A 911 dispatcher who watched the police pin George Floyd to the ground on a surveillance camera said in court on Monday that the restraint went on for so long that she asked someone if her “screens had frozen.”
The dispatcher, Jena Scurry, was the first witness called to testify in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder in Mr. Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. A prosecutor questioned her for about an hour before jurors took a break for lunch. When they return at around 1:30 Central time, Ms. Scurry will be questioned by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer.
Ms. Scurry said that as she watched a video feed of the police pinning Mr. Floyd to the ground outside the Cup Foods convenience store in May, she grew so concerned that she called her supervisor, a police sergeant, to let him know what she was seeing.
“My instincts were telling me that something’s wrong,” she testified in court. But Ms. Scurry was circumspect about what exactly she thought was wrong, saying that she thought the officers might need reinforcements at the scene.
Her call to the supervising sergeant was released by the City of Minneapolis in June, but the public had never heard directly from Ms. Scurry or known her identity. She began that call by saying, “You can call me a snitch if you want to,” a line she explained in court on Monday by saying that it had been “out of the scope” of her duties to call a sergeant on a use-of-force issue.
Prosecutors are most likely hoping that jurors will see her concern as a sign that Mr. Chauvin had done something unusual and inappropriate when he restrained Mr. Floyd by kneeling on his neck for about 9 minutes and 30 seconds. Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, is expected to argue that Mr. Chauvin had acted within the bounds of his training.