Teen bystander: Knew instantly Floyd was 'in distress'

George Floyd Officers Civil Rights
In this image from a police body camera, bystanders including Alyssa Funari, (left, filming), Charles McMillan (center left in light colored shorts), Christopher Martin (center in gray), Donald Williams (center in black), Genevieve Hansen (fourth from right filming) and Darnella Frazier (third from right filming) witness as then Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee on George Floyd's neck for several minutes, killing Floyd on May 25, 2020.
Minneapolis Police Department via AP 2020

Updated 1:30 p.m.

Law enforcement testimony continued Friday in the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd’s civil rights. 

Prosecutors called Mendota Heights Police Chief Kelly McCarthy who chairs the state’s Peace Officers Standard and Training or POST Board, which licenses all police officers in the state of Minnesota. McCarthy said testing on an officer’s “duty to intervene” policy is important because police officers are only human.

“There are situations in which emotion, understandably, can run high or can affect your decision-making,” McCarthy testified. “It’s at that point that we need to trust one another as officers to step in and make sure we’re acting in a way that’s consistent with law and community standards.”

Bystander Alyssa Funari was 17 at the time of Floyd’s killing. She testified Friday morning that she was going to the corner store when she saw Floyd on the ground with three officers on top of him. She joined a group on the sidewalk urging officers to let Floyd up, but said that Thao and the other officers brushed off their pleas.

Funari testified that she eventually "decided to go into the store because I thought there was nothing else I could do to help him," but that she reconsidered and started recording again: "I just felt like I needed to get everything on camera."

After paramedics arrived, Funari testified that “it was pretty calm.” She said, “Everyone was pretty emotionally drained.” Only defense attorney Robert Paule cross-examined Funari. He asked her if she heard his client Thao tell the bystanders “Don’t do drugs, kids,” referencing Floyd, which she testified made her mad. 

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When Paule asked whether Funari thought Floyd was on drugs, she responded, “I don’t think that should matter.”

George Floyd Officers Civil Rights
In this courtroom sketch, Robert Paule, attorney for former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao makes his opening statement during the trial on Jan. 24.
Cedric Hohnstadt | AP file

Testimony Thursday included Minneapolis Police Department’s Lt. Richard Zimmerman, who heads up the city’s homicide unit. He testified that Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng did not follow department policies when they failed to intervene with Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020. He also said they failed to provide medical aid, which they were trained to do. 

“If you see another officer is using too much force, doing something illegal, you need to intervene and stop it,” Zimmerman said, even if it means pushing an officer off of a person.

Defense attorneys representing Lane and Kueng have repeatedly pointed out that both men were rookie cops. Zimmerman, who is the most senior officer in the department, testified that the department’s duty to intervene policy applied to “every police officer in the city.” 

“There’s no time-on-the-job limit or minimum,” Zimmerman said. “The badge we all wear is the same badge — and we all have the same responsibility.” 

When asked by prosecutor Samantha Trepel why the duty to intervene matters, Zimmerman said it helps citizens from being abused and helps officers act correctly.

CORRECTION George Floyd Officers Civil Rights
In this courtroom sketch, Samantha Trepel, who works for the Justice Department's civil rights division, gives opening statements during the trial for three former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd's civil rights before U.S. District Judge Magnuson on Jan. 24 in St. Paul.
Cedric Hohnstadt | AP

Defense attorney Thomas Plunkett pressed Zimmerman on discrepancies between his testimony and the answers he gave during an FBI interview a month after Floyd’s killing. At the time, Zimmerman admitted that body camera footage didn’t show the former officers asking him whether to turn their body cameras off about an hour after Floyd’s death, which he told to the FBI. 

The FBI interview also included Zimmerman’s statements about Chauvin from 2020. He told FBI agents that “it’s pretty well-known through the department that [Chauvin’s] a jerk” and called Chauvin “a prick.” During cross-examination on Thursday, defense attorney Earl Gray referred to Chauvin as “that jerk.”

Prosecutors also introduced body camera footage for the first time that showed Lane telling Zimmerman that Floyd was “still breathing” when paramedics took him away.  

Testimony this week included medical experts who testified that Floyd’s heart stopped minutes before the ambulance arrived and CPR was administered. 

J. Alexander Kueng, from left, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao
J. Alexander Kueng, from left, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao
Hennepin County Sheriff's Office via AP

All three defendants are charged with failing to provide medical care to Floyd. Thao and Kueng are also charged with failing to intervene with Chauvin’s use of force. 

Prosecutors signaled Thursday to the judge that they’re closing in on the end of their case with just a handful of witnesses left to call. The trial started on Jan. 20 with jury selection, and the judge told jurors he expects the case to last about a month. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.