Return to Transcripts main page


Testimony Continues in Derek Chauvin Trial. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired April 1, 2021 - 15:00   ET




ERIN ELDRIDGE, MINNESOTA ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: Can you just describe why -- why you did that and how that came about?

SMITH: Well, we were -- I was checking and monitoring the patient. And I believe to -- I saw a run of pulseless V-tach. And that is a different algorithm, per my protocol, which indicates a defibrillation, which I provided.

ELDRIDGE: OK, so at some point while you -- when was it that you detected pulseless electrical activity?

SMITH: En route to Hennepin Healthcare Medical Center.

ELDRIDGE: And you -- I think you testified that that is a shockable rhythm, per your protocols?

SMITH: Yes. Pulseless V-tach is a shockable per my protocols.


Now, you -- what made you notice the change? Was there -- in terms of the rhythm?

SMITH: We periodically check in.

ELDRIDGE: And was -- when you noticed the change, was the -- was Mr. Floyd already on the LUCAS device? The LUCAS device was working on him, meaning given compressions?

SMITH: LUCAS device was doing compressions at the time.


So, initially, he was in (INAUDIBLE) but then you at some point saw on the monitor that there was the possibility of pulseless electrical activity; is that right?

SMITH: Correct. We would pause the LUCAS, do a pulse check. It looked like a rhythm change of the pulseless V-tach. I elected to defibrillate that.

ELDRIDGE: And was there any effect?

SMITH: It just delivered a shock and he remained in his -- quote, unquote -- "dead state." And we continued on with cardiac arrest.

ELDRIDGE: And so, just to be clear, when someone is in the state that you're describing, are you looking for any opportunity to administer a shock or provide additional treatment that you might be able to?

SMITH: Yes. He's a human being. And I was trying to give him a second chance at life.

ELDRIDGE: But, ultimately, were you able to generate pulse or any positive change from that shock that was administered?

SMITH: I'm sorry. can you repeat that?


Did anything change after that shock? Did anything get better with Mr. Floyd?


ELDRIDGE: Now, ultimately, when you arrived at the hospital, what did you do at that point?

SMITH: When we got to the hospital, I provided a report to the stateroom staff of him the information I had and the treatments rendered.

ELDRIDGE: And what was Mr. Floyd's condition at the time you arrived at the hospital?

SMITH: He was still deceased. We are working in cardiac arrest.

ERIC NELSON, ATTORNEY FOR DEREK CHAUVIN: I want to object to that, Your Honor?



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: OK. So, it looks like they're taking a quick, quick break.

Elie, what do you think of all these medical details? What is she getting at?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes, so a couple of things, Brooke.

First of all, I think what's happening right now is there's an objection over whether this witness is qualified to say the exact moment when George Floyd technically passed away. I think he's a paramedic. He's an EMT. I think he should be able to do that.

What's coming through to me from this witness is -- OK, I thought there -- what's coming through to me from this witness is, there's a couple of -- how on earth could nobody else have seen this? How could nobody else have thought to do -- to check a pulse, right?

The police were with George Floyd for so much longer.

BALDWIN: Let's listen back in, Elie. Hold that thought.


BALDWIN: I want to make that point in the next break. Let's listen.

ELDRIDGE: -- time during your treatment and care of Mr. Floyd were you ever able to resuscitate him successfully?


ELDRIDGE: Did he ever regain a pulse from the time that you arrived on scene to the time that you brought him to the hospital?

SMITH: No, Miss.

ELDRIDGE: And did anything change in terms of your assessment of his condition and status?

SMITH: No. When I showed up, he was deceased, and I dropped him off of the hospital and he was still in cardiac arrest.

ELDRIDGE: Nothing further, Your Honor.

CAHILL: Mr. Nelson.

BALDWIN: OK, so before Eric Nelson starts his cross-examination, Elie, keep making the point that you were making a second ago.

HONIG: Yes, so these two emergency responders got to the scene, and they both said that, from a distance, they could tell that George Floyd was not breathing.


Brings up the question, how on earth could Derek Chauvin and the other officers, who were much closer, on top of George Floyd, not have realized the same thing?

The other thing that really jumps out to me is, these emergency responders get to the scene. The first thing they do is check for a pulse. It's really inexplicable and inexcusable that these police officers, charged with protecting the public, never even took his pulse up to that point.

Those are two things that I think the prosecutor was trying to draw out about that testimony. BALDWIN: And, Cedric Alexander, to you. What did you think?


I think it's important here again in this case, when we look at this, they had an opportunity to render aid even before he became life--


BALDWIN: Hang on one second, Mr. Alexander. I think we have got -- we're -- the cross-examination has begun. Let's listen.


Like, if I were feeling for a pulse on someone's arm, would you use your thumb or should you use fingers?

Generally fingers.

NELSON: Is that because you have a pulse in your thumb?

SMITH: It's said to be, yes.

NELSON: You testified that, when you arrived on scene, you checked for Mr. Floyd's pulse initially, when you first came.

SMITH: Yes, sir.

NELSON: And at that time, the officer Chauvin was -- his knee was still on the back of Mr. Floyd, right?

SMITH: What does the video show? He was still at the head of the patient, yes. I don't remember the exact location.

NELSON: Of his knee was?

SMITH: Correct. There was a lot going on.

NELSON: I am showing you what has been admitted as Exhibit 56. You were able to feel where his carotid artery was while Officer Chauvin's knee was in that place?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

NELSON: You testified that a police officer got in the back of the ambulance with you and began chest compressions at your direction?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

NELSON: As you were preparing to engage in resuscitative efforts, right?

SMITH: What's the -- are we reconfirming what she has already gone over; is that correct? NELSON: Correct.


NELSON: Right.

So, the officer is in the back doing chest compressions. You are getting set up, correct?

SMITH: Yes, sir.

NELSON: You went to the second location, so that your partner could get back in the back with you to take over for the officer, right?

SMITH: Not to take over. We needed everybody we could at that time.


Why didn't you just have the officer help you continue, so you could go straight to the hospital?

SMITH: That's not what we do.

NELSON: Is it because he's not an EMT?

SMITH: Any layperson can do chest compressions. There is no reason Minneapolis couldn't have started chest compressions.

NELSON: That's not my question. My question is, he's not an EMT, correct?

SMITH: I don't know the level of the certification of the individual that got into the back into my rig.

NELSON: All right.

You wanted your partner who could help you out, correct?

SMITH: I wanted as many people that were willing to help me at that time to work this cardiac arrest.

NELSON: All right. And that's why fire came, right?

SMITH: Correct.

NELSON: And, ultimately, the officer was kind of put out of the rig?

SMITH: Correct.

NELSON: I have no further questions.

CAHILL: Any redirect?

ELDRIDGE: No, Your Honor.

CAHILL: Thank you, sir. You may step down. Thank you, sir.

SMITH: You bet.

BALDWIN: Elie Honig, what was the defense attorney there trying to get at?

HONIG: I think he's trying to build on this unruly crowd defense, that you had to get away from this crowd in order to do your job.

I don't think that ultimately holds up, though, because there's a real difference here. The paramedics had this crowd. They moved. They made a minor adjustment, and they got their job done. The police here, they claim they had this unruly crowd. And they're arguing that that justifies the complete mistreatment, the crushing of George Floyd.

It's really apples and oranges. But the defense lawyer is not letting go of this argument. I really don't think that's going to resonate with the jury.

BALDWIN: Looks like we have got another witness getting sworn in. Let's dip back in.

CAHILL: -- testimony you're about to give will be the truth and nothing but the truth?


CAHILL: All right. You can just lay the folder on the table there.

And you can have a seat.

NORTON: Thank you.

CAHILL: And before you begin, if you could -- first of all, if you could pull the microphone up a little bit. It's not very flexible, but there we go.


NORTON: It's all right?

CAHILL: Perfect.


CAHILL: Would you start off by stating your name and spelling each of your names?

NORTON: Jeremy Norton, J-E-R-E-M-Y N-O-R-T-O-N.

CAHILL: Ms. Eldridge.


CAHILL: That's appreciated. ELDRIDGE: Thank you, Your Honor.

Good afternoon, sir.

NORTON: Good afternoon.

ELDRIDGE: Where do you work?

NORTON: I work for the Minneapolis Fire Department. Currently, I'm assigned to Fire Station Number 17.

ELDRIDGE: And what's your title?

NORTON: My title?


NORTON: I am a captain.

ELDRIDGE: And how long have you been a captain with the Minneapolis Fire Department?

NORTON: I promoted to captain in 2007, 2013 -- correction -- '14, '15, I was a battalion chief, and I promoted to captain in 2017.

ELDRIDGE: And how long have you been with the fire department in total?

NORTON: Since 2000, so 21 years.

ELDRIDGE: Have you served in a variety of positions over that period of time?

NORTON: I was a firefighter from 2000 until 2007, captain from 2007 until 2014, battalion chief 2014 to 2016, and captain again to '16 until the present.

ELDRIDGE: And what's your educational background? What did you do in terms of training to become a firefighter in the first instance?

NORTON: Well, when I started, I applied in 1998. The department -- once one was hired, the department provided all of our training, EMT, basic hazmat, and then firefighter one and two.

ELDRIDGE: So, maybe you could just describe a little bit what those things are.

NORTON: It was 21 years ago.

ELDRIDGE: When you say EMT, basic, one and two, what does that mean?

NORTON: Right.


NORTON: We are given training to the EMT basic level. Now, to apply, one needs to already be an EMT. That required classroom training, as well as hands-on training, and then passing the National Registry EMT test, and then becoming a licensed EMT.

We can -- have continuing education to maintain our certification. And that is every two years, we have to recertify, both for the state of Minnesota, and then we have the option to maintain a national certification level.

The firefighting was coursework designed and delivered by the fire department. And that also included the hazmat training.

ELDRIDGE: OK, hazmat training sounds interesting, but is it just a sub-specialty of the trainings that you go through?

NORTON: It is -- yes, it is a subsection, essentially.


I'm going to circle back to the EMT part of it.

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: Are you -- is a licensure? Are you a licensed EMT or a certified EMT through your job as firefighter?

NORTON: I believe that -- I believe it is a certification.


So are you currently certified as an EMT?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am. It's one of the conditions of employment.

ELDRIDGE: All right. And are you up to date on all of those certification requirements?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am, to my knowledge.

ELDRIDGE: And, again, based on what you were describing for training for firefighters, is that part of the sort of standard training that all firefighters get, meaning are they all EMTs in Minneapolis?

NORTON: In Minneapolis, yes, ma'am.


So, I'm going to get back to your day-to-day as a captain with the Minneapolis Fire Department. What are your job duties?

NORTON: To which level?

Simply put, I'm in charge of maintaining the care and treatment and training of my crew, our equipment, and our station, which is a broad -- which is broad. But then, within that, I'm in charge of ensuring that we uphold city rules, regulations, have appropriate interactions with the public, work well with other agencies, maintain our training. I'm in charge of all documentation and records. And then, on all of our calls, I'm in charge of the overall safety and well-being of our crew and ensuring that we act appropriately.

ELDRIDGE: So, fair say you're in a leadership position?

NORTON: That would be affirmative.

ELDRIDGE: And do you still -- despite being, I guess, a supervisor or in leadership, do you still respond to calls as well?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am. But, as a crew, we work together.


And that's still part of your day-to-day, responding to calls?



ELDRIDGE: What portion of your work as a Minneapolis Fire Department employee is medical in nature? Do you respond to a lot of medical calls? Does fire respond to a lot of medical calls?

NORTON: The number that I have seen for the department and then for nationally would be about 80 percent of our work is medical in nature.

ELDRIDGE: So, any of us who assume that firefighters just fight fires, that -- is that not the case?

NORTON: No, you have been watching the wrong shows.


ELDRIDGE: You said 80 percent medical.

NORTON: That is what statistics show, yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: So, the vast majority of your job is responding to medical calls, as opposed to fighting fires?

NORTON: That's correct.

ELDRIDGE: What types of medical calls do you respond to? Just could you give some examples of the types of things you do?

NORTON: Certainly.

The simplest way would be anything from birth through post-death that anyone calls 911 about, we will respond with -- either in concert with or ahead of our to support the paramedics.

ELDRIDGE: So, is it common for you to work with them in your job?

NORTON: Absolutely. ELDRIDGE: And why is that?

NORTON: Why do we work with them?

ELDRIDGE: Yes, why is there this -- yes, what's the need to work together?

NORTON: The paramedics are higher trained. They have a higher level of standard of care. They have more skills they possess. Their schooling is longer.

But the idea would be, in emergency medical response, that if something is a life-or-death issue, having an EMT arrive with equipment, an AED, an oxygen mask, any of our other tools, we can provide care for someone who is in critical care -- critical condition until the paramedics arrive, and then they can -- then they can take over to a higher level.

And we support them.

ELDRIDGE: And you -- I think you just used the term AED. Can you just describe what that is?

NORTON: It is a -- what would be called a heart starter, the automatic -- I'm going to botch the letters right now, so I will just say it is this the heart start. It is what is used when someone is in cardiac arrest.

ELDRIDGE: And are you, as a -- as an employee of the fire department, do you carry that type of equipment? Are you able to assist with that type of thing?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am, both. We do carry it on our rigs. That is as part of our standard complement. And I can use any one I would find in this building.


I'm going to direct your attention to May 25 of last year.

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: Did you -- were you on duty as a captain with the Minneapolis Fire Department on that date?

NORTON: I was.

ELDRIDGE: And did you respond to a call that evening?

NORTON: Could you say that again?

ELDRIDGE: Did you respond to a call that evening?

NORTON: We responded to several, yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: OK. And specifically with respect to the area -- well, the area of Cup Foods, was there a call that you initially responded to that location for?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: So, maybe you could, if you could, please just describe what was the nature of the call that you were initially responding to?

NORTON: We were dispatched initially Code 2, which is a non-emergency response, at I believe 8:30 p.m., give or take a couple seconds.

And we were given very little information. I believe it said assist paramedics, perhaps, but just said Engine 17, Code 2, either 38th and Chicago or 3759 Chicago, Cup Foods.

And so -- do you want me to explain more?

ELDRIDGE: So, let me just stop me right there and I will just ask a follow-up question.

How did that information come to you? In other words, how did that call initially come into your fire department for your station?

NORTON: The majority of calls will come in through central dispatch.

So, the -- they control how the -- the station will open up, meaning the radio and the lights will come on. And then there are signifying tones that indicate the -- generally, the nature of call, the call. And then on top of that, the dispatch will provide whatever information they have as to the nature of a call.

ELDRIDGE: So, with respect to the evening of May 25, you said around 8:30. What -- were you in the station at that time?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am. We were inside.

ELDRIDGE: And would you have -- did you hear some particular tone that alerted you to this Code 2?

NORTON: Yes, it's the standard. The state -- the lights come on. The speakers click on with an audible click. And then there's a -- two short tones, kind of staccato, and then followed by the dispatch announcing where we were going.


ELDRIDGE: And does that come over your speaker system?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: So, it was -- at that time, you were aware that it was a Code 2 and the location where you were going; is that right?

NORTON: Yes. Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: Did you proceed to that location?

NORTON: We did.

ELDRIDGE: Did you get any other information about the call, either on route or at some other time?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.


ELDRIDGE: And -- go ahead. What was that?

NORTON: Shortly -- shortly after leaving the station, dispatch came over the radio -- at this point, it's our rig radio -- and stated, "Engine 17, Code 3," which is red lights and sirens, emergency response.

ELDRIDGE: So, when you heard Code 3, does that mean the call was elevated at that point, meaning more -- Code 3 is more serious than Code 2?

NORTON: Affirmative.

ELDRIDGE: Did you have any other information about that or the reason for that?

NORTON: I believe the only information that we had on our screen initially was Code 2 for one with a mouth injury, I believe.


NORTON: And then it was updated.

ELDRIDGE: And then when you say outdated, was it just then a Code 3?

NORTON: Affirmative..

ELDRIDGE: Without any supplemental information as to why?

NORTON: I don't believe so.


So, ultimately, did you respond to the area of Cup Foods or 30th and Chicago?


ELDRIDGE: And what did you do when you arrive there?

NORTON: We -- the rig stopped.

My partner and I got off the rig, and we looked around for a patient.

ELDRIDGE: And when you got there, what did you see? NORTON: There were several police squads, one Park Police, I believe,

and two Minneapolis -- or two or three Minneapolis police cars that I remember parked in the vicinity in the area.

A couple officers were standing on the street, and a couple people were -- a handful of people were outside.

ELDRIDGE: Was there an ambulance there at the time that you were there?

NORTON: No, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: And were you able to identify a patient upon arrival?

NORTON: No, ma'am, there was no one on the street.

ELDRIDGE: So what did you do next?

NORTON: We -- I basically went clockwise around our rig. I spoke briefly with one police officer.

And then we went into -- into the store.

ELDRIDGE: And did you come into contact with anybody in the store?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: And what was the nature of that? What happened in the store?

NORTON: Could you be more specific, please?


Well, upon entering the store, did you have any -- did you interact with anybody who was in the area, who had been in the area?

NORTON: Yes. Yes, ma'am.

We spoke -- as I said, I spoke to one police officer as I descended the rig, came around through a crowd of maybe six or seven people who were at the mouth of the store and in the -- kind of the vestibule or entryway. And then I went into the store, still looking for a patient.

ELDRIDGE: OK. So, you went into the store looking for a patient. Did you have any interaction with anybody? You said there were a number of people, six or seven people. Did you have an interaction with any of those people?

NORTON: Ma'am, do you mean did I speak with any? I'm not sure what you mean by interaction.

ELDRIDGE: Yes. Yes. Did you have a conversation with any of those people?

NORTON: I -- as I was walking through, I heard what people were saying, and then -- but I was pretty much looking for a patient.

I -- I might have spoken to someone who was working there briefly. And while I was looking around for a patient, essentially, on the ground, I did encounter an off-duty firefighter. And then I briefly spoke with one of the police officers who was at the back of the store.

ELDRIDGE: OK, so let's just talk about those two things.

So you interacted both with an off-duty firefighter and also a law enforcement officer who was present. Is that right?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: So let's first start with your objective. You said you were looking on the floor for a patient. Was your primary goal to find a patient?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: And when you were not able to see one easily and entered into the store, what did you do at that point?

Was that when you talk to the law enforcement officer?

NORTON: I made my way back toward the back of the store looking for a patient or -- it was a very -- it was -- the call was confusing because we did not have a lot of information.

So, I did not have a patient description. I did not have anything else. And so I was essentially, yes, looking on the floor for someone. And at that point, though, the crowd that I had -- through which I had walked was -- people were upset.


And they were -- I was getting the sense from them that there was -- there was an injured person. And that's all I -- so, I was looking for someone on the ground.


Did you find an injured person the ground?

NORTON: No, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: So, what did you do next?

NORTON: As I was -- my partner -- my partner mostly stayed and spoke with the off-duty firefighter, who was agitated to distraught. I'm not -- somewhere between them. She was fairly upset.

And I -- as my job as supervisor is to kind of cut through a lot of the extraneous information and find what we actually need to deal with. And so I moved to the back, and I did see the police officer in the back of the store, which would have been the southeast corner of the building, was talking to one of the employees behind the barricade.

And then I approached him.

ELDRIDGE: OK. And then were you directed to another location?

NORTON: Right as I was asking him what was going on, he said they -- I believe he said: "The medics left. They need you."

And right about simultaneously over his radio and over ours, because we have separate dispatchers, we both had the information that the paramedics needed us at a different location.


And then you also mentioned an off-duty firefighter. Do you know who that off-duty firefighter was?

NORTON: Do I know who she is now?

ELDRIDGE: Her name, yes.

NORTON: Yes. Yes. Yes, ma'am, Genevieve Hansen.

ELDRIDGE: At the time, did you have limited interaction with her?

NORTON: I worked -- I'm sorry. If you're asking prior to that day--


When you arrived on scene, did you immediately recognize her as somebody that you knew?

NORTON: No, ma'am. I think I walked right past her. And then she popped up to my left once we were inside the store.


And then, after the fact, do you now know that that was an individual that to work with as Genevieve Hansen?

NORTON: Prior to that.

Once we started speaking, I did a double-take and I clocked that I knew her.


NORTON: And we -- and then we spoke.

ELDRIDGE: And what information did you have at that point in terms of what was happening and what was going on?

NORTON: The police officer said that the medics had left and they needed -- they needed us, Code 3. Dispatch said the same thing. And then, from the off-duty firefighter and from the crowd, I was hearing and inferring that there was an injured man who had been -- sustained injuries in a scuffle with the police or in a situation with the police.


I'm going to put up on the screen what's already been admitted as Exhibit 68.

Can we put that up, please?

Oh, here we go. All right.

So, you described your arrival. Could you just describe what's shown in Exhibit 68, please?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

That is our fire truck, Engine 17. That is me stepping out from the captain's side. We are facing eastbound on 38th Street. Cup Foods is behind us. There is a squad to my -- to my forward and right from this photo to my left.

And I believe that was the police officer I spoke to whose body camera that was that -- so, I was about to make contact with him.

ELDRIDGE: So, does this show you upon your initial arrival at the scene?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

ELDRIDGE: And if we could move to Exhibit 69, please.

Did someone come off -- so, Exhibit 69 is now on the screen. If you could just describe who is pictured in this photo.

NORTON: That is me to the right of the screen, and that is firefighter Jennifer Hall (ph) to the left coming round from her side of the rig.

She was a rookie who started with us at the end of March.

ELDRIDGE: And so were you both responding together, essentially--


NORTON: Yes, ma'am, she was my partner.


Can we move to Exhibit 70, please?

You described walking into the store and seeing some other individuals. Could you just describe what's shown in Exhibit 70, please?

NORTON: Yes, ma'am.

There's a -- it looks like a police squad. I head to my left north on the street. I believe that is a -- might be Park Police squad to my left, four people outside, one of whom is off-duty firefighter Hansen. I did not recognize her walking through.

ELDRIDGE: Do you recognize her now?

NORTON: Affirmative.

ELDRIDGE: Could you just you -- you can use the stylus or your finger, but it's a touch screen, if you could just indicate where she is pleased, in these photo.

All right. You made a green mark above where -- indicating Genevieve Hansen is.