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Chauvin trial: Witnesses offer emotional testimony of seeing George Floyd’s death

Plus: judge rules against Hill Murray hockey players who sued to play in boys state high school hockey tournament; report finds 2020 was most profitable year in nearly a decade for Minnesota farmers; Walz and Pawlenty get vaccinated side by side; and more.

EMT Genevieve Hansen answers questions on the second day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
EMT Genevieve Hansen answers questions on the second day of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Pool via REUTERS

For The Washington Post, Holly Bailey reports: “The teenager who filmed the viral video of Derek Chauvin kneeling on George Floyd’s neck tearfully recalled Tuesday how the Black man begged for his life and the ‘cold look’ on the face of the White police officer accused of killing him. In deeply emotional testimony, Darnella Frazier, who was just 17 when she came across Floyd being restrained by the police, testified of the lingering anxiety and guilt she feels about Floyd’s death and not doing more to intervene. … One of the witnesses — Alyssa Funari, 18 — described how she had driven to Cup Foods, the store where the incident happened, to buy a charging cord for her phone and found Floyd moaning under the pressure of Chauvin’s knee. Like Frazier, she began filming — and watched as Floyd’s eyes rolled back in his head and he stopped moving.”

In The New York Times Andres Martinez and Marie Fazio report, “Derek Chauvin betrayed little emotion on the second day of his trial as witnesses described him as cold and heartless. … Attempts by the defense to humanize Mr. Chauvin, the former police officer accused of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, are central to their effort to portray him as a responsible person who was only doing his job, said Justin Hansford, a law professor at Howard University’s law school. That’s part of a strategy to mitigate the ‘heinous’ video that shows Mr. Chauvin with his knee on Mr. Floyd, he said. … He added that defendants are often advised not to have any skeptical or hostile reactions. ‘The position is that you are sorry about what happened to the gentleman but you were doing your job.’’’

At the National Review, Andrew McCarthy writes, “Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the video that went around the world — depicting the fatal last minutes of George Floyd’s restraint by Minneapolis police — gave a very moving testimony at former officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial this morning. I couldn’t understand why defense lawyer Eric Nelson questioned her at all, other than perhaps to thank her for coming to court. … But for whatever reason, Nelson asked her a few questions about her first interview by police — not overly hostile, but it didn’t get him anywhere. Then, because I guess he figured he had to end with something, he concluded by asking her whether recording what happened to Floyd ‘changed your life,’ to which, of course, she answered, ‘yes.’ With the door swung wide open, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell got up on redirect examination and asked, ‘Darnella, could you tell the jury how it changed your life?’ Her halting response, with trembling voice, was devastating.”

In the Star Tribune, Libor Jany says, “A line of questioning by Derek Chauvin’s defense attorney of a Black witness of George Floyd’s final moments sparked criticism from some observers watching the trial livestream Tuesday after he suggested that the man was ‘angry’ at the scene. … ‘Anytime a Black man says he’s sick and tired, anytime a Black man opens up his mouth to say what he sees, they label him an ‘angry Black man,’  Rep. John Thompson, DFL-St. Paul, said in an interview. Others said that Nelson was trying to demonstrate that his client was distracted and may have felt threatened by the increasingly agitated crowd of bystanders. Williams’ experience resonated with some Black men such as Brandon Williams, a criminal justice and safe communities intern at the Minneapolis Foundation, who said that ‘as a Black man who’s 6-5, 300 pounds from Chicago,’ his frustrations are regularly misinterpreted as aggression.”

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Says Kate Raddatz for WCCO-TV,A judge has ruled against nine Hill Murray seniors who sued the Minnesota State High School League. The 11-page lawsuit asked for a temporary restraining order to allow Hill-Murray to play in the state boys hockey tournament. Last week, Hill-Murray played White Bear Lake for the section championship. Shortly after, they learned a player from White Bear tested positive for COVID-19. The league says the team has to quarantine until Thursday. The players were hoping a lawsuit would be their answer to keep playing. ‘One person — I won’t name their name — said you’re telling me the worst that’s gonna happen is your kid wont play in a hockey game’, Bob Kaufman, of Lake Elmo, said. ‘I don’t think they have any appreciation of what this means to these kids.’”

Also in the Star Tribune, Kristen Leigh Painter writes: “Minnesota farmers in 2020 had their most profitable year in nearly a decade due to good weather and aid designed to offset health and trade crises. Median farm net income rose to $106,969 last year following seven years of low profitability, according to a report published Tuesday by the University of Minnesota Extension and the Minnesota State Agricultural Centers of Excellence. The Minnesota farm-income report showed that 2020 produced surprising results after what looked last spring like another disappointing year. Rising commodity prices at the end of 2020 and two rounds of government aid tied to COVID-19 relief assisted many sectors, including agriculture.”

KSTP-TV’s Tom Hauser reports: “In a bipartisan move, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and former Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty sat side-by-side and received their COVID-19 vaccines. ‘The vaccines are proving 90% effective and they’re proving nearly 100 percent effective in preventing deaths and serious illness,’ Walz said at a news conference before getting the shot at the Minnesota Vikings TCO Performance Center in Eagan. ‘Get your family. Go get a shot. Grab a friend to go get the shot. That’s what I did today, so I’d like to turn it over to my friend, the 39th governor of the state of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty.’ Surveys in Minnesota and nationally have indicated there’s more vaccine “hesitancy” among Republicans than Democrats. The Republican Pawlenty urged everyone to get vaccinated.”
Says Adam Uren for Bring Me The News: “Looking for another sign of how ridiculous the Twin Cities housing market is right now? Here it is. Joey Oslund, an agent with RE/MAX Results, says this house at 9809 Colorado Circle in Bloomington had 133 requests for ‘non-overlapping’ showings within 24 hours of it hitting the market on Thursday, which in turn led to 142 in-person showings, and 40 more that were canceled. … In the instance of this Bloomington house, buyers had to be willing to accept the property ‘as is,’ meaning no negotiating over improvements that had to be undertaken before the purchase is complete. But 133 requests for ‘non-overlapping’ showings within 24 hours of a house hitting the market? Oslund says he’s ‘never seen anything like this’ in his 17 years in business.”