One of the paramedics who responded to the call of George Floyd‘s arrest told the jury on Thursday that police officers were still on top of Floyd’s body when he was first examined.
Derek Smith, a paramedic with Hennepin EMS, testified on the fourth day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin‘s murder trial. He said three officers remained on top of Floyd, even as he checked for a pulse and assessed Floyd’s pupils.
Smith told the court that when he examined Floyd, he was unable to detect a pulse and noticed that his pupils were dilated. He added that he thought Floyd was dead at the scene.
“I showed up and he was deceased,” Smith said. “I dropped him off at the hospital and he was still in cardiac arrest.”
Smith detailed being in the ambulance with Floyd, where he uncuffed Floyd and tried resuscitation efforts. He added that he did so because “[Floyd] is a human being and I was trying to give a second chance at life.”
The medic said that when Floyd remained unresponsive he tried to get as many hands on deck as possible, including calling the fire department for backup.
“I looked to my partner, I told him I think he’s dead and I want to move this out of here and begin care in the back,” Smith said.
During the cross-examination by Chauvin’s lawyer, Smith was asked why he needed the additional personnel.
Smith replied: “Any lay person can do do chest compressions. There’s no reason Minneapolis [police] couldn’t do chest compressions.”
“I wanted as many people that would want to help me at that time to work this cardiac arrest,” he added.
Earlier at the trial, Smith’s EMS partner, Seth Bravinder, also testified.
Bravinder said that paramedics had initially responded to a non-emergency call related to a mouth injury, but then the call had been upgraded en route to the scene at 38th and Chicago.
Like Smith, he said that Chauvin’s knee was still on Floyd’s neck when Smith checked for a pulse.
“There were multiple officers on top of the patient when we pulled up at that point, we assumed… I should say, I assumed, that there was potentially some struggle still because there were still on top of them,” Bravinder said on Thursday.
He said that he gestured for the officers to move off Floyd and that he held Floyd’s head up because he was “limp.”
Bravinder said even from a distance, he could tell Floyd wasn’t breathing when he arrived on the scene.
Updated 3:47 PM ET, with additional information.