A paramedic testified on Thursday that George Floyd was already dead when he arrived at the scene and Minneapolis police, Derek Chauvin, as a murder trial, still had the knee of the 46-year-old black man.
“When I showed up, he was dead and I dropped him off at the hospital and he was still in cardiac arrest,” paramedic Derek Smith said on the fourth day of Chauvin’s trial on charges of murder and manslaughter.
Chauvin, 45, was caught on video kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd for more than nine minutes during Floyd’s arrest on May 25, 2020, for sending a forged $ 20 bill.
The video about Chauvin, who is white, restraining Floyd went viral and sparked protests against racial misconduct and police brutality around the world.
Prosecutors are trying to prove that Chauvin’s actions led to Floyd’s death, while the ex – officer’s lawyer claims that he died due to illegal drug use and underlying medical conditions.
Smith said Chauvin and other police officers were still on top of Floyd when he and his aide Seth Bravinder arrived at the scene in an ambulance.
Smith said he checked the carotid artery in Floyd’s throat to see if he had a pulse. “I did not know one,” he said. “In playful terms, I thought he was dead.”
Smith said Floyd was loaded into the ambulance and they tried to revive him with chest compressions and a defibrillator.
Their efforts failed.
“He’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” Smith said.
Bravinder also told the court that when he and Smith arrived, Floyd did not answer.
“I did not see him move or breathe,” he said. “He was relaxed.”
‘We became addicted’
Also testifying on Thursday was the police sergeant who had been Chauvin’s shift supervisor the day of the incident.
David Pleoger, who has since retired, was asked by prosecutors to give his opinion on the use of force in Floyd’s arrest.
“When Mr. “Floyd no longer offered any resistance to the officers, they could have stopped their restraint,” Pleoger said.
Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend for almost three years, also appeared as a witness and she was questioned extensively about Floyd’s history of drug abuse.
Ross, a 45-year-old mother of two, said she had been Floyd’s girlfriend since August 2017.
She cried when she told about their first meeting, which took place in a homeless shelter where Floyd worked as a security guard.
Ross said she had gone there to visit the father of one of her sons and Floyd saw her look sad in the lobby and asked if he could “pray” with her.
“It was so sweet,” she said. “I had lost a lot of trust in God.”
Ross admitted that both she and Floyd had struggled with opioid addiction.
“We both suffered from chronic pain,” she said. “Mine was in my neck and his in the back. We became addicted and tried really hard to break this addiction many times. ”
Ross said they both had prescriptions for painkillers but sometimes they got pills on the “black market”.
She said Floyd had been in the hospital for several days in March 2020 for an overdose.
Floyd had been “clean” after that, she said, but he seemed to have started using the pill again the two weeks before his death.
‘Extinguish your life’
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, asked Ross if Floyd had previously bought pills from Morries Hall, who was with Floyd the day he died.
Ross said she thought he sometimes got tablets from Hall.
Hall submitted a statement to the court on Wednesday that if he is called to testify at Chauvin’s trial, he will invoke his fifth right of amendment against self-discrimination.
Ben Crump, a lawyer from the Floyd family, released a statement following Ross’ testimony that condemned what he called “defense to construct the story that George Floyd’s cause of death was Fentanyl in his system.”
“We want to remind the world that witnessed his death on video that George was walking, talking, laughing and breathing just before Derek Chauvin held his knee to George’s neck and blocked his ability to breathe and extinguish his life,” Crump said.
Police body camera footage from Floyd’s arrest was shown Wednesday to the nine-woman, five-month jury that heard the case in a heavily guarded courtroom in Minneapolis.
In the film, a distressed Floyd repeatedly says that he “can not breathe” and calls for his mother until he eventually passes by.
Chauvin, a 19-year-old veteran of the police force, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge – second-degree murder.
The other three former police officers involved in the arrest – Tou Thao, Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng – will be tried separately later this year.