Journalists reflect on the first week of testimony in the Chauvin trial

A man and a women sit behind desks, speaking to each other.
Judge Peter Cahill gives instructions to Genevieve Hansen, a witness in the trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday.
Screenshot of Court TV video file

The first week of testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was full of raw emotion.

Jurors watched as prosecutors played police bodycam videos showing officers pushing a handcuffed George Floyd into a squad car, then pinning him to the pavement where Chauvin kneeled on his neck as Floyd pleaded that he couldn’t breathe. 

Bystanders who watched Floyd die were called to the stand, including the store clerk who said he is haunted by the call to police after he told a manager Floyd bought cigarettes with a fake $20. An off-duty firefighter talked about how upsetting it was to see a man killed and became antagonistic at times as the defense sought to steer her into one-word answers. 

Four witnesses testified off camera because they were minors last summer, including a tearful Darnella Frazier, who just turned 18 and who took the cellphone video was seen by millions of people. She said she stays up nights and “apologized to George Floyd for not doing more.” 

MPR News host Angela Davis talked with several local journalists about key moments in the trial and what stands out to them. 

Guests:

  • Ruben Rosario is an occasional columnist for the Pioneer Press, where he worked as a reporter, columnist and editor for nearly 30 years.  

  • Myron Medcalf is a former news and sports reporter for the Star Tribune. He now writes Sunday columns for the paper and covers college basketball for ESPN.

  • Hibah Ansari is a reporter with Sahan Journal. 

  • Joey Peters is a reporter with Sahan Journal.  

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

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