*A witness to George Floyd’s deadly encounter with Minneapolis police broke down on the stand Wednesday during day 3 of former officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial.
Charles McMillian, the 61-year-old bystander heard in videos of the incident pleading with Floyd to “get in the car,” told the court that he ended up on the scene because he drove past police vehicles in front of Cup Foods and pulled over his van because he was “nosey.”
Surveillance video played in court as McMillian weighed in showed him watching as Floyd was led from the first squad car on the scene to being seated on the ground against the wall of Dragon Wok restaurant. McMillian said he followed as the cops walked Floyd, who by now was handcuffed, from in front of Dragon Wok to the second squad car in front of Cup Foods. He watched officers struggle to get him into the car, then, ultimately wrestle him to the ground where Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck.
In the video, McMillan can be heard saying, “Just get in the car,” and “You can’t win.” McMillan said by speaking to Floyd, he was trying to help make the situation easier.
“Because I have had interactions with officer myself and I understand once you get in the car, you can’t win, you’re done. It’s just the way I’ve looked at it,” McMillan explained in court.
The prosecution then continued the video, which had former officer J. Alexander Kueng’s body camera video superimposed on street surveillance video that showed McMillian watching the scene unfold. Floyd is heard repeatedly calling for his mother and stating he can’t breathe. McMillian is heard again begging Floyd to just get into the car. Floyd responds to McMillian’s voice, saying, “I can’t!” When the prosecution again paused the video, McMillan was sobbing with his head down. The prosecution gently attempted to resume questioning, asking him to explain his emotions.
“I feel helpless,” he said, adding that he related to Floyd’s calling for his mother, saying he had also recently lost his. Chauvin’s lawyer objected to the statement, and that’s when Judge Peter Cahill decided the court would take a ten-minute break.