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Second Day of Testimony Gets Underway in Derek Chauvin Trial. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired March 30, 2021 - 11:00   ET




ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: So you would have had no idea that an ambulance was stepped up to code three which means get here quick two minutes before you arrived?

WILLIAMS: No recollection of any of that.

NELSON: You weren't there. You wouldn't possibly know.

WILLIAMS: I wouldn't know at all.

NELSON: You testified that based on your experiences as a security guard, your first inclination is to just sort of observe everything that's going on, right?

WILLIAMS: Totally correct.

NELSON: And that's what you did.

WILLIAMS: That's what I felt like I did, correct.

NELSON: So, it's a fair to say that you had observed any prior contact between the Minneapolis Police Department and Mr. Floyd.

WILLIAMS: Only what I seen.

NELSON: You had no idea that he was dealing with him 15 minutes prior to your arrival?

UNIDENTIFED MALE: Objection, your honor.

WILLIAMS: Not mine.


NELSON: No. Right?

WILLIAMS: Still answer that question?


WILLIAMS: Repeat that question.

NELSON: Sure. You were not aware that the police had been dealing with Mr. Floyd for 15 minutes prior to your arrival?

WILLIAMS: Not at all.

NELSON: Now you testified as you were observing Mr. Floyd on the ground, you observed blood coming from his nose or mouth area, right?

WILLIAMS: Correct. And someone actually stated that if you watch the video.

NELSON: Right. I watched the video. You would not have been aware that three minutes prior to your arrival, an ambulance was called specifically because he was bleeding from the mouth.

WILLIAMS: That had nothing to do with it, sir.

NELSON: But you made certain assumptions on it.

WILLIAMS: What was the answer?

NELSON: That I didn't have any recollection of that. Nothing to do with me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes court reporter can't hear. So -- that's the only reason for the repeat.

WILLIAMS: I appreciate you, man.



NELSON: Thank you. But you yesterday testified that you assumed that the blood coming from Mr. Floyd's nose and mouth area was from his face being pushed into the cement?

WILLIAMS: I didn't say that. Can you --

NELSON: There's no question. You answered my question.

WILLIAMS: The blood coming through his nose. I didn't say how it got there.

NELSON: I'll ask it -- that is nonresponsive. Objection. Answer my questions, sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection is sustained. Jury disregard the last remark that was not in response to a question.

Mr. Nelson?

NELSON: Thank you. You received that after the ambulance came you saw two additional officers, right?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: And you prior to that happening had no idea that those two officers were back there, right?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: So it's fair to assume that you did not hear any of the conversations between the officers, correct?

WILLIAMS: I couldn't get close enough, correct.

NELSON: Right. The question is, did you hear any of the conversations between the officers? Yes or no?

WILLIAMS: Please repeat that. You said it different the first time.

NELSON: Sure. Did you hear any of the conversations occurring between the three officers with Mr. Floyd, yes or no?


NELSON: It's fair to say that as you were there, you grew angrier.

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: Pardon?

WILLIAMS: Is that what you took from the video, correct.

NELSON: Right. As you were there and interacting with Officer Thao and Officer Chauvin, you grew more and more upset. Would you agree with that?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: You grew angry. Right?

WILLIAMS: I grew control and professionalism.

NELSON: Okay. Again, you made a statement to Agents Garvey and Eckert -- and in that statement you said --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor. I'm going to object to this form of cross-examination.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overruled. Overruled. Proceed.

NELSON: In that statement, you said, like I really wanted to beat the shit out of the police officers. You said that?

WILLIAMS: Yeah, I did. That's what I felt.

NELSON: You were angry. WILLIAMS: No. You can't paint me as angry. I was in a position where

I had to be controlled, a controlled professionalism. I wasn't angry because I stayed on the curb.

NELSON: Objection. Nonresponsive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The answer will stand. Next question.

NELSON: Thank you. You started calling them names. Yes?

WILLIAMS: You heard that. Yes. You heard the video.

NELSON: You called them a tough guy, right?

WILLIAMS: You watched the video.

NELSON: Did you call him a real man? Right?

WILLIAMS: You watched the video.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have to answer the question yes or no based on what he's asking.

NELSON: I'll ask you again. So your answers should be yes or no. Okay?


NELSON: You called him a tough guy?


NELSON: You called him a real man?


NELSON: You called him such a man.


NELSON: You called him bogus.


NELSON: You called him a bum at least 13 times.

WILLIAMS: That's what you count in the video?

NELSON: That's what I counted.

WILLIAMS: That's what you got, 13.

NELSON: And that was early on, right? Those terms grew more and more angry. Would you agree with that? WILLIAMS: They grew more and more pleading for life.

NELSON: All right. After you called him a bum 13 times, you called him a fucking bum.

WILLIAMS: That's what you heard?

NELSON: Did you say that?

WILLIAMS: Is that what you heard?

NELSON: I'm asking you, sir. Did you say that?

WILLIAMS: You heard that. I'm pretty sure you did.

NELSON: You called him a fucking pussy ass bitch. Did you say that?

WILLIAMS: If that's what the video record, I did.

NELSON: You called him a bitch.

WILLIAMS: If that's what you heard in the video, yes, I did.

NELSON: Say yes or no, sir?

WILLIAMS: If that's what was heard from the video, yes, I did.

NELSON: And at one point, you said Officer Thao pushed you?

WILLIAMS: That's correct. He put his hand on my chest is what I said.

NELSON: And you observed Officer Thao push someone else, right? Or feel like he pushed someone else?

WILLIAMS: I don't know if he touched anyone else.

NELSON: Do you recall saying I dare you to touch me like that. I swear I'll slap the fuck -- the fuck out of both of you?

WILLIAMS: Yeah. I did.

NELSON: So, again, sir, it's fair to say that you grew angrier and angrier.

WILLIAMS: No. I grew professional and professional. I stayed in my body. You can't paint me out to be angry.

NELSON: You were not standing, you were walking around, right?

WILLIAMS: Correct. Patrol.

NELSON: And at times you would go forward towards where Officer Chauvin was, right?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: And at times you walked to the side, correct?

WILLIAMS: I didn't really get too close to Officer Chauvin, actually. Thao did not allow me to get close to Officer Chauvin.

NELSON: You attempted to walk closer?

WILLIAMS: I step off the curb. I stepped back on the curb.

NELSON: Because Officer Thao did not permit you to go forward?

WILLIAMS: I said I stepped back on the curb.

NELSON: You were -- your voice, right, you weren't just saying you're a bum. Would you agree with that?

WILLIAMS: You said I wasn't just saying that?

NELSON: The tone of your voice?

WILLIAMS: The tone of the voice was loud so he could hear.

NELSON: And it grew louder and louder?

WILLIAMS: So I could be heard.

NELSON: And after Mr. Floyd was taken by the ambulance, you continued to interact with Officer Thao as well as other people on the scene, correct?

WILLIAMS: That is correct. After they retreated and then that retreat, I said what I said and they can say more to me.

NELSON: And you continued to yell these types of things after Mr. Floyd was gone, right?

WILLIAMS: You mean, Mr. Thao and I had words back and forth, correct.

NELSON: I think you said something about hoping he would shoot himself?

WILLIAMS: I didn't say I hope he's going to shoot himself.


I said within the next two years, you will shoot yourself in your head for what you did. I didn't say hope. I don't hope death on anyone. The bible doesn't allow that.

NELSON: So, again, you continued to engage with these officers, right?


NELSON: And your voice was loud, right?

WILLIAMS: He tried to intimidate me. NELSON: The officers -- most of the officers were on the other side

of 38th Street.

WILLIAMS: Me and Thao were standing in front of each other.

NELSON: At one point, Officer Thao goes across the street, right?

WILLIAMS: They both retreat, correct.

NELSON: And you continued to yell these same type of things.

WILLIAMS: Probably -- correct. Yeah. I wasn't being heard.

NELSON: And it was over and over and over and over again, right?

WILLIAMS: Because I wasn't being heard.

NELSON: Yes or no question, sir. Was it over and over and over again?

WILLIAMS: Yes, because I wasn't being heard.

NELSON: Thank you, sir. I have no further questions.




I have a few more questions for you.

WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.

FRANK: In MNA -- I'm sorry, in MMA fighting, do you ever have a situation where your opponent is handcuffed behind the back?


FRANK: Do you ever have a situation in MMA, where there are three people fighting against one?


FRANK: And when you were on the scene at 38th and Chicago on May 25th of last year, when you were watching this interaction between these three Minneapolis -- four Minneapolis police officers and Mr. Floyd, were you watching a cage match at the time?

WILLIAMS: Well, I only seen two of them, to be honest. So I was watching more of a humane shit show.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sustained. WILLIAMS: Sorry about the way I say that.



FRANK: So you weren't watching a sport that day, were you?

WILLIAMS: Not at all.

FRANK: Mr. Nelson asked you a couple of times about this blood choke around the nose and throat. Are you -- based on your training and experience doing this yourself, can you apply a blood choke to one side of the neck?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

FRANK: And is that done in mixed martial arts?

WILLIAMS: That is done, correct.

FRANK: So whether Mr. Nelson wants to ask you about doing it on both sides of the neck, you've seen it done on one side of the neck?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

FRANK: All right.

And when you were on the street there at 38th and Chicago on May 25th of last year watching Mr. Chauvin and Mr. Floyd, was it that kind of blood choke you thought you were seeing on one side of the neck?


WILLIAMS: That is correct.


FRANK: Mr. Nelson asked you about seeing times when somebody has been unconscious in a mixed martial arts fight and come to and try to wrestle again or fight again. When an opponent is rendered unconscious through something like a chokehold in a mixed martial arts fight, is the fight stopped?

WILLIAMS: Right away. Immediately. Medical attention. Right away.

FRANK: Mr. Nelson asked you about dealing with crowds that are upset in your experience as a security guard.


FRANK: When you're dealing with the crowd that is upset, are there ways to try and deescalate the situation without using force?

WILLIAMS: That is correct.

FRANK: Like what kinds of things can you do?

WILLIAMS: Really staying calm, being humane, talking to the person and trying to talk them down, just getting the person away from the situation, being humane with the person. What worked for me in downtown Minneapolis as a security guard with drunk people that I'm baby sitting pretty much.

[11:15:04] I can't -- have to come to and try to figure out how to solve this problem without putting physical force to them unless they are trying to physically force with me.

FRANK: So, while you were on the street there at 38th and Chicago on May 25th of last year watching Mr. Chauvin hold Mr. Floyd down, did you see Officer Thao try to deescalate the situation at all with the crowd?



FRANK: Well, based on your training and experience as a security guard and your testimony just now about ways to deescalate the situation, did you see Thao doing anything like that while you were there on that scene?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Same objection.



BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN ANCHOR: And you have been watching day two of the Derek Chauvin trial.

We will be right back.



GOLODRYGA: And we are bringing you back to the courtroom and the questioning of witness Donald Williams. Let's listen in.

FRANK: Mr. Floyd lost consciousness while you were watching?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Asked and answered.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No argument on objections.

I'll ask for a sidebar if I want arguing. The objection is overruled. You may proceed.

Ask the question again so Mr. Williams knows what it is.

FRANK: While you were there watching, was a time you saw Mr. Floyd lose consciousness?

WILLIAMS: That's correct.

FRANK: You were asked multiple times about being angry?

WILLIAMS: That's correct.

FRANK: And more and more upset as time went on?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

FRANK: So why? Why did you get angry and more and more upset as time went on?

WILLIAMS: Because they were not listening to anything I was telling them. I felt like I had to speak out for Floyd because he was speaking out to the officer and it was no feedback, no emotion, no nothing like -- rarely (ph) look in his eyes as I was talking to him --

FRANK: What -- let me just, you know, stop you there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going stop the answer there. Next question.

FRANK: What did you think was happening to Mr. Floyd?


WILLIAMS: He's under distress.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That answer will stand. Move on from that.

FRANK: You felt he was in danger?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

FRANK: In danger of what?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, Your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Counsel, sidebar.


GOLODRYGA: And just to give you an idea of what's taking place right now and the questioning of eyewitness Donald Williams to the death of George Floyd. The attorneys are having a sidebar with the judge right now in the line of questioning.

We want to bring Laura Coates in to go over what was probably one of the more combative exchanges that we've seen early we all agree in this trial. That is with the defense attorney and this witness, Donald Williams, the MMA expert.

And the defense attorney was continuing to press him about his anger. His anger. Did you get angry?

And what you heard from the witness was no, I was controlled. I was professional. That stood out to me. What did you make of that?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: It's stood out to me as well, Bianna. And let's be careful, he's not being called as an expert witness. He's being called, he happens to be an MMA fighter who is bringing his personal observations and his personal opinions and experience to the testimony.

He's not been qualified as an expert and so what they are trying to do is a bit nonsensical if you're the defense. Trying to attack him as an MMA fighter as oppose to going at the thing they can attack which is his personal observations. His imploring of the police officers to at the very least check a pulse, to take the knee off the neck of George Floyd even after as he articulated in that 911 call and during this confrontation we heard from the video tape that he was begging for him to do something, even approaching another officer who will later stand trial, Officer Thao.

It stood out to me because he was have controlled even in the testimony. He was very reluctant and for good reason to be mischaracterized as angry, as somebody who his shouts growing increasingly not angry but pleading for human life, that he wanted it very clear, Bianna, that his motivation was to save George Floyd.

And there's one more point. He actually made the comment when he was asked, why did you call 911, as posed to calling or talking to the officers who were on the scene. And he, I'm paraphrasing said, I felt no human connection to the officers on that scene. What a powerfully riveting statement of what an eyewitness saw.

GOLODRYGA: Yeah, that stood out to me as well, and we actually heard that 911 call. And you heard that play out and you saw his reaction to that. I want to pick up on this in just a minute, but I believe that the cross examine has restarted.


So, let's listen.

FRANK: Mr. Williams, why did you think it was so important that you were not being heard?

WILLIAMS: Because I felt like with the side choke he'd lose consciousness and I felt like he was in the process of losing consciousness also from the condition of my fish in the bag. So --



You can continue.

WILLIAMS: Like I said before earlier, he reminded me of my fish in the bag.

FRANK: Let me ask it this way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The last note will be stricken, about fish in the bag.

FRANK: And so then -- I'm sorry, Your Honor.

So you were concerned about Mr. Floyd losing his life?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

FRANK: I have nothing further, Your Honor.


NELSON: You were asked a series of questions on redirect about your experience in mixed martial arts. Do you recall?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

NELSON: Can you tell me about any of the conversations that you had as you were being rendered unconscious in any of your fights?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Your honor, I'm going to object. Hearsay.

WILLIAMS: What did you ask me?



Let me rule the objection for this. The objection is overruled. You may answer if you have a recollection as to any time, ask the question again. But don't answer until I say so.

NELSON: When you were engaged in mixed martial arts in your fights, in your competitive fights, can you tell me, were you able to have a conversation with your opponent as you were being rendered unconscious? Yes or no?

WILLIAMS: We don't talk with each other, so no.

NELSON: Nothing further.

FRANK: You said earlier you're not a medical doctor?

WILLIAMS: That's totally correct.

FRANK: If Mr. Nelson is asking you whether a person can --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, your honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop. You're not allowed to give a pled cal opinion. Mr. Frank is going to ask you about your personal experience. If you have such personal experience, you can talk about your personal experience. Nothing more.

Mr. Frank, please phrase it in terms of his personal experience, not an opinion.

FRANK: I will, your honor.

In a mixed martial arts fight when you're being rendered unconscious, in a chokehold, you tap out, correct?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

FRANK: That's to prevent it from going too far?

WILLIAMS: Correct.

FRANK: And the tap out is the communication you use to your opponent to say, let up?

WILLIAMS: That is correct.

FRANK: And your opponent has to follow that communication?

WILLIAMS: That's correct.

FRANK: That's the rules of the fight?

WILLIAMS: That's the rules of the fight.

FRANK: So, when you tap out, they know it's done and it stops?

WILLIAMS: Correct. Only type of verbally --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask and answer the question.

FRANK: I have nothing further, Your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any further recross?


JUDGE: Thank you.

Mr. Williams, you are excused. Thank you.

Members of the jury, our next four witnesses are going to be persons who because of their age, I am allowing them not to be on the video broadcast. Obviously, you will be able to see them in the courthouse. But just so you know what is going on beyond this courtroom, their video will not be shown.

Further, when they give their name and spell their names for the record, that will be off the audio that is being broadcast outside this courtroom. Just so you know what the general public is seeing. You will, of course, see and hear everything.

I'm also allowing contrary to what is often in the rules of decorum that we operate under, that they can refer to other people who are at the scene by the first names as opposed to Mister or Miss.

So, that's what the court permission. They're not violating anything by doing so. So, with that, the state will be bringing in its next witness. There

will be four in row probably. We're not going to get to all of them before we take a break, probably one at most. OK? Thank you.