The first week of the trial of George Floyd’s death was the raw, riveting testimony of four teenagers and a nine-year-old teenager.
Minneapolis, United States – They are not old enough to vote legally or get a driver’s license in the United States. One had not even reached his tenth birthday and all but one were too young to reveal their identities to the public in court.
But all the people were old enough to witness a death in front of their own eyes.
Of the 19 people who testified in the first week of the trial of the murder of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, 10 went to the scene of the death of black American George Floyd. And four of them were teenagers and one was a nine-year-old teenager, highlighting how the jury was told to recover the incident through young men and women.
Their testimony in the courtroom was often hasty, painful and crude and could define their young lives for years to come.
In each case, they have seized it, despite obstacles we can scarcely imagine. “
“Big tragedies like the death of George Floyd are built on a thousand small tragedies,” said Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor currently teaching law at St. Thomas University. “The trauma that eyewitnesses are counting on is not a big thing but a cascade of small things.”
The girl, who was 117 years old at the time of Floyd’s death, saw the uproar as she walked to Cup Foods to get some food, pulled out her cell phone, and shot a video of Chauvin with her knees on Fayed’s neck while she screamed. For help. The video immediately went viral and sparked worldwide protests.
He testified in court, “I apologize to George Floyd for not doing more.”
He was with his nine-year-old niece and sent her to the store because he did not want to see her “a terrified, frightened, begging for her life” see this nine-year-old also called the prosecution to testify, occasionally interrupting her voice. Stays and stays but plays a simple clarity of a child’s words.
“I was sad and kind of angry,” he told the court when asked what he felt when he saw Floyd on the ground that day. “Because it felt like he was holding his breath and it was like hitting him.”
Osler told Al Jazeera that he was surprised that prosecutors called a minor to testify.
“I think the government made the mistake of giving a nine-year-old a testimony of a truly painful experience,” he said. “They could have sued without it. The role of the government should be to protect people from trauma and when not needed they run the risk of re-injury to the child. I think it was a mistake. “
Another 16-year-old girl witnessed the incident and told the court she was disappointed.
“It was tough because I felt like there was really nothing I could do as an outside passenger,” he testified. “I thought I was failing him.”
Another, a 17-year-old man, told the court that he had “heard George Floyd’s voice screaming for his mother and that he could not breathe.”
They are among four witnesses that Judge Peter Cahill ordered from an early age to mute the audio feed and not to broadcast their face videos to protect their privacy. The court only provided audio of their testimony at Cahill’s direction.
Christopher Martin, another 19-year-old teenager, testified in open court without his identity. He was a cashier at Cupfoods and working at the counter in the tobacco department when Floyd gave him a বিল 20 bill for cigarettes. Martin testified that he suspected the bill was fake, but had no way of confirming it but took the money and thought of paying for the cigarettes himself to avoid any problems. (He said that if the director accepts a fake bill, this money will be deducted from his next salary).
He testified that he tried to do the right thing and eventually informed the store owner that he suspected it was a fake bill. The owner told staff to call the police. A few minutes later, Derek Chauvin and the other officers arrived at the 38th and Chicago intersection and the rest is history.
Martin testified that he had deep regrets for his role in these programs.
“All of this could have been avoided if I hadn’t taken the bill,” he said.
For a group of teenagers and a group of nine-year-olds, they were deeply saddened and so frightened that they wondered how they would be shocked by what they saw and how they felt now.