'Do not argue with the court': Chauvin trial judge warns witness in tense exchange

The judge overseeing the trial for former police officer Derek Chauvin, charged in the death of George Floyd, warned a witness not to argue Tuesday after her replies to a defense attorney.

"Do not argue with the court, do not argue with counsel, answer the questions, do not volunteer information that is not requested," Judge Peter Cahill told Genevieve Hansen, a firefighter who was off duty at the time of Floyd's death and testified that she was not allowed to give him aid.

The judge's admonition followed Hansen's replies to defense attorney Eric Nelson.

After Nelson asked about the mood of the crowd near the May 25 police encounter that ended in Floyd's death and whether people were angry, Hansen replied: "I don't know if you've seen anybody be killed, but it's upsetting."

At another point, she answered "yes" before Nelson had finished asking a question.

Chauvin is charged with murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man who died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for about nine minutes on May 25. Chauvin is white. Testimony began Monday.

Hansen, 27, who was on a walk when she came across the police encounter, said she became concerned and then angry about Floyd's treatment.

Immediately before the judge's warning, Hansen acknowledged that she had described Floyd as small. "With three grown men on top of somebody, it appeared that he was small and frail," she said.

After a pause, she added, "But I know that not to be true, obviously." When it was mentioned a question had not been asked, she replied: "I was finishing my answer."

Hansen is set to return to court Wednesday morning. After telling Hansen to answer questions and not volunteer information, the judge said that prosecutors will have a chance to ask further questions — which is called redirect — if they think things have been left out.

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