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Trail Begins for Ex-Police Officer Charged in George Floyd's Death; Prosecution Questions Witness to Floyd's Arrest. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 29, 2021 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00]

STEVE SCHLEICHER, MINNESOTA SPECIAL ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: When did you first notice or where did you first notice the police?

ALISHA OYLER, PROSECUTION WITNESS: I would say like on the corner, right like diagonal like across the street.

SCHLEICHER: You can use the stylus.

OYLER: Like right here. Oops.

SCHLEICHER: OK. And so for the record, that's across from Cup Foods, across 38th street, in what is labeled on Exhibit 1 as Dragon Wok, is that right?

OYLER: Uh-huh, yes.

SCHLEICHER: All right. Please tell the jury in your own words what it is that you saw that caught your attention?

OYLER: Just the police -- try not to cuss. Just them messing with someone.

SCHLEICHER: When you say messing with someone, and thank you for not cussing, but when you say messing with someone, could you please describe what you mean by that?

OYLER: Like I don't really know how to explain it. Just like disturbing somebody before they found out who it was.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Now, did you eventually find out who the person the police were disturbing, in your words.

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Who's that?

OYLER: George Floyd.

SCHLEICHER: Had you ever met this person before?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: To your knowledge, he'd never been a customer at the Speedway?

OYLER: Nope.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Can you please describe for the jury what you saw after you first noticed the police having this interaction with the person you now know to be Mr. Floyd?

OYLER: Can you say that again.

SCHLEICHER: Can you just describe, you know, after you first noticed the police having this interaction with Mr. Floyd, what did you see happen?

OYLER: In the handcuffs.

SCHLEICHER: Where was Mr. Floyd when you saw him in handcuffs?

OYLER: Over here across the street.

SCHLEICHER: OK, in the area where you first indicated by the Dragon Wok?

OYLER: I believe so.

SCHLEICHER: And then what did you see happen after Mr. Floyd was in handcuffs?

OYLER: I don't remember.

SCHLEICHER: What's the next thing you do --

OYLER: Oh, god.

SCHLEICHER: Are you a little nervous today?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Well, that's OK. Just take your time. We have plenty of time to get through this, OK? And so just, you know, backing up, you'd indicated that Mr. Floyd was in handcuffs. And just think to yourself what you next remember seeing after you noticed he was in handcuffs.

OYLER: I think they ended up putting him in the police car thing.

SCHLEICHER: And which police car? Where was the police car that you saw?

OYLER: The one right across from Cup Foods.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Now, before you saw that, did you see the police take Mr. Floyd across the street? OYLER: Uh-huh, Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Yes, all right. So, after you saw him in handcuffs, you saw him being taken across the street and then placed in the car right outside of Cup Foods, is that right?

OYLER: Uh-huh. Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: Yes?

OYLER: Yeah, yes.

SCHLEICHER: And you own a cell phone, correct?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: You owned a cell phone at the time, yes?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And did you do anything with your cell phone as you began to notice this incident involving Mr. Floyd and the police?

OYLER: Well, as you guys seen that on the security thing that I had my phone.

SCHLEICHER: Right. You had your phone. Did you do anything with your phone?

OYLER: Like recording it?

SCHLEICHER: Yes.

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: OK. So what I'd like you to do first, before we get to the point where are you start recording, just explain to the jury what you saw after you noticed the police officers putting Mr. Floyd in the car.

OYLER: I don't remember. I can't think right now.

SCHLEICHER: Well, you indicated that you began recording with your cell phone, is that right?

OYLER: Uh-huh.

SCHLEICHER: And during the time you began preparing to speak to police about this, you provided your cell phone recordings to law enforcement, is that right?

OYLER: Uh-huh.

SCHLEICHER: Is that a yes?

OYLER: Yes. SCHLEICHER: yes.

OYLER: Yes.

[15:35:00]

SCHLEICHER: All right. And there was a total of seven cell phone recordings that you personally took, is that correct?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: You've reviewed each of those cell phone recordings, correct?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: And those cell phone recordings, do they fairly and accurately depict what you saw on the street that day?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: And two of those cell phone recordings were actually made from inside the store, correct?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And then the rest were outside of the store.

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: Now, those cell phone recordings, individual clips have been marked and disclosed to counsel as exhibits 2 through 8. You wouldn't know that, but they have. And at this time I'm going to offer exhibits 2 through 8.

JUDGE PETER A. CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Any objection?

ERIC NELSON, LAWYER REPRESENTING DEREK CHAUVIN: No, your honor.

CAHILL: 2 through 8 are received.

SCHLEICHER: And then, Ms. Oyler, you also had an opportunity to review a surveillance video, is that right?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And the surveillance video, for the record, is exhibit 11. Having reviewed that video, did that video -- I'm sorry -- fairly and accurately capture things that you observed when you were working at Speedway on the 25th?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: OK. And then you were able to review that surveillance video in a format in which all of your cell phone videos -- or I guess I should say six of those seven cell phone videos had been spliced into or put next to the surveillance video, correct?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And that kind of gives a perspective of when those individual videos were shot, is that correct?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And then the combination of the six videos that we've just received and exhibit 11, which has been offered and received, would that composition better help you and assist you in explaining your testimony to the jury?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: All right. And that, for the record, is exhibit 9. I offer exhibit 9.

CAHILL: Any objection?

NELSON: No, your honor.

CAHILL: 9 is received.

SCHLEICHER: And at this time, I'm going to go ahead and publish exhibit 9 as they take exhibit 1 down. And when I say publish, I mean I'm going to play it. And at times I'm going to stop and pause, and have you explained some things, all right?

OYLER: OK.

SCHLEICHER: All right. If we could begin publishing exhibit 9, please. I believe we're paused at seven seconds. At this point you can see -- and I'm going to place a circle around some -- the officers. You see them there?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And are those the people that you saw interacting with the person you now know to be Mr. Floyd?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: And your first interaction that you noticed was actually across the street by Dragon Wok, is that right?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Now, as Mr. Floyd's being taken over the car, I think that we will soon hear your first recording. So, if we could resume play.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OYLER: Oh, there's some shit going on over there.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SCHLEICHER: After you made that short recording, and that was you, I suppose, narrating.

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: OK. After you were narrating that portion, you continued to watch?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Now, at this time, Ms. Oyler, did you notice any bystanders, anybody in the street?

OYLER: No.

(watching video)

[15:40:00]

SCHLEICHER: We're going to be approaching 8:16 and 30 seconds. Ms. Oyler, were you continuing to watch the events as you were working the cash register at Speedway at this time?

OYLER: I believe so, yes.

SCHLEICHER: All right. Now, we've paused at about 8:17. And at some point, did you notice other some police officers arrive on the scene?

OYLER: I think so.

SCHLEICHER: Let's resume play here.

OK and let's pause. Now at this time, showing you two other individuals who are joining the first two officers that you saw, do you notice those?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And what did you see those two officers do after they arrived?

OYLER: I don't remember.

SCHLEICHER: Let's continue.

From your vantage point inside the Speedway, were you able to hear anything outside?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: All right, let's pause here for a moment. And we're at 8:18 and 10 seconds. As best you can, describe for the jury what you recall seeing the officers do with Mr. Floyd prior to getting to this point.

OYLER: Before this point? SCHLEICHER: Before this point. For example, did you see Mr. Floyd get

into a vehicle?

OYLER: Like off what we just watched?

SCHLEICHER: What do you recall seeing with Mr. Floyd and the squad car before -- just before we get to this point.

OYLER: Like when they drag him out?

SCHLEICHER: All right. Let's resume.

Now we're pausing at about 8 -- almost 8:19. I asked you previously about bystanders, and noticing bystanders, at some point as you made these observations, did you see a crowd of bystanders gather?

OYLER: Not till like after.

SCHLEICHER: After what?

OYLER: Like after they did the -- like the -- you know.

SCHLEICHER: OK. So at this point you're not seeing a crowd either in the immediate area or across the street at the Speedway?

OYLER: I'm trying to remember. I don't remember.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Let's resume play.

[15:45:00]

You can keep going.

All right. I'm going to pause here. This is at 8:20 and 20 seconds.

I'll ask you some questions about some people, again, some bystanders in the area. Do you know who this person in the lower left corner wearing sandals and shorts and a black shirt is?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: Don't recognize him, never seen him before?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: Do you know the person in the dark shirt, hooded sweatshirt and the blue pants?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: Never met her before either?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Or how about the child behind her in the green shirt?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: Not familiar with her either?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: OK. If you please resume.

I'm going to pause for a moment here. Do you recognize that person, that officer?

OYLER: No.

SCHLEICHER: Do you recall seeing an officer interacting with a group of bystanders who would later gather?

OYLER: I think so.

SCHLEICHER: Can you physically describe that person, as best you can remember?

OYLER: I really don't. It's been so long.

SCHLEICHER: Do you recall previously talking about a bald police officer?

OYLER: I think in one of my videos I was talking to a person.

SCHLEICHER: OK. A bald officer?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: Do you recall as you sit here today what the bald officer did?

OYLER: I think he was like yelling at people, like, before or after this.

SCHLEICHER: Do you also recall describing a tall officer?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: What did the tall officer do?

OYLER: I think he was like -- I don't remember. There is so much.

SCHLEICHER: Let's resume play.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OYLER: There's always this shit going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[15:50:00]

SCHLEICHER: Pause for a moment. Now what we heard there, that was imposed at the same time as the surveillance video was your second recording, is that right?

OYLER: Mm-hmm.

SCHLEICHER: Yes?

OYLER: Yes. Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And, again, that was your voice when you said there's always some --

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: Right, OK. As you continued to watch these events out the window that entire time?

OYLER: Did I watch it like outside?

SCHLEICHER: From inside?

OYLER: Oh, I think I went outside to smoke a cigarette.

SCHLEICHER: All right. I'm going to ask the play to resume and ask you to pay particular attention to your video on the right side, OK?

Freeze. Go a little bit further. Stop.

All right. Now, I'm showing you what appears to be a reflection.

OYLER: Mm-hmm.

SCHLEICHER: Do you recognize that?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: Who is that?

OYLER: That's me.

SCHLEICHER: OK. So that's you recording the events reflected in the window, correct?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: So based on that would you agree that you were inside the Speedway at the time this particular recording was made?

OYLER: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Resume, please

Pause. Now can you please explain to the jury why did you continue to record what you were seeing here?

OYLER: Because I just always see the police. They are always messing with people and it's wrong and it's not right. SCHLEICHER: I'm going to then direct your attention to the right side

of the screen as well. You say that you briefly -- you say that you briefly turned your camera away from the officers in the squad car towards the area that's right by the Dragon Wok. Is that right?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: And can you tell the jury what you see here.

OYLER: I see people standing there, but that's not why I shift the camera.

SCHLEICHER: Can you explain why did you shifted the camera?

OYLER: Because that's where it started from.

SCHLEICHER: OK. So when you say that's where it started from, I think your description was initially that there were some officers who were to use your words messing with Mr. Floyd?

OYLER: Yeah.

SCHLEICHER: OK. And this is the area in which they were messing with Mr. Floyd?

OYLER: Yeah. When it started.

SCHLEICHER: All right. I would like to resume play again, please.

All right. Let's pause for a moment.

And you can see that -- that would have been your second recording has stopped, and at this point we're continuing to watch the surveillance video.

Please, resume.

If we could freeze here. Let it go just a little further. Stop.

All right. So, again, asking -- I've already asked you about some of the people in the crowd and you said you didn't know them. I want to add some of the folks. There's a person in a white t-shirt. Do you recognize that person?

OYLER: I don't know that person.

SCHLEICHER: Never seen that young woman before?

OYLER: Not before like this.

SCHLEICHER: And then I think walking by, I don't know if you noticed there was a couple with a child. Have you ever seen them before?

OYLER: Nope.

SCHLEICHER: All right. And -- and then there's a gentleman here in a dark hooded sweatshirt. Have you ever seen that person before?

[15:55:00]

OYLER: Nope.

SCHLEICHER: Please, resume.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: All right. So we're going to pull out of this for a couple of minutes and have a chat with Elie Honig and former police commissioner Charles Ramsey.

And so we've been listening to this second witness, this is Alisha Oyler, she's important because she obviously worked at the Safeway which is just adjacent to where all of this happened and obviously, Elie, she's key because of her vantage and her videos.

At the same time she is clearly really nervous. Your assessment of just how she's doing and the information that she's providing?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, Brooke, this is obviously a very nervous witness. This happens. It's OK. Look, it's a scary experience for any person to get up and testify in any criminal trial, never mind one like this that the whole nation is watching.

The prosecutor is doing a good job. The rule of thumb when you have a nervous witness like this is slow it down one bite at a time and that's what he's doing. Ultimately what's going to matter about her testimony is the videos. They need to put her on the stand so that they can get these key videos in. That's what they are driving towards here.

BALDWIN: And commissioner, to you. Listening to her and also just, you know, watching this video from all of these different angles over, hit pause, over, hit pause. What -- what have you taken away from this?

CHARLES RAMSEY, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, I mean, you know, the more you see it, the more things you start to kind of pick up a little bit. For an example, when I saw the overhead, the city video the first time and this just also, you know, like verifies it, I really didn't know that the other two officers were actually on him for as long a period of time as they appeared to have been.

Because the video that was constantly shown on television really was taken from -- in front of Cup Food. And it really just showed Chauvin with his knee on the neck and back, and you couldn't see what the other two were doing at the time. So for someone who is already handcuffed, clearly, they have pulled him through the car to get him down in that prone position for that length of time. Again, I just don't see the justification for it.

BALDWIN: Let me stay with you, commissioner Ramsey because, again, you know, people have been tuning in and out of all of this coverage and if they missed you earlier, you know, we were talking about you having over 50 years of policing experience. A lot of this comes down to use of force, and you say, of course, you know, especially if someone is resisting, a law enforcement official needs to use force, but key is when you stop, when you let up, right?

RAMSEY: Exactly. I mean, you only use the force necessary to effect the arrest if an individual is resisting arrest, but it doesn't mean that the force you use at the moment that the resistance is taking place, that a minute from now, two minutes from now or whatever, that that same level of force is needed.

I mean, once you get the person under control, once they get him through the car and they got him in a prone position, and you can argue whether or not they even needed to do that, but once they have him down, he's already handcuffed, at some point in time, again, you know, the three things you look for, was it necessary? Was it proportional, or was it objectively reasonable?

And at some point, in time it no longer becomes necessary because you have the person under control. It's certainly not proportional. If you've got him under control why are you still doing it, and then objectively reasonable, it comes a time when it becomes unreasonable.

And that's what you're looking at here, that the initial use of force may have been justified, but not for nine minutes because the situation changed, and when you look at force that's what you have to look at along a continuum. What was the person doing, and how much force was being applied? And you should never apply more than it takes to overcome whatever resistance may be there.

BALDWIN: Elie, I've got you for 45 seconds and then we're going to hand this over to Jake. Just overall big picture assessment, day one of this trial. What do you think?

HONIG: Look, whenever you're a prosecutor or a criminal defense lawyer, the first time you stand at that lectern and you look at the jury and you address them. Your heart is pounding, you have adrenaline through the roof but have you to remember you cannot win a trial on day one.

All you want to do if you're the prosecutor is score some basic points, get your primary themes out there, I think the prosecution has begun to do that and the defense has also given us and the jury their main defenses as well.

BALDWIN: As you said from the get-go, it's about facts, not fireworks. Gentlemen, I want to thank you both so much for sticking with me really off and on for these past two hours as we've been watching this trial. I so appreciate both of you.

I appreciate all of you watching. Listen, we're going to hand it over to Jake but if you want to continue watching this trial you do so. Just pull it up on your cell phone. We've got the trial livestreaming. Go to CNN.com for that.

Thank you so much for being with me here today. We'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York. Let's go to Jake in Washington, THE LEAD starts right now.

END