‘I thought he was dead’: Paramedic describes responding to George Floyd scene

A paramedic who arrived at the scene of George Floyd’s arrest testified in a Minneapolis court on Thursday that the man already appeared dead once an ambulance showed up.

“In lay terms, I thought he was dead,” Hennepin County paramedic Derek Smith told the jury.

Police officers have a legal duty to care for suspects in their custody, so the exact details of Mr Floyd’s medical treatment are a major consideration in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin.

Mr Chauvin faces two murder charges after kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest last year over a counterfeit $20 bill.

Upon arriving at the Minneapolis intersection where three officers were restraining Mr Floyd on the ground, Mr Smith said he went over to check the man’s vitals. He added that he hadn’t seen evidence that officers had provided medical care to Mr Floyd.

“When I arrived to the scene there were no medical services being provided to the patient,” he said.

As officers continued to press their knees into Mr Floyd’s neck, back and legs, Mr Smith said he felt that Mr Floyd did not have a pulse and his pupils were “large” and “dilated.”

He praised the officers as “very helpful” in loading Mr Floyd into the ambulance and requested help from one of the officers who accompanied him inside to apply chest compressions.

But Mr Smith also commented that some of the treatments he eventually ordered for Mr Floyd could’ve been performed by someone without paramedic training.

“Any layperson could do chest compressions,” he testified. “There’s no reason Minneapolis couldn’t start chest compressions.”

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