Firefighter: Floyd ‘needed help and wasn’t getting it’

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — It was a paramedic first, testifying that the officers who restrained George Floyd failed to call for critical information as his ambulance rushed to the scene where Floyd would soon be pronounced dead. Next was a firefighter on leave, recounting his frustration that Floyd “obviously needed help and wasn’t getting it.”

Federal prosecutors building their case against three Minneapolis police officers on trial on charges accusing them of violating Floyd’s civil rights turned Wednesday to a pair of witnesses who testified last year at .

Genevieve Hansen, a Minneapolis firefighter, was out for a walk when she came across Chauvin and . Hansen said she could see Floyd’s head pressed into the street below Chauvin’s knee as other officers helped hold him down.

“It was just alarming, the number of people who were on top of a person weren’t moving and were handcuffed,” said Hansen, who said she was a trained emergency medical technician. She acknowledged that she got louder and started swearing because Floyd “needed help and he wasn’t getting it.”

Kueng, Lane and Thao are accused of stripping Floyd of his civil rights while acting under government authority in the killing that has sparked global protests and a re-examination of racism and policing. Their trial resumes Thursday with more testimony. Chauvinist

Hansen said she asked Thao – who stopped bystanders from intervening – to check Floyd’s pulse. Kueng knelt on Floyd’s back and Lane held his legs, prosecutors say. Hansen testified that Thao said something to her that, if she was a firefighter, she had better not get involved.

Robert Paule, an attorney for Thao, responded by showing Hansen a transcript of an FBI interview in which she said she wasn’t sure Thao had any idea what was going on with Floyd and the other officers, who were behind him.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Manda Sertich sought to show jurors that paramedics did not receive important information and that Floyd should have received medical attention immediately.

Paramedic Derek Smith testified that he was not told Floyd was not breathing or having a pulse when officers escalated the urgency to an ambulance call. Smith said that after arriving he could not find a pulse in Floyd’s neck and his pupils were large, indicating that he “probably died”.

On video footage from Lane’s body camera, Smith asked Lane what had happened. Lane recounted officers’ response to a 911 call that Floyd had attempted to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a convenience store, and a struggle as Floyd forced his way out of a police cruiser. He said the officers were “basically holding him down until you get here.” Lane said nothing about Floyd’s condition.

Smith agreed with Sertich that CPR should have been started as soon as possible – something the officers were trained to do. Paramedics put Floyd in the ambulance and took him to another location for treatment.

Lane’s attorney, Earl Gray, questioned whether Lane had been helpful in getting into the ambulance and trying to revive Floyd, including pressing an airbag to try to ventilate Floyd’s lungs. “In my opinion, he was helpful, yes,” Smith said.

Paule, Thao’s attorney, had Smith say he wouldn’t have taken Floyd to another location to work on him if it hadn’t been for the bystanders.

Smith also acknowledged that he fears Floyd may be in a contested state in which a person is described as having extraordinary strength, often after taking drugs, having a mental health episode or another health condition.

There is no universally accepted definition of excited delirium and researchers said it is not well understood. A 2020 study concluded that it is mostly cited as a cause of death when the person has been restrained.

Later, Minneapolis Fire Department Captain Jeremy Norton – who arrived after paramedics moved Floyd – said his department would have started CPR at the scene and providing care as soon as possible would have been the best chance of saving Floyd. A 911 dispatcher testified Tuesday that she would have sent firefighters instead of an ambulance if she had known Floyd was not breathing because they could have arrived faster.

Kueng, who is black; Lane, who is white; and Thao, who is Hmong American, all for providing medical care to Floyd, while Thao and Kueng face an additional charge for failing to arrest Chauvin, who is white. Both counts allege that the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death.

U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson said the trial could last four weeks.

Lane, Kueng and Thao will also face a separate trial in June for aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.


Webber contributed from Fenton, Michigan.


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