The jurors in the Derek Chauvin trial got a video experience on Wednesday when prosecutors showed copious surveillance footage previously unseen of George Floyd in Cup Foods, in addition to more body camera footage, bystander video, and “milestone” silent surveillance video from Cup Foods intersection.
Here are the highlights from the day as we met new evidence, and bystanders described by the prosecution as a “bouquet of humanity.”
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The prosecution called Christopher Belfrey, 45, who was parked to pick up food with his fiancee when he saw officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng confront Floyd in the SUV, with Lane’s gun drawn.
Belfrey began to record with his phone, but then moved his car across the street because he didn’t want to be “trapped between the whole commotion going on.” He then resumed recording as the officers sat Floyd on the pavement, but soon stopped for good, explaining, “I was scared … one of the officers started staring at me.”
“We seen them placing him in the police car, and we kept on driving. I thought it was over.”
Interestingly, the Blue Benz was registered under Floyd’s name. All the recent owners of that car have been scrubbed. A Dodge Ram is the car registered under George Perry Floyd, but not sure where that vehicle is.
Charles McMillian, a 61-year-old who is heard telling George Floyd “you can’t win,” witnessed Officers Lane and Kueng handcuff him, and walk Floyd across the street to the squad car parked in front of Cup Foods.
“I’m not trying to win,” Floyd responds.
McMillian got emotional on the stand and broke down as prosecutors played the video of his interaction with Floyd. He was not the first.
He said he feels helpless. He seemed to get particularly emotional after hearing Floyd beg for his mama since he doesn’t have a mama either.
“I understand him,” he said.
Judge calls a ten-minute break. The second unexpected break for the day.
He also said he was trying to help George by telling him not to resist and noted that he noticed Floyd’s body was shutting down.
When pressed how, he added that Floyd had foam around his mouth and was “coming in and out.”
McMillian remarked that he’s seen Chauvin in the community.
The defense chose to not cross-examine Charles McMillian.
MPLS Lt. James Rugel
The first member of the Minneapolis Police Department to testify in the murder trial was Lt. James Rugel. A surveillance and body-worn camera video expert, he manages the police department’s business technology unit.
He went over procedures dealing with surveillance cameras and the challenges, given that there are not enough people on staff and one person’s eyes can easily glaze over if they were asked to monitor footage all day long. After 14 days, the video expires. Not all cameras are monitored at all times because there are too many. Once a video is searched, found, and downloaded … it can be stored and saved forever.
The footage is stored and able to be retrieved, associated with cases/events in a system called “Milestone.”
The “Milestone camera footage” was taken on May 25 and requested by a deputy chief Sgt. Dean Kregal, who wanted the camera footage at 38th and Chicago from 7 to maybe 11 pm.
Rugel describes how video is live, recorded, can be viewed, and how cameras can be panned, scanned, and redirected. An electronic trail is attached to that video based on the name of the file, then stored on a cloud storage system.
He also shared that officers in uniform must always wear a body-worn camera in standby mode, then put them in active mode and record when responding to call, meeting with people, or other times that might require later review.
Footage from the bodycams belonging to Thomas Lane, Alexander Kueng, and Tou Thao was shown.
Chauvin’s bodycam video also published; you could see him arriving on the scene, but his fell off during arrest. Later, you can hear him talking to possibly the witness McMillian who criticized him for kneeling on George. Chauvin defended his actions. Listen.
Another emotional day in the Derek Chauvin trial.
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