Paramedic Derek Smith is testifying now in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged in the death of George Floyd.
Smith testified that on May 25, 2020, he arrived on the scene, and saw Floyd on the ground and three officers on top of him.
“I walked up to the individual, noticed he wasn’t moving. I didn’t see any chest rise or fall on this individual,” Smith said.
When asked to describe Floyd’s overall condition he said, “in lay terms, I thought he was dead.”
Smith said that when he checked Floyd, his pupils were “large” and “dilated,” and he did not detect a pulse.
He said he did all he could do to try and revive Floyd.
“[H]e’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” Smith said.
Smith is the second paramedic to testify today. Paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, who also provided medical assistance to Floyd, said that when he arrived at the scene, he could tell from a distance that Floyd wasn’t breathing.
Witness testimony has resumed in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged in the death of George Floyd.
Earlier today, jurors heard testimony from Floyd’s girlfriend and a Minneapolis paramedic who provided medical aid to Floyd.
If you’re just reading in, here’s what’s happened today in court:
Courteney Ross, Floyd’s girlfriend, testified she has been in a relationship with him since August 2017 and they were together until his death. Ross, who was the 13th witness for the prosecution, provided details about Floyd and their relationship. She described Floyd as “a momma’s boy,” saying he was devastated and “broken” when his mother died. Ross said he tested positive for Covid-19 in “late March” and that he had been quarantining. She added that his roommates also had Covid-19.
Ross testified that they both struggled with opioid addiction. Prosecutors were the first to ask about opioid use during the trial to get ahead of some of the defense team’s arguments. Defense attorneys plan to make the case that Floyd died of unrelated medical issues and drug use, and they have argued Chauvin was following proper police protocol.
Paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, who provided medical assistance to George Floyd, told the court that when he arrived at the scene, he could tell from a distance that Floyd wasn’t breathing. He also said he stopped the ambulance en route to the hospital so he could assist his partner in giving Floyd aid after he “flatlined” — a term he used to describe when “your heart isn’t really doing anything at that moment.”
Witness to invoke the Fifth Amendment: The man who was sitting in a car with George Floyd when police approached and removed them from the vehicle says he will not testify in the trial. Morries Hall will invoke the Fifth Amendment and not testify if he is called to the stand, according to a filing submitted by his public defender Adrienne Cousins.
The jury is now taking a one hour lunch recess.
Paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, who provided medical assistance to George Floyd, testified before the break.
He told the court that when he arrived at the scene, he could tell from a distance that Floyd wasn’t breathing.
He also said he stopped the ambulance en route to the hospital so he could assist his partner in giving Floyd aid after he “flatlined” — a term he used to describe when “your heart isn’t really doing anything at that moment.”
A paramedic who responded to help George Floyd after former officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck said that on the way to a hospital, he stopped the ambulance so he could assist his partner in giving Floyd aid.
Seth Zachary Bravinder, a paramedic in Minneapolis, said that after he stopped the ambulance, he realized Floyd has “flatlined.”
“I remember walking in and the cardiac monitor was showing asystole,” Bravinder said.
He explained that asystole is the medical term for “flatlined” — “basically tells us your heart isn’t really doing anything at that moment.”
“It’s not a good sign,” Bravinder added. “Basically just because your heart isn’t doing anything at that moment. There’s not — it’s not pumping blood. So it’s not — it’s not a good sign for a good outcome.”
Paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, who provided medical assistance to George Floyd, testified that from a distance, he could tell Floyd wasn’t breathing.
After arriving to the scene, he got out from the ambulance and headed to the back, and said “from what I could see where I was at I didn’t — I didn’t see any breathing or movement or anything like that.”
Asked if Floyd appeared unresponsive, Bravinder said, “from what I could tell just standing from a distance, yes.”
Bravinder said that he had his hands near Floyd’s head to prevent it “from slamming down on the pavement” as they moved him unto a stretcher and into the ambulance.
The paramedic described Floyd’s state and head when he was being transferred.
“I guess limp would be the best description. He wasn’t — he was unresponsive and wasn’t holding his head up or anything like that,” Bravinder said.
The trial has resumed after a 20 minute break.
The prosecution is now questioning Seth Zachary Bravinder, a paramedic in Minneapolis.
Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, finished her testimony just before the break.
Experts say the United States is in the throes of an opioid epidemic.
It was already a national crisis but experts fear Covid-19 could be making things worse.
Walk-in clinics and syringe exchange programs have been closed. Community support groups are meeting virtually.
Some who struggle with substance abuse are homeless or incarcerated and can’t comply with social distancing guidelines, while those who can are left isolated and at risk. On top of all that, the pandemic is causing massive stress — a primary driver of relapse.
Some facts about the opioid epidemic:
- An estimated 10.1 million Americans aged 12 and older misused opioids in 2019, including 9.7 million prescription pain reliever abusers and 745,000 heroin users.
- Opioids are drugs formulated to replicate the pain-reducing properties of opium. Prescription painkillers like morphine, oxycodone and hydrocodone are opioids. Illegal drugs like heroin and illicitly made fentanyl are also opioids. The word “opioid” is derived from the word “opium.”
- In 2018, there were 67,367 overdose deaths in the United States and 46,802 of those overdose deaths involved opioids.
Common opioids include:
- Opioids such as morphine and codeine are naturally derived from opium poppy plants more commonly grown in Asia, Central America and South America. Heroin is an illegal drug synthesized from morphine.
- Hydrocodone and oxycodone are semi-synthetic opioids, manufactured in labs with natural and synthetic ingredients.
- Fentanyl is a fully synthetic opioid, originally developed as a powerful anesthetic for surgery. It is also administered to alleviate severe pain associated with terminal illnesses like cancer. The drug is up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Just a small dose can be deadly. Illicitly produced fentanyl has been a driving factor in the number of overdose deaths in recent years.
- Methadone is another fully synthetic opioid. It is commonly dispensed to recovering heroin addicts to relieve the symptoms of withdrawal.
You can read more about the opioid crisis here.
If you or a loved one are suffering from an opioid addiction, here are some resources to how you can get help.
Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, finished her testimony and the court is in a 20 minute break.
The defense attorney, Eric Nelson, cross-examined her, and the prosecuting attorney then asked follow-up questions.
As Courteney Batya Ross testified that she and George Floyd struggled with opioid addiction, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates explained the prosecution’s strategy behind addressing this fact — even though it may seem to cast Floyd in a negative light.
“It’s because as the prosecutor, you want to present and address and resolve these bad facts. You don’t want to have the defense be able to say, ‘Hey, jury, why didn’t they tell you about this? Here are the things they don’t want you to know.’ Sprinkling seeds of doubt,” Coates explained.
Coates added that the prosecution is addressing it so they can “package it essentially” to say, “‘So what? He has an opioid addiction.’ And of course in America, we view opioid abuse very differently than we did even decades ago. How does this actually impact Chauvin’s decision to act?”