‘I Thought He Was Dead,’ Says a Paramedic Who Treated George Floyd

The paramedics who responded to the scene of Mr. Floyd’s arrest provided new details. Here are takeaways from Day 4 of the trial.,

LiveUpdated April 1, 2021, 7:02 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 7:02 p.m. ET

The paramedics who tried to revive Mr. Floyd described their futile attempts to jurors, and a police supervisor provided insight about Mr. Chauvin’s actions and response after the confrontation.

ImageHennepin County Government Center on Thursday.
Hennepin County Government Center on Thursday.Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times
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April 1, 2021, 6:54 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 6:54 p.m. ET
Derek Chauvin told a supervisor that he and other police officers had held Mr. Floyd down because he was “going crazy.”Credit…Court TV still image, via Getty

Derek Chauvin told a supervisor that George Floyd had been “going crazy” before police officers pinned him to the ground, and indicated only later that he had applied pressure to Mr. Floyd’s neck, according to new body camera footage and testimony in court on Thursday.

The supervisor, retired Sgt. David Pleoger, said that he had spoken with Mr. Chauvin moments after Mr. Floyd was taken away in an ambulance, and that Mr. Chauvin had not mentioned the pressure to Mr. Floyd’s neck in that conversation. Sergeant Pleoger also testified that he thought police officers should have stopped holding Mr. Floyd down once he became unresponsive.

“When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint,” Sergeant Pleoger said. In response to a question from a prosecutor, he agreed that police officers should not restrain someone who is handcuffed and no longer resisting.

Sergeant Pleoger spoke with Mr. Chauvin by phone after receiving a call from a 911 dispatcher who was concerned by live surveillance footage of officers restraining Mr. Floyd. Part of the conversation, which took place minutes after Mr. Floyd was taken to a hospital, was captured by Mr. Chauvin’s body camera.

“We just had to hold the guy down,” Mr. Chauvin can be heard saying, adding that Mr. Floyd would not stay in the back of a police car. “He was going crazy.”

Mr. Chauvin turned his body camera off shortly after the call began. Sergeant Pleoger said that doing so was standard. He recalled Mr. Chauvin saying that Mr. Floyd had injured his nose or mouth after being combative and had then suffered a medical emergency.

Body camera footage has shown that a police officer approached Mr. Floyd with a gun raised and pulled him from the driver’s seat of a car after a convenience store clerk called 911 and said that Mr. Floyd had used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes. As officers tried to get him into the back of a police car, he struggled with them and seemingly tried to push himself out of the back seat. He ended up on the pavement outside the car, where officers pinned him down for more than nine minutes.

Sergeant Pleoger drove to the scene of the arrest shortly after, and then met Mr. Chauvin at Hennepin County Medical Center, where Mr. Floyd had been taken. Once there, the police officers learned that Mr. Floyd was not doing well, and Mr. Pleoger asked Mr. Chauvin if he had used any additional force.

“He said he knelt on Floyd or knelt on his neck, something of that nature,” Sergeant Pleoger said on Thursday. In response to a question from a prosecutor, he said that was the first time he had learned that Mr. Chauvin might have applied force to Mr. Floyd’s neck.

Sergeant Pleoger was the last witness to be called on Thursday, the fourth day of the murder trial of Mr. Chauvin. Testimony will begin again on Friday morning.

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April 1, 2021, 5:52 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 5:52 p.m. ET
Seth Zachary Bravinder, a paramedic, testifies in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin at Hennepin County District Court on Thursday.
Seth Zachary Bravinder, a paramedic, testifies in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin at Hennepin County District Court on Thursday.Credit…Court TV

The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with killing George Floyd in Minneapolis, entered a new phase on Thursday with the testimony of paramedics who responded to the scene, making it the first time that jurors heard about Mr. Floyd’s medical condition in the immediate aftermath of the arrest.

Their testimony supported the notion that Mr. Floyd died under the knee of Mr. Chauvin. Two paramedics, Derek Smith and Seth Bravinder, said they did not see any signs of life in Mr. Floyd upon their arrival. Mr. Smith was explicit: “In lay terms, I thought he was dead.”

The jury also heard from Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend, who talked about his struggle with drug addiction, as well as from a former police sergeant who arrived at the scene shortly after the arrest. Here are Thursday’s key moments.

  • Until Thursday, testimony has come mostly from witnesses who happened upon the arrest of Mr. Floyd by chance. While those witnesses provided powerful testimony on the arrest — and on the emotional scars it left on them — they were unable to speak with authority about Mr. Floyd’s medical condition. The lineup of witnesses on Thursday changed that. The questions of when Mr. Floyd died, and how, will be crucial to the jury’s ultimate decision. Though the two paramedics who testified on Thursday did not comment on what exactly killed Mr. Floyd, they provided new information on the key question of when.

  • Mr. Smith, one of two paramedics to testify on Thursday, said Mr. Floyd had no pulse and appeared to be dead by the time they arrived. Mr. Smith’s efforts to save Mr. Floyd, including the use of a defibrillator, were unsuccessful. His testimony could support the prosecution’s argument that the actions of Mr. Chauvin killed Mr. Floyd. The defense has suggested that drug use contributed to his death; an autopsy found fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system. Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s attorney, also suggested during Mr. Smith’s testimony that Mr. Chauvin’s knee was on Mr. Floyd’s back, not on his neck. In his response, Mr. Smith referred Mr. Nelson to videos of the arrest.

  • Courteney Ross, Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend for nearly three years, told the jury about his character and his struggle with addiction. She talked about their first kiss and Mr. Floyd’s adventurous nature. In a lighter moment, she talked about one of the most famous photos of Mr. Floyd, which she called “a dad selfie.” She called Mr. Floyd a “mama’s boy,” and said that his mother’s death left him “like a shell of himself, like he was broken.” Mr. Floyd called out “mama” while police officers pinned him to the ground. Ms. Ross also detailed their shared struggle with opioid addiction, saying that they started using after being prescribed medication for chronic pain. Once their prescriptions ran out, their use continued. Together, they fell in and out of sobriety. Mr. Floyd’s use of drugs, and whether that contributed to his death, is expected to be a crucial point of the trial.

  • The jury also heard from David Pleoger, a recently retired sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department, who arrived at the scene just after Mr. Floyd was taken away in an ambulance. Mr. Pleoger spoke about the department’s policy on use of force and was probed by prosecutors on whether Mr. Chauvin complied with those policies. Asked whether police officers should remove their knees from a suspect’s neck when the suspect stops resisting, Mr. Pleoger said they should. According to video evidence, Mr. Chauvin kept his knee on Mr. Floyd for several minutes after Mr. Floyd became unresponsive. The defense objected when prosecutors tried to ask Mr. Pleoger whether Mr. Chauvin violated use of force policies, but the prosecution did ask him when, in his opinion, the police officers should have ended their restraint of Mr. Floyd. He replied, “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint.”

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April 1, 2021, 5:46 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 5:46 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

As former Sgt. David Pleoger’s testimony concludes, the judge adjourns court for the day. This afternoon gave the jury new insight from paramedics and other officials about what happened after an ambulance arrived outside Cup Foods, following the fatal confrontation between the police and George Floyd. Perhaps the biggest takeaway: A paramedic’s testimony that Floyd appeared dead by the time medical help arrived.

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April 1, 2021, 5:31 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 5:31 p.m. ET

The New York Times

Day 4 of the trial of Derek Chauvin drew protesters outside the Hennepin County courthouse and around the city of Minneapolis on Thursday.

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April 1, 2021, 5:20 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 5:20 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The testimony of David Pleoger, the police supervisor who was on the scene in May, has resumed. Prosecutors asked the key question they had been leading up to: Based on his review of the police officers’ body-camera footage, when should the restraint of George Floyd have ended in this encounter? “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint,” Ploeger responded.

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April 1, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

A question from the prosecution for Sgt. David Pleoger, a supervisor called to the aftermath of George Floyd’s arrest — “Do you believe the restraint should have ended at some point in the encounter?” — has prompted an objection from Derek Chauvin’s defense. Testimony has paused while the judge and lawyers are conferring. The question speaks directly to whether Chauvin violated police use-of-force policies.

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April 1, 2021, 4:55 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 4:55 p.m. ET
A newsstand at a Byerlys grocery store in Northeast Minneapolis.
A newsstand at a Byerlys grocery store in Northeast Minneapolis.Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

International media organizations have descended on Minneapolis for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd. But local media, in addition to providing regular updates on the courtroom proceedings, has also reported on some aspects of the case that are of particular interest to Minnesota.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has covered the reaction of Minnesotans to witness testimony. One article examined how the exchange between Eric J. Nelson, the lawyer for the defense, and Donald Williams II, the mixed martial artist who testified for the prosecution, struck a nerve among some Black Minnesotans and on social media. During cross-examination, Mr. Nelson asked Mr. Williams if he had threatened police as he watched Mr. Floyd being detained and if the situation made him angry.

Rep. John Thompson, a Democrat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, told the Star Tribune: “Anytime a Black man says he’s sick and tired, anytime a Black man opens up his mouth to say what he sees, they label him an ‘angry Black man.'”

The Pioneer Press, based in St. Paul, has covered preparations for protests, including planned deployment of police officers and the National Guard when the verdict is delivered. The newspaper has also covered key testimony.

MinnPost, a nonprofit online newspaper in Minneapolis, covered the legislative debate over whether the state should pay for a large police deployment for the conclusion of Mr. Chauvin’s trial. Initially, Gov. Tim Walz proposed a $35 million fund to reimburse police and sheriff’s departments, MinnPost reported.

Ahead of the case, MPR News drew comparisons between Mr. Chauvin’s trial and two other incidents in which Minnesota police officers had been charged in the death of citizens, Philando Castile in 2016 and Justine Ruszczyk in 2017.

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April 1, 2021, 4:15 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 4:15 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

After questioning the first responders who arrived at the scene in May, prosecutors are now calling a new witness: David Pleoger, who recently retired as a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department. Sgt. Pleoger is the supervisor who took a call from the 911 dispatcher, Jena Scurry, who testified earlier in the week that she was concerned by what she saw on a live video feed of George Floyd’s arrest. “You can call me a snitch if you want to,” Scurry said when she made the call.

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April 1, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The current line of questioning from the prosecution is leading into a new area of inquiry: Did Derek Chauvin follow police rules for the use of force? Prosecutors are asking Sgt. Pleoger about his initial conversation with Chauvin after arriving at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, after Floyd had been taken away in an ambulance. In that conversation, Chauvin did not mention that he used his knee to restrain Floyd.

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April 1, 2021, 3:25 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 3:25 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The prosecution has called Jeremy Norton, a captain and 21-year veteran of the Minneapolis Fire Department. He continues the thrust of the testimony from two paramedics earlier today, providing insight about what emergency medical personnel saw as they arrived at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest.

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April 1, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The captain describes encountering Genevieve Hansen, the off-duty firefighter who testified earlier in the trial that police officers wouldn’t let her check George Floyd’s pulse as they restrained him. Norton said she was “agitated to distraught.”

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April 1, 2021, 3:16 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 3:16 p.m. ET
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George Floyd Died Before Medics Arrived, Paramedic Says

Derek Smith, one of the paramedics called to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, testified in court on Thursday that when he arrived it appeared that Mr. Floyd was already dead.

When you approached, he said he was in handcuffs as you approached him to inspect further, were the officers still on top of him? The officers were still on him when I approached. And what did you do when you approached? I was assessing the scene, running through what? No cure may be needed. And did you take some initial steps, like checking for a pulse? I checked for a pulse. And did you also check with the individual, Mr Floyd’s pupils? I did. And what did you determine at that point? They were large, dilated. So you determined that his pupils were larger, dilated? What about a pulse? I did not get a pulse. When you say pop, it is that you didn’t feel or detect a desire to take the pulse. And what did his condition appear to be to you overall in lay terms? I thought he was dead. So what did you do next? I kind of get a look for my partner and told them. I think he’s dead. And I want to move this out here, ok? And I will begin caring about.

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Derek Smith, one of the paramedics called to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, testified in court on Thursday that when he arrived it appeared that Mr. Floyd was already dead.CreditCredit…Still image via Court TV

When a paramedic arrived at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, he could not find a pulse and believed that Mr. Floyd was already dead, he testified in court on Thursday.

Derek Smith, the paramedic, said that he had first felt Mr. Floyd’s neck for a pulse while police officers were still on top of him and that he could not find one.

“In lay terms, I thought he was dead,” Mr. Smith testified on the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder in Mr. Floyd’s death. After bringing Mr. Floyd into the back of an ambulance, Mr. Smith still could not find a pulse, and when he placed pads on Mr. Floyd’s body to monitor his heart, the monitor showed a “flatline,” meaning his heart had stopped beating.

In efforts to get Mr. Floyd’s heart beating, paramedics used a device to administer chest compressions and a defibrillator to provide an electric shock, but nothing worked, Mr. Smith said. Mr. Floyd’s condition had not changed by the time they reached the hospital.

“I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” he said.

Mr. Smith was the second paramedic whom prosecutors called to testify on Thursday, and his testimony could bolster their argument that it was Mr. Chauvin’s actions that led to Mr. Floyd’s death. Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer has suggested that the drugs Mr. Floyd was on may have killed him. The autopsy report had noted that Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at a hospital at 9:25 p.m., about an hour after Mr. Chauvin had knelt on him.

The police first approached Mr. Floyd at about 8:09 p.m. and placed him on the ground about 10 minutes later, at which point Mr. Chauvin knelt on him.

Emergency medical workers were first called to the scene around that time, 8:20 p.m., for a report of a “mouth injury” and were initially not asked to rush to the scene. Just over a minute later, the call was upgraded to a “Code 3” response, meaning that the emergency medical workers should turn on their ambulance’s lights and sirens and get there as quickly as possible. They arrived at about 8:27 p.m.

Seth Bravinder, another paramedic who responded to the scene and testified on Thursday, also said that Mr. Floyd had appeared to be unresponsive. Eric J. Nelson, the lawyer for Mr. Chauvin, pressed Mr. Bravinder on his statement, at the time, that Mr. Floyd had been lying slightly on his side, as police policy called for.

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April 1, 2021, 3:04 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 3:04 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Prosecutors continue to question Derek Smith, one of the paramedics who treated George Floyd, who describes his unsuccessful efforts to revive him in the ambulance. “He’s a human being, and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” he said.

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April 1, 2021, 2:47 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 2:47 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Derek Smith, one of the paramedics who responded to George Floyd’s arrest, described his rush to treat him. “I had to take the handcuffs off,” he said. The police officers helped load Floyd onto a stretcher, but were also in Smith’s way at one point, he said. “I wanted to get my patient to my rig as quickly as possible so I could begin my resuscitation efforts.”

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April 1, 2021, 2:34 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 2:34 p.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from New York

The trial has resumed after a lunch break. First on the witness stand is Derek Smith, a paramedic in Hennepin County who responded to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest. His testimony follows that of his partner, Seth Bravinder, who described providing aid to an unresponsive Floyd.

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April 1, 2021, 2:41 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 2:41 p.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from New York

Smith testifies that he could not find George Floyd’s pulse when he arrived. “In lay terms, I thought he was dead,” he says.

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April 1, 2021, 2:25 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 2:25 p.m. ET

By Matt Furber

A Minneapolis homeless encampment where the police had recently clashed with activists as officers attempted to clear out the camp.
A Minneapolis homeless encampment where the police had recently clashed with activists as officers attempted to clear out the camp.Credit…David Joles/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

Not far from downtown Minneapolis, Grace Healey, 23, was volunteering at an encampment for the homeless on Thursday.

She said that everyone at the camp, which has between 15 and 20 residents, was looking forward to the warmer days ahead after another freezing night. Ms. Healey lives just a few blocks away and has been walking to the encampment daily since it opened last fall to deliver donations of food, propane and clothing and help build shelters.

The camp is just a half mile from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, mentioned in her testimony Thursday morning as a place that she and Mr. Floyd liked to visit.

Ms. Healey said that she was following the jury selection intently at the outset of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in Mr. Floyd’s death. But she became a little disillusioned with the process and worries that the jury might be biased toward the police. “I don’t know how you can live in this city and not know what happened,” she said.

She has generally tried to avoid watching the surveillance and social media footage of the arrest of Mr. Floyd. She’s seen enough police violence already, she said, including a recent attempt to evict people from the homeless camp.

“It was brutal and scary,” she said, adding: “I worry that jurors will be too friendly toward police. I don’t know how the jury can come up with a not-guilty verdict, but I’ll be surprised if they don’t.”

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April 1, 2021, 1:52 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 1:52 p.m. ET
From left, George Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd, the lawyer Adner Marcelin, and Rev. Greg Drumwright walking to the Hennepin County Government Center for the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin.
From left, George Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd, the lawyer Adner Marcelin, and Rev. Greg Drumwright walking to the Hennepin County Government Center for the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin.Credit…Octavio Jones/Reuters

Testimony continued on the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, with appearances from George Floyd’s girlfriend and a paramedic who responded to the scene.

Here are some of the highlights so far:

  • Courteney Ross, who dated George Floyd for nearly three years before his death in May, was the first witness called by prosecutors. Her testimony focused on Mr. Floyd’s struggle with addiction, an attempt by prosecutors to get out in front of the argument by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that Mr. Floyd’s drug use may have led to his death or caused him to struggle more with officers as they tried to put him in a police car.

    Ms. Ross delivered tearful testimony about their shared struggle with an opioid addiction and shared details about their relationship, including how they met and their first kiss.

    Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, probed Ms. Ross about her and Mr. Floyd’s drug use, asking where they purchased opioids and other drugs that she and Mr. Floyd had taken. She said they had purchased drugs from Morries Lester Hall in the past. Mr. Hall was in the car with Mr. Floyd on the day he died when the police approached him about the $20 bill. In a court filing on Wednesday, Mr. Hall said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if called to testify in the trial.

  • Seth Bravinder, a paramedic for Hennepin County, took the stand after the morning break. He was on duty the day that George Floyd died and was dispatched to the scene of Floyd’s arrest. Mr. Bravinder answered questions about the treatments given to Mr. Floyd and attempts to resuscitate him.

    He said that Mr. Floyd appeared lifeless when they arrived to the scene. “I didn’t see any breathing or movement,” he said.

    Mr. Bravinder and his partner transferred Mr. Floyd into the ambulance soon after arriving, he said. They parked the ambulance several blocks away, and Mr. Bravinder moved to the back of the ambulance to help his partner resuscitate Mr. Floyd.

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April 1, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The court goes into a lunch recess and will reconvene at 1:30 p.m., Minneapolis time.

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April 1, 2021, 1:31 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 1:31 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

A prosecutor resumes questioning Seth Bravinder, a paramedic who treated George Floyd. She asks whether Floyd appeared to be dead when the ambulance arrived on the scene. Bravinder said that he did not see Floyd moving or breathing. “Did you see someone who appeared to be unresponsive?” she asked. “Yes,” Bravinder said.

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April 1, 2021, 1:19 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 1:19 p.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer seems to be trying to establish with his questions to a paramedic on the scene that Chauvin did turn George Floyd on his side while he was being restrained, or at least attempted to, as police policy calls for. Like many other things in this trial, jurors are going to have to weigh what the defense says versus what they see on the video.

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April 1, 2021, 1:15 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 1:15 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Seth Bravinder, a paramedic, described the continuing efforts to revive George Floyd in the back of an ambulance, through medication, chest compressions and other interventions. Bravinder, who drove Floyd to the hospital, said that at no point did he detect a pulse. Eric Nelson, a lawyer for Derek Chauvin, is now questioning him.

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April 1, 2021, 1:04 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 1:04 p.m. ET
Ben Crump, left, and Antonio Romanucci, two lawyers for Mr. Floyd’s family, said many people addicted to drugs were given “respect and support, not abuse.”Credit…Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Two lawyers for the family of George Floyd said jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin should look beyond Mr. Floyd’s drug use after his girlfriend testified on Thursday about their shared struggles with addiction.

The lawyers, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, said in a statement that Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer was focusing on Mr. Floyd’s drug use “because that is the go-to tactic when the facts are not on your side,” and that Mr. Floyd had been fine before the police were called. A day earlier, prosecutors played surveillance footage from inside Cup Foods, the convenience store where a clerk reported that Mr. Floyd had used a fake $20 bill, showing Mr. Floyd in the minutes before the police arrived.

“We want to remind the world who witnessed his death on video that George was walking, talking, laughing and breathing just fine before Derek Chauvin held his knee to George’s neck,” Mr. Crump and Mr. Romanucci said. Mr. Chauvin is facing charges including second-degree murder in the trial, which entered its fourth day on Thursday.

Prosecutors had called Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, to the stand and were the first to ask her about Mr. Floyd’s drug use, seemingly in an effort to head off the argument from Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that drugs could have caused Mr. Floyd’s death or led him to struggle more with the police.

Ms. Ross said she and Mr. Floyd had both continued to use opioids after initially being prescribed the pills to treat chronic pain. She said Mr. Floyd had relapsed in May 2020 — the month he died — and had taken a different pill that month, the contents of which she did not know, but which she believed was more of a stimulant. An autopsy by the Hennepin County medical examiner found that Mr. Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system when he died.

The lawyers for Mr. Floyd’s family said thousands of people who are addicted to drugs “are treated with dignity, respect and support, not brutality.”

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April 1, 2021, 12:44 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 12:44 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

When Seth Bravinder, the paramedic currently on the stand, arrived on the scene, George Floyd was in handcuffs with officers on top of him. “I was standing a little ways away,” Bravinder testified. “From what I could see where I was at, I couldn’t see any breathing.” Bravinder and his partner, who suspected that Mr. Floyd was in cardiac arrest, quickly decided to move him into the ambulance. The process can be seen on body camera video played by the prosecutors.

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April 1, 2021, 12:50 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 12:50 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Bravinder testifies that after he parked the ambulance several blocks away, he moved to the back to help his partner resuscitate Floyd. He said he remembers seeing that the cardiac monitor showed that Floyd had “flatlined.” “It basically tells us your heart isn’t really doing anything at that moment,” he said. The testimony includes an image of Floyd, unconscious, in the back of the ambulance.

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April 1, 2021, 12:42 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 12:42 p.m. ET
Prosecuting attorneys for the Derek Chauvin trial (from left): Steve Schleicher, Neal Katyal, Jerry Blackwell, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank of Minnesota, Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and Erin Eldridge.
Prosecuting attorneys for the Derek Chauvin trial (from left): Steve Schleicher, Neal Katyal, Jerry Blackwell, Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank of Minnesota, Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota, and Erin Eldridge.Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press; Andrew Harnik/Associated Press; Court TV still image, via Associated Press (2); Jim Mone/Associated Press; Court TV still image, via Associated Press

You may find yourself struggling to remember the names of the attorneys on the prosecution team when you tune in to the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.

Several lawyers have spoken in court in the first week of Mr. Chauvin’s trial. And the team, assembled by Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota, has additional members.

Here is a guide to help you remember who is who:

Here’s who you have seen so far:

  • Jerry W. Blackwell: A corporate attorney, he was the first lawyer to speak when the trial opened on Monday. He delivered the opening statement.

    Mr. Ellison brought Mr. Blackwell in only for this case, and Mr. Blackwell is working for free. He’s an expert at breaking down complex issues into plain language, which will be essential when jurors are asked to evaluate whether Mr. Chauvin should be found culpable for second-degree murder or the lesser charge of third-degree murder.

  • Matthew Frank: An assistant attorney general for Minnesota, Mr. Frank has taken the lead in questioning many of the witnesses, including several who shared emotional and detailed accounts of Mr. Floyd’s arrest on May 25.

  • Erin Eldridge: Also an assistant attorney general, Ms. Eldridge works in the office’s criminal division. Among the witnesses she has questioned is Charles McMillian, who saw Mr. Chauvin pin Mr. Floyd to the ground.

  • Steve Schleicher: Mr. Schleicher is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer and former federal prosecutor. He spent 13 years in the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota, as the deputy criminal chief of the special prosecution section and the St. Paul branch chief, according to a biography on his firm’s website.

Here’s the rest of the team:

  • Keith Ellison: Mr. Ellison, a former congressman from Minnesota, took over the case against Mr. Chauvin days after Mr. Floyd’s death. He has overseen everything from the investigation to the prosecution’s strategy. It’s unlikely he will speak in court; he has avoided the limelight and left the jury trial to career professionals in his office. This is probably the highest-profile criminal case in the state’s history.

    Mr. Ellison served in the House of Representatives for 12 years before being elected as attorney general in 2019. Before he entered public office, he practiced civil rights and defense law, and spent five years heading the Legal Rights Center in Minnesota.

  • Neal Katyal: An acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, he is the most well-known member of the team aside from Mr. Ellison. He has argued at least 39 cases before the Supreme Court, including in defense of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and in opposition to President Donald J. Trump’s travel ban. He is a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells.

  • Sundeep Iyer and Harrison Gray Kilgore, lawyers with Hogan Lovells, joined the prosecution pro hac vice, meaning the judge has allowed them to work on the case despite not being licensed by the bar in Minnesota. Both were admitted under motions that listed Mr. Chauvin and the other three police officers who were charged as defendants, so it is unclear what role they play in each case.

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April 1, 2021, 12:30 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 12:30 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Seth Zachary Bravinder, a paramedic for Hennepin County, has taken the stand after the morning break. He was on duty the day that George Floyd died and was dispatched to the scene of Floyd’s arrest.

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April 1, 2021, 12:17 p.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 12:17 p.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Court resumes after the usual morning recess with Judge Cahill apologizing to the jury for such a long break. Then he immediately calls the lawyers into his chambers.

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April 1, 2021, 11:38 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 11:38 a.m. ET
Courteney Ross described how she and George Floyd struggled with opioid addiction throughout their nearly three-year relationship.
Courteney Ross described how she and George Floyd struggled with opioid addiction throughout their nearly three-year relationship.Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press

Courteney Ross, who was dating George Floyd for nearly three years before his death in May, delivered tearful testimony on Thursday about their shared struggle with an opioid addiction.

Ms. Ross, 45, said she and Mr. Floyd had started taking opioids when they were prescribed for chronic pain, but that both had continued to take the pills after the prescriptions had run out. They tried to stop using the drugs many times and sought out various treatments, she said, but they relapsed together as recently as March 2020.

That month, Ms. Ross said, Mr. Floyd was hospitalized for several days after she found him doubled over in pain from an overdose. She recalled taking a new pill with him that month, the contents of which she did not know and which had a more stimulating effect.

Later that month, she thought they had both managed to quit again, but in the weeks before he died in May, a change in Mr. Floyd’s behavior made her think that he had again begun using.

“We got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times,” she said. “When you know someone who suffers from any type of addiction, you can start to kind of see changes when they’re using again.”

Ms. Ross was the first witness called by prosecutors on the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with murder in Mr. Floyd’s death. Much of her testimony focused on the couple’s addiction, seemingly an attempt by prosecutors to get out in front of the argument by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that Mr. Floyd’s drug use may have led to his death or caused him to struggle more with officers as they tried to put him in a police car.

But Ms. Ross also described tender moments of their relationship, like when they first met, and kissed, in August 2017 at a homeless shelter where Mr. Floyd worked as a security guard, and how they spent their time together.

“We went out to eat a lot because Floyd loved to eat a lot,” she said, adding, “It was an adventure always with him.”

Mr. Floyd had been working as the head of security at a nightclub shortly before his death but had lost the job when the club closed because of the coronavirus, she said. He had tested positive for Covid-19 in April, a doctor wrote in Mr. Floyd’s autopsy report.

When Ms. Ross was shown a photograph of Mr. Floyd, one of several pictures of him that were shared widely after his death, she described it through laughs and tears as a “Dad selfie” because of the low angle from which he had taken it.

Ms. Ross, who has two children, also said that Mr. Floyd had referred to her and his own mother, who died in 2018, by the same nickname: “Mama.” Mr. Floyd had called out for “Mama” as Mr. Chauvin knelt on his neck moments before his death on May 25.

Mr. Floyd was a “mama’s boy,” Ms. Ross said, and had been devastated when his mother died.

“He seemed kind of like a shell of himself, like he was broken,” she said. “He seemed so sad. He didn’t have the same kind of bounce that he had.”

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April 1, 2021, 11:31 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 11:31 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, whose testimony just concluded, said on the stand that she and Floyd had bought drugs from Morries Lester Hall. In a court filing on Wednesday, Hall, who was with Floyd at Cup Foods on the day he died, said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if called to testify in this trial.

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April 1, 2021, 11:25 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 11:25 a.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, tried to probe George Floyd’s girlfriend, who is testifying now, on how Floyd got his drugs and who he got them from. The girlfriend, Courteney Ross, maintains that she doesn’t know where he got them from. She also disputed assertions from Nelson about how the pills made her feel.

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April 1, 2021, 11:10 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 11:10 a.m. ET
Black Lives Matter flags adorn the fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center.
Black Lives Matter flags adorn the fence outside the Hennepin County Government Center.Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

A key witness in the state’s case against Derek Chauvin has filed a notice that he plans to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights, meaning he will most likely not testify during Derek Chauvin’s trial.

The witness, Morries Lester Hall, was seated in the passenger seat of Mr. Floyd’s car when Minneapolis police officers approached him about using a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes at Cup Foods. During the trial, Mr. Hall has appeared in the police body camera footage shown by the prosecution.

“If called to testify he will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,” the motion, filed on Wednesday by the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, said.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Hall said that Mr. Floyd had tried to defuse the tensions with the police and had in no way resisted arrest.

During the cross-examination of Courteney Ross, a former girlfriend of Mr. Floyd, the defense asked Ms. Ross about the source of the opioids and other drugs that she and Mr. Floyd had taken. Ms. Ross said that they had purchased drugs from Mr. Hall in the past.

According to a Minnesota official, Mr. Hall provided a false name to officers at the scene of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. At the time, he had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession.

Mr. Hall was a longtime friend of Mr. Floyd’s. Both Houston natives, they had connected in Minneapolis through a pastor and had been in touch every day since 2016, Mr. Hall said in an interview with The Times last year. Mr. Hall said that he considered Mr. Floyd a confidant and a mentor, like many in the community.

The motion requested that the court “quash the subpoena” pertaining to his testimony and “release Mr. Hall from any obligations therein.”

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April 1, 2021, 11:02 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 11:02 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer has begun his cross-examination of Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend. He starts delicately, saying he is sorry to hear of Ross’s struggle with opioid addiction.

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April 1, 2021, 10:43 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 10:43 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Prosecutors are now asking Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, about their shared opioid addiction. The common playbook for lawyers defending police officers who kill Black people is to talk about the victim’s drug use as a way of tarnishing their character. That will also be at the center of Derek Chauvin’s defense strategy, so prosecutors are trying to take on the issue directly, using it as a way to humanize Floyd, and to point out that many Americans struggle with opioid addiction.

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April 1, 2021, 10:50 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 10:50 a.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

One of the big discussions around the opioid crisis is whether to offer treatment to people who are addicted rather than locking them up. This testimony from George Floyd’s girlfriend for the prosecution certainly seems an effort to dispel notions that his drug use was a knock on his character.

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April 1, 2021, 10:38 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 10:38 a.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

Sad but also charming, the testimony from Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, shows a range of emotions. She is crying but also giggling as she recalls details about his life. She tells the story behind one of the most popular images of Floyd, a selfie of him looking down toward the camera. “I would call it a dad selfie,” she said. “I’m just joking, but a lot of dads sometimes don’t have the best angle when they take selfies.”

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April 1, 2021, 10:29 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 10:29 a.m. ET
Courteney Ross, center, the girlfriend of George Floyd, at a a memorial service for Floyd in June.
Courteney Ross, center, the girlfriend of George Floyd, at a a memorial service for Floyd in June.Credit…Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Courteney Ross, a former girlfriend of George Floyd, was called on by the prosecution to testify on Thursday.

Ms. Ross told local news outlets last year that she had met Mr. Floyd at the Salvation Army. He had begun working as a security guard at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center, a homeless shelter and transitional housing facility in downtown Minneapolis, in 2017.

Alvin Manago, a former friend and roommate of Mr. Floyd, said Mr. Floyd had spent the final weeks of his life recovering from the coronavirus, which he learned he had in early April. After he was better, he started spending more time with his girlfriend, and he had not seen his roommates in a few weeks, Mr. Manago said.

When Derek Chauvin was arrested days after Mr. Floyd’s death, Ms. Ross told CBS Minnesota, “It was a relief.”

“It was like, thank you for taking that first step, you know, to find some peace for us,” she said. “It knocks some of that pain away.”

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April 1, 2021, 10:25 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 10:25 a.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from New York

Day 4 of the Derek Chauvin trial begins as prosecutors call Courteney Ross, who was George Floyd’s girlfriend, to the witness stand.

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April 1, 2021, 10:27 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 10:27 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

The prosecution is calling Courteney Ross not just to humanize Floyd, but also to talk about his drug use and tolerance for opioids. Prosecutors want to get ahead of the defense’s case pushing a drug overdose as a theory of the cause of Floyd’s death. They want Ross to help them establish that Floyd had a high tolerance for fentanyl.

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April 1, 2021, 10:01 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 10:01 a.m. ET
The National Guard securing the Hennepin County Government Center during the trial.
The National Guard securing the Hennepin County Government Center during the trial.Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

Like many courthouses across the country, the Hennepin County Government Center has seen its fair share of cases with media attention.

There was the case of Kirby Puckett, the Hall of Fame baseball player, who was acquitted on a sexual misconduct charge in 2003. And then there was the trial of Amy Senser, the wife of a former Minnesota Vikings player, who was found guilty on two counts of vehicular homicide in 2012.

But none compare to the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is accused of killing George Floyd in May. The courthouse, with its unusual shape reminiscent of the letter H, for Hennepin County, is in the midst of a trial with more public attention than possibly any others since O.J. Simpson, in 1995.

The heightened security, combined with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, “has pretty much emptied the building” of anybody except those who need to be there for the trial of Mr. Chauvin, said Kevin S. Burke, a senior district court judge in Hennepin County.

“This one is so exponentially greater than anything else we’ve seen,” Mr. Burke said. “There probably is no courthouse in United States that has had a case, with the exception of O.J., as visible as the Chauvin case.”

The courthouse has seen changes over the years, since its construction in the mid-70s. Glass barriers, for example, were added to the bridges that connect the two sides of the building — think of the bridges as the horizontal line in the letter H — after at least two people committed suicide by jumping, Mr. Burke said.

But its current transformation for the trial, with concrete barriers and national guard members posted outside, is a first.

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April 1, 2021, 3:14 a.m. ETApril 1, 2021, 3:14 a.m. ET
In this image from police bodycam video, Minneapolis officers began removing George Floyd from his vehicle in May.
In this image from police bodycam video, Minneapolis officers began removing George Floyd from his vehicle in May.Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press

Jurors will enter the fourth day of proceedings in the Derek Chauvin trial on Thursday with a newfound understanding of what happened on the day George Floyd died, thanks to camera footage and witness testimony that laid out his actions moment by moment.

Before Wednesday’s testimony, the jury had not heard such a thorough retelling, from inside the corner store where Mr. Floyd bought cigarettes to his time pinned on the pavement to when he was carried away on a stretcher. For the first time, jurors saw footage from the body camera of Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing Mr. Floyd.

Altogether, the videos from within Cup Foods and officers’ body cameras provided a fuller picture of Mr. Floyd in his final hours. In the store, he chatted and laughed with other customers. After he bought cigarettes — with what the cashier thought was a fake $20 bill — he left without incident.

But when the first officers arrived, things escalated almost immediately. What may have been a petty crime turned into a life-or-death situation. Jurors watched as an officer approached Mr. Floyd with his pistol raised, and as he reacted with dread. “Please, don’t shoot me,” he said.

Throughout the arrest, Mr. Floyd appeared to be terrified — of the pistol, of the claustrophobic sensation of being shoved in a police cruiser, of Mr. Chauvin’s restrictive kneehold.

Remembering the events of May 25, Charles McMillian began to sob during his testimony. “I can’t help but feel helpless,” said Mr. McMillian, who saw Mr. Floyd being arrested and spoke with Mr. Chauvin afterward.

It is unclear how the jarring testimonies this week will affect the jurors. But the scope of Mr. Floyd’s death is clear: Nearly everyone who watched him struggle seems to have been shaken to their core, from sheer trauma or from feelings of guilt and powerlessness.

The prosecution has so far focused on the shared suffering of witnesses, reinforced by graphic videos from many angles. During the testimony of the store clerk who accepted Mr. Floyd’s $20 bill, one of the jurors fell ill. The proceedings were halted for 20 minutes, with the judge calling her illness a “stress-related reaction.”

The juror, a white woman in her 50s, said of Mr. Floyd during the jury selection, “He didn’t deserve to die.”

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March 31, 2021, 7:04 p.m. ETMarch 31, 2021, 7:04 p.m. ET

The New York Times

On Day 3 of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd, people across Minneapolis kept track of the proceedings on television and on their phones. The trial drew protesters outside the courthouse on Wednesday.

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