Prosecutors have dismissed domestic assault charges filed last year against a key witness in the murder trial of ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd.
Donald Wynn Williams, 35, was charged in August 2022 in Ramsey County District Court with felony domestic assault and misdemeanor domestic assault after court documents say he choked his ex-girlfriend a few blocks from the Minnesota State Fair and threatened to kill arresting officers. But Ramsey County Attorney's Office spokesperson Dennis Gerhardstein said prosecutors dropped the charges after finding little physical evidence of the crime.
"We were unable to reach the victim in this case, and determined that we had serious evidentiary challenges, including but not limited to minimal physical evidence," Gerhardstein said in a statement.
Gerhardstein added that the dismissal was part of a global resolution with Anoka County because Williams pleaded guilty to violating a domestic assault no-contact order involving the same woman. Williams entered an Alford plea, in which he maintained his innocence but acknowledged there was enough evidence to convict him. He was sentenced to 10 days in the Anoka County workhouse, and a warrant for his arrest was issued when he failed to appear Sept. 1.
Williams was a witness at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue in south Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, and was among the most vocal of the witnesses in urging Chauvin to get off Floyd's neck and officer Tou Thao to intervene.
Proficient in wrestling and mixed martial arts, Williams said Chauvin placed a "blood choke" on Floyd, restricting his circulation.
"I called the police on the police," Williams testified in April 2021. Asked why, he said: "Because I believe I witnessed a murder."
He sued the city of Minneapolis in May in connection with Floyd's killing, saying he was assaulted and endured emotional distress. The lawsuit accuses Chauvin of threatening him and other bystanders with Mace and ex-MPD officer Tou Thao of placing his hand on Williams' chest. As a result of the since-convicted officers' actions, Williams said he feared for his safety and endured pain, suffering, humiliation, embarrassment and medical expenses.
Charging documents say that St. Paul police were called to Asbury Street and Midway Parkway on August 27 for reports of a domestic assault. They arrived at around 5:14 p.m. to find Williams' ex-girlfriend, who said she and her three kids were selling water because the State Fair was beginning. She said that Williams texted her to get ice, but she refused because she did not want to leave her children alone.
The woman then returned to her vehicle where she said Williams was waiting nearby. That's when she said Williams yelled at her about buying ice, approaching her driver's side window to grab her by the throat and strangle her. Williams reportedly slapped her in the face with his other hand before a witness yelled at him and he fled the scene, telling her "it was unprofessional."
Williams was found nearby with his 9-year-old daughter. Documents say that he fought with officers trying to arrest him, refusing to get into the car, kicking the squad door, and threatening to kill officers and come after one officers' family.
When speaking to investigators, Williams said he was romantically involved and doing business with her. He confirmed that there was tension that afternoon and that he argued with his ex, but denied strangling, hitting or touching her. He added that he did not comply with officers because he was worried about his daughter being left alone — and that he suffers from PTSD after witnessing George Floyd's murder and participating in the Derek Chauvin trial.
Williams stands accused of assault in a number of recent cases. In May he was charged in Olmsted County with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of disorderly conduct brawling/fighting.
in February, he was accused of arguing with an Eden Prairie gas station manager who told him to leave after he started yelling at staff. Charges of disorderly conduct accuse Williams of throwing mints that struck the manager in the face.
Williams was also cited in October 2021 for punching a pizza delivery person in the face in Roseville.