He testified that he watched Floyd gasp for breath, his eyes rolling to the back of his head and blood starting to come out of his nose.
His testimony was abruptly cut short on Monday due to a technological issue.
Opening statements in Chauvin’s trial came 10 months after Floyd’s death, which sparked a summer of protests, unrest and societal consideration of America’s past and present against anti-black racism and aggressive police.
Chauvin, 45, pleaded not guilty to unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
Blackwell also played the heartbreaking video and audio of Floyd’s death recorded by a spectator to bolster his point. In response, defense attorney Eric Nelson argued that Chauvin was undergoing his police training and said Floyd’s cause of death was a combination of drug use and pre-existing health issues.
“The use of force is not attractive, but it is a necessary component of policing,” he said.
The first day of witness testimony also featured a Minneapolis 911 dispatcher. She was able to watch live video of Floyd’s arrest at the time and then called a police sergeant to share her concerns about the arrest.
“My gut was telling me that something was wrong. Something was wrong. I don’t know what, but something was wrong,” Jena Scurry said watching the video. “It was an extended period of time.”
A worker at a Speedway gas station across the street also testified as prosecutors showed videos she had filmed of Floyd’s arrest.
The second degree murder charge indicates that Chauvin intentionally assaulted Floyd with his knee, which unintentionally caused Floyd’s death. The third degree murder charge says that Chauvin acted with a “depraved mind, without regard for human life.” And the second degree manslaughter charge says Chauvin’s “culpable negligence” caused Floyd’s death.
Chauvin could be convicted on all, some or none of the charges. Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines recommend about 12.5 years in prison for each murder charge and about four years for the manslaughter charge.