MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A now-retired Minneapolis Police Department supervisor testified in the Derek Chauvin trial Thursday, the fourth day of testimony.
David Pleoger said that he called Chauvin on his cell phone after a 911 dispatcher alerted him about seeing the George Floyd incident. Chauvin’s body camera captured part of that phone conversation.READ MORE: NYC George Floyd Statue Vandalized, Cleaned Prior To Long-Planned Move To Union Square
“I was just going to call you and have you come out to our scene here,” Chauvin said in the video. “We just had to hold a guy down. He was going crazy … he wouldn’t go into the back of the squad.”
Pleoger then described what happened in the call, after Chauvin’s bodycam was deactivated, saying that Chauvin described Floyd suffering a medical emergency. Pleoger said that Chauvin did not mention anything about putting his knee on Floyd’s neck.
Chauvin’s then-boss was then asked if a knee to a person’s neck is an approved use of force. He said yes, but only for a “reasonable” amount of time. He later noted Chauvin should have stopped after Floyd was in handcuffs on the ground.
Pleoger is the first of what, according to the prosecution’s opening statements, will be a number of department witnesses who will testify Chauvin used excessive force.
The court on Thursday also heard tearful testimony from Floyd’s girlfriend along with the ambulance crew and a firefighter that tried to resuscitate Floyd.
Courteney Ross testified about her life with Floyd and his struggle with opioid addiction, an addiction the defense is trying to argue is what was largely responsible for Floyd’s death. Ross recalled meeting Floyd in 2017 in the lobby of the Salvation Army at a time when she was upset. She said he asked if he could pray with her.READ MORE: Minneapolis City Council Committee OK's Measure To Put Replacing MPD On November Ballot
She says that they had many good times together, but the addiction was a struggle for both of them.
“We both got addicted and tried to break that addiction many times,” she said.
She testified two months before his death Floyd was hospitalized for five days after an overdose. Under cross-examination she struggled to recall past statements to law enforcement. She was repeatedly unsure about her past answers about Floyd’s purchase of drugs from Maurice Hall, the man who was in the passenger seat of Floyd’s car and later on the sidewalk when Floyd struggled with police.
The jury also heard from the two paramedics who responded to the scene of Floyd’s death. Chauvin still had his knee on Floyd’s neck when they checked for a pulse. They testified that they believed he was already dead when they arrived.
“In lay terms I thought he was dead,” Derek Smith testified. “I did not detect a pulse.”
Another paramedic testified that he then had to motion for Chauvin to get off of Floyd so they could put him in the ambulance. The paramedic described a number of medical attempts to revive Floyd, all of which were unsuccessful.MORE NEWS: Derek Chauvin Trial Cost Hennepin County $3.7M
The family of Floyd issued a statement in response to the testimony of Ross about Floyd’s addiction, The statement said, in part, “We want to remind the world who witnessed his death on video, that George was walking, talking and breathing just fine before Derek Chauvin held his knee to George’s neck.”