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Prosecution Questions Paramedic Who Treated George Floyd; Defense Cross-Examines Paramedic Who Tended to George Floyd. Aired 1- 1:30p ET
Aired April 1, 2021 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN ELDRIDGE, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: And was that sort of a switch jobs when the firefighters came in?
SETH ZACHARY BRAVINDER, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA, EMS: Yes. At some point, the officers stepped out and I kind of moved down to near where he was. So --
ELDRIDGE: So when the firefighters came, did you feel like there were enough people to do what you needed to do for Mr. Floyd in order to get him where he needed to go?
ELDRIDGE: So you said the officer stepped off, did one of the firefighters take over with respect to what you were working on in the airway?
BRAVINDER: Yes, the airway was established. So they're working on squeezing that bag to breathe for the patient.
ELDRIDGE: And maybe you could just describe how that works. Does someone need to squeeze the bag in order to provide -- how does it work?
BRAVINDER: Yes. It's just a bag that you're going to squeeze roughly every five to six seconds to breathe for the patient.
ELDRIDGE: And so after you have set it up and the firefighters arrived, did one of them take over that part?
BRAVINDER: From what I remember, yes.
ELDRIDGE: And then you said you moved down and assisted with the I.V., can you just describe that?
BRAVINDER: I just worked on trying to get I.V. access.
ELDRIDGE: And was there some difficulty with that?
BRAVINDER: A little bit. I believe -- I believe we had I.O. access at some point but I don't know when that was done.
ELDRIDGE: And what is I.O. access?
BRAVINDER: It's a needle that drills into your bone in your leg, it's another way of giving medications.
ELDRIDGE: And why -- why would you need to have that kind of access?
BRAVINDER: Same reason, to give medications to try to resuscitate them.
ELDRIDGE: And if -- maybe you could describe why you might initially go from one location to moving to I.O. access.
BRAVINDER: I.O. is often done if you're having difficulty with I.V. access and it's common to do in a cardiac arrest.
ELDRIDGE: And I.O. stands for?
ELDRIDGE: Intraosseuous. And I.V. is --
ELDRIDGE: Okay. So, at some point, did that get established, an I.O. line?
ELDRIDGE: And was that the way that the medications were administered?
BRAVINDER: I would need to look at the documentation to be for sure on that, but I believe that's how they are administered.
ELDRIDGE: But in any event, do you recall that he was administered those medications?
ELDRIDGE: What did you do after that?
BRAVINDER: We continued working on resuscitating him for a period of time, and then I kind of had everything done we wanted to and then I went to the front and started driving to the hospital.
ELDRIDGE: Maybe you could just explain, you know, was there something that you needed to accomplish before you felt comfortable moving again, getting -- driving the vehicle elsewhere?
BRAVINDER: Yes, I think there's a standard set of -- we call it like ACLS guidelines from the American Heart Association. That's how we're trained in how we do -- provide care in a resuscitation like this. We kind of had all those things in place.
ELDRIDGE: So what are those things, just generally, what are you trying to do?
BRAVINDER: Yes, just the highlights. I'll say chest compressions, breathing for them and doing medications that we need to give them.
ELDRIDGE: And is it your objective to have those things in place before you transport to the hospital?
BRAVINDER: Yes, it's time sensitive to have them done. So we need to get them done right away.
ELDRIDGE: And maybe you could explain why -- what's time sensitive about these resuscitative processes?
BRAVINDER: Just the longer the patient goes without receiving resuscitation, the lower likelihood they will be resuscitated.
ELDRIDGE: And in your training as a paramedic, when you're talking about time sensitivity, when it comes to resuscitative efforts or things like CPR, anything like that, what are you trained to do in terms of timing?
BRAVINDER: Can you rephrase that question?
ELDRIDGE: Yes, that was not a good question. Is it important to start resuscitative efforts immediately after someone does not find a pulse?
BRAVINDER: As soon as we can, yes.
ELDRIDGE: And why is that?
BRAVINDER: To -- primary goal, I would say, is circulating blood through chest compressions, yes.
ELDRIDGE: And I think you previously testified if there's a delay, does that lessen your likelihood of success?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Rephrase.
ELDRIDGE: What happens if there's a delay?
BRAVINDER: Based on my understanding, that's not good for his outcome.
ELDRIDGE: Okay. So, ultimately, after you had the things in place that you just described, did you then transport Mr. Floyd to the hospital?
ELDRIDGE: And were you the driver?
ELDRIDGE: I'm going to put on the screen just for you an exhibit that has not yet been admitted, as Exhibit 67. Can you see that?
ELDRIDGE: And does this image fairly and accurately show you and your partner and the firefighters unloading Mr. Floyd at the hospital?
ELDRIDGE: Your honor, I'd offer Exhibit 67.
JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: Any objection?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No objection.
CAHILL: 67 is received.
ELDRIDGE: Permission -- thank you. And once you got to the hospital, did you assist in moving Mr. Floyd, transferring him inside to the hospital with the others?
ELDRIDGE: And we can take that down, thank you. And what happened at that point in time, once you were bringing him to the hospital?
BRAVINDER: It was what we called stay room (ph) for vertical patients. We bring them into the E.R., brought him in there and we moved him over to the hospital bed.
ELDRIDGE: And what was his condition? You had talked about asystole at the beginning of your interaction with him. Once you worked on him and then brought him to the hospital, what was his condition at that point in time?
BRAVINDER: I don't know what his exact cardiac rhythm was at that point but his overall condition did not appear to change.
ELDRIDGE: And had you noted any changes -- was there a period of time of pulse, this electrical activity?
BRAVINDER: At some point, yes.
ELDRIDGE: And would that have been at some point after the asystole?
BRAVINDER: Yes, I can't tell you exactly what point it was but --
ELDRIDGE: So just -- so you know what we're talking about here. What is pulses electrical activity?
BRAVINDER: It's essentially -- it's picking up an organized rhythm so electricity over your heart, but we don't feel a pulse anywhere. So it's -- in our purposes, it's not profusing so we'd continue chest compressions.
ELDRIDGE: Okay, so you said not profusing. What does that mean?
BRAVINDER: Yes. So we're not -- we don't feel a pulse so there's no blood being pumped through the body to your organs.
ELDRIDGE: And if you -- well, as someone is being worked on, or compressions are being given, can things change in terms of the heart rhythm in your experience as a paramedic?
ELDRIDGE: But if you have pulseless electrical activity, does that -- what does that mean in terms of the change?
BRAVINDER: It's -- as far as how we're going to be resuscitating him, it's the same as asystole. So --
ELDRIDGE: So your course of action remained the same?
BRAVINDER: Yes. Asystole and PEA is like the same protocol, we should call it, for how we resuscitate.
ELDRIDGE: And even though there was a -- when you first arrived, he was in asystole, at some point, later there was PEA, at any point, did he regenerate a pulse or come to, was he revived?
ELDRIDGE: And, ultimately, at the hospital, was there a report given to staff at the hospital about his condition and all of those things that you did?
BRAVINDER: Yes, my partner would have given that report to the hospital.
ELDRIDGE: And were you assisting with the other needs as well, were you part of that process?
ELDRIDGE: And what did you do after the patient -- Mr. Floyd was handed off to medical staff at the hospital?
BRAVINDER: I would have just been bringing equipment back to our truck and putting it back together.
ELDRIDGE: Again, over the course of your interaction with him and treatment of Mr. Floyd, did you notice any positive change, any revival?
ELDRIDGE: Nothing further.
CHAILL: Mr. Nelson?
ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Good afternoon, sir.
NELSON: We're in afternoon, sorry, I had to check the time. Thank you for being here. I just have a few follow-up questions for you.
I want to just understand sort of the very brief -- very briefly the progression of your education and kind of the differences. Is CPR training different than being an EMT?
BRAVINDER: You're talking about like a CPR certification?
BRAVINDER: Yes, it's a part of it, but, yes, different.
NELSON: So the basic kind of resuscitative training someone could receive would be a CPR certification?
NELSON: And then kind of a higher level of education would be an EMT, right?
NELSON: And then a higher level than an EMT is a paramedic?
NELSON: And then up through -- all the way up to doctors and stuff, right?
NELSON: Okay. And you are a paramedic, you said you've been, about four years now?
BRAVINDER: With Hennepin EMS, I was a paramedic elsewhere prior to that.
NELSON: Okay. How long -- how many years total as a paramedic?
BRAVINDER: I started as a paramedic in 2013.
NELSON: Okay. And so in Hennepin -- for Hennepin County, do you frequently service calls in the city of Minneapolis?
NELSON: Do you frequently service calls where police officers are involved?
NELSON: Do you -- have you arrived at a scene where you've seen officers on top of a person before?
ELDRIDGE: Objection, your honor, irrelevant.
NELSON: Have you been called to other calls where a suspect has struggled with police?
NELSON: What does it mean to stage as an EMS?
BRAVINDER: What does it mean to stage? You're talking about staging for safety purposes?
BRAVINDER: Yes. If a scene is not safe, we will stage in the area and wait for police to give us what's a Code 4, we call it, that it's safe to come in.
NELSON: And just for clarification purposes, you were not asked to stage in this event, right, because of the crowd?
BRAVINDER: No, we were not.
NELSON: All right. But, generally speaking, it's common for police to arrive at a scene, deal with whatever the circumstances are, and then EMS is called in after police has dealt with the danger of the situation, right?
BRAVINDER: Can you say that question again?
NELSON: Sure, it's kind of a long winded. Police will frequently go to a call before EMS to deal with some dangerous situation.
BRAVINDER: Yes, it completely depends on the type of call.
NELSON: Right. As a course of being a paramedic, have you responded to other overdose calls or overdose calls?
BRAVINDER: I have responded to overdose calls, yes.
NELSON: And is it EMS policy to have police respond to those calls with you?
BRAVINDER: They -- yes, they do. I can't reference a policy, but in my practice they -- or my experience, they do respond with us.
NELSON: And is that because when people are sometimes resuscitated or treated for an overdose, they become aggressive and violent?
ELDRIDGE: Objection, your honor. (INAUDIBLE).
BRAVINDER: Sorry, can you say that again?
NELSON: Sure. Is it the practice to have police respond to those calls because when people are resuscitated or revived from an overdose, they can become violent or aggressive?
BRAVINDER: It can happen sometimes, yes.
NELSON: Have you personally seen that happen?
NELSON: So turning your attention to May 25th of 2020, you were the driver of the ambulance that date, correct, or for this call, I should say?
BRAVINDER: For that call, yes.
NELSON: And after all of this, you would agree that you have met with law enforcement officers during the course of the investigation of this case?
NELSON: And you have made statements and you know those statements were recorded?
NELSON: And do you know that -- have you had an opportunity to review a transcript of your statement prior to today's testimony?
NELSON: Okay. You've also met with the prosecution team a couple of times. Is that correct?
NELSON: In preparation, including as late as last night, correct?
NELSON: And you kind of just talked about what your testimony was going to be today, right?
NELSON: All right. So, on May 25th, when you arrived, you testified that you saw sort of a crowd standing out around the police officers. Correct?
NELSON: And when you arrived, the ambulance actually pulled ahead of where Mr. Floyd and the officers were located. Correct?
NELSON: And that would be for ease of loading him into the ambulance. Correct?
NELSON: So that basically the back of the ambulance would be in line with Mr. Floyd's -- and Mr. Floyd to kind of get him in, get him into the ambulance, right?
NELSON: All right. And so when you got out of the ambulance and you walked back towards the officer, you would have had to walk back towards the officers, correct?
BRAVINDER: Yes, I can't -- yes, I don't know which side of the ambulance I walked back on but, yes.
NELSON: Well, if you're the driver, you would have gotten out of the driver's side and walked along the driver's side of the car.
BRAVINDER: It doesn't necessarily meant I walked on that side to the back of the ambulance, but --
NELSON: You may have gone around the front.
BRAVINDER: I may have gone around.
NELSON: Do you recall describing to agents the position that you saw Mr. Floyd in at that time?
BRAVINDER: I can't -- yes, I remember talking about it.
NELSON: You remember talking about it?
NELSON: And what did you tell the agents about how you observed Mr. Floyd's body position to be?
BRAVINDER: I can't remember the exact details. I remember he was on the ground and he had handcuffs in place.
NELSON: Do you remember calling -- saying that he was primarily on his left side?
BRAVINDER: I think I did say that, yes.
NELSON: And is that what you recall today?
BRAVINDER: He wasn't -- I don't remember if I clarified that at all. Like, to me, it seemed like he was leaned to his left is what I tried to say. NELSON: So he was kind of leaned to his left and I think you said he was sort of rolled forward on his stomach a little bit.
NELSON: Would you dispute me if I say that's what the transcript refers to?
NELSON: All right. And so you and your partner decided to do what's called a load-and-go, right?
BRAVINDER: To get into the ambulance, yes.
NELSON: Right, and to leave.
BRAVINDER: To move -- well, we didn't leave. We moved to a different location, yes.
NELSON: Right. And that was out of concern because of the people that were around, right, and the general atmosphere at the scene at that point?
BRAVINDER: Yes, that was part of it, yes.
NELSON: In terms of -- I forgot to ask you one question, generally speaking, in terms of your response to calls where police are struggling with an individual, does Hennepin EMS carry ketamine with them?
NELSON: And what is the purpose of the ketamine?
BRAVINDER: It has multiple purposes.
NELSON: Is one of them to sedate someone if they are struggling?
BRAVINDER: It is able to be used for that, yes.
NELSON: Obviously, you didn't apply ketamine in this case?
NELSON: So you loaded Mr. Floyd into the ambulance, correct?
NELSON: And one of the four Minneapolis Police officers that you observed at that scene got into the ambulance with you, correct?
NELSON: It was one of the same officers that you observed on Mr. Floyd at the time, correct? BRAVINDER: I wasn't keeping track of who was who at that point. I believe he was near Mr. Floyd.
NELSON: So the photos that we looked at, right?
NELSON: Those came from what appear to be a body-worn camera, correct?
NELSON: There's no camera in the care compartment of a Hennepin County EMS ambulance, is there?
NELSON: And you do not wear body cameras as paramedics, correct?
NELSON: So those photographs came from an officer's body-worn camera?
NELSON: And so that officer initially started assisting with chest compressions of Mr. Floyd?
BRAVINDER: Yes. I wasn't in back when that would have happened, but --
NELSON: Your partner was?
NELSON: And he would probably be the person to ask about that?
BRAVINDER: yes, I would have been -- you can see in the footage we watched, but I was there for a brief period and then went to the front to move.
NELSON: So, you've seen the body-worn camera footage from inside of the ambulance?
BRAVINDER: Yes, I've seen a good amount of it. I don't know if I've seen all of it but I've seen a good amount of it.
NELSON: Okay. You described the LUCAS device, putting on the -- you described that LUCAS device that does the chest compressions, right?
NELSON: It was your partner that was putting that on with that police officer, correct? BRAVINDER: No, I was putting that on with the police officer.
NELSON: Okay, so you and he -- so you were in the ambulance when the officer was performing chest compressions?
BRAVINDER: Yes, after I pulled over on 36th and Park and got in the back, we would have been doing chest compressions.
NELSON: So, the first thing you did was load Mr. Floyd into the vehicle, you drive to 36th and Park, right?
NELSON: And while you drove that distance to 36th and Park, the officer was in the back with your partner performing chest compressions?
BRAVINDER: I would assume, I wasn't in the back.
NELSON: Right. But when you got into the back to assist your partner, that's what you observed was the officer performing chest compressions?
BRAVINDER: What I remember that he was doing them at that time, yes.
NELSON: And then you and he actually attached the LUCAS device to Mr.Floyd?
NELSON: Okay. And it was a little difficult to get on?
NELSON: There was a latch problem or something?
NELSON: And then at some point, you testified that you did -- I think you call it i-gel aerate device?
NELSON: Airway device, I'm sorry. You inserted that into Mr. Floyd's mouth, right?
NELSON: Now, does that actually go down into the throat? Is it like a tube that goes through the throat?
BRAVINDER: Partially, yes.
NELSON: Okay. Any difficulty getting that in?
BRAVINDER: No, there wasn't difficulty getting it -- it went in fine. The first one I grabbed was too small.
NELSON: So, there are different sizes?
BRAVINDER: Yes, there's different sizes. So I had to -- initially, I put that one in, and then had to pull it out and put a larger one in.
NELSON: So there was nothing constricting or obstructing your ability to insert that device into his mouth and throat?
NELSON: And the medications that you described, the sodium bicarb and the epinephrine were applied, and some other medications as well?
BRAVINDER: Yes, I'd have to look at the report to know exactly what meds were given, but, yes, those meds were given.
NELSON: And once you kind of got these initial three things you described done -- excuse me, at some point, fire came out as well, right?
NELSON: And let me ask you one question on -- that I forgot to ask you about the initial call. The initial call you said was Code 2, correct? And it got upgraded to Code 3, meaning lights and sirens?
NELSON: That was about a minute and a half after the initial call, agreed?
BRAVINDER: Based on what I looked at the times from what I've seen after it looked like it was about a minute and a half, yes.
NELSON: And the time from when it got upgraded until you arrived on scene, would you agree that was about six, six and a half minutes, something like that?
BRAVINDER: I believe it was close to that, yes.
NELSON: Okay. And then it was -- was it you who added fire to the call or was it your partner?
BRAVINDER: I believe -- I can't say for sure who said it first. I think my -- I believe my partner said it first over the radio.
NELSON: Okay. And that's when fire gets dispatched and they ultimately, you understand, went to Cup Foods first?
BRAVINDER: I heard that afterwards, yes.
NELSON: You didn't know it at the time?
BRAVINDER: No. When I -- as we were moving to 36th and Park, I went over the radio and told our dispatch that we were going to be moving to have fire meet us there.
NELSON: Okay. And then the information you had as you were initially responding was that there was a mouth injury, correct?
NELSON: And that -- there was information that the male may be intoxicated or impaired?
BRAVINDER: Yes. There were some notes about -- I can't remember the exact wording but there's something about substance use or -- I can't remember if it said narcotic or substance use concern, and then there was a note saying he was on top of a vehicle.
NELSON: Okay. So you remember seeing that in the computer aided dispatch?
BRAVINDER: Yes, I saw that on the way to the call.
NELSON: All right.
BRAVINDER: Or sorry, that would have been my partner that would have seen that.
NELSON: Okay. And then the -- there was also some information that police had Mr. Floyd restrained on the ground, right?
BRAVINDER: In our CADnotes.
NELSON: You were driving.
BRAVINDER: Yes, I'm not sure. There was a note that popped up right as we were arriving. So I'm not sure if you're referring to that. But I don't recall if it said he was restrained or not.
NELSON: Okay. Fair enough, I have no further questions.
CAHILL: Ms. Eldridge?
ELDRIDGE: Mr. Bravinder, you were asked some questions about responding to scenes where someone might be violent or struggling, things of that nature. Do you remember those questions?
ELDRIDGE: And when you got to the scene, was Mr. Floyd struggling or violent in any way?
ELDRIDGE: Did it appear to you that he was already dead when you got there?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, calls for speculation. CAHILL: If you know.
BRAVINDER: I wouldn't know when I pulled up on scene but I did not see him, as I testified earlier, when I was standing in the back of the ambulance, I didn't see him moving or breathing.
ELDRIDGE: Right. So from what you saw, did you see someone who appeared to be unresponsive?
ELDRIDGE: And in cardiac arrest?
BRAVINDER: As we learned, yes.
ELDRIDGE: And you were asked some questions about ketamine, things of that nature. Is ketamine a drug that's given to people that are alive and struggling?
BRAVINDER: Sometimes, yes.
ELDRIDGE: And is that a treatment option for you for somebody who is exhibiting those behaviors that you were asked about, violence and struggling, that sort of thing, alive and moving, basically, is that right?
BRAVINDER: Yes, it's for profound agitation, so somebody that's really violent.
ELDRIDGE: You would not give that to somebody who was dead or in cardiac arrest or unresponsive, is that right?
BRAVINDER: Correct, we would not give it, no.
ELDRIDGE: You were asked about responding to overdoses as part of your job. When you respond to overdose deaths or an opioid overdose death, what do you look for in terms of someone's pupils?
BRAVINDER: We look at them to see if they're small, their pupils are really small.
ELDRIDGE: When you say small, is that like pinpoint, constricted?
BRAVINDER: Constricted, pinpoint, yes.
ELDRIDGE: And do you know what Mr. Floyd's pupils looked like when you and your partner arrived on scene?
BRAVINDER: I don't recall looking at them myself. I know, like I said, my partner checked them initially.
ELDRIDGE: And did you receive a report about that from him?
BRAVINDER: Yes, he would have -- he did say something. I'd be kind of guessing. I believe, I think, what he said. But -- ELDRIDGE: All right, we'll move on from that. You were asked some questions about the crowd, and whether that was the reason to move Mr. Floyd to another location. Do you remember those questions on cross- examination?
ELDRIDGE: And you testified on direct examination that there are a number of things you consider when you determine whether the move someone, is that right?
ELDRIDGE: So is having a crowd one of those things that you might consider?
BRAVINDER: It's -- yes, one thing to consider, yes.
ELDRIDGE: But you also talked about how you need a significant amount of equipment that was in your ambulance, is that right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection.
CAHILL: Sustained, rephrase.
ELDRIDGE: What are the other things that you consider in terms of why to move somebody to another location?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, asked and answered.
ELDRIDGE: You can answer.
BRAVINDER: Sorry, can you ask that last part one more time?
ELDRIDGE: What are the things you take into account when deciding whether to move a patient to another location?