Paramedics who treated George Floyd said he was not breathing and had no pulse when they arrived at the scene of his deadly arrest last May in testimony on Thursday (April 1) at the murder trial of former policeman Derek Chauvin.
“In lay terms, I thought he was dead,” Derek Smith, one of the paramedics, told the jury. By the time Smith arrived, Chauvin, who is white, had been pressing his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in handcuffs, for about nine minutes, a scene that ignited global protests against police brutality.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges. In a central dispute of the trial, his lawyers have argued that Floyd’s death, which the county medical examiner ruled was a homicide at the hands of police, was really an overdose caused by the fentanyl found in his blood at autopsy.
Prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney general’s office have told the jury they will hear evidence to contradict this, including testimony from his girlfriend about his drug tolerance, and that Floyd’s drug use is irrelevant to the charges against Chauvin.
(Production: Deborah Gembara)