UPDATE (4 p.m.): After a 911 dispatcher called now-retired Minneapolis police sergeant David Pleoger to report something “concerning” on May 25, 2020, Pleoger called officer Derek Chauvin on his cellphone.
Pleoger was the 3rd Precinct supervisor on duty that night. Chauvin told Pleoger he and other officers had to restrain somebody who was “going crazy.”
“I believe he told me that they’d tried to put [George] Floyd … in the car, he’d become combative,” Pleoger said on the witness stand. “Eventually after struggling with him, he’d suffered a medical emergency and an ambulance was called.”
During that conversation, Chauvin did not mention putting his knee on Floyd’s neck or back, according to Pleoger.
When Pleoger, who as part of his duties as supervisor was responsible for performing use-of-force reviews, went to the hospital to check on Floyd’s condition, he was told Floyd was dead.
At that point, it was escalated to a critical incident, meaning the Minneapolis Police Department’s internal affairs division would take over investigation and Pleoger would not perform a use-of-force review.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked Pleoger, “Do you believe that the restraint should have ended at some point in the encounter?”
Before Pleoger could answer, defense attorney Eric Nelson objected and asked for a sidebar. Following that, Schleicher changed his line of questioning, but Nelson called for another sidebar.
Judge Peter Cahill ordered the jury out of the courtroom as counsel questioned the witness on a foundational basis. Cahill concluded the juryless conversation by telling Schleicher he could ask one limited question about the force officers used on Floyd.
“Based on your review of the body-worn camera footage, do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?” Schleicher asked.
“When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers they could’ve ended their restraint,” Pleoger said.
On cross examination, Nelson asked Pleoger questions about MPD’s policies for reporting uses of force. He also questioned Pleoger about the dangers of being a police officer.
Nelson later asked about how officers assess and reassess information during an arrest, specifically if they have to deal with a suspect needing medical attention and a “new perceived threat.” Pleoger said you would have to deal with both simultaneously.
When Nelson offered a hypothetical about a shooter, Pleoger admitted he would deal with a shooter first.
Schleicher responded by asking Pleoger if he reviewed body camera footage of Floyd’s arrest. He said he had, and Schleicher asked if he saw a “gun battle.”
“No,” Ploeger said.
Court is adjourned until Friday morning.
UPDATE (4 p.m.): Retired Minneapolis police sergeant David Pleoger was the 3rd Precinct supervisor on duty the night of George Floyd’s death.
While on the witness stand, he told the state about the call he received from 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry, who previously testified in ex-officer Derek Chauvin’s trial.
“She called to say she didn’t mean to be a snitch but she’d seen something, well, viewing a camera that she thought was concerning and was calling to let me know about it,” Pleoger said.
UPDATE (2:50 p.m.): Minneapolis Fire Department Cpt. Jeremy Norton, who arrived to the scene at Cup Foods after George Floyd had already been taken away in an ambulance, testified about the nature of the call to which he and his crew responded.
“We were dispatched initially Code 2, which is a non-emergency response,” Norton said. “And we were given very little information.”
Norton said there was no ambulance on scene when he arrived and he could not locate a patient. He went into Cup Foods to look for a patient, speaking briefly to a police officer and off-duty firefighter Genevieve Hansen, who testified in this trial earlier this week.
After leaving Cup Foods, Norton and his partner went to East 36th Street and Park Avenue to assist the paramedics who were attempting to resuscitate Floyd.
“He was an unresponsive body on the cot,” Norton said. He said a breathing tube was in Floyd’s throat and a pneumatic CPR device was in use.
Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge asked Norton if he reported the incident internally. He did.
“I was aware that a man had been killed in police custody and I wanted to notify my supervisors to notify the appropriate people above us in the city,” he said.
On cross examination, defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Norton about the timeline of the fire department’s response.
Court is on break until 3:10 p.m.
UPDATE (2:15 p.m.): Hennepin County paramedic Derek Smith spent most of his time on the stand answering questions about resuscitative efforts performed on George Floyd.
Smith took Floyd’s pulse via his carotid artery when he arrived on scene, he told Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge.
“I did not detect a pulse,” Smith said. “In lay terms, I thought he was dead.”
Smith testified that he was the one who took Floyd’s handcuffs off in the back of the ambulance. One of the officers on scene rode in the back of the ambulance with Smith and Floyd.
When Eldridge asked Smith about resuscitative efforts undertaken in the back of the ambulance, Smith said, “He’s a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life.”
“At any point in time during your treatment and care of Mr. Floyd, were you able to resuscitate him successfully?” Eldridge asked.
“No,” Smith said. “When I showed up he was deceased and when I dropped him off at the hospital he was in cardiac arrest.”
The state’s next witness is Minneapolis Fire Department Cpt. Jeremy Norton, who responded to the scene of Floyd’s fatal arrest.
UPDATE (1:45 p.m.): Hennepin County paramedic Derek Smith is on the witness stand.
He responded to East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue on the night of George Floyd’s death.
UPDATE (12:33 p.m.): Seth Bravinder, a paramedic with Hennepin County, testifies that he and his partner never detected a pulse on George Floyd.
In court, police body-camera video showed Bravinder, his partner and police officers placing Floyd inside an ambulance. Bravinder testified that he wanted to move Floyd away from the area to avoid distractions from the crowd.
The state presented a map in court showing that Bravinder drove a few blocks away before helping his partner and a police officer to resuscitate Floyd. He said that the cardiac monitor in the ambulance showed that Floyd’s heart had “flatlined.” He administered epinephrine in an effort to “restart his heart.”
“At any point did he regenerate a pulse?” asked Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge. “No,” Bravinder said.
Eldridge asked if Floyd appeared to be already dead when the paramedic arrived outside Cup Foods. Bravinder said that he did not see Floyd moving, but could not say whether or not he was dead at the time.
Eric Nelson, the attorney for Derek Chauvin, questioned Bravinder about the nature of his job. He asked if Bravinder had ever responded to a scene where officers were on top of someone, and Bravinder responded that he had. When asked if people who come to after an overdose sometimes behave violently, Bravinder also said yes, he’d seen it.
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) April 1, 2021
UPDATE (11:21 a.m.): After a longer-than-expected break, testimony resumes with Seth Bravinder, a paramedic with Hennepin County.
He is being questioned by Assistant Attorney General Erin Eldridge, who begins by asking about the nature of Bravinder’s job and training.
Bravinder said he was initially called to 38th and Chicago over a mouth injury. While en route, the call was upgraded to a Code 3, with lights and sirens activated on the ambulance.
At the scene, Bravinder said he saw multiple officers on top of “the patient,” George Floyd. He said that he held Floyd’s head as he loaded him onto a stretcher, because Floyd was “limp” and he didn’t want his head to hit the ground.
UPDATE (11:03 a.m.): Civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represents George Floyd’s family, issues a statement following the testimony of Courteney Ross. She was Floyd’s girlfriend, and told the court about her and Floyd’s struggle with opioid addiction.
Crump says the defense is trying to construct a narrative that Floyd died of the fentanyl in his system.
“[We] want to remind the world who witnessed his death on video that George was walking, talking, laughing, and breathing just fine before Derek Chauvin held his knee to George’s neck, blocking his ability to breathe and extinguishing his life for all to see. Tens of thousands of Americans struggle with self-medication and opioid abuse and are treated with dignity, respect and support, not brutality. We fully expected the defense to put George’s character and struggles with addiction on trial because that is the go-to tactic when the facts are not on your side. We are confident that the jury will see past that to arrive at the truth — that George Floyd would have lived to see another day if Derek Chauvin hadn’t brutally ended his life in front of a crowd of witnesses pleading for his life.”
UPDATE (10:30 a.m.): Courteney Ross, the girlfriend of George Floyd, is questioned on her and Floyd’s relationship and drug addiction. She testified that Floyd overdosed and was hospitalized late last March, about two months before his fatal encounter with Derek Chauvin.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, had her identify in court a certain drug dealer, the man who was with Floyd in the vehicle when he was arrested. That man has invoked the 5th Amendment and does not want to testify in the case, fearing he’d incriminate himself.
According to Ross’ testimony, another woman she knew as a drug dealer was also in the vehicle when officers arrested Floyd on May 25. When speaking with FBI agents after Floyd’s death, Ross said she speculated that this woman sold Floyd heroin before his March overdose.
Nelson also asked about the pet name Floyd had for Ross in his phone. It was “Mamma,” Ross said, and started to cry. Ross has two children.
Prosecutor Matthew Frank clarified that Floyd also called his mother by the same nickname, although Ross noted that Floyd would say the word differently depending on who he was referring to.
Before his death on May 25, Floyd called out for his “Mama” several times as Chauvin knelt on his neck.
WATCH: Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, says she and Floyd got addicted to opioids after using prescriptions for chronic pain. “Our story, it’s a classic story." #DerekChauvinTrial
— WCCO – CBS Minnesota (@WCCO) April 1, 2021
UPDATE (9:30 a.m.): Courteney Ross, the girlfriend of George Floyd, takes the stand. She tells the court that they met at the Salvation Army, where Floyd worked as a security guard. He offered to pray with her when she was in distress.
They later began dating, exploring Minneapolis. “We went out to eat a lot, it was always an adventure with him,” she said.
She said that he worked Conga Latin Bistro in Northeast Minneapolis, explaining that he lost that job due to COVID-19.
Ross said that both she and Floyd suffered with opioid addiction. She said that they would buy pills off the street but also used people’s prescriptions to “make sure they were safe.”
She described Floyd as physically active, saying he’d workout every day, lifting weights and doing sit-ups and pull-ups at home. However, she said that he had back pain from a sports injury. This pain led to his addiction problems, she said.
Ross said that both she and Floyd were tested for COVID-19 last March. His test came back positive and he was quarantining, she said. Her test was negative.
— Jason DeRusha (@DeRushaJ) April 1, 2021
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The trial of Derek Chauvin is set to enter its fourth day of testimony Thursday, a day after a trove of police body-camera footage of George Floyd’s arrest and takedown was shown to jurors.
Court is scheduled to resume around 9:30 a.m. WCCO-TV will have full gavel-to-gavel coverage on CBSN Minnesota. While it’s unclear who will testify, defense attorney Joe Tamburino, who is not affiliated with the case, expects that there will be more police body-camera footage, or discussion of it, followed by testimony of Minneapolis police officers. “Perhaps the chief of police himself,” he said.
On Wednesday, jurors saw several surveillance and body-worn camera videos of Floyd’s arrest on May 25 and the events leading up to it. On the recordings, Floyd can be heard crying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” as officers attempt to push him into a squad car. When they eventually give up, Floyd is taken to the ground, where Chauvin kneels over his neck while two other officers hold his waist and legs. One other former officer, Thomas Lane, asks if Floyd should be rolled onto his side before later wondering if he’s passing out.
At one point, the video captured Chauvin’s explanation for why he knelt on Floyd’s neck. “We gotta control this guy cuz he’s a sizeable guy, and it looks like he’s probably on something,” Chauvin said, addressing Charles McMillian, a bystander who urged Floyd to get into the squad car, saying: “You can’t win! You can’t win!”
McMillian wept on the witness stand as he watched the body-worn camera video. He was one of six people to testify Wednesday, marking yet another day when jurors heard from bystanders, who expressed anger, sadness and remorse over Floyd’s death. During the morning session, the court took a long break after a female juror said she wasn’t feeling well. Later, she told the judge that she hasn’t been able to sleep at night. Still, she continued hearing testimony.
One of the witnesses Wednesday was the teenage cashier at Cup Foods to whom Floyd handed a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Christopher Martin said he spoke with Floyd that evening about what sports he played, saying the tall, muscular man in a tank top seemed friendly but also high, as his answers to questions were delayed. Martin said that he told his manager he’d cover the $20 himself, but the manager sent him to go talk with Floyd after he left the store.
Martin and his co-workers twice tried to settle the matter with Floyd, who was in an SUV across the street with two other people, before his manager had a worker call police. After Floyd was loaded into an ambulance, Martin said he felt disbelief and guilt. “If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided,” he said.
Chauvin is facing charges \ second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers involved in Floyd’s arrest are charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter. They are scheduled to stand trial in August.