Mar 30, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 350 words, a 1.5-minute read.

1 big thing: The eyewitness 911 tape

Witness Donald Williams wipes his eyes as he answers questions in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Photo: Court TV via AP, Pool

An audibly agitated Donald Williams said in a 911 call on the day George Floyd died that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was "trying to kill a guy that wasn't resisting arrest."

  • Williams testified today that he felt the need to call 911 instead of speaking to the officers directly because "we just didn't have no connection. I spoke to them, but not on a connection of a human-being relationship."

The big picture: Chauvin faces murder and manslaughter charges for Floyd's death. Chauvin was filmed with his knee on Floyd's neck for more than 9 minutes.

Darnella Frazier, now 18, who recorded the harrowing cellphone video of George Floyd's death that moved the world, testified:

  • "When I look at George Floyd, I look at — I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles. Because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them."
  • "It's been nights I've stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life."
  • "But it's like — it's not what I should have done. It's what he should have done," she added, referring to Chauvin.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson (L) and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen during testimony. Photo: Court TV via AP, Pool
2. Global surge
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Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Brutal surges in coronavirus cases are hitting much of the world all at once, from Europe to Brazil to India, reports Axios World editor Dave Lawler.

3. Catch up quick
  1. Scoop: Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) privately told confidants he's seriously considering not seeking re-election and possibly leaving Congress early for a job at Newsmax, reports Axios' Alayna Treene.
  2. Prominent labor activist Dolores Huerta told Russell Contreras at an Axios event that "we cannot really rest ... until we can really end the slayings of people of color." Go deeper.
  3. The head of the World Health Organization noted that scientists had difficulty "accessing raw data" from China and called for further investigation of the lab leak theory. Go deeper.
  4. The U.S. accused China of carrying out an ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in an annual human rights report released today. Go deeper.
4. 1 smile to go: Play of "Thrones"
Photo: HBO

George R.R. Martin is developing a live-action play that tells a key origin story for "Game of Thrones."

  • "The as-yet-untitled play is set during a pivotal moment in Westeros history, The Great Tourney at Harrenhal, a contest that took place just 16 years before the events in 'Game of Thrones,'" per The Hollywood Reporter.

The big picture: "The franchise expansion to the stage is reminiscent of J.K. Rowling's move after the conclusion of the author’s Harry Potter saga."

  • "Rowling unveiled an acclaimed two-part special-effects-stuffed stage show, 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,' which included fan-favorite characters from a very different time period than in her books."