Josh Skluzacek, KSTP
Updated: January 26, 2022 01:43 PM
Created: January 26, 2022 10:13 AM
Jurors only got a brief morning break amid testimony from two witnesses Wednesday morning.
Hennepin County Medical Center paramedic Derek Smith spent the majority of the morning on the witness stand, explaining his response to the scene on May 25, 2020.
Prosecutors focused on what little information Smith was given before getting to the scene and asked if it was unusual not to be given more information after his call was upgraded to an emergency.
“Yes, in my opinion, I should be told why there’s a change in status,” Smith said. He later added, “Upon arrival at the scene, I had no information … to me, more information could’ve been provided.”
Smith explained why, after quickly assessing Floyd’s condition at the scene, he opted to load him into the ambulance and move a few blocks away. Smith testified that he told his partner, “I think he’s dead” after checking Floyd’s pupils and pulse, and then decided that, due to the crowd, moving a few blocks away would be best.
While the defense pointed out Smith had said the crowd seemed hostile and “wasn’t safe,” which he confirmed, Smith pointed out for prosecutors that he still started aid right after Floyd was loaded into the ambulance and while his partner drove a few blocks away.
Smith said he had minimal interactions with officers and Lane was really the only one who explained what had happened, although he didn’t specifically say Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes.
Lane’s attorney highlighted everything Lane did to help, including starting chest compressions on Floyd in the ambulance. Smith agreed Lane’s presence was good, saying, “In my opinion, he was helpful, yes.”
The defense also tried to paint the picture that Floyd could’ve experienced excited delirium, which Smith said can be experienced by subjects who’ve used drugs or other substances and can briefly give them “superhuman strength” but, if untreated, can lead to cardiac arrest and death.
Smith listed some potential signs of excited delirium as a subject excessively sweating, having trouble comprehending and coherently answering, using vulgarities, “being in their own little world,” and agreed that foaming at the mouth could be a sign, although not necessarily. Prosecutors tried to push back on the narrative Floyd may have experienced excited delirium and focused on treatment officers and firefighters could’ve provided.
That line of questioning is expected to continue in the afternoon, as Minneapolis Fire Captain Jeremy Norton was called just before lunch break and started explaining the medical training firefighters have.
Norton also noted firefighters “can get most places in our box within 3 to 4 minutes … and can keep someone alive (until paramedics arrive).”
Court is expected to reconvene at 1:30 p.m. with Norton back on the stand.
Testimony is set to continue Wednesday morning on the third day of the federal trial of three former Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s death.
Jurors heard from four witnesses and saw more video from the scene on Tuesday as the prosecution aimed to show how little Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao did not only for George Floyd, but even for dispatchers and paramedics.
The defense — particularly Lane’s attorney — pushed back on that by highlighting what the officers did and how Floyd resisted. Lane’s attorney noted the officer recommended rolling Floyd on his side, suggested checking for his pulse, did his own check for Floyd’s pulse and then did chest compressions on Floyd in the ambulance.
Court is set to reconvene at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Jurors are expected to hear from the off-duty firefighter who was at the scene on May 25, 2020.
This is a developing story. 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS will continue to update it throughout the day as the trial proceeds.
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