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Derek Chauvin Trial: Day 4 and 5

Photo by James Eades on Unsplash

Day 4: April 1 

At the start of day four, George Floyd’s girlfriend was called to the stand to testify. Courteney Ross spoke fondly of Floyd, telling the story of how they met and described him as a “mama’s boy”. She also said that she and Floyd suffered from opioid addiction, despite numerous attempts to free themselves from their addiction. The defence is likely to try to use this as a way to tarnish Floyd’s character, as lawyers Crump and Romanucci said that drugs are the “go-to-tactic when the facts are not on your side”. She was then asked questions about the suppliers of Floyd’s drugs. Shawanda Hill was named as the woman who was sitting in the back of a car with Floyd on the day of his death and is expected to testify later in the trial.

Seth Bravinder then took the stand after the morning break. Bravinder is a paramedic for Hennepin County and was dispatched to the scene of his arrest. He said then when he arrived, he could see from quite far away that there was no breathing and decided to move him to an ambulance. He parked the ambulance and helped his partner resuscitate Floyd and say that the cardiac monitor had ‘flatlined’.

After a lunch break, Derek Smith took the witness stand, who is also a paramedic for Hennepin County who responded to the scene of the arrest. He described providing aid to Floyd who was unresponsive. He testified that he could not find Floyd’s pulse when he arrived.

Retired Sgt. David Pleoger testified that the force being used by officers should have stopped earlier, saying that “When Mr Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended the restraint”. He described a phone call that he had with Chauvin after the event and said that Chauvin had told him that Floyd had become combative.

Day 5: April 2

The first week of the trial of Derek Chauvin ended this Friday. The jury heard a total of 19 people’s testimonies over the course of the week. 

Friday’s proceedings starting with Lt. Richard Zimmerman. Zimmerman told the court that kneeling on the neck of a suspect is potentially lethal and there is an obligation to provide medical intervention and called Chauvin’s actions “totally unnecessary” and “uncalled for”. 

He also said, “I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger if that’s what they felt, and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force” and said that the force should have stopped when Floyd stopped resisting. 

Chauvin’s lead defence attorney implied that Zimmerman did not know the dangers of Minneapolis and how training has changed since he was a police officer. 

When asked if training had changed about the dangers of holding a suspect in a position such as the one Floyd was held in, Zimmerman replied, “that hasn’t changed”.

Jon Edwards, a Minneapolis police sergeant, also testified about the events on the 25th. Edwards did not learn that the event had led to Floyd’s death until later that night. He described earlier in the day securing the crime scene and making contact with two other police offers who had been at the scene and found that neither of them had their body camera on when he met them.

David Pleoger then took the stand and was asked when the restraint of Floyd should have ended to which he replied, “When Mr Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint”.

Written by Caitlin Curtis