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Paramedic Testifies George Floyd Was Dead by The Time Medical Help Arrived

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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.

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