Cops Who Watched George Floyd Die Never Said He Wasn’t Breathing, Paramedic Testifies

Paramedic Derek Smith testified Wednesday that none of three officers informed him that George Floyd wasn’t breathing and had no pulse.

Jan 26 2022, 11:14pm

None of three officers who watched as former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd told paramedic Derek Smith that the 46-year-old Black man wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, Smith testified Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.

Smith’s comments came during Day Three of the federal trial against former Minneapolis police officers Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane for violating Floyd’s civil rights the day he died in May 2020. They’re all facing life in prison if convicted.

Video from Lane’s body camera footage was played in court as Smith recounted what happened when he responded to the call, according to the AP. He said Lane informed him that police were called to the Cup Foods convenience store on Minneapolis’ south side because Floyd had used a counterfeit $20 bill and that he’d given the officers a hard time when they tried to get him into their police vehicle.

“We were basically just restraining him until you guys got here,” Lane can be heard telling Smith in bodycam footage. He didn’t mention that Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes or that Floyd became unresponsive while in the restraint.

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Smith also testified last April during Chauvin’s murder trial. While he recounted many of the same details, Smith mentioned that he was blindsided when he found Floyd at the scene of the murder and realized he no longer had a pulse.

"They were large pupils; they indicate the patient was probably deceased," he told jurors, according to a reporter with the Star Tribune.

The three former officers are facing life in prison on charges of violating Floyd’s rights when they failed to provide him with medical assistance. Only Thao and Kueng, however, face an additional charge of failing to intervene while Chauvin placed Floyd in a deadly hold. Lane was likely spared the extra charge because body camera footage captured him asking Chauvin about turning Floyd on his side; Chauvin insisted that Floyd would be fine as is.

While experts say Lane has the best case against the charges because he’s on record questioning his superior officers, his failure to mention Floyd’s condition to first responders impacts that argument. During cross-examination with Lane’s defense attorney Earl Gray, however, Smith told the courtroom that Lane did assist in resuscitation efforts when he rode along with first responders rushing Floyd to the hospital.

“In my opinion, he was helpful, yes. Thank you,” Smith told Gray.

On Wednesday, Smith also said that anyone could have started CPR on Floyd while paramedics made their way to the scene, which police are trained to do. He said the same during Chauvin’s trial.

Smith wasn’t the only witness from Chauvin’s trial to appear on the witness stand again Wednesday. Genevieve Hanson, the off-duty Minneapolis firefighter who was in the crowd of bystanders telling the officers that Floyd needed help, also recounted how Thao refused to let her check on Floyd’s condition.

"I was recognizing this was a time-sensitive thing. He needed help and he wasn't getting it, so I was just trying everything," she said, according to the Star Tribune.

On Tuesday, Jenna Scurry, the 911 dispatcher who said last year she knew something was wrong as she watched Floyd’s arrest through a nearby police camera, also testified in federal court. 

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Tagged:

murder, prison, minneapolis, trial, Civil Rights, Derek Chauvin, 8:46 News, J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao

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