Tearful witness regrets not doing more to possibly save George Floyd’s life
The teenage bystander who recorded a viral video of George Floyd’s death broke down in tears on the witness stand Tuesday, saying she regrets not doing more to possibly save his life.
In an emotional moment on the second day of testimony, Darnella Frazier could barely articulate her sorrow about watching Floyd as Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder in his death, knelt on his neck.
“It’s been nights, I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” a tearful Frazier, who turned 18 last week, told jurors in response to questions from prosecutor Jerry Blackwell.
“But it’s like, it’s not what I should have done,” Frazier added. “It’s what he (Chauvin) should have done.”
Frazier said every time she views the video of the fatal interaction, she thinks of all of her male relatives and Black male friends who could have been in the same situation as Floyd.
“When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad, I look at my brothers, I look at my cousins, my uncles. Because they are all Black,” Frazier said.
“I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that and I look at how that could have been one of them.”
Frazier was 17 when she took her cousin to Cup Foods on May 25 when they spotted police on top of Floyd.
Her video could be the most crucial evidence against Chauvin, who faces second- and third-degree murder charges.
She was among several bystanders who pleaded with Chauvin and other police officers as Floyd moaned and begged for his life.
“He just stared at us,” Frazier said. “He had like this cold look, heartless. He didn’t care. It seemed as if he didn’t care what we were saying. It didn’t change anything he was doing.”
Frazier was the first of four consecutive witnesses whose faces were not shown on TV feeds and whose names weren’t be read to anyone outside the Hennepin County, Minnesota, courtroom, because they were minors.
Alyssa Nicole Funari also took the stand and like Frazier, is 18 now but was 17 last year when she took cell phone video the incident.
Prosecutors had Funari describe what she was seeing as her cellphone camera rolled. The witness pleaded for officers to get off Floyd, fearing he could be killed.
“Time was running out or that it had already,” Funari said. “That he was going to die.”
The young witnesses bring an emotional connection beyond even the powerful video footage, according to the criminal defense attorney and NBC legal analyst Danny Cevallos.
“Very compelling,” Cevallos said. “The video is powerful enough. These witnesses are testifying about their reaction to it, which the jury can relate to.”
Funari said she hasn’t been back to Cup Foods since May 25.
“I didn’t really know how to feel, it was a lot to take in,” she said. “I still haven’t been there there to this day. I don’t want to be reminded.”