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Firefighter says police did not allow her to help George Floyd on scene

A firefighter who gave eyewitness testimony Tuesday at former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s trial said police did not allow her to give lifesaving aid to George Floyd as Chauvin pressed his knee into the unarmed Black man’s neck. 

Genevieve Hansen, 27, said that when she arrived at the scene, she saw multiple officers “leaning over” Floyd’s body and appearing to press “the majority of their weight” into him. 

“He was not moving,” Hansen said of Floyd. “The first thing that concerned me was his face was like ... smushed into the ground, swollen.” 

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“It didn’t take me long to realize that he had an altered level of consciousness, and, in our training, that is the first sign that someone needs medical attention,” she added. 

Hansen said that upon identifying herself as a Minneapolis firefighter to former officer Tou Thao, she was warned not to get involved in the situation. 

"He said something along the lines of 'If you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved,'" Hansen said. 

The firefighter said that she then became worried that Thao “wasn’t going to believe me and not let me help.” 

"That’s not right. That’s exactly what I should have done," she continued. "There was no medical assistance on scene, and I got there, and I could have given medical assistance. That's exactly what I should have done."

When asked by prosecutor Matthew Frank how Thao’s response made her feel, Hansen responded, “Totally distressed.” She was then asked by Frank if she was frustrated by the situation. 

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“Yes,” she said tearfully as she reached for a tissue.

Hansen was the final person who took the stand on the second day of Chauvin's trial.

The day was dominated by eyewitnesses who recounted graphic details of what they observed on May 25, 2020, when Floyd died after Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes. 

The former Minneapolis police officer faces three criminal counts in connection with Floyd’s death: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Tuesday’s trial also included the continuation of testimony from 33-year-old Donald Williams, who has a background in both wrestling and mixed martial arts.

Williams said he believed he “witnessed a murder” in a 911 call played in court Tuesday. He told prosecutors on Monday that Chauvin had Floyd in a “blood choke,” referring to a chokehold that cuts off blood supply from the brain by placing pressure on either or both sides of a person’s neck where the carotid arteries are located.

The other officers involved also face separated charges in connection with Floyd’s death.

Former officers Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane are each charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder as well as aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.