Witnesses in Chauvin trial speak out on emotional court experiences

Alex Sundby
·2 min read
Witnesses in Chauvin trial speak out on emotional court experiences

Two witnesses for the prosecution in the trial of fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin described their experiences on the witness stand as emotional. Charles McMillian and Donald Williams, who both witnessed George Floyd's fatal arrest, spoke with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King Wednesday, a day after Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter.

McMillian described why he broke down crying in court, and he told King Floyd's cries for his mother as he was dying touched him.

"It's come from me losing my mom prior to this," McMillian said. "What happened with George and to hear George cry out for his mom, and mama couldn't help him. It made me just helpless because I don't have a mom either, and that's what broke me was, 'mama.'"

Williams said it was a "tough, emotional situation" to see Chauvin in court.

"Just actually having an eye connection and, you know, just, you know, to be in the same presence, it was tough and a little challenging, but we was able to get through," Williams said.

He said it was "terrible" that defense attorney Eric Nelson characterized Williams' comments to Chauvin as "angry" as Floyd was dying. Williams, who's been trained in mixed martial arts, told King being composed under pressure was a part of "being a Black man growing up in America."

"In that situation, I just really was in my head visualizing everything that was happening and making sure that, you know, I use my martial arts and my visualization and things not to, you know, react the wrong way or make the wrong moves or do too much that'll cause harm for myself," he said.

Since Floyd's killing, Williams said he's had some "tough nights" and he was trying not to let his experience "consume me."

"It is a tough situation to watch a tragedy like that, and, yeah, I'm dealing with it, you know, and it's going to be some time, but I'm getting there," Williams said.

At the site where Floyd was murdered, known as George Floyd Square, caretaker Jeanelle Austin told King what she wants to make sure people remember about Floyd's death:

"One, that a man was lynched in our community; two, that it was a city employee on city time who did it; three, that the community came together and said, 'Not in our backyard,'" Austin said, "and we also recognize that there are conditions in the context of our community that led to this incident, and we want those addressed."

For McMillian, Chauvin's conviction alone won't bring about change.

"Everybody gotta work on change," McMillian said. "The whole world gotta work on change … George send a message for change, and if we don't do it together nothing's going to never happen."

For more information on helping preserve the George Floyd Global Memorial at George Floyd Square, click here.

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