Teenage witness tells murder trial Derek Chauvin brandished mace at her as he knelt on George Floyd

High school student testifies Mr Chauvin was “kind of angry” and she was “scared” of him

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Tuesday 30 March 2021 20:50
Witness tells murder trial Chauvin brandished mace at her as he knelt on Floyd
Leer en Español

A teenage witness told a murder trial that Derek Chauvin brandished mace at her as he knelt on George Floyd.

Kaylynn Gilbert said that she had been “scared” by Mr Chauvin who she described as “kind of angry” as he manhandled Mr Floyd before his death last year.

The 17-year-old high school student told the jury in Minneapolis that she had given her phone to a friend to record the events because of a “gut feeling” that something was wrong.

“We heard George Floyd’s voice yelling out for his mum and saying he can’t breathe,” she said and described being “three officers” on top of him.

“I walked up and saw George Floyd unconscious and Derek on his neck. He was not talking anymore, his eyes were closed, he was not moving,” said Ms Gilbert.

Read more:

“I saw him digging his knee into his neck more. He was putting a lot of pressure on his neck that was not needed.”

The teenager is one of four young witnesses to give testimony on the second day of the trial, and the judge in the case has ruled that the courtroom audio is blocked when they give their names.

She then went on to describe the police officers at the scene outside Cup Foods as“really hostile.”

“The tone in their voices, Officer Thao’s voice, was really angry,” she said of one officer who was captures on video controlling the small crowd that gathered.

And she denied any of the witnesses had been violent towards the police.

She also described Mr Chauvin, who was “digging his knee into George Floyd’s neck” as “kind of angry.”

She added that while he was pinning down Mr Floyd, Mr Chauvin had grabbed his mace and was “shaking it at us.”

The prosecution asked her how this had made her feel.

“Scared ... because I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was scared of Chauvin,” she replied.

The 17-year-old girl then testified that Mr Chauvin did not remove his knee until the ambulance arrived and a paramedic motioned for him to “get off.”

“He looked kind of like purple, like he wasn’t getting enough circulation. He was really limp,” she said.

Mr Chauvin is charged in the death of Mr Floyd, who died in police custody, on May 25 2020.

He is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.

Deciding the case is a jury of nine women and six men, with nine identified as white, four Black, and two of mixed race, ranging in age from 20s to 60s.

Earlier the teenager’s friend, Alyssa Funari, 18, told the court she witnessed the incident and recorded it on a phone.

“I heard him say he couldn’t breathe, and that his stomach hurt and that he wanted his mum,” Ms Funari testified.

“I knew initially that there was something was wrong so I started recording. George was in distress.”

And she said that she quickly became worried about Mr Floyd’s health.

“If he were to be held down much longer then he would not live. You could see in his face that he was slowly not able to breathe, his eyes were rolling back,” she said.

The teenager then said that she felt she had “failed” Mr Floyd by not intervening.

“Because I was there, technically I could have done something, but I could not do anything physically as the highest power was there at the time,” she said.

She said that when people asked about Mr Floyd’s pulse the officers did not respond or move until paramedics arrived.

And she said she saw Mr Chauvin put increased weight on Mr Floyd by lifting his foot and putting his hands in his pocket.

“He was not able to breathe and I felt they were not doing what they were supposed to be doing,” she added.

“Chauvin kept his knee on his neck the entire time, even when the paramedics checked for a pulse.”

She was asked by prosecutors if the officers had at any time tried to move Mr Floyd or to give him medical help, and she replied “no.”

Prosecutors then played videos that she had shot that day.

“I could hear George crying and begging for them to get off of him, that he was in pain. I knew he was hurting and it was upsetting,” she told the court.

Asked why she was concerned for Mr Floyd, she replied: “Because I knew that if he were to be held down much longer, he would not live.”

The witness could then be heard on video saying that Mr Floyd had not moved “in over a minute.”

“I knew time was running out, that he was going to die,” she added.

“At that point I kinda new that he was dead or not breathing. His eyes were closed and he was just laying there, no longer fighting or resisting.”

When the ambulance arrived she said “he did not look alive, the paramedics looked at his eyes, checked his pulse and put him on the journey without saying anything.”

She told the jury that she knew she had to capture what was going on in front of her.

“It felt like a lot to take in. I almost walked away at first as it was a lot to watch but I knew it was wrong and I could not just walk away even if I could not do anything about it,” she said.

She added that the incident had left her emotionally numb and that she had never gone back to Cup Foods.

“I have not been back to this day, I do not want to be reminded,” she said.

Under cross examination she confirmed that she had previously told investigators that officers had checked Mr Floyd’s pulse.

She also agreed that she was “angry” at what she had seen, saying “I was upset.”

Earlier the nine-year-old cousin of Darnella Frazier, Judeah Reynolds, told the court that she was “sad and mad” at seeing police apprehend Mr Floyd and identified Mr Chauvin as the officer who had his knee on Mr Floyd’s neck.

“It felt like he was stopping his breathing,” she said quietly.

Defence attorney Eric Nelson declined to cross-examine the youngster.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in