Testimony continues Thursday morning with George Floyd’s girlfriend, Hennepin County paramedic taking the witness stand
The witness has been excused. The court is in recess until 1:30 p.m.
The defense takes over for cross-examination of the paramedic.
Nelson focuses his questioning on EMS policy to have police respond to overdose medical calls. Nelson also asked if Bravinder had gone over what he would testify once he took the stand. The defense asked Ross this earlier Thursday.
When asked if the Lucas Device was difficult to get on Floyd, Bravinder responded it was. He also said he had to get a different size of a breathing device for Floyd when asked if he had issues putting that device into Floyd’s mouth or throat.
Bravinder stated in court that Floyd never struggled or was violent in any way, but in his opinion from what he saw, he believed Floyd was unresponsive the entire time.
Eldridge follows up, “Was Mr Floyd struggling or violent in any way?”, Bravinder says no.— Callan Gray (@CallanGrayNews) April 1, 2021
Eldridge “From what you saw, did you see someone who appeared to be unresponsive?”
Bravinder, “yes”. https://t.co/wKid5w7xkW
The court is back in session. The next witness to take the stand is Seth Bravinder, a paramedic with Hennepin County EMS.
Erin Eldridge is up for the state.— Ana Lastra (@AnaViLastra) April 1, 2021
Bravinder is a paramedic with Hennepin Co. EMS. pic.twitter.com/JfCQGRJgfC
Bravinder tells state prosecutor, Erin Eldridge, he was on duty on May 25, 2020. He responded to a Code 2 (no lights or sirens) for someone with a mouth injury. He says the call was upgraded to a Code 3 (lights and sirens) about 90 seconds later.
"As we were pulling up to the scene, I saw multiple officers on the side of the road with our patient laying on the ground next to the squad car," Bravinder said when asked what he saw when he arrived on the scene.
He added there were multiple officers on top of the patient when they pulled up to the scene. He stated, "I assumed there was potentially some struggle still because they were still on top of him."
The paramedic said his partner checked Floyd’s pulse on his neck and his pupils. Bravinder says he asked his partner if Floyd was in cardiac arrest, to which his partner replied, "I think so."
Eldridge asks if there are multiple reasons a patient’s heart stops, he says yes.— Callan Gray (@CallanGrayNews) April 1, 2021
Bravinder says they believed Floyd was in cardiac arrest, “I unloaded our stretcher to bring to the patient to place him in the ambulance”, says also didn’t have Minneapolis fire there yet.
He mentioned that it takes "a lot of focus/mental power when working on patients who are in cardiac arrest," so they chose to get Floyd in the ambulance and in a "controlled space."
Eldridge presented a video, Thomas Lane’s body camera footage, showing Floyd being taken into the ambulance. Lane rides inside the ambulance to assist with chest compressions. Bravinder noted that firefighter EMTs are typically the ones to help them. An additional video was shown from a bystander, showing paramedics arriving on scene. Bravinder is heard telling the officers to "move" so he could get to the patient. He described Floyd as "limp" and is seen keeping his head held up so Floyd wouldn’t hit his head on the pavement.
The paramedic stated that Floyd had "flatlined," in the ambulance, showing no activity in the heart. They drove to 36th Street and Park Avenue where the ambulance was parked. Bravinder moved to the back of the vehicle to help with resuscitation.
He also explained a "Lucas Device." The device helps assist in chest compressions. They show a still frame from Lane’s body camera showing the device being used on Floyd.
Bravinder says before they started to move the ambulance again, they needed to have chest compressions, medications and breathing for him in place.
"The longer the patient goes without resuscitation, the lower the likelihood they will be resuscitated," he said.
He said Floyd’s medical condition did not change when they arrived at the hospital.
Ross has been excused from the witness stand. The court is now on a break until 11:15 a.m.
The court is in session. The first witness takes the stand, Courteney Ross. She was in a relationship with George Floyd at the time of his death. She starts her testimony by how she met Floyd in 2017. Ross is visibly shaken talking about Floyd.
She tells the court Floyd worked at Harbor Lights as a security guard. He also worked at Conga Latin Bistro as a security guard.
Ross met Floyd at Harbor Lights while waiting to see the father of her children. She gets emotional while sharing how Floyd walked up to her and asked to pray with her. #DerekChauvinTrial pic.twitter.com/jXYeRzWqxk— Ana Lastra (@AnaViLastra) April 1, 2021
State prosecutor and Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank is asking questions. Ross says Floyd "was broken" after his mother died.
"Floyd is what I would call a mama’s boy… when he came from Houston, he seemed kinda like a shell of himself," she stated in court. Ross adds that he had two daughters.
Ross tells the court she and Floyd suffered from opioid addiction.
"It’s the classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids, we both suffer from chronic pain," Ross said.
Frank asks Ross for more details about the types of drugs both she and Floyd would use. She stated that sometimes they would use other people’s prescriptions "to make sure they were safe."
Frank confirms there were times when they used drugs together.— Callan Gray (@CallanGrayNews) April 1, 2021
Frank, “So there were times when you would obtain non-prescription opiate pills together?”
Ross says yes, explains they got other people’s prescriptions.
Ross said they spent every day together from March to May in 2020 after taking a short break as a couple. He lived in St. Louis Park with two roommates. She tells the court she spoke with Floyd the day before he died over the phone.
"Well, Floyd, you know, made his Minneapolis family here too, and a lot of the people that he was friends with were from other states and almost everybody had lost their job. Within that time, he was feeling kind of lonely and just wanted to hang out with his friends," Ross said.
Ross mentioned when Floyd tested positive for COVID-19, she did not. The defense takes over questioning.
Attorney Eric Nelson asks Ross, "There would be periods of time where one of the other may be using right?"
"Yes," Ross replied, confirming to him that Floyd went through some treatment programs. She also confirmed a photo of Morries Hall that was shown to her, adding that she and Floyd had purchased drugs from Hall. Hall was seen as a passenger in Floyd’s vehicle on May 25, 2020. Hall has filed a motion saying he will invoke his fifth amendment rights to avoid incriminating himself if called to testify.
Nelson asked Ross about a time she took Floyd to the hospital. Ross confirmed she later learned that was due to an overdose. That happened in March 2020.
Ross confirms in March 2020, Floyd was hospitalized.— Callan Gray (@CallanGrayNews) April 1, 2021
She explains she went to pick him up and he said he wasn’t feeling well so they went to the ER. Ross confirms she learned it was an overdose.
She testified that the pills she and Floyd took didn’t have the same effect on her as other pills. When asked if the pills were taken before or after Floyd was hospitalized, she stated she didn’t remember.
She said she had a similar feeling when taking certain pills a week before Floyd passed. She told the FBI, via the transcript, that she "was going to die." Ross said in court she didn’t remember saying that.
Ross believes the pills were purchased from Hall.
Testimony will continue Thursday morning in the ongoing trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
Wednesday was another emotional day in court with witnesses again detailing the day they watched George Floyd die.
Witnesses included a store clerk who said he regrets taking a fake bill from Floyd, which resulted in the police call, and a passerby who broke down in court while explaining how he wanted to help Floyd.
In just the first three days of testimony, the state has introduced roughly a dozen pieces of video from May 25 of last year.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS talked to a legal expert about the prosecution’s case. She explained the potential impact of this video evidence.
"It’s really important for individuals, not just the jurors, but frankly everyone who is watching this trial," Erica MacDonald, former U.S. attorney for Minnesota, said. "But whether it’s on the device or on in their family room, to see those videos can have a devastating impact on someone’s mental health and wellbeing."
MacDonald added those observing are "mak(ing) the decision for themselves how much weight to give it, what weight to give it, if any, and how it blends with the other evidence in determining guilt or not guilt."
For the first time in court, jurors saw body camera video from Chauvin and the other three former officers.
For one witness at the scene last May, watching video in court of Floyd’s final moments was overwhelming and he broke down in court. The judge then called for a brief break.
The jury also got to see new video from inside Cup Foods before police were called that day.
Christopher Martin, 19, took the stand. The former clerk testified Floyd had been in the store sometime before buying food and then came to him to purchase cigarettes.
Martin said he didn’t think the bill used was real because of the color but didn’t stop the transaction, saying he was trying to help Floyd out and cover the costs.
When Martin told his manager about the bill, the manager made Martin go outside and try to bring Floyd back inside, twice.
Soon after, a call to the police was made.
Prosecutors then showed the jury video of police pinning Floyd to the ground, a scene that Martin saw in person.
When asked what was going through his mind at the time, Martin said, "Disbelief and guilt," adding, "If I had not taken the bill it could have been avoided."
The judge also called another break on Wednesday in the middle of testimony from a witness. A juror actually raised their hand and requested that break.
Testimony will continue at 9:30 a.m. Thursday.