911 Dispatcher at Chauvin Trial: I Thought Screen Was Frozen

Plus, witness and MMA fighter describes 'blood choke'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2021 12:05 AM CDT
Updated Mar 30, 2021 6:50 AM CDT
911 Dispatcher at Chauvin Trial: I Thought Screen Was Broken
Witness Jena Scurry answers questions March 29, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn.   (Court TV via AP, Pool)

The trial of Derek Chauvin got underway Monday, and after opening arguments in which prosecutors went big against the former Minnesota cop charged in George Floyd's death, testimony started. Jena Scurry, the Minneapolis 911 dispatcher who called a Minneapolis Police Department sergeant with concerns as she watched a live surveillance camera feed of Floyd's arrest last May, testified that she had a "gut instinct ... something was not right" as Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck. As the moments ticked on and on and Chauvin did not let up, she asked if the screen was frozen and was told it was not, Axios reports. Other witnesses included:

  • Donald Williams: The mixed martial artist, 33, is one of the bystanders who can be heard on video of the Floyd arrest begging Chauvin to get off his neck. He testified that he recognized what Chauvin was doing from his MMA training, ABC 10 reports: "Air choke is more like choking someone, they still have air to breathe," he said. "Then you also have a choke where it's a blood choke, where it specifically attacks the side of the neck and it specifically cuts off the circulation." That's what Chauvin was doing, he said, adding that the only time the officer looked at him as he pleaded with him to stop and let Floyd breathe was when he said "it was a blood choke."

  • Alisha Oyler: She was working at the Speedway located at the intersection where Floyd died when she saw what was going on. She provided seven videos she'd taken to police after the fact. "I always see the police, they're always messing with people," she said when asked why she recorded the incident. "And it's wrong and it's not right." The videos were shown to the jury.
Williams' testimony was paused and the jury was dismissed after a technical glitch in which the video feed being broadcast to family members became unavailable. He will resume testifying at 9:30am local time Tuesday. (More Derek Chauvin stories.)

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