Donald Williams, a mixed martial arts fighter, testified on the first day of the Derek Chauvin trial that he witnessed Chauvin use a “blood choke” on George Floyd and described the arrest as being “torture.”
“I watched the position 1) of where the position of the knee was on the neck, 2) what body movements was going on while the knee was on the neck and 3) what was the condition of George Floyd as he was going through this torture,” Williams testified. “I felt the officer on top was shimmying to actually get the final choke in while he was on top.”
Williams explained that a blood choke “specifically attacks the side of the neck and particularly cuts off the circulation of your arteries and stops the blood flowing from the top of your head to the bottom of your head.”
“Sometimes you could get in a blood choke and not know you’re in a blood choke until you’re unconscious,” he added.
Williams said he heard Floyd repeatedly say his stomach hurt, his head hurt and that his breathing was increasingly getting labored as he was in a chokehold, and that “no one” checked Floyd’s pulse.
He also said Tou Thao, another officer at the scene, blamed drugs for Floyd’s reaction to the chokehold.
“It pissed me off more because that wasn’t the case,” Williams said.
Williams said the police officers at the scene should have known the harm they were causing, given that many of them also trained alongside him at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy.
Monday’s proceedings ended early after the live video feed of the courtroom cut out unexpectedly. Williams is expected to return to the stand on Tuesday.