Derek Chauvin Trial Stops After Witness Breaks Down Rewatching George Floyd’s Arrest

by : Julia Banim on : 01 Apr 2021 15:42
Derek Chauvin Trial Stops After Witness Breaks Down Rewatching George Floyd's ArrestPA Images

The Derek Chauvin murder trial was briefly stopped after a witness broke down rewatching footage of George Floyd’s fatal arrest.

Charles McMillian, 61, who had been one of the first bystanders at the scene as Floyd was being taken into custody on May 25, 2020, broke down in tears on the stand while watching the graphic footage.


After a prosecutor attempted to console McMillian, the judge then decided to take a 10-minute break from the trial. After returning, McMillian was able to resume his testimony.

You can find out more in the following clip:

McMillian had begun his testimony telling jurors how he had pulled over after seeing the arrest. He had attempted to de-escalate the situation, urging Floyd to comply with the officers’ commands and telling him, ‘you can’t win’.


Explaining why he told Floyd this, as per CNN, McMillian said:

Because I have had interactions with officers 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.

McMillian stated that Floyd had been handcuffed the entire time and that he had been listening to and understanding what McMillian was telling him.

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During his testimony, McMillian also stated that he had seen Derek Chauvin in South Minneapolis just five days before Floyd’s fatal arrest, clarifying, ‘I had seen him through the community, I didn’t know him’.

McMillian said:

Five days prior to this happening, I pulled up on a squad car somewhere in South Minneapolis, and I seen Mr. Chauvin, and I told him like other officers, ‘at the end of the day you go to your family safe, and the next person goes to their home safe.

In the video which caused McMillian to weep on the witness stand, Floyd could be heard calling out for his mother, who had died two years earlier.


Floyd could also be heard repeatedly telling officers ‘I’m claustrophobic’ and ‘I can’t breathe’, as they strained to get him inside a police car, eventually dragging him down to the ground.

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Dabbing at his tears with a handkerchief, McMillian said:

I can’t, I feel helpless I don’t have a mother either, I understand him.


Chauvin has reportedly pleaded not guilty to the charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Arrest, Derek Chauvin, George Floyd, Now, Trial


CNN and 1 other
  1. CNN

    Witness breaks down in court after watching footage of George Floyd's arrest

  2. ABC News

    Witness breaks down during testimony in Chauvin trial