The Minneapolis process is looking forward to in the United States, where many broadcasters broadcast live footage of the testimonies after the death of Floyd, a black man, sparked a wave of protests against racism not seen in decades.
Floyd died after Chauvin immobilized him for several minutes by placing his knee on his neck. The former police officer, who pleaded not guilty, can face up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge, second degree murder.
“When I arrived, he was already dead and I took him to the hospital, but he was still in cardiac arrest,” said paramedic Derek Smith on the fourth day of the trial.
Derek Chauvin, accused of the death of George Floyd, in a photo courtesy of Hennepin County Prison – Photo: Handout / Hennepin County Jail / AFP
The prosecution seeks to prove that it was Chauvin’s actions that led to Floyd’s death, while the ex-agent’s defense claims that he died because he was on drugs and had health problems.
Smith said Chauvin and other officers were still on top of Floyd to immobilize him when his coworker Seth Bravinder arrived on the scene with an ambulance.
The paramedic tried to measure Floyd’s pulse by touching his carotid artery. “I didn’t feel anything,” he said. “In simple terms, I thought he was dead,” he added.
VIDEO: New images show George Floyd pleading with police officers before being killed
Smith said he, Bravinder and the agents put Floyd in the ambulance and tried to revive him by giving him a cardiac massage and using a defibrillator, but his efforts were unsuccessful.
In his testimony, Bravinder told the court that when they arrived, Floyd “was not responding”. “I didn’t see him move or breathe,” he noted.
New images show George Floyd in store before police approach
Police sergeant David Pleoger, who oversaw Chauvin’s shift on the day of the incident, also testified. He was questioned by the prosecution about the use of force during Floyd’s arrest.
“When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering any resistance to the agents, the detention could have ended,” he said.
On Thursday, he also witnessed Floyd’s girlfriend, who said they were both struggling with opioid addiction.
Courteney Ross, who maintained a relationship with Floyd from 2017 until his death on May 25, is the first person close to him to testify at the trial.
Image of protesters calling for justice for the death of George Floyd on March 28, 2021 – Photo: Octavio Jones / Reuters
In the previous days, the process focused on the people who witnessed his death, with very incriminating testimonies for the former police officer.
The 45-year-old woman answered the questions with difficulty, crying and sobbing most of the time. In her account, she told the details of the beginning of their relationship, how Floyd approached her and won her over with his deep voice and the suggestion of praying together, at a time when she was distressed.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank took advantage of the interrogation to question the addiction to opioids that Floyd and Ross shared.
“Floyd and I live the classic history of opioid addiction,” he said. “We became addicted and tried very hard to stop the addiction many times,” added Ross.
Both had a prescription for sedative opioid pills and, after becoming addicted, started to buy these drugs on the street or on the black market.
According to the girlfriend, despite the addiction, Floyd, a man who was almost two meters tall and weighed 100 kilos, maintained a healthy lifestyle and exercised daily.
“He was training with weights that I couldn’t even lift,” said the woman.
George Floyd’s family lawyer Ben Crump (center) speaks to journalists alongside other Floyd lawyers and family members outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis, where the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin began. , on Monday (29) – Photo: AP Photo / Jim Mone
An important line of defense for the former police officer is the fact that, at the time of his death, Floyd was under the influence of fentanyl (a synthetic opioid), and would have the substance in his blood.
Defense lawyer Eric Nelson came on the scene focusing on his questions the nature of the drugs used, how the couple obtained them and an episode in March when Floyd overdosed and was hospitalized.
The lawyer also pointed out that they sometimes bought drugs from two people who were with Floyd at the time of his death. One of them, Maurice Hall, filed a last-minute appeal on Thursday to avoid testifying.
Ben Crump, the lawyer for the Floyd family, criticized the defense efforts to “build a narrative that the cause of Floyd’s death was fentanyl in his blood”.
“We want to remind the world that witnessed his death on video that George was walking, talking, laughing and breathing just before Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against George’s neck, blocking his ability to breathe and extinguishing his life,” said Crump.
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