A young female firefighter took the stand at former police officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial on Tuesday, the second day of witness testimony, nearly one year after she called 911 to report the officer’s deadly interaction with George Floyd in Minneapolis last spring.
Floyd died after Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes on the street in front of a convenience store.
“I literally watched police officers not take a pulse and not do anything to save a man,” the firefighter, 27-year-old Genevieve Hansen, said in a recording of the call played in court. She was off duty at the time.
“And I am a first responder myself, and I literally have it on video camera. I just happened to be on a walk. This dude ― this ― they fucking killed him,” she told the 911 operator.
Video of the May 25 incident also shown in court depicts Hansen, who has been a firefighter for two years, yelling at the small group of police officers surrounding Floyd and demanding they check his pulse.
“Listen, I’m a first responder for Minneapolis,” she says in the video, adding that she had recorded the officers’ names.
Hansen said in her testimony that she tried to reason with the officers and tried asserting herself as a trained first responder to try to help Floyd, outlining several steps she would have taken had the officers allowed her near his body.
She said that former officer Tou Thao, who was filmed in a defensive position between Floyd and the witnesses to his death, told her that if she really was a firefighter, she would “know better” than to get involved.
At the time, she said, she was alarmed because she thought Floyd’s face looked puffy and swollen, and she noticed that fluid appeared to be coming from his body. Hansen said that sometimes people “release their bladder” at their time of death. She could already see that Floyd had an “altered level of consciousness to the extent that he wasn’t responding to painful stimuli” as Chauvin continued to kneel on Floyd’s neck after he stopped moving and speaking.
Facing questioning from a lawyer for Chauvin, Hansen at times became combative and pushed back on the amount of time it took for an ambulance to arrive to assist Floyd, saying “there was something wrong in requesting medical assistance.”
“I know how long it takes to drive three blocks in an emergency,” she said. “The nearest two other stations would have been able to respond to that call in three minutes.”
Like several other witnesses to Floyd’s death, Hansen became emotional, at one point wiping her eyes with a tissue and taking a sip of water to compose herself.
Hansen was the eighth witness called by prosecutors and the third who testified about calling 911 on the police.
Several of the witnesses were minors at the time of the incident, including the teen who posted the Facebook video that initially went viral and her 9-year-old cousin.
Chauvin is facing three charges: second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. The most serious of those carries a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison.
His defence attorneys are attempting to convince the jury that the officers were distracted by the crowd of witnesses, which they deemed to be angry and hostile toward them.