‘I Thought He Was Dead,’ Says a Paramedic Who Treated George Floyd

April 1, 2021, 5:20 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 5:20 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The testimony of David Pleoger, the police supervisor who was on the scene in May, has resumed. Prosecutors asked the key question they had been leading up to: Based on his review of the police officers’ body-camera footage, when should the restraint of George Floyd have ended in this encounter? “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint,” Ploeger responded.

April 1, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 5:04 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

A question from the prosecution for Sgt. David Pleoger, a supervisor called to the aftermath of George Floyd’s arrest — “Do you believe the restraint should have ended at some point in the encounter?” — has prompted an objection from Derek Chauvin’s defense. Testimony has paused while the judge and lawyers are conferring. The question speaks directly to whether Chauvin violated police use-of-force policies.

April 1, 2021, 4:55 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 4:55 p.m. ET

Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

International media organizations have descended on Minneapolis for the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd. But local media, in addition to providing regular updates on the courtroom proceedings, has also reported on some aspects of the case that are of particular interest to Minnesota.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune has covered the reaction of Minnesotans to witness testimony. One article examined how the exchange between Eric J. Nelson, the lawyer for the defense, and Donald Williams II, the mixed martial artist who testified for the prosecution, struck a nerve among some Black Minnesotans and on social media. During cross-examination, Mr. Nelson asked Mr. Williams if he had threatened police as he watched Mr. Floyd being detained and if the situation made him angry.

Rep. John Thompson, a Democrat in the Minnesota House of Representatives, told the Star Tribune: “Anytime a Black man says he’s sick and tired, anytime a Black man opens up his mouth to say what he sees, they label him an ‘angry Black man.’”

The Pioneer Press, based in St. Paul, has covered preparations for protests, including planned deployment of police officers and the National Guard when the verdict is delivered. The newspaper has also covered key testimony.

MinnPost, a nonprofit online newspaper in Minneapolis, covered the legislative debate over whether the state should pay for a large police deployment for the conclusion of Mr. Chauvin’s trial. Initially, Gov. Tim Walz proposed a $35 million fund to reimburse police and sheriff’s departments, MinnPost reported.

Ahead of the case, MPR News drew comparisons between Mr. Chauvin’s trial and two other incidents in which Minnesota police officers had been charged in the death of citizens, Philando Castile in 2016 and Justine Ruszczyk in 2017.

April 1, 2021, 4:15 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 4:15 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

After questioning the first responders who arrived at the scene in May, prosecutors are now calling a new witness: David Pleoger, who recently retired as a sergeant with the Minneapolis Police Department. Sgt. Pleoger is the supervisor who took a call from the 911 dispatcher, Jena Scurry, who testified earlier in the week that she was concerned by what she saw on a live video feed of George Floyd’s arrest. “You can call me a snitch if you want to,” Scurry said when she made the call.

April 1, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 4:45 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The current line of questioning from the prosecution is leading into a new area of inquiry: Did Derek Chauvin follow police rules for the use of force? Prosecutors are asking Sgt. Pleoger about his initial conversation with Chauvin after arriving at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, after Floyd had been taken away in an ambulance. In that conversation, Chauvin did not mention that he used his knee to restrain Floyd.

April 1, 2021, 3:25 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 3:25 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The prosecution has called Jeremy Norton, a captain and 21-year veteran of the Minneapolis Fire Department. He continues the thrust of the testimony from two paramedics earlier today, providing insight about what emergency medical personnel saw as they arrived at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest.

April 1, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 3:30 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The captain describes encountering Genevieve Hansen, the off-duty firefighter who testified earlier in the trial that police officers wouldn’t let her check George Floyd’s pulse as they restrained him. Norton said she was “agitated to distraught.”

April 1, 2021, 3:16 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 3:16 p.m. ET

Credit…Still image via Court TV

When a paramedic arrived at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest, he could not find a pulse and believed that Mr. Floyd was already dead, he testified in court on Thursday.

Derek Smith, the paramedic, said that he had first felt Mr. Floyd’s neck for a pulse while police officers were still on top of him and that he could not find one.

“In lay terms, I thought he was dead,” Mr. Smith testified on the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, who has been charged with murder in Mr. Floyd’s death. After bringing Mr. Floyd into the back of an ambulance, Mr. Smith still could not find a pulse, and when he placed pads on Mr. Floyd’s body to monitor his heart, the monitor showed a “flatline,” meaning his heart had stopped beating.

In efforts to get Mr. Floyd’s heart beating, paramedics used a device to administer chest compressions and a defibrillator to provide an electric shock, but nothing worked, Mr. Smith said. Mr. Floyd’s condition had not changed by the time they reached the hospital.

“I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” he said.

Mr. Smith was the second paramedic whom prosecutors called to testify on Thursday, and his testimony could bolster their argument that it was Mr. Chauvin’s actions that led to Mr. Floyd’s death. Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer has suggested that the drugs Mr. Floyd was on may have killed him. The autopsy report had noted that Mr. Floyd was pronounced dead at a hospital at 9:25 p.m., about an hour after Mr. Chauvin had knelt on him.

The police first approached Mr. Floyd at about 8:09 p.m. and placed him on the ground about 10 minutes later, at which point Mr. Chauvin knelt on him.

Emergency medical workers were first called to the scene around that time, 8:20 p.m., for a report of a “mouth injury” and were initially not asked to rush to the scene. Just over a minute later, the call was upgraded to a “Code 3” response, meaning that the emergency medical workers should turn on their ambulance’s lights and sirens and get there as quickly as possible. They arrived at about 8:27 p.m.

Seth Bravinder, another paramedic who responded to the scene and testified on Thursday, also said that Mr. Floyd had appeared to be unresponsive. Eric J. Nelson, the lawyer for Mr. Chauvin, pressed Mr. Bravinder on his statement, at the time, that Mr. Floyd had been lying slightly on his side, as police policy called for.

April 1, 2021, 3:04 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 3:04 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Prosecutors continue to question Derek Smith, one of the paramedics who treated George Floyd, who describes his unsuccessful efforts to revive him in the ambulance. “He’s a human being, and I was trying to give him a second chance at life,” he said.

April 1, 2021, 2:47 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 2:47 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Derek Smith, one of the paramedics who responded to George Floyd’s arrest, described his rush to treat him. “I had to take the handcuffs off,” he said. The police officers helped load Floyd onto a stretcher, but were also in Smith’s way at one point, he said. “I wanted to get my patient to my rig as quickly as possible so I could begin my resuscitation efforts.”

April 1, 2021, 2:34 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 2:34 p.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from New York

The trial has resumed after a lunch break. First on the witness stand is Derek Smith, a paramedic in Hennepin County who responded to the scene of George Floyd’s arrest. His testimony follows that of his partner, Seth Bravinder, who described providing aid to an unresponsive Floyd.

April 1, 2021, 2:41 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 2:41 p.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from New York

Smith testifies that he could not find George Floyd’s pulse when he arrived. “In lay terms, I thought he was dead,” he says.

April 1, 2021, 2:25 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 2:25 p.m. ET

By Matt Furber

Credit…David Joles/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

Not far from downtown Minneapolis, Grace Healey, 23, was volunteering at an encampment for the homeless on Thursday.

She said that everyone at the camp, which has between 15 and 20 residents, was looking forward to the warmer days ahead after another freezing night. Ms. Healey lives just a few blocks away and has been walking to the encampment daily since it opened last fall to deliver donations of food, propane and clothing and help build shelters.

The camp is just a half mile from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which George Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, mentioned in her testimony Thursday morning as a place that she and Mr. Floyd liked to visit.

Ms. Healey said that she was following the jury selection intently at the outset of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged in Mr. Floyd’s death. But she became a little disillusioned with the process and worries that the jury might be biased toward the police. “I don’t know how you can live in this city and not know what happened,” she said.

She has generally tried to avoid watching the surveillance and social media footage of the arrest of Mr. Floyd. She’s seen enough police violence already, she said, including a recent attempt to evict people from the homeless camp.

“It was brutal and scary,” she said, adding: “I worry that jurors will be too friendly toward police. I don’t know how the jury can come up with a not-guilty verdict, but I’ll be surprised if they don’t.”

April 1, 2021, 1:52 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 1:52 p.m. ET

Credit…Octavio Jones/Reuters

Testimony continued on the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, with appearances from George Floyd’s girlfriend and a paramedic who responded to the scene.

Here are some of the highlights so far:

  • Courteney Ross, who dated George Floyd for nearly three years before his death in May, was the first witness called by prosecutors. Her testimony focused on Mr. Floyd’s struggle with addiction, an attempt by prosecutors to get out in front of the argument by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that Mr. Floyd’s drug use may have led to his death or caused him to struggle more with officers as they tried to put him in a police car.

    Ms. Ross delivered tearful testimony about their shared struggle with an opioid addiction and shared details about their relationship, including how they met and their first kiss.

    Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson, probed Ms. Ross about her and Mr. Floyd’s drug use, asking where they purchased opioids and other drugs that she and Mr. Floyd had taken. She said they had purchased drugs from Morries Lester Hall in the past. Mr. Hall was in the car with Mr. Floyd on the day he died when the police approached him about the $20 bill. In a court filing on Wednesday, Mr. Hall said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if called to testify in the trial.

  • Seth Bravinder, a paramedic for Hennepin County, took the stand after the morning break. He was on duty the day that George Floyd died and was dispatched to the scene of Floyd’s arrest. Mr. Bravinder answered questions about the treatments given to Mr. Floyd and attempts to resuscitate him.

    He said that Mr. Floyd appeared lifeless when they arrived to the scene. “I didn’t see any breathing or movement,” he said.

    Mr. Bravinder and his partner transferred Mr. Floyd into the ambulance soon after arriving, he said. They parked the ambulance several blocks away, and Mr. Bravinder moved to the back of the ambulance to help his partner resuscitate Mr. Floyd.

April 1, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 1:32 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

The court goes into a lunch recess and will reconvene at 1:30 p.m., Minneapolis time.

April 1, 2021, 1:31 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 1:31 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

A prosecutor resumes questioning Seth Bravinder, a paramedic who treated George Floyd. She asks whether Floyd appeared to be dead when the ambulance arrived on the scene. Bravinder said that he did not see Floyd moving or breathing. “Did you see someone who appeared to be unresponsive?” she asked. “Yes,” Bravinder said.

April 1, 2021, 1:19 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 1:19 p.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer seems to be trying to establish with his questions to a paramedic on the scene that Chauvin did turn George Floyd on his side while he was being restrained, or at least attempted to, as police policy calls for. Like many other things in this trial, jurors are going to have to weigh what the defense says versus what they see on the video.

April 1, 2021, 1:15 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 1:15 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Seth Bravinder, a paramedic, described the continuing efforts to revive George Floyd in the back of an ambulance, through medication, chest compressions and other interventions. Bravinder, who drove Floyd to the hospital, said that at no point did he detect a pulse. Eric Nelson, a lawyer for Derek Chauvin, is now questioning him.

April 1, 2021, 1:04 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 1:04 p.m. ET

Credit…Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Two lawyers for the family of George Floyd said jurors in the trial of Derek Chauvin should look beyond Mr. Floyd’s drug use after his girlfriend testified on Thursday about their shared struggles with addiction.

The lawyers, Ben Crump and Antonio Romanucci, said in a statement that Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer was focusing on Mr. Floyd’s drug use “because that is the go-to tactic when the facts are not on your side,” and that Mr. Floyd had been fine before the police were called. A day earlier, prosecutors played surveillance footage from inside Cup Foods, the convenience store where a clerk reported that Mr. Floyd had used a fake $20 bill, showing Mr. Floyd in the minutes before the police arrived.

“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,” Mr. Crump and Mr. Romanucci said. Mr. Chauvin is facing charges including second-degree murder in the trial, which entered its fourth day on Thursday.

Prosecutors had called Mr. Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, to the stand and were the first to ask her about Mr. Floyd’s drug use, seemingly in an effort to head off the argument from Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that drugs could have caused Mr. Floyd’s death or led him to struggle more with the police.

Ms. Ross said she and Mr. Floyd had both continued to use opioids after initially being prescribed the pills to treat chronic pain. She said Mr. Floyd had relapsed in May 2020 — the month he died — and had taken a different pill that month, the contents of which she did not know, but which she believed was more of a stimulant. An autopsy by the Hennepin County medical examiner found that Mr. Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system when he died.

The lawyers for Mr. Floyd’s family said thousands of people who are addicted to drugs “are treated with dignity, respect and support, not brutality.”

April 1, 2021, 12:44 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:44 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

When Seth Bravinder, the paramedic currently on the stand, arrived on the scene, George Floyd was in handcuffs with officers on top of him. “I was standing a little ways away,” Bravinder testified. “From what I could see where I was at, I couldn’t see any breathing.” Bravinder and his partner, who suspected that Mr. Floyd was in cardiac arrest, quickly decided to move him into the ambulance. The process can be seen on body camera video played by the prosecutors.

April 1, 2021, 12:50 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:50 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Bravinder testifies that after he parked the ambulance several blocks away, he moved to the back to help his partner resuscitate Floyd. He said he remembers seeing that the cardiac monitor showed that Floyd had “flatlined.” “It basically tells us your heart isn’t really doing anything at that moment,” he said. The testimony includes an image of Floyd, unconscious, in the back of the ambulance.

April 1, 2021, 12:42 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:42 p.m. ET

Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press; Andrew Harnik/Associated Press; Court TV still image, via Associated Press (2); Jim Mone/Associated Press; Court TV still image, via Associated Press

You may find yourself struggling to remember the names of the attorneys on the prosecution team when you tune in to the trial of the former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder in the death of George Floyd.

Several lawyers have spoken in court in the first week of Mr. Chauvin’s trial. And the team, assembled by Attorney General Keith Ellison of Minnesota, has additional members.

Here is a guide to help you remember who is who:

Here’s who you have seen so far:

  • Jerry W. Blackwell: A corporate attorney, he was the first lawyer to speak when the trial opened on Monday. He delivered the opening statement.

    Mr. Ellison brought Mr. Blackwell in only for this case, and Mr. Blackwell is working for free. He’s an expert at breaking down complex issues into plain language, which will be essential when jurors are asked to evaluate whether Mr. Chauvin should be found culpable for second-degree murder or the lesser charge of third-degree murder.

  • Matthew Frank: An assistant attorney general for Minnesota, Mr. Frank has taken the lead in questioning many of the witnesses, including several who shared emotional and detailed accounts of Mr. Floyd’s arrest on May 25.

  • Erin Eldridge: Also an assistant attorney general, Ms. Eldridge works in the office’s criminal division. Among the witnesses she has questioned is Charles McMillian, who saw Mr. Chauvin pin Mr. Floyd to the ground.

  • Steve Schleicher: Mr. Schleicher is an experienced trial and appellate lawyer and former federal prosecutor. He spent 13 years in the U.S. attorney’s office in Minnesota, as the deputy criminal chief of the special prosecution section and the St. Paul branch chief, according to a biography on his firm’s website.

Here’s the rest of the team:

  • Keith Ellison: Mr. Ellison, a former congressman from Minnesota, took over the case against Mr. Chauvin days after Mr. Floyd’s death. He has overseen everything from the investigation to the prosecution’s strategy. It’s unlikely he will speak in court; he has avoided the limelight and left the jury trial to career professionals in his office. This is probably the highest-profile criminal case in the state’s history.

    Mr. Ellison served in the House of Representatives for 12 years before being elected as attorney general in 2019. Before he entered public office, he practiced civil rights and defense law, and spent five years heading the Legal Rights Center in Minnesota.

  • Neal Katyal: An acting solicitor general during the Obama administration, he is the most well-known member of the team aside from Mr. Ellison. He has argued at least 39 cases before the Supreme Court, including in defense of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and in opposition to President Donald J. Trump’s travel ban. He is a partner at the law firm Hogan Lovells.

  • Sundeep Iyer and Harrison Gray Kilgore, lawyers with Hogan Lovells, joined the prosecution pro hac vice, meaning the judge has allowed them to work on the case despite not being licensed by the bar in Minnesota. Both were admitted under motions that listed Mr. Chauvin and the other three police officers who were charged as defendants, so it is unclear what role they play in each case.

April 1, 2021, 12:30 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:30 p.m. ET

Julie Bosman

Reporting from Chicago

Seth Zachary Bravinder, a paramedic for Hennepin County, has taken the stand after the morning break. He was on duty the day that George Floyd died and was dispatched to the scene of Floyd’s arrest.

April 1, 2021, 12:17 p.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 12:17 p.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Court resumes after the usual morning recess with Judge Cahill apologizing to the jury for such a long break. Then he immediately calls the lawyers into his chambers.

April 1, 2021, 11:38 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 11:38 a.m. ET

Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press

Courteney Ross, who was dating George Floyd for nearly three years before his death in May, delivered tearful testimony on Thursday about their shared struggle with an opioid addiction.

Ms. Ross, 45, said she and Mr. Floyd had started taking opioids when they were prescribed for chronic pain, but that both had continued to take the pills after the prescriptions had run out. They tried to stop using the drugs many times and sought out various treatments, she said, but they relapsed together as recently as March 2020.

That month, Ms. Ross said, Mr. Floyd was hospitalized for several days after she found him doubled over in pain from an overdose. She recalled taking a new pill with him that month, the contents of which she did not know and which had a more stimulating effect.

Later that month, she thought they had both managed to quit again, but in the weeks before he died in May, a change in Mr. Floyd’s behavior made her think that he had again begun using.

“We got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times,” she said. “When you know someone who suffers from any type of addiction, you can start to kind of see changes when they’re using again.”

Ms. Ross was the first witness called by prosecutors on the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged with murder in Mr. Floyd’s death. Much of her testimony focused on the couple’s addiction, seemingly an attempt by prosecutors to get out in front of the argument by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that Mr. Floyd’s drug use may have led to his death or caused him to struggle more with officers as they tried to put him in a police car.

But Ms. Ross also described tender moments of their relationship, like when they first met, and kissed, in August 2017 at a homeless shelter where Mr. Floyd worked as a security guard, and how they spent their time together.

“We went out to eat a lot because Floyd loved to eat a lot,” she said, adding, “It was an adventure always with him.”

Mr. Floyd had been working as the head of security at a nightclub shortly before his death but had lost the job when the club closed because of the coronavirus, she said. He had tested positive for Covid-19 in April, a doctor wrote in Mr. Floyd’s autopsy report.

When Ms. Ross was shown a photograph of Mr. Floyd, one of several pictures of him that were shared widely after his death, she described it through laughs and tears as a “Dad selfie” because of the low angle from which he had taken it.

Ms. Ross, who has two children, also said that Mr. Floyd had referred to her and his own mother, who died in 2018, by the same nickname: “Mama.” Mr. Floyd had called out for “Mama” as Mr. Chauvin knelt on his neck moments before his death on May 25.

Mr. Floyd was a “mama’s boy,” Ms. Ross said, and had been devastated when his mother died.

“He seemed kind of like a shell of himself, like he was broken,” she said. “He seemed so sad. He didn’t have the same kind of bounce that he had.”

April 1, 2021, 11:31 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 11:31 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, whose testimony just concluded, said on the stand that she and Floyd had bought drugs from Morries Lester Hall. In a court filing on Wednesday, Hall, who was with Floyd at Cup Foods on the day he died, said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if called to testify in this trial.

April 1, 2021, 11:25 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 11:25 a.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, tried to probe George Floyd’s girlfriend, who is testifying now, on how Floyd got his drugs and who he got them from. The girlfriend, Courteney Ross, maintains that she doesn’t know where he got them from. She also disputed assertions from Nelson about how the pills made her feel.

April 1, 2021, 11:10 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 11:10 a.m. ET

Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

A key witness in the state’s case against Derek Chauvin has filed a notice that he plans to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights, meaning he will most likely not testify during Derek Chauvin’s trial.

The witness, Morries Lester Hall, was seated in the passenger seat of Mr. Floyd’s car when Minneapolis police officers approached him about using a counterfeit $20 bill to pay for cigarettes at Cup Foods. During the trial, Mr. Hall has appeared in the police body camera footage shown by the prosecution.

“If called to testify he will invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination,” the motion, filed on Wednesday by the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, said.

In an interview with The New York Times, Mr. Hall said that Mr. Floyd had tried to defuse the tensions with the police and had in no way resisted arrest.

During the cross-examination of Courteney Ross, a former girlfriend of Mr. Floyd, the defense asked Ms. Ross about the source of the opioids and other drugs that she and Mr. Floyd had taken. Ms. Ross said that they had purchased drugs from Mr. Hall in the past.

According to a Minnesota official, Mr. Hall provided a false name to officers at the scene of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. At the time, he had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony possession of a firearm, felony domestic assault and felony drug possession.

Mr. Hall was a longtime friend of Mr. Floyd’s. Both Houston natives, they had connected in Minneapolis through a pastor and had been in touch every day since 2016, Mr. Hall said in an interview with The Times last year. Mr. Hall said that he considered Mr. Floyd a confidant and a mentor, like many in the community.

The motion requested that the court “quash the subpoena” pertaining to his testimony and “release Mr. Hall from any obligations therein.”

April 1, 2021, 11:02 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 11:02 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Derek Chauvin’s lawyer has begun his cross-examination of Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend. He starts delicately, saying he is sorry to hear of Ross’s struggle with opioid addiction.

April 1, 2021, 10:43 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 10:43 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

Prosecutors are now asking Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, about their shared opioid addiction. The common playbook for lawyers defending police officers who kill Black people is to talk about the victim’s drug use as a way of tarnishing their character. That will also be at the center of Derek Chauvin’s defense strategy, so prosecutors are trying to take on the issue directly, using it as a way to humanize Floyd, and to point out that many Americans struggle with opioid addiction.

April 1, 2021, 10:50 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 10:50 a.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

One of the big discussions around the opioid crisis is whether to offer treatment to people who are addicted rather than locking them up. This testimony from George Floyd’s girlfriend for the prosecution certainly seems an effort to dispel notions that his drug use was a knock on his character.

April 1, 2021, 10:38 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 10:38 a.m. ET

John Eligon

Reporting from Minneapolis

Sad but also charming, the testimony from Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend, shows a range of emotions. She is crying but also giggling as she recalls details about his life. She tells the story behind one of the most popular images of Floyd, a selfie of him looking down toward the camera. “I would call it a dad selfie,” she said. “I’m just joking, but a lot of dads sometimes don’t have the best angle when they take selfies.”

April 1, 2021, 10:29 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 10:29 a.m. ET

Credit…Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Courteney Ross, a former girlfriend of George Floyd, was called on by the prosecution to testify on Thursday.

Ms. Ross told local news outlets last year that she had met Mr. Floyd at the Salvation Army. He had begun working as a security guard at the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center, a homeless shelter and transitional housing facility in downtown Minneapolis, in 2017.

Alvin Manago, a former friend and roommate of Mr. Floyd, said Mr. Floyd had spent the final weeks of his life recovering from the coronavirus, which he learned he had in early April. After he was better, he started spending more time with his girlfriend, and he had not seen his roommates in a few weeks, Mr. Manago said.

When Derek Chauvin was arrested days after Mr. Floyd’s death, Ms. Ross told CBS Minnesota, “It was a relief.”

“It was like, thank you for taking that first step, you know, to find some peace for us,” she said. “It knocks some of that pain away.”

April 1, 2021, 10:25 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 10:25 a.m. ET

Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs

Reporting from New York

Day 4 of the Derek Chauvin trial begins as prosecutors call Courteney Ross, who was George Floyd’s girlfriend, to the witness stand.

April 1, 2021, 10:27 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 10:27 a.m. ET

Timothy Arango

Reporting from Minneapolis

The prosecution is calling Courteney Ross not just to humanize Floyd, but also to talk about his drug use and tolerance for opioids. Prosecutors want to get ahead of the defense’s case pushing a drug overdose as a theory of the cause of Floyd’s death. They want Ross to help them establish that Floyd had a high tolerance for fentanyl.

April 1, 2021, 10:01 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 10:01 a.m. ET

Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

Like many courthouses across the country, the Hennepin County Government Center has seen its fair share of cases with media attention.

There was the case of Kirby Puckett, the Hall of Fame baseball player, who was acquitted on a sexual misconduct charge in 2003. And then there was the trial of Amy Senser, the wife of a former Minnesota Vikings player, who was found guilty on two counts of vehicular homicide in 2012.

But none compare to the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is accused of killing George Floyd in May. The courthouse, with its unusual shape reminiscent of the letter H, for Hennepin County, is in the midst of a trial with more public attention than possibly any others since O.J. Simpson, in 1995.

The heightened security, combined with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, “has pretty much emptied the building” of anybody except those who need to be there for the trial of Mr. Chauvin, said Kevin S. Burke, a senior district court judge in Hennepin County.

“This one is so exponentially greater than anything else we’ve seen,” Mr. Burke said. “There probably is no courthouse in United States that has had a case, with the exception of O.J., as visible as the Chauvin case.”

The courthouse has seen changes over the years, since its construction in the mid-70s. Glass barriers, for example, were added to the bridges that connect the two sides of the building — think of the bridges as the horizontal line in the letter H — after at least two people committed suicide by jumping, Mr. Burke said.

But its current transformation for the trial, with concrete barriers and national guard members posted outside, is a first.

April 1, 2021, 3:14 a.m. ET

April 1, 2021, 3:14 a.m. ET

Credit…Court TV still image, via Associated Press

Jurors will enter the fourth day of proceedings in the Derek Chauvin trial on Thursday with a newfound understanding of what happened on the day George Floyd died, thanks to camera footage and witness testimony that laid out his actions moment by moment.

Before Wednesday’s testimony, the jury had not heard such a thorough retelling, from inside the corner store where Mr. Floyd bought cigarettes to his time pinned on the pavement to when he was carried away on a stretcher. For the first time, jurors saw footage from the body camera of Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with killing Mr. Floyd.

Altogether, the videos from within Cup Foods and officers’ body cameras provided a fuller picture of Mr. Floyd in his final hours. In the store, he chatted and laughed with other customers. After he bought cigarettes — with what the cashier thought was a fake $20 bill — he left without incident.

But when the first officers arrived, things escalated almost immediately. What may have been a petty crime turned into a life-or-death situation. Jurors watched as an officer approached Mr. Floyd with his pistol raised, and as he reacted with dread. “Please, don’t shoot me,” he said.

Throughout the arrest, Mr. Floyd appeared to be terrified — of the pistol, of the claustrophobic sensation of being shoved in a police cruiser, of Mr. Chauvin’s restrictive kneehold.

Remembering the events of May 25, Charles McMillian began to sob during his testimony. “I can’t help but feel helpless,” said Mr. McMillian, who saw Mr. Floyd being arrested and spoke with Mr. Chauvin afterward.

It is unclear how the jarring testimonies this week will affect the jurors. But the scope of Mr. Floyd’s death is clear: Nearly everyone who watched him struggle seems to have been shaken to their core, from sheer trauma or from feelings of guilt and powerlessness.

The prosecution has so far focused on the shared suffering of witnesses, reinforced by graphic videos from many angles. During the testimony of the store clerk who accepted Mr. Floyd’s $20 bill, one of the jurors fell ill. The proceedings were halted for 20 minutes, with the judge calling her illness a “stress-related reaction.”

The juror, a white woman in her 50s, said of Mr. Floyd during the jury selection, “He didn’t deserve to die.”

March 31, 2021, 7:04 p.m. ET

March 31, 2021, 7:04 p.m. ET

The New York Times

On Day 3 of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of murder in the death of George Floyd, people across Minneapolis kept track of the proceedings on television and on their phones. The trial drew protesters outside the courthouse on Wednesday.

  1. Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

  2. Joshua Rashaad McFadden for The New York Times

  3. Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

  4. Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

  5. Kerem Yucel/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

March 31, 2021, 6:27 p.m. ET

March 31, 2021, 6:27 p.m. ET

Video

transcript

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Chauvin Trial: Day 3 Key Moments

On the third day of the Derek Chauvin trial, the jury learned more about what had happened inside Cup Foods before the police were called, and body camera footage from the officers was presented.

“Do you swear or affirm under penalty of perjury that the testimony you’re about to give is the truth, and nothing but the truth?” “I do.” “Have a seat.” “Please. Thank you. And so when we’re looking, I’m going to have you identify this individual here —” “George Floyd.” “And that’s Mr. Floyd, who you had the conversation with.” “Correct.” “All right. And then this individual right in here. Who’s that?” “That’s me.” “All right.” “Can you describe for the jurors, you know, generally what his demeanor was like — what was his condition like?” “So when I asked him if he played baseball, he went on to respond to that. But it kind of took him a little long to get to what he was trying to say. So it would appear that he was high.” “So you just had some signs that you thought he was under the influence of something?” “Yes.” “All right. But were you able to carry on at least some conversation with him?” “Yes.” “And did you eventually sell him something?” “Yes.” “That was what?” “The cigarette.” “Now, freeze it here. I’m sorry, I said I was going to let it run, but we saw you holding something up. Can you describe it? And again, for the record, this is 7:45:10 — describe for the jurors what you were doing there.” “I was holding up the $20 bill that I just received.” “And is that something you always do or something about this?” “No, when I saw the bill, I noticed that it had a blue pigment to it, kind of how a $100 bill would have. And I found that odd. So I assumed that it was fake.” “I know this is difficult. Can you just explain sort of what you’re feeling in this moment?” “I can’t. I feel helpless. I don’t have a mama either, but I understand him …” [sobbing] “Let’s see your hands. Stay in the car. Let me see your other hand.” “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” “Let me see your other hand.” “Please, please …” “Both hands.” “Put your hands up right now.” “Let me see your other hand.” “What’d I do, though?” “Put your hand up there. Put your hand up there. Keep your hands on the wheel. Hands on the wheel. Step out and face away.” “Please don’t shoot me.” Please don’t shoot me, man.” “Step out and face away.” “Can you not shoot me, man?” “I’m not shooting. Step out and face away.” “OK, OK. Please …” “You can’t win.” “I’m not trying to win.” “Don’t get in a car. Don’t do me like that, man. OK, can I talk to you, please?”

On the third day of the Derek Chauvin trial, the jury learned more about what had happened inside Cup Foods before the police were called, and body camera footage from the officers was presented.CreditCredit…Still Image, via Court TV

The grief and guilt of witnesses have been center stage throughout the first three days of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of killing George Floyd. On Wednesday, the judge temporarily halted the proceedings after a 61-year-old witness broke down in sobs as he recounted his memory of Mr. Floyd’s arrest.

The witness, Charles McMillian, was among several who have spoken through tears on the witness stand. Jurors also heard on Wednesday from Christopher Martin, the 19-year-old Cup Foods employee who first confronted Mr. Floyd about the apparently fake $20 bill that he used to buy cigarettes. Here are Wednesday’s highlights.

  • If there were any doubts that witnesses of Mr. Floyd’s arrest have been traumatized by what they saw, those suspicions were dispelled on Wednesday. A major focal point of the trial so far has been the scars that the events of May 25 have left on those who were there. The prosecution has used their stories — and the raw emotion that has come with them — to underscore the case they are building against Mr. Chauvin through videos of Mr. Floyd’s arrest. Witnesses have repeatedly said that they believed that Mr. Floyd was in grave danger. And they have shared feelings of helplessness. It is almost always a crime to interfere with officers as they make an arrest, and several witnesses testified that they have struggled with being stuck just feet away from a man who they knew was dying, with no way to help.

  • The testimony of Mr. Martin, the Cup Foods cashier, gave jurors, for the first time, a clearer understanding of what happened in the store before Mr. Floyd’s arrest. Video footage from the store showed Mr. Floyd walking around and chatting with other shoppers before buying cigarettes. Mr. Martin said he quickly recognized that Mr. Floyd’s $20 bill appeared to be fake. At the urging of his boss, Mr. Martin went outside and asked Mr. Floyd to pay or to come in and talk to the manager. Mr. Floyd refused, and eventually a manager asked another employee to call the police.

  • Mr. Martin told the court that he felt “disbelief and guilt” when he saw Mr. Chauvin kneeling on Mr. Floyd. He had initially planned to replace the fake $20 bill with a real one of his own, but then changed his mind and told the manager what happened. Had he not taken the bill from Mr. Floyd in the first place, “this could have been avoided,” he said.

  • Jurors also watched the arrest from the perspective of the police officers’ body cameras. The footage showed officers confronting Mr. Floyd with their weapons drawn as he sat in a car. “Please don’t shoot me,” Mr. Floyd said, crying. Later, officers struggled to put a distressed Mr. Floyd in the back of a police vehicle. Mr. Floyd told them repeatedly that he was claustrophobic and scared, and officers continued to try to force him into the cruiser. Though Mr. Floyd was clearly distraught, he never appeared to pose a threat to the officers. As they pinned him to the ground next to the vehicle, the body cameras captured the words that reverberated around the world last summer: “I can’t breathe.” After a few minutes, Mr. Floyd went silent. “I think he’s passed out,” one officer said. When another officer told Mr. Chauvin that he couldn’t find Mr. Floyd’s pulse, Mr. Chauvin appeared unmoved.

  • With the body camera footage, the jurors are seeing the arrest of Mr. Floyd from every possible angle. Videos from the viewpoint of the officers are particularly jarring. From the beginning of the interaction, Mr. Floyd appeared not as a threat, but as someone who was scared and helpless. It also shows that officers took no action to address Mr. Floyd’s medical condition as he went limp.

March 30, 2021, 1:08 p.m. ET

March 30, 2021, 1:08 p.m. ET

Credit…Aaron Nesheim for The New York Times

The 12-person jury in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin was selected from an original pool of more than 300 people from across Hennepin County. Over three weeks of jury selection, anonymous citizens sat one at a time on the witness stand and answered questions from the lawyers and judge about the political views and ability, or inability, to be impartial in the case.

Here are the jurors in the trial. After the two sides present their cases, 12 of the jurors will begin deliberations. Two others are alternates.

Juror No. 2 A white man in his 20s who works as a chemist and said he had not seen the bystander video and had strong views that the criminal justice system is biased against minorities.

Juror No. 9 A woman in her 20s who identifies as mixed race. She has an uncle who is a police officer and said she wanted to be on the jury.

Juror No. 19 A white man in his 30s who works as a financial auditor. He has a friend in the Minneapolis Police Department and said that George Floyd being under the influence of drugs shouldn’t be a factor in the case.

Juror No. 27 A Black man in his 30s, who immigrated to the United States 14 years ago and works in information technology. He disagreed with defunding the police and told his wife that Mr. Floyd “could have been me.”

Juror No. 44 A white woman in her 50s who is a health care executive. She said Mr. Floyd’s death awakened her to “white privilege.”

Juror No. 52 A Black man in his 30s who writes poems and coaches youth sports. He said he did not believe Mr. Chauvin intended to kill Mr. Floyd but wondered why the other three officers did not intervene.

Juror No. 55 A white woman in her 50s who took up motorcycle riding to honor her late husband. She said she had never watched the full bystander video because it disturbed her.

Juror No. 79 A Black man in his 40s who lives in the suburbs and said last year’s protests had no impact on his community.

Juror No. 85 A woman in her 40s who identifies as multiracial and works as a corporate consultant.

Juror No. 89 A white woman in her 50s who is a nurse and has worked with Covid-19 patients.

Juror No. 91 A Black woman in her 60s who is a grandmother. Asked about the Black Lives Matter movement, she said, “I am Black, and my life matters.”

Juror No. 92 A white woman in her 40s who works in the insurance industry. She said Mr. Floyd did not deserve to die and that the officers used excessive force.

Juror No. 96 A white woman in her 50s who volunteers at homeless shelters. She said she had a “neutral” opinion of Mr. Floyd.

Juror No. 118 A white woman in her 20s who is a social worker.

March 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ET

March 29, 2021, 8:49 a.m. ET

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transcript

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How George Floyd Was Killed in Police Custody

The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

It’s a Monday evening in Minneapolis. Police respond to a call about a man who allegedly used a counterfeit $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Seventeen minutes later, the man they are there to investigate lies motionless on the ground, and is pronounced dead shortly after. The man was 46-year-old George Floyd, a bouncer originally from Houston who had lost his job at a restaurant when the coronavirus pandemic hit. Crowd: “No justice, no peace.” Floyd’s death triggered major protests in Minneapolis, and sparked rage across the country. One of the officers involved, Derek Chauvin, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. The other three officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder. The Times analyzed bystander videos, security camera footage and police scanner audio, spoke to witnesses and experts, and reviewed documents released by the authorities to build as comprehensive a picture as possible and better understand how George Floyd died in police custody. The events of May 25 begin here. Floyd is sitting in the driver’s seat of this blue S.U.V. Across the street is a convenience store called Cup Foods. Footage from this restaurant security camera helps us understand what happens next. Note that the timestamp on the camera is 24 minutes fast. At 7:57 p.m., two employees from Cup Foods confront Floyd and his companions about an alleged counterfeit bill he just used in their store to buy cigarettes. They demand the cigarettes back but walk away empty-handed. Four minutes later, they call the police. According to the 911 transcript, an employee says that Floyd used fake bills to buy cigarettes, and that he is “awfully drunk” and “not in control of himself.” Soon, the first police vehicle arrives on the scene. Officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng step out of the car and approach the blue S.U.V. Seconds later, Lane pulls his gun. We don’t know exactly why. He orders Floyd to put his hands on the wheel. Lane reholsters the gun, and after about 90 seconds of back and forth, yanks Floyd out of the S.U.V. A man is filming the confrontation from a car parked behind them. The officers cuff Floyd’s hands behind his back. And Kueng walks him to the restaurant wall. “All right, what’s your name?” From the 911 transcript and the footage, we now know three important facts: First, that the police believed they were responding to a man who was drunk and out of control. But second, even though the police were expecting this situation, we can see that Floyd has not acted violently. And third, that he seems to already be in distress. Six minutes into the arrest, the two officers move Floyd back to their vehicle. As the officers approach their car, we can see Floyd fall to the ground. According to the criminal complaints filed against the officers, Floyd says he is claustrophobic and refuses to enter the police car. During the struggle, Floyd appears to turn his head to address the officers multiple times. According to the complaints, he tells them he can’t breathe. Nine minutes into the arrest, the third and final police car arrives on the scene. It’s carrying officers Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin. Both have previous records of complaints brought against them. Thao was once sued for throwing a man to the ground and hitting him. Chauvin has been involved in three police shootings, one of them fatal. Chauvin becomes involved in the struggle to get Floyd into the car. Security camera footage from Cup Foods shows Kueng struggling with Floyd in the backseat while Thao watches. Chauvin pulls him through the back seat and onto the street. We don’t know why. Floyd is now lying on the pavement, face down. That’s when two witnesses begin filming, almost simultaneously. The footage from the first witness shows us that all four officers are now gathered around Floyd. It’s the first moment when we can clearly see that Floyd is face down on the ground, with three officers applying pressure to his neck, torso and legs. At 8:20 p.m., we hear Floyd’s voice for the first time. The video stops when Lane appears to tell the person filming to walk away. “Get off to the sidewalk, please. One side or the other, please.” The officers radio a Code 2, a call for non-emergency medical assistance, reporting an injury to Floyd’s mouth. In the background, we can hear Floyd struggling. The call is quickly upgraded to a Code 3, a call for emergency medical assistance. By now another bystander, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, is filming from a different angle. Her footage shows that despite calls for medical help, Chauvin keeps Floyd pinned down for another seven minutes. We can’t see whether Kueng and Lane are still applying pressure. Floyd: [gasping] Officer: “What do you want?” Bystander: “I’ve been —” Floyd: [gasping] In the two videos, Floyd can be heard telling officers that he can’t breathe at least 16 times in less than five minutes. Bystander: “You having fun?” But Chauvin never takes his knee off of Floyd, even as his eyes close and he appears to go unconscious. Bystander: “Bro.” According to medical and policing experts, these four police officers are committing a series of actions that violate policies, and in this case, turn fatal. They’ve kept Floyd lying face down, applying pressure for at least five minutes. This combined action is likely compressing his chest and making it impossible to breathe. Chauvin is pushing his knee into Floyd’s neck, a move banned by most police departments. Minneapolis Police Department policy states an officer can only do this if someone is, quote, “actively resisting.” And even though the officers call for medical assistance, they take no action to treat Floyd on their own while waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Officer: “Get back on the sidewalk.” According to the complaints against the officers, Lane asks him twice if they should roll Floyd onto his side. Chauvin says no. Twenty minutes into the arrest, an ambulance arrives on the scene. Bystander: “Get off of his neck!” Bystander: “He’s still on him?” The E.M.T.s check Floyd’s pulse. Bystander: “Are you serious?” Chauvin keeps his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost another whole minute, even though Floyd appears completely unresponsive. He only gets off once the E.M.T.s tell him to. Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes, according to our review of the video evidence. Floyd is loaded into the ambulance. The ambulance leaves the scene, possibly because a crowd is forming. But the E.M.T.s call for additional medical help from the fire department. But when the engine arrives, the officers give them, quote, “no clear info on Floyd or his whereabouts,” according to a fire department incident report. This delays their ability to help the paramedics. Meanwhile, Floyd is going into cardiac arrest. It takes the engine five minutes to reach Floyd in the ambulance. He’s pronounced dead at a nearby hospital around 9:25 p.m. Preliminary autopsies conducted by the state and Floyd’s family both ruled his death a homicide. The widely circulated arrest videos don’t paint the entire picture of what happened to George Floyd. Crowd: “Floyd! Floyd!” Additional video and audio from the body cameras of the key officers would reveal more about why the struggle began and how it escalated. The city quickly fired all four officers. And Chauvin has been charged with second degree murder. Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao were charged with aiding and abetting murder. But outrage over George Floyd’s death has only spread further and further across the United States.

The Times has reconstructed the death of George Floyd on May 25. Security footage, witness videos and official documents show how a series of actions by officers turned fatal. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.)

On May 25, Minneapolis police officers arrested George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, after a convenience store employee called 911 to report that Mr. Floyd had bought cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill. Seventeen minutes after the first squad car arrived at the scene, Mr. Floyd was unconscious and pinned beneath three police officers, showing no signs of life.

By combining videos from bystanders and security cameras, reviewing official documents and consulting experts, The New York Times reconstructed in detail the minutes leading to Mr. Floyd’s death. Our video shows officers taking a series of actions that violated the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department and turned fatal, leaving Mr. Floyd unable to breathe, even as he and onlookers called out for help.