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Teen bystander: Knew immediately Floyd was in distress

A 17-year-old girl saw George Floyd being pinned to the ground by Minneapolis police. She testified that she recognized him immediately as "in distress" and he shouted at her that he couldn’t breathe.

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Teen bystander: Knew immediately Floyd was in distress

Alyssa Funari (now 19) said that she felt a "gut feeling" when she was driving past police officers and a man on the street on May 25, 2020.

"I knew immediately that he was in trouble. ... She said that he was making facial expressions of pain and was moving. "He was telling us he was in pain."

The Violation of Floyd's Civil Rights while Acting under Government Authority is a charge that has been brought against J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, former officers. Floyd, 46, was deprived of medical care by all three officers. Officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on Floyd's neck and handcuffed him. Kueng placed Floyd on his back, Lane held onto Floyd's neck and Thao held back the bystanders.

Kueng and Thao were also accused of failing intervene to stop Floyd’s death, which triggered protests around the world and a reexamination on racism and policing.

After three weeks of testimony by eyewitnesses, doctors, and law enforcement officials over three weeks, the prosecution told the court they would rest their case on Monday.

After prosecutors presented snippets from bystander and police footage with timelines, transcripts, and Matthew Vogel, an FBI special agent described the materials, the announcement was made.

These transcripts and timelines will help jurors to sort through sometimes confusing videos from different angles. They also capture Floyd's faint cries of "I can't breath" and the frantic pleas of bystanders for his pulse to be checked.

Video of Lane and Kueng talking to a sergeant regarding what happened included Lane saying that Floyd was still breathing when paramedics arrived. Lane also mentioned nothing about their inability find Floyd's pulse. The Minneapolis homicide unit head testified Thursday that he saw similar problems to what they had told him.

Robert Paule, Thao’s attorney, said that some of the video dialogue could not be made out and that different people might hear it differently. He wanted to know about Floyd's statement about drugs, which was an issue in dispute at Chauvin’s state murder trial last summer. Lawyers had debated whether Floyd shouted "I ate way too many drugs" or "I don't do any drugs." Vogel replied, "It was unintelligible for me."

One of the key arguments in the prosecution is that the officers were trained in providing medical aid in emergency situations and that Floyd's situation was so grave that police had to stop him. Even children without medical training knew that something was amiss.

Prosecutors played Floyd's videos while Funari was in the stand. They show Floyd becoming quieter and more motionless. Funari shouts at officers, "Floyd isn't moving."

She testified that she observed that he became less vocal over time and was closing his eyes more often. "He was not able to tell us he was in pain anymore. He accepted it."

Funari claimed that she never saw Thao offer any medical assistance to Floyd. She said that Kueng checked Floyd's pulse twice. Manda Sertich, the prosecutor, tried to inquire if Funari had seen Lane give medical aid. She was met with an objection.

Paule stated that Thao was closer than the crowd, and that Floyd and the officers were sometimes behind him. Paule stated that Thao was mostly looking at the bystanders, Funari claimed were becoming "more desperate," and was trying keep them off the curb.

Funari asked him if there was any chance Thao didn’t know what was happening behind him. Funari replied, " could hear it."

The chair of the Minnesota agency responsible for licensing police officers stated earlier Friday that the officers would have been trained on constitutional rights and first aid.

Kelly McCarthy, the chief of police in Mendota Heights and chairperson of Minnesota Police Officers Standards and Training said that officers are trained to reposition people who have been placed facedown to allow them to breathe. When asked why she said, "There were enough deaths in custody that we needed to have an objective on it."

Kueng, who are Black, Lane, a white man, and Thao who are Hmong Americans were charged with willfully denying Floyd his constitutional rights, while they were acting under the authority of the government. According to the charges, Floyd died as a result of officers' actions.

Chauvin, a white man, was convicted in state court of murder and manslaughter last year. later pleaded guilty for federal civil rights charges.

In June, Lane, Kueng, and Thao will also be facing a separate state court on charges that they aid and abet murder and manslaughter.


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