MMA fighter who saw George Floyd's death testifies at Chauvin trial about calling 911 on police
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - A trained mixed martial arts fighter who witnessed George Floyd’s deadly arrest testified Tuesday that he called 911 because he believed he "witnessed a murder."
Donald Williams began his testimony on Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in Floyd’s death. Williams can be heard in the viral bystander video yelling at the officers to get off Floyd, that they were killing him.
Tuesday, Williams become emotional listening to the recording of the 911 call he made to police on May 25, 2020. Williams could be heard telling the dispatcher that "Officer 987," whom he identified at trial as Chauvin, "pretty much just killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest."
"He had this knee on this dude’s neck the whole time," William said during the call. "The man stopped breathing. He wasn’t resisting arrest or nothing. He was already in handcuffs."
Williams, who previously testified he is expertly trained in chokeholds as an MMA fighter, described the restraint he saw Chauvin allegedly using against Floyd as a "blood chokehold."
While being cross-examined by defense attorney Eric Nelson, however, he admitted he has never gone to any Minneapolis Police Department or law enforcement training on chokeholds.
Nelson asked Williams if he has ever had to compete in front of a crowd that was "upset." Williams swatted the question back at the defense, answering yes and that he knows how to deal with distraction and remain professional regardless of what is going on around him.
Prosecutors were limited about what Williams could testify to, in terms of a cause of death. Trial Judge Peter Cahill said Williams could explain what he saw in the moment, but he could not opine freely about some conclusions he reached.
Williams recalled watching Floyd struggle on the street under Chauvin’s knee, seeing Floyd’s eyes roll back into his head and him gasping for air.
Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank played the bystander video, and Williams described to the jury that he believes he saw Chauvin use a shimmying motion to increase pressure on Floyd’s neck.
"He just did it right there. His toe is pointed down, you will see a small gesture in his back foot, and that’s the pressure being pushed more down between his knee, George’s head and the concrete and it’s cutting off circulation," Williams said.
Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. His trial is expected to last until mid to late April.