and an earlier witness.

MARTIN: Let me ask in seconds remaining what we expect today.

CORLEY: Well, Genevieve Hansen was the last witness yesterday, and she will be back on the witness stand today.

MARTIN: All right. NPR's Cheryl Corley in Minneapolis. Thank you.

CORLEY: You're welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Cheryl Corley is a Chicago-based NPR correspondent who works for the National Desk. She primarily covers criminal justice issues as well as breaking news in the Midwest and across the country.