The convenience store cashier who sold cigarettes to George Floyd in exchange for a fake $20 bill has testified in the murder trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.
Prosecutors were laying out the series of events that led to Mr Floyd’s ill-fated arrest outside the shop on Wednesday (Thursday AEDT).
Christopher Martin, 19, said he felt “disbelief — and guilt” as he stood on the curb a short time later, his hands on his back, witnessing Floyd’s arrest.
“This could’ve been prevented if I hadn’t takenen (sic) the bill,” Mr Martin testified, adding to the growing chorus of onlookers who expressed helplessness and residual remorse over the Black man’s death last May.
Prosecutors showed store surveillance footage of Mr Floyd in Cup Foods for about ten minutes, adding to the mountain of video evidence.
Mr Martin said he immediately assumed the $20 Mr Floyd gave him was counterfeit, but he acknowledged it despite the fact that the sum would be deducted from his paycheck as per store policy.
The cashier said he was going to just place the bill on his “tab,” but then changed his mind and told a boss, who sent him outside to ask Mr Floyd to come back in.
The 46-year-old was later arrested outside, where Mr Chauvin allegedly pinned Floyd’s knee to his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds as he laid face-down on the ground, handcuffed.
A hospital later pronounced the Black man dead.
Mr Martin said that when he asked Mr Floyd if he played baseball, he replied that he did, but it took him a long time to answer, implying that “he was big.”
The now-fired white officer did what his training told him to do, according to the defense.
Mr Floyd’s death, it was claimed, was caused by a combination of illicit substance use, heart failure, high blood pressure, and the adrenaline pumping through his body, rather than by Mr Chauvin’s knee on his throat, as prosecutors say.
As people gathered on the curb, shouting at police, Mr Martin went outside.
He pulled out his phone and started filming, but later deleted it, explaining that the ambulance didn’t take the quickest route to the hospital and that Floyd died as a result.
He explained, “I just didn’t want to have to show it (the video) to anybody.”
On Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT), Genevieve Hansen, one of the witnesses seen and heard screaming at the officer as he held Mr Floyd down, wept as she remembered being stopped from using her EMT training to rescue Mr Floyd.
She expressed her desperation as she explained how she was powerless to help the man or instruct police about what to do, such as administering chest compressions.
Ms Hansen, who testified in her dress uniform and outlined her emergency medical technician training, said, “There was a man being killed.”
“To the best of my ability, I would have been able to offer medical assistance.
And that right was denied to this individual.”
Mr Chauvin, 45, faces murder and manslaughter charges. The most serious charge he faces carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in jail.
Mr Floyd’s murder, as well as the harrowing bystander video of him pleading that he couldn’t breathe while onlookers screamed at Mr Chauvin to get off, prompted worldwide demonstrations and a reckoning over racism and police violence in the United States.
On Tuesday (Wednesday AEDT), many onlookers testified about their growing rage, resentment, and despair as they begged Mr Chauvin to remove his knee from Mr Floyd’s neck.
Witnesses and footage show police restraining anyone on the sidewalk who wanted to interfere.
According to bystanders, including the teenager who shot the video that triggered nationwide demonstrations, Mr Chauvin seemed unmoved by their cries.
“He didn’t seem to mind. He appeared unconcerned with what we were doing “Darnella Frazier, an 18-year-old victim, was one of those who testified through tears.
He gave the bystanders a “cold” and “heartless” look, she said.
According to witnesses and bystander footage, Mr Chauvin managed to kneel on Floyd while fellow officer Tou Thao held back about 15 onlookers, even after Ms Hansen identified herself as a firefighter and begged repeatedly to check Floyd’s pulse.
Ms Frazier told the jury, “They certainly put their hands on the Mace, and we all pulled back.”
The prosecution witnesses’ evidence appeared to be aimed at demonstrating that Mr Chauvin had several chances to reconsider his behavior and change course.
However, defense counsel Eric Nelson tried to introduce evidence that onlookers were angry, allegedly to demonstrate that the police were overwhelmed by what they considered to be an increasing and aggressive crowd.
No bystanders, according to witnesses, interfered with officers.