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EMT says she was prevented from helping George Floyd

By
Clyde Hughes & K. Don Johnson & Daniel Uria
Pallbearers carry the casket of George Floyd during his funeral in Houston, Texas, on June 9, 2020. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, during an arrest during which an officer pressed his knee on the back of Floyd's neck for several minutes. File Photo by Godofredo A. Vasquez/UPI/Pool
Pallbearers carry the casket of George Floyd during his funeral in Houston, Texas, on June 9, 2020. George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, during an arrest during which an officer pressed his knee on the back of Floyd's neck for several minutes. File Photo by Godofredo A. Vasquez/UPI/Pool | License Photo

March 30 (UPI) -- A Minneapolis firefighter who happened upon George Floyd's arrest testified Tuesday that she was prevented from helping as she watched officers decline to take his pulse or take other action to save his life.

In the second day of testimony in the murder trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Genevieve Hansen, a trained EMT, said she identified herself to officers when she observed them pinning Floyd to the pavement while she was on a walk. She said she was told by former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao not to get involved.

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"He said something along the lines of, 'if you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved,'" she said.

Thao and two other officers at the scene, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane, were fired from the force and are set to face trial together in August on charges of aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.

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Prosecutors played video of Hansen pleading with the officers to check Floyd's pulse as well as a 911 call she placed from the scene.

"Hello. I'm on the block of 38th and Chicago and I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man, and I am a first responder myself, and I literally have it on video. I just happened to be on a walk," she said in the recording of the phone call.

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On Tuesday, Hansen testified that there was no medical assistance on the scene when she arrived.

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"I got there and I could have given medical assistance," she said. "That's exactly what I should have done."

Hansen said she felt frustrated and "helpless" as she watched Floyd dying, adding that she should have called 911 "immediately" noting how close the nearest fire station was.

"There was a man being killed and I would have ... had I had access to a call similar to that, I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities and this human was denied that," she said.

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Also Tuesday, an 18-year-old who filmed the widely shared video of George Floyd's arrest on a cell phone testified that she stays up at night apologizing to Floyd that she didn't do more to save his life.

Darnella Frazier testified that she and her 9-year-old cousin were witnesses to Floyd's arrest in May 2020.

"I heard George Floyd saying, 'I can't breathe. Please. Get off me. I can't breathe.' He cried for his mom. It seemed like he knew it was over for him," she testified.

Frazier said filming the viral video changed her life.

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"It's been nights I've stayed up apologizing and apologizing to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life. But it's like it's not what I should have done. It's what he [Chauvin] should have done," she said.

Frazier was asked to describe what Chauvin did in response to pleas from bystanders to remove his knee from Floyd's neck.

"He just stared at us, looked at us. He had like this cold look, heartless. He didn't care. It seemed as if he didn't care what we were saying. It didn't change anything he was doing," she said.

Frazier said she felt threatened by officers when they put their hands on mace they were carrying. She testified that she did not see any of the bystanders threaten or attack Chauvin.

"When I look at George Floyd, I look at my dad. I look at my brothers. I look at my cousins, my uncles because they are all Black. I have a Black father. I have a Black brother. I have Black friends. And I look at that, and I look at how that could have been one of them," she testified.

Under cross examination, Frazier said Floyd was already on the ground when she started filming the video. She said she did not film anything that happened before Floyd was taken to the ground by police.

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Prosecutors called another witness Tuesday morning to talk about how Floyd died nearly a year ago.

The witness, Donald Williams, was also in court on Monday and told jurors that, in his perception, Chauvin's physical position -- with his knee on the back of Floyd's neck for several minutes -- was a clear use of deadly force.

Judge Peter Cahill ruled before the trial that Williams could use his experience as a mixed martial arts trainer and fighter to explain why he felt Floyd's life was in danger, even though he's not a medical expert.

The prosecution is expected to argue that Chauvin went beyond normal police procedures during Floyd's arrest and caused his death. Chauvin's attorneys are expected to counter that drugs and a pre-existing heart condition were the primary factors in Floyd's death.

Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said in opening arguments Monday that Chauvin "betrayed this badge."

"It's a small badge that carries with it a large responsibility and large accountability to the public," he said.

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Chauvin could be convicted on a charge of second- or third-degree murder or second-degree manslaughter.

Protesters demand justice in police killing of George Floyd

Demonstrators hold a sign in Los Angeles on June 14 for Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was shot by police in her home while she was sleeping. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

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