On the second day of Derek Chauvin’s murder trial, a firefighter who witnessed George Floyd’s death told jurors in heartbreaking detail about how she begged to be able to help him
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is currently on trial, facing murder charges for his role in the death of George Floyd, a Black man who suffocated in police custody over the summer, setting off months of racial justice protests across the country. On Tuesday, the second day of the trial, a firefighter testified that she was “desperate” to help as she saw Floyd dying, but that police wouldn’t allow her to give him first aid.
Genevieve Hansen, a 27-year-old Minneapolis firefighter, was off-duty at the time of the incident. On the stand, she broke down several times while testifying as a witness to Floyd’s death. In videos recorded from the scene, she can be heard repeatedly yelling at the officers, including Chauvin, who was kneeling on the back of Floyd’s neck, and begging them to let her check his pulse.
WATCH: "Totally distressed." Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter, takes the stand in the #DerekChauvinTrial.
Hansen becomes emotional telling the jury how she felt when she wanted to render medical help to #GeorgeFloyd and could not.
— Court TV (@CourtTV) March 30, 2021
Hansen said she was out on a walk on May 25, 2020, when she heard a woman screaming, “they were killing him.”
She said she approached the scene because she could see “a handcuffed man who was not moving with officers with their whole body weight on their back and a crowd that was stressed out.” She said his face was “smooshed into the ground” and that it looked “puffy and swollen, which would happen if you were putting a grown man’s weight on someone’s neck.”
Chauvin defense: “Some people were swearing.”
Firefighter Genevieve Hansen: “Absolutely.”
Defense: “And would you describe other people's demeanors as upset or angry?”
Hansen: “I don't know if you've seen anybody be killed, but it's upsetting.” pic.twitter.com/Mwu0zvJFf3
— Tony Webster (@webster) March 30, 2021
Hansen said she identified herself as an off-duty firefighter immediately, and focused on what she could do to help Floyd. She said her medical training allowed her to see that he was in serious danger. She testified that she tried many different tactics to try to get the police officers to help Floyd, including being “calm and reasoning,” being “assertive,” and being pleading and “desperate.”
She also called 911, and told the dispatcher, “I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man.”
Hansen was in tears as she told the jury, “I could have given medical assistance, and that’s exactly what I should have done,” but she said she couldn’t “because the officers didn’t let [her] on the scene.”
Hansen testified that she also offered to walk the officers, including Chauvin, through steps they could have taken to save Floyd, including chest compressions if he wasn’t breathing or didn’t have a pulse.
“That wasn’t done either,” she said.
Hansen said the officers responded to her pleas to help by telling her, “If you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved.”
Still struck by this: Genevieve Hansen, the off-duty firefighter on the scene as George Floyd died, said she stayed on scene after Floyd was taken away bc she worried about the Black people and people of color –like Donald Williams — possibly being hurt by remaining police.
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 30, 2021
Derek Chauvin’s trial will continue throughout this week. He faces counts of second degree murder, third degree murder, and second degree manslaughter.