ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s killing testified that he didn’t act on another officer’s suggestion to roll Floyd on his side after he stopped breathing, didn’t ask Officer Derek Chauvin to check for a neck pulse and didn’t try to get Chauvin off Floyd’s neck.
J. Alexander Kueng is one of three former officers charged in federal court with violating Floyd’s constitutional rights when Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck as the 46-year-old Black man was handcuffed, facedown on the street. Prosecutor Manda Sertich peppered Kueng with questions about his training, including on material from an emergency medical responder course he took that said someone might not be breathing adequately even though they’re talking.
Timeline: George Floyd's Death, Protests, Riots, Arrests, and Chauvin Trial
It was late afternoon on Memorial Day, 2020 and many Minnesotans had observed the normally active weekend hunkered down because of the growing pandemic.
George Floyd drove to a grocery store in Minneapolis and bought some cigarettes. He was accused by employees of making the purchase with a counterfeit $20 bill and police were called. Floyd was still there in his vehicle when two officers arrived. About 10 minutes later, Chauvin and another officer showed up and the situation began to escalate. Chauvin began kneeling on Floyd's neck as he was facedown on the street. Despite repeated pleas from Floyd and a growing crowd of bystanders to remove his knee, Chauvin continued as if frozen in position with no facial expression.
After more than 8 minutes, Chauvin finally stood up and Floyd had become unresponsive. An ambulance was called and a short while later, it was reported Floyd was dead.
A video of the incident slowly spread on social media around the state, the country and the world. Viewers literally watched a man slowly die, repeating "I can't breathe."
The now historic response began the following day.