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Dramatic Week Of Testimony In George Floyd Murder Trial

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he opening week of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, facing murder and manslaughter charges for the death of George Floyd has featured dramatic and emotional testimony.

Among those taking the stand in the heavily-guarded downtown Minneapolis courtroom have been Floyd’s girlfriend, witnesses to his May 25, 2020 arrest and fellow police officers.

Chauvin, who is white, was seen on video kneeling for more than nine minutes on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who was being detained for using a fake $20 bill in a nearby store.

Here are some of the emotional comments made by witnesses during the first week of the trial.

Darnella Frazier

Frazier, an 18-year-old African-American woman, was walking to the convenience store, Cup Foods, with her eight-year-old cousin when she saw Floyd being arrested.

She began recording and it was her smartphone video that went viral and sparked protests against racial injustice and police brutality across the United States and around the world.

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“It wasn’t right. He was suffering. He was in pain,” Frazier told the nine-woman, five-man jury hearing the case. “I knew it was wrong.

“It’s been nights I stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life,” she said.

Christopher Martin

Martin, a 19-year-old cashier at Cup Foods, sold the pack of cigarettes that Floyd paid for with a fake $20 bill.

Martin said he knew at the time that the banknote was counterfeit. “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,” he said.

Floyd appeared to be “high” while in the store but “he seemed to be having an average Memorial Day, just living his life,” Martin said.

Martin said he felt “disbelief and guilt” after learning Floyd had died.

Courteney Ross

Ross, 45, was Floyd’s girlfriend of nearly three years.

She said they met at a Minneapolis homeless shelter where Floyd worked as a security guard.

She had gone there to visit the father of one of her sons, Ross said, and Floyd saw her looking sad in the lobby and asked if he could “pray” with her.

“It was so sweet,” she said. “I had lost a lot of faith in God.”

Ross acknowledged that both she and Floyd had struggled with opioid addiction.

“We both suffered from chronic pain,” she said. “Mine was in my neck and his was in his back.”

“We got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction, many times.”

Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman

Zimmerman, the longest-serving officer in the Minnesota Police Department, said Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd was “totally unnecessary” and violated department policies.

“Pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time, it’s just uncalled for,” he said.

Zimmerman said he had reviewed bystander video and police bodycam footage and he “saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger.”

“Once a person is cuffed, the threat level goes down, all the way,” he said. “They’re cuffed. How can they really hurt you?”

Donald Williams

Williams, 33, was among the crowd of bystanders urging the officers holding Floyd down to get off of him.

“You could see that he was trying to gasp for air, trying to breathe,” Williams said. “You could see his eyes slowly rolling back in his head.”

Williams, a mixed martial arts instructor, said Floyd was being held by Chauvin in a “blood choke” and he saw him lose consciousness.

Williams made an emergency 911 call after Floyd was taken away by ambulance.

“Murderers, bro… they just killed that man in front of the store,” he told the 911 operator.

Derek Smith

Smith, a paramedic, said Chauvin still had his knee on Floyd’s neck when he arrived but he believed Floyd was already dead.

He checked the carotid artery in Floyd’s neck to see if he had a pulse. “I did not feel one,” Smith said. “In lay terms, I thought he was dead.”

Smith said he and his partner attempted to revive Floyd in the ambulance but their efforts were unsuccessful.

“He’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” he said.

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International

Nigeria Detains Israel Filmmakers for second week without charges

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he three Israeli filmmakers arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) will spend the second week in detention without being charged to court by the Nigerian government.

The Israelis were taken in by Nigeria’s secret police over allegations that they supported the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Peoples Gazette had reported that a Zionist activist, Rudy Rochman, filmmaker Noam Leibman and French-Israeli Journalist E. David Benaym were arrested on July 9, when they visited Ogidi village, Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State to shoot a documentary.

They took off from Ben Gurion Airport, Israel on July 5 and arrived in Nigeria the following day to film the documentary, “We Were Never Lost”, which explores Jewish communities in African countries such as Kenya, Madagascar, Uganda, and Nigeria.

Their arrest came on the heels of the repatriation of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who in 2018 publicly declared that he “owed his survival to the state of Israel.”

The crew which was arrested at a synagogue during Friday night services on July 9 and subsequently taken to Abuja are also said to be without legal representation in detention.

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Times of Israel reported that one of the men entered Nigeria on a French passport, and the other two on American passports, making it difficult for the Israeli embassy to get involved at the onset. They will now spend the second Shabbat, a symbolic day of rest for the Jews, in custody of Nigerian security forces.

The families of the trio alleged that political groups (in Nigeria) twisted the gifting of a Torah scroll to a local community to claim it constitutes support for separatist political ambitions.

 

“The filmmaking crew thought it would be a nice gesture to bring several gifts with cultural symbolism to the communities it planned to visit,” their families said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, members of non-state political groups have hijacked for their own purposes images of the filmmakers gifting a Torah to a local community,” the families charged.

They also maintained that they were working with the U.S., Israeli and French embassies on the matter, and “We hope that the DSS will quickly conclude what the facts support.”

The report said SSS released one of the detainees, Mr Benaym to the French Embassy on Tuesday night to receive some medical attention, “with the intention of having him return to DSS custody the next day to continue the investigation.”

A spokesman for the SSS had declined comments about the filmmakers’ arrest and claims of torture.

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International

German floods kill at least 133, search for survivors continues

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escue workers searched flood-ravaged parts of western Germany for survivors on Saturday as water levels remained high in many towns and houses continued to collapse in the country’s worst natural disaster in half a century.

At least 133 people have died in the flooding, including some 90 people in the Ahrweiler district south of Cologne, according to police estimates on Saturday. Hundreds of people are still missing.

Around 700 residents were evacuated late on Friday after a dam broke in the town of Wassenberg near Cologne, authorities said.

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Over the past several days the floods, which have mostly hit the states of Rhineland Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia, have cut off entire communities from power and communications.

The flooding has also hit parts of Belgium and the Netherlands. At least 20 people have died in Belgium.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Armin Laschet, state premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, were scheduled to visit Erftstadt, one of the hardest hit towns, on Saturday.

Laschet is ruling CDU party’s candidate in September’s general election. The devastation of the floods could intensify the debate over climate change ahead of the vote.

Scientists have long said that climate change will lead to heavier downpours. But determining its role in these relentless downpours will take at least several weeks to research, scientists said on Friday.

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International

We Won’t Enforce New Mask Mandate – LA County Sheriff

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os Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Friday he will not use his department to enforce a mandatory indoor mask requirement set to take effect this weekend amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across the county since its reopening.

On Thursday, the county Department of Public Health revived a requirement that masks be worn indoors regardless of vaccination status, a month after California dropped its statewide mask mandate for vaccinated people.

“We’re not where we need to be for the millions at risk of infection here in Los Angeles County, and waiting to do something will be too late, given what we’re seeing,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a virtual briefing with reporters.

In a statement, Villanueva said forcing those who are vaccinated or who have contracted COVID-19 to wears masks indoors “is not backed by science and contradicts the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”

“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,” he said. “We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathy Barger also voiced her opposition to the order.

 

 

“I am concerned by rising cases, but I don’t believe the mask mandate will help efforts to stress vaccine efficacy and compel unvaccinated residents to get vaccinated,” she tweeted Friday. “LA County should remain aligned with the State instead of creating confusion and disagreement at the local level.”

Fox News has reached out to the Department of Public Health but has not heard back.

The new mandate goes into effect at 11:59 p.m. Saturday. All indoor spaces, including gyms, retail stores, large events, offices and restaurants – when not eating or drinking – will require the wearing of a mask.

It was not clear how long health officials plan to keep the order. David said transmission of the coronavirus has steadily increased since the county’s June 15 reopening. The Delta variant, which is more contagious than other stains, has raised concerns from health officials, as well.

On Friday, the Public Health Department said the COVID-19 positivity rate increased 700% in one month – jumping from 0.5% to 3.7%. The agency urged residents to get vaccinated.

“The vaccines can protect you from serious illness, hospitalization and death,” it tweeted.

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