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Mixed martial arts witness tells Chauvin trial he 'witnessed a murder'

A prosecution witness with experience in mixed martial arts on Tuesday said he believed he witnessed a murder during a 911 call played in court on the second day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial for the death of George Floyd.

Donald Williams, 33, was heard on the emergency call stating: "He just pretty much killed this guy that wasn’t resisting arrest.”

Williams told those attending the trial in the Hennepin County Courthouse Tuesday morning that he made the call because he believed he had “witnessed a murder.”

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Williams, a witness for the prosecution with a background in both wresting and mixed martial arts, began his testimony late Monday afternoon. He said during Monday's proceedings that Chauvin had Floyd in a “blood choke.”

Also known as a carotid hold, a blood choke refers to a chokehold that cuts off blood supply from the brain by placing pressure on either or both sides of a person’s neck where the carotid arteries are located.

In graphic cellphone footage that shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, Williams can be heard yelling at Chauvin and Tou Thao, one of the other former Minneapolis police officers who was on the scene on May 25.

Floyd could be heard pleading with Chauvin multiple times, saying that he couldn’t breathe. Chauvin’s knee remained even after Floyd became unresponsive. Floyd, 46, was ultimately pronounced dead at an area hospital.

During his cross-examination of Williams, Chauvin defense attorney Eric Nelson played the 911 that Williams made following the incident.

Nelson also questioned Williams on the insults that he lobbed at Thao and Chauvin, including “f---ing bum” and “p---- ass bitch”

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“That's what was heard in the video, yes I did,” Williams said.

Williams' testimony was the first real contentious moment of a trial that’s expected to last up to a month. 

The cause of Floyd’s death is one of the major cruxes of the trial.

In its autopsy report of Floyd, the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office stated the cause of death as “cardiopulmonary arrest [the stopping of both the heart and lungs] complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.”

However, in his opening argument on Monday, Nelson countered that Floyd died from “a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, coronary disease ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline throwing, flowing through his body, all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart.”