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Derek Chauvin trial witness overwhelmed with sorrow watching video of George Floyd’s arrest – Minneapolis Star Tribune



Derek Chauvin trial witness overwhelmed with sorrow watching video of George Floyd’s arrest – Minneapolis Star Tribune_6064ffc6993a0.png

Sobs of grief overcame a man testifying Wednesday afternoon in the Derek Chauvin murder trial as he watched video of himself standing watch as Minneapolis police struggled with George Floyd, who called out for his mother and shouted “I can’t breathe” on the night of his arrest and death last spring.

Charles McMillian said in Hennepin County District Court that he came upon the scene early on when police detained Floyd on suspicion of passing a fake $20 bill at the Cup Foods convenience store at E. 38th Street and S. Chicago Avenue.

McMillian said he tried to get Floyd to calm down as two officers tried to get him into the back of their squad car.

“I’m watching Mr. Floyd, I’m trying to get him to understand that when you make a mistake, once they get you in handcuffs, there’s no such thing as being claustrophobic, you have to go,” he said. “I’ve had interactions with officers myself, and I realize once you get in the cuffs you can’t win.”

Prosecutor Erin Eldridge played officer-worn body camera footage as exterior store surveillance video also rolled. It showed McMillian calmly and intently watching the officers having difficulty getting an increasing agitated Floyd into their squad.

Floyd cried “Momma, Momma, Momma” repeatedly and yell out that “I can’t breathe” on the video. Once the video stopped, the global livestream showed McMillian wiping away tears, fighting sobs.

“Helpless” is how McMillian said he felt as he watched Floyd and the officers. “I don’t have a momma either; I understand him.”

“Oh, my god,” the witness then said in a breathy whisper. With that, Judge Peter Cahill called for a brief break to give McMillian, 61, time regain his composure.

Earlier, McMillian testified that he recognized Chauvin and had seen him as recently as five days earlier.

“I pulled up to the squad car somewhere in south Minneapolis, and I see Mr. Chauvin, and I told him like I tell other officers — that the end of the day, you go home to your family safe and that the next person goes home to their family safe,” he said.

When proceedings resumed, newly released video from Chauvin’s body-worn camera showed McMillian confront the officer as he got into his squad after Floyd was taken away in an ambulance.

McMillian reminded Chauvin of what he had told him five days earlier, about getting home safe to his family, as the next person should be able to.

Chauvin then defended his actions, saying, “We’ve gotta control this guy because he’s a sizable guy, looks like he’s probably on something.”

Prosecutor Erin Eldridge asked McMillian, “Why did you feel the need to talk to Mr. Chauvin?” McMillian replied: “Because what I watched was wrong.”

“And did you feel it was important to tell him?” Eldridge said.

“Yes ma’am.” McMillian answered.

The proceedings ran until shortly after 4:30 p.m. The trial is set to resume Thursday sometime between 9 and 9:30 a.m.

George Floyd’s youngest brother occupied the lone family seat in the courtroom for the afternoon session and did not watch the video when the officers were trying to get George Floyd into the squad car. Rodney Floyd stared down, his eyes wide during that video moment.

When video was shown of George Floyd yelling “Mama” repeatedly and “I can’t breathe,” again Rodney Floyd averted his eyes while looking down and shaking his head. He had much the same reaction when video of the arrest was played from each of the officers’ body-worn cameras.

During a break in the trial, the brother said in the hall that he did glimpse out of the corner of his eye at some of the video.

Earlier Wednesday, surveillance video shown inside the store where he bought cigarettes with suspected counterfeit currency before his deadly encounter with police late last spring.

In the footage disclosed publicly for the first time, Floyd ambled about Cup Foods for several minutes and appeared fidgety at times while chatting with others inside as Christopher Martin, who was working as a clerk in the store at the time, explained what was being shown. Floyd is seen inside the store with Morries Hall and Shawanda Hill, who were with him in the SUV when he was first detained by police.

Late Thursday, Hall filed with the court his intention to invoke his Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege against self-incrimination. This would prevent Hall from testifying to anything that might work against the prosection as it tries to convict Chauvin of killing Hall’s friend.

Martin, who lived above the store, said Floyd eventually bought cigarettes with a $20 bill. Martin said the color of the bill made him suspicious that it was fake, and he went outside to talk to Floyd twice about it.

Eventually, someone called police and that set off the sequence of events that led to Floyd’s arrest under Chauvin’s knee and death later that night.

“When I saw the bill I noticed it had a blue pigment to it, kind of like a $100 bill would have, so I found that kind of odd and assumed it was fake,” said Martin, 19.

Martin said store policy meant that he would have to pay for any counterfeit currency he and his co-workers accepted.

“I took it anyway and was willing to put it on my tab, and then I second guessed myself,” he said.

Martin said he twice went out with co-workers trying in vain to get Floyd to come back in the store and deal with the suspect fake bill. Floyd didn’t say much, but didn’t come back into the store.

“He just seemed like he didn’t, like, want this to happen, he was just kind of like ‘Ah why is this happening’ ” Martin said. He said his manager then directed his co-worker to call 911 and Martin went back about his business. Later he heard commotion outside the store and saw Floyd pinned to the ground.

“George was motionless, limp and Chauvin seemed very, he was in a resting state, meaning like he rested his knee on his neck. I pulled my phone out first and called my mom and told her not to come downstairs and then I started recording.”

He said he later deleted the recording after he saw the ambulance drive away in a different direction from the hospital.

“That made it clear to me that he was no longer with us,” he said. Pressed on why he deleted the recording, he said, “I just didn’t want to have to show it to anyone and be questioned about it.”

Later in his testimony, Martin was asked why he could be seen on exterior store video surveillance pacing about near the arrest scene and clasping his hands atop his head.

“At this point I was kind of emotional,” he said, recalling a conversation with another Black man at the scene, saying, ” ‘They’re not gonna help him, this is what we have to deal with.’ ” Cahill ordered the comment stricken from the record.

Martin said he was feeling “disbelief and guilt.”

Why guilt? Prosecutor Matthew Frank asked.

“If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,” Martin replied.

Afterward, he went back into the store and continued his shift, but he didn’t stay employed at the store long.

“I didn’t feel safe,” he said.

As for Floyd’s demeanor, Martin said he was amicable, and he saw him as just another customer. Martin noticed his size and asked Floyd whether he played baseball. Floyd told him that he played football.

“He went on to respond, but it kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say so, it would appear that he was high,” Martin said.

The defense has focused in pretrial motions and during its opening statement on Floyd’s drug use and what impact it might have had on his health.

Nelson’s time questioning Martin dealt a fair amount with Floyd appearing to be under the influence of drugs.

He confirmed that he told investigators earlier that Floyd’s speech was delayed as he “was trying to form the words.”

Martin again said, this time under prosecution questioning that Floyd was friendly and “just seemed to be enjoying just an average Memorial Day. But he did seem high.”

The day’s final witness was Police Lt. James Rugel, who oversees the department’s body-worn camera program. After Rugel explained how body cameras worked and when they are to be activated, prosecutor Steve Schleicher played much of the bodycam video on the night of Floyd’s arrest from officers Lane, Kueng and Thao.

They showed Lane and Kueng struggling to get Floyd in their squad car for minutes to get him in the squad. Chauvin soon arrived and joined the other two in getting Floyd on the pavement, where all three kept him pinned for more than nine minutes until paramedics arrived.

Schleicher then played last for the jury some of Chauvin’s bodycam video from that night. It started with Thao driving as he and Chauvin head to the scene. They arrived, and Chauvin walked toward where Lane and Kueng were struggling to get Floyd in the back of the squad.

Chauvin went around to the other side and helped Lane pull Floyd out. Chauvin’s bodycam then fell off and to the ground. Earlier, Schleicher paused Lane’s video to show Chauvin’s detached bodycam. The playing of the video stopped there.

Once the jury was dismissed, Nelson questioned Rugel about the city-operated camera video across from Cup and about the four officers’ bodycam videos. The defense attorney then said the state’s submissions of those videos are not what those cameras captured in full, and he intends to enter into evidence this week the complete images from all those cameras.

In apparent connection to the video evidence, Nelson offered a hint of what areas he plans to address once it’s the defense’s turn after the prosecution rests its case, namely when experts testify about “use of force considerations and medical issues.”

Early in Wednesday’s proceedings, Cahill called an unexpected break after a female juror stood up, waved and gestured toward the door. She exited quickly once the break was called.

The ailing juror returned and was seated in the witness stand for a conversation with the judge.

She told Cahill she was “shaky but better.” She went on to say she’s been having trouble sleeping. “I’ve been awake since 2 a.m.,” she said.

The woman then reassured the judge that “I think I’ll be OK going forward … I feel like there’s a tension that’s gone a little bit.”

Chauvin is charged with second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other fired officers, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Thao, are expected to stand trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

Staff writers Chao Xiong and Rochelle Olson contributed to this report.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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France risks ‘losing control’ over Covid-19 spread without stricter national measures — Macron – CNN




France risks ‘losing control’ over Covid-19 spread without stricter national measures — Macron – CNN_6064ffe26042a.jpeg

The measures will start Saturday and last for at least a month, Macron said in a televised national address.

Under the “limited lockdown,” curfews will remain in place, domestic travel will be limited and people will be asked to work from home. Nurseries and primary and secondary schools will be closed for at least three weeks, Macron said.

The new variant first detected in the United Kingdom has created an “epidemic within an epidemic” and it is more contagious and deadly, he said.

Almost 44% of all Covid patients in intensive care units are under the age of 65, the President said. He insisted that France had made the “right choices” so far, but added that in the past few weeks the vaccine has “accelerated” and “things have changed.”

Macron has faced growing criticism over his approach to the current Covid-19 surge. His administration has until now favored regional restrictions instead of the strict national lockdowns imposed in other European nations, against the advice of France’s scientific council.

In his televised address, Macron said France would be extending the regional “reinforced slow-down” restrictions, already in place in 19 areas of the country, to all of France. The new rules will last four weeks from Saturday.

“If we make this choice to extend them to the entire metropolitan territory, it is because no metropolitan area is now spared,” he said.

“These last weeks we are facing a new situation. We have entered a race of speed,” he added. “We must therefore set ourselves a new framework for the coming months,” Macron added.

The French president said schools would gradually reopen at the end on April for kindergartens and primary schools and from May 3 for middle and high schools.

Macron, who is up for reelection next year, had justified his regional strategy by saying the country needed to consider the impacts on mental health and the economy in devising a balanced response to the third wave.

But as of Tuesday, more than 28,000 people were being treated in hospital for Covid-19 in France, including 5,072 in intensive care units (ICU), according to French health ministry data. It’s the first time since April last year that ICU patient numbers have surpassed 5,000.

A dangerous coronavirus variant is wreaking havoc in parts of Europe. Experts fear US could be next

More than 40 ICU and emergency doctors in Paris published an op-ed Sunday in the newspaper Journal du Dimanche, warning that ICUs in the region would reach capacity in the next two weeks if restrictions were not tightened.

There are more than 1,500 patients in ICU in the Paris region alone.

The doctors wrote that they had “never experienced such a situation, even during the worst terrorist attacks in recent years,” and said there was a “glaring mismatch between needs and available resources,” in what they described as a “disaster.”

Much of Europe has struggled to contain a third wave of Covid-19, in part fueled by new variants that early studies suggest are more transmissible and possibly deadlier than previous ones. Like many European Union member countries, France has rolled out a sluggish vaccination program, as drug companies have fallen short on their delivery targets by tens of millions of vaccines.

Macron said last week that accelerating vaccination was a “national priority,” but he also admitted European nations had lacked “ambition” around vaccine procurement.

Veterinarians and dentists have been allowed to administer Covid-19 vaccines in the country since Friday in order to “speed up the campaign.” More than 7.5 million people in France, around 11% of its population, have received at least one shot of a two-dose regimen, government data shows.

CNN’s Martin Goillandeau and Lindsay Isaac contributed to this report.

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Delta and Coca-Cola Reverse Course on Georgia Voting Law, Stating ‘Crystal Clear’ Opposition – The New York Times




Delta and Coca-Cola Reverse Course on Georgia Voting Law, Stating ‘Crystal Clear’ Opposition – The New York Times_6064ffdbea4f4.jpeg

In the memo, Mr. Bastian said it was only after the law was passed that he truly understood the degree to which it would impose restrictions on Black voters.

“After having time to now fully understand all that is in the bill, coupled with discussions with leaders and employees in the Black community, it’s evident that the bill includes provisions that will make it harder for many underrepresented voters, particularly Black voters, to exercise their constitutional right to elect their representatives,” he said. “That is wrong.”

Mr. Bastian went further, saying the new law was based on false pretenses.

“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections,” he said. “This is simply not true. Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights.”

Several other companies also weighed in on the issue on Wednesday.

Larry Fink, the chief executive of BlackRock, issued a statement on LinkedIn saying the company was concerned about the wave of new restrictive voting laws. “BlackRock is concerned about efforts that could limit access to the ballot for anyone,” Mr. Fink said. “Voting should be easy and accessible for ALL eligible voters.”

Mark Mason, the chief financial officer of Citi, in a post on LinkedIn, called out the Georgia law as discriminatory.

“I am appalled by the recent voter suppression laws passed in the state of Georgia,” said Mr. Mason, who is Black. “I see it as a disgrace that our country’s efforts to keep Black Americans from engaging fully in our Constitutional right to vote continue to this day.”

Chuck Robbins, who is the chief executive of Cisco and grew up in Georgia, said on Twitter that “voting is a fundamental right in our democracy” and that “governments should be working to make it easier to vote, not harder.”

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Tucker Carlson livid after Rep. Matt Gaetz tries to rope him into controversy, source says – CNN




Tucker Carlson livid after Rep. Matt Gaetz tries to rope him into controversy, source says – CNN_6064ffd5b7db2.jpeg

“It pissed him off,” the person familiar with the matter explained to CNN on Wednesday.

Gaetz, who has strongly denied allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her travel with him, seemed to attempt to draw Carlson into the controversy during a bizarre Tuesday night interview.

The Florida lawmaker first referenced a previous allegation of sexual misconduct against Carlson, which the Fox News host has denied, saying that he was “not the only person on screen right now who’s been falsely accused of a terrible sex act.”

Then, and more interestingly, Gaetz suggested Carlson had met a woman involved in the recent controversy related to the sex allegations. Gaetz said that woman was threatened by the FBI to tell people he was involved in a “pay to play scheme.”

A person familiar with the DOJ investigation told CNN that the probe is part of a broader probe into trafficking allegations against another Florida politician. Gaetz has not been charged with a crime.

“You and I went to dinner about two years ago,” Gaetz told Carlson. “Your wife was there, and I brought a friend of mine, you’ll remember her.”

Carlson immediately denied knowledge of the dinner.

“I don’t remember the woman you are speaking of or the context at all, honestly,” Carlson said.

After the interview concluded, Carlson described it as “one of the weirdest” he’s “ever conducted.”

A representative for Fox did not offer a comment. Gaetz’s office also did not respond to a request for comment.

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