On Thursday, a paramedic testified that George Floyd was already dead when he arrived at the scene and that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder charges, had his knee on the 46-year-old Black man's throat.
On the fourth day of Chauvin's murder and manslaughter trial, paramedic Derek Smith said, "When I showed up, he was dead, and I dropped him off at the hospital, and he was still in cardiac arrest."
During Floyd's arrest for passing a bogus $20 bill on May 25, 2020, Chauvin, 45, was caught on camera lying on the neck of a handcuffed Floyd for more than nine minutes.
The video of Chauvin, a white man, restraining Floyd went viral, sparking nationwide demonstrations against racial inequality and police violence.
Prosecutors are attempting to determine that Chauvin's actions caused Floyd's death, while the ex-counsel officers argue that Floyd died as a result of illicit drug use and underlying medical conditions.
As Smith and fellow paramedic, Seth Bravinder arrived on the scene in an ambulance, Chauvin and other police officers were already on top of Floyd, according to Smith.
Floyd's carotid artery in his neck was tested for a pulse, according to Smith. He said, "I didn't feel one." "In layman's words, I assumed he was dead."
Floyd was loaded into the ambulance, Smith said, and they attempted to resuscitate him with chest compressions and a defibrillator.
Their attempts were in vain.
Smith explained, "He's a human being, and I was trying to give him a second chance at life."
Bravinder also told the court that Floyd was "unresponsive" when he and Smith arrived.
He said, "I did not see him moving or breathing." “He was sluggish.”
‘We grew addicted.'
The police sergeant who had been Chauvin's shift boss on the day of the incident also testified on Thursday.
Prosecutors questioned David Pleoger, who has since retired, for his view on the use of force in Floyd's arrest.
“They should have ended their detention when Mr. Floyd no longer offered any resistance to the officers,” Pleoger said.
Floyd's girlfriend of nearly three years, Courteney Ross, also testified as a witness, and she was grilled extensively about Floyd's substance use past.
Floyd's girlfriend since August 2017, according to Ross, a 45-year-old mother of two.
She sobbed as she recalled their first encounter, which occurred at a homeless shelter where Floyd was working as a security guard.
Ross explained that she had gone to see the father of one of her sons, and Floyd noticed her in the lobby looking depressed and asked if he could "pray" for her.
She described it as "so sweet." “I had absolutely lost faith in God.”
Ross admitted that she and Floyd had both fought drug addiction.
“We both had chronic pain,” she explained. “Mine was in my ear, and his was in his back,” says the narrator. We became addicted and attempted several times to break the addiction.”
They both had prescriptions for pain relievers, according to Ross, but they would also get pills on the "black market."
Floyd had been hospitalized for several days in March 2020 due to an overdose, according to her.
Floyd had been "clean" after that, she said, but in the two weeks before his death, he seemed to have resumed pill use.
‘Extinguishing his life'
Chauvin's counsel, Eric Nelson, asked Ross whether Floyd had previously bought pills from Morries Hall, who was with Floyd on the day he died.
Ross said that she thought he had received pills from Hall on occasion.
On Wednesday, Hall notified the court that if he is called to testify at Chauvin's trial, he will exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Following Ross's testimony, Floyd family attorney Ben Crump issued a statement criticizing what he called "defense efforts to build the narrative that George Floyd's cause of death was the Fentanyl in his system."
“We want to remind the world that George was walking, talking, laughing, and breathing just fine until Derek Chauvin kept his knee to George's throat, blocking his ability to breathe and putting an end to his life,” Crump said.
The nine-woman, five-man jury hearing the case in a heavily secured Minneapolis courtroom was shown police body camera video of Floyd's arrest on Wednesday.
Floyd, who looks distraught in the video, says repeatedly that he "can't breathe" and calls for his mother before he passes out.
If convicted of the most serious crime, second-degree murder, Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the police department, faces up to 40 years in prison.
Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng, the other three former police officers involved in the arrest, would be tried separately later this year.