Derek Chauvin trial: Supervisor says he wasn’t immediately told of knee on George Floyd’s neck
MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - The state continued to call witnesses Thursday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, including Floyd's girlfriend and Chauvin's supervisor. The trial is being broadcast live, gavel to gavel, on FOX 9 and streaming live at fox9.com/live.
Here are the witnesses who testified on Thursday:
- Sgt. David Pleoger, Chauvin's supervisor the night of May 25, 2020. He is the sergeant the concerned 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry called after watching Floyd’s deadly arrest. He testified that he was not told right away that Chauvin had kneeled on Floyd's neck.
- Capt. Jeremy Norton of the Minneapolis Fire Department, who responded to Floyd’s deadly arrest with his partner. Norton confirmed he alerted MFD administration about the deadly incident outside Cup Foods because Floyd died in police custody and because a fellow firefighter, Genevieve Hansen, was a witness.
- Derek Smith, a Hennepin EMS paramedic who responded to the scene at Cup Foods on May 25, 2020. When asked his medical assessment of Floyd when arriving at Cup Foods, he said, "in lay terms, I thought he was dead."
- Seth Bravinder, a paramedic with Hennepin EMS and Smith’s partner. He testified Floyd’s cardiac activity was "flat line" in the ambulance and that he never regained a pulse.
- Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s girlfriend. The two met in 2017. She detailed the couple’s struggles with opioid addiction, telling the court she and Floyd went through periods of using and sobriety during the three years of their relationship. She testified she believed he had begun using again in the weeks before his death.
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Chauvin supervisor: Restraint should have ended once Floyd stopped resisting
Sgt. David Pleoger, who was in a supervisory role in the Third Precinct the night of George Floyd’s deadly arrest, told the court Thursday the officers should have stopped kneeling on Floyd once he stopped resisting.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher: "Based on your review of the body worn camera footage, do you have an opinion of when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should’ve ended in this encounter?"
Pleoger: "When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to officers."
Pleoger, who is now retired, is the sergeant who 911 dispatcher Jena Scurry called on May 25, 2020 to report her concerns about what she had seen of the incident at 38th and Chicago.
After talking with Scurry, Pleoger said he called Chauvin. A portion of their conversation was captured on Chauvin’s body camera video, in which Chauvin can be heard telling Pleoger, "We had to hold a guy down. He was a little crazy, wouldn’t go in the back of the squad car."
Pleoger recalled Chauvin describing a "combative" subject who injured his nose or mouth and "suffered a medical emergency."
Pleoger testified that it was not until he talked to Chauvin again at Hennepin County Medical Center, where Floyd was pronounced dead, that Chauvin admitted he had knelt on Floyd’s neck.
George Floyd's girlfriend details his battle with drug addiction
The first witness prosecutors called to the stand on Thursday was Floyd’s girlfriend, Courtney Ross. Ross, 45, got choked up as she told the court about the first time she met Floyd in August 2017 at Salvation Army shelter in downtown Minneapolis, where he worked as a security guard. "It’s one of my favorite stories to tell," she said.
Ross described Floyd as a "momma’s boy" and said the death of his mother hit him hard.
"He seemed kind of like a shell of himself, like he was broken," she said. "He seemed so sad."
Ross testified about Floyd’s drug use and the couple's struggles with opioid addiction. During their three-year relationship, she said they both used opioids, largely oxycodone pills, going through periods of using and sobriety.
"It’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffer from chronic pain," Ross said. "Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both had prescriptions, but after prescriptions were filled, we got addicted."
She told the court the two of them would take "other people’s prescriptions to make sure they were safe." However, other times they would buy the drugs off the street.
In March 2020, Ross said Floyd was hospitalized for an overdose. Defense attorney Eric Nelson had Ross review a transcript of her interview with the FBI during which she "speculated" Floyd had gotten pills from Shawanda Hill. Hill was one of the people with Floyd at Cup Foods before he passed away.
In the weeks before Floyd's death, Ross said she noticed a change is his behavior that led her to believe he was using again.
Derek Chauvin charges
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May.
Judge Cahill reinstated the third-degree murder charge against Chauvin during the first week of the trial.
Chauvin trial streaming and TV information
The Chauvin trial will be live streamed, gavel to gavel, at fox9.com/live and the FOX 9 News App. You can also find the FOX 9 stream on Tubi through connected TVs. When the trial itself begins March 29, FOX 9 will broadcast it live on FOX 9 for the duration, including a quick recap of the day when court adjourns, followed by the FOX 9 News at 5.
Who is in the courtroom?
- Trial Judge Peter Cahill
- 1 judge's clerk
- 1 court reporter
- Derek Chauvin, the defendant
- The jury. The empaneled jury will consist of 12 jurors and 2 alternates.
- Up to 4 lawyers or staff for the prosecution, led by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Frank.
- Defense attorney Eric Nelson and up to 2 staff from his law firm
- 1 witness at a time in the courtroom
- 1 George Floyd family member
- 1 Derek Chauvin family member
- 2 members of pooled media - 1 print and 1 broadcast or digital media
- 1 broadcast technician
The Derek Chauvin trial is being held in Courtroom 1856 of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. Court will begin at 9 a.m. and will adjourn at 4:30 p.m. most days.
Opening statements in the trial are scheduled to begin on March 29. A verdict is not expected until mid to late April.
QUICK READ: Derek Chauvin trial essential info and FAQs
Who are the selected jurors?
Fifteen jurors were seated during jury selection, but Judge Cahill dismissed the 15th juror before opening statements. The 14 remaining jurors will hear the whole case, but only 12 will deliberate. The two alternate jurors will step in if one of the 12 has to excuse themselves from the case. Judge Cahill has instructed the jurors to avoid any media coverage of the trial.
- Juror No. 2: White man in his 20s
- Juror No. 9: Mixed/multiracial woman in her 20s
- Juror No. 19: White man in his 30s
- Juror No. 27: Black man in his 30s
- Juror No. 44: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 52: Black man in his 30s
- Juror No. 55: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 79: Black man in his 40s
- Juror No. 85: Mixed/multiracial woman in her 40s
- Juror No. 89: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 91: Black woman in her 60s
- Juror No. 92: White woman in her 40s
- Juror No. 96: White woman in her 50s
- Juror No. 118: White woman in her 20s
- Juror No. 131: White man in his 20s
READ MORE: Who are the selected jurors?
Jurors will only be referred to by a random, previously assigned number because Judge Cahill has ordered their identities to remain a secret for the duration of the trial. At the conclusion of the trial, Judge Cahill will decide when the jurors’ identities can be made public.
The jury will be partially sequestered during the trial and fully sequestered while they are deliberating, which means they cannot go home until they reach a verdict or the judge determines they are hung. However, the judge can order full sequestration of the jury at any time if the partial sequestration proves ineffective in keeping the jurors free from outside influence.
Courtroom 1856 was renovated specifically for the Derek Chauvin trial to maximize capacity and maintain COVID-19 social distancing standards. The courtroom is located on the 18th floor of the Hennepin County Government Center.
Judge Cahill has ordered certain behavior in the courtroom:
Jurors, attorneys, witnesses and support staff must wear masks and keep six feet from other people.
Masks can be removed when giving testimony, examining witnesses, giving opening statements or closing arguments. Attorneys must conduct all witness examinations and arguments from the lectern.
Any sidebar conferences will be conducted over wireless headsets. Chauvin will be outfitted with a headset to listen to these conferences, which will be off-the-record.
Jurors will be escorted to courtroom each day by deputies or security. No one can have contact with jurors except the judge, court personnel and deputies. Any attorney contact is limited to the jury selection process when court is in session.
Jurors will only be referred to by a randomized number.
Death of George Floyd
George Floyd, 46, died on May 25, 2020 while being detained by Minneapolis police officers Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane at the intersection of 38th Street and Chicago Avenue. The intersection has remained closed to traffic since Floyd's death and has been dubbed George Floyd Square.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - AUGUST 17: People participate in a demonstration on August 17, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Community members came together for a rally to protest the city's potential forceful reopening 38th Street and Chicago Ave, an unofficial
A widely-shared video taken by a bystander showed Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while he repeatedly cried, "I can’t breathe."
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced the firing of all four officers the following day. Chauvin was arrested and charged with Floyd’s death on May 29 and the three others were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting on June 3.
TIMELINE: George Floyd's death to Derek Chauvin's trial
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's report ruled the death of George Floyd a homicide. The updated report stated that George Floyd experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement.