(Minneapolis) First medic who arrived to rescue African American George Floyd told the Minneapolis court on Thursday that he found him dead with several police officers “with him.”
“When I got there he was dead, and when I drove him to the hospital he was still having a heart attack,” Derek Smith said on the fourth day of the trial of white cop Derek Chauvin.
On May 25, in this large city in the northern United States, four agents wanted to arrest a forty-year-old black man suspected of passing a fake bill at a grocery store. To restrain him, they pinned him to the ground, cuffed his hands, and leaned on him for more than nine minutes.
The most experienced of them, Derek Chauvin, 45, including 19 in the Minneapolis Police Department, kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck even after his death, and until an ambulance arrived.
“The officers were still with him when I approached,” said rescuer Derek Smith, who immediately searched for an African-American pulse in his carotid artery. “I didn’t find anything, I thought the patient was dead.”
His colleague Zachary Bravinder added that once he got to the ambulance, a machine confirmed that his heart rate was “steady.” It means that the heart was not pumping blood, this is not a good sign …
The two men tried to revive him. “He was a human,” said Derek Smith. “I tried to give him a second chance.” But their efforts were unsuccessful.
Derek Chauvin, who faces 40 years in prison, pleads not guilty to this case that has sparked massive demonstrations against racism and police violence from New York to Seattle, but also Tokyo, Paris and Sydney.
His lawyer, Eric Nelson, assures us that he did not cause George Floyd’s death and that the latter succumbed to an overdose. An official autopsy found traces of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid, in the body of an African American, but identified “neck compression” as the cause of death.
Medical experts will be called in to discuss it, but early Thursday, the officer’s attorney sought to substantiate his thesis during the hearing of Courtney Ross, a 45-year-old white woman who had had an intimate relationship with George Floyd since 2017 when he died.
This mother of two was deeply moved, as she portrayed a man who was “full of energy,” “kind,” with whom life was “an adventure” before she humbly discussed their drug use.
It’s a classic story of people who became addicted to opium due to chronic pain. It was on my neck, it was on the back … ”, I explained simply.
Me Then Eric Nelson bombarded her with questions about the nature of the drugs being consumed, the effects of some pills, and a stay at George Floyd Hospital in early March due to an overdose.
He noted that the spouses would sometimes buy drugs from the two people who were with George Floyd at the time of his death. One of them, Maurice Hall, lodged an appeal to avoid testifying at the trial.
M.e Nelson infuriated the Floyd family who decried “easy tactic when facts are against you”.
“Tens of thousands of Americans suffer from self-medication and opioid addiction, and are treated with dignity, respect, support, and not brutality,” their attorneys wrote in a statement, saying that they are confident of the jury’s ability to “transcend.”
The defense attorney was equally fighting back against the last witness called to the stage on Thursday: a police officer, just retired, who began, on May 25, the internal investigation into the death of George Floyd.
Me Nelson raised several “objections” to prevent David Pleuger from responding, including when prosecutors asked him if he believed the officers should have released their pressure sooner.
The judge still allowed him to respond. And he was very clear: “When Mr. Floyd was no longer fighting back, agents could stop supporting him.”
Derek Chauvin’s trial is due to continue until the end of April and the verdict will be pronounced immediately. His three former colleagues will be tried in August for “complicity in murder.”