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EMT who witnessed George Floyd’s death breaks down while recounting how she was blocked from helping

EMT who witnessed George Floyd’s death breaks down while recounting how she was blocked from helping

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The trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who the entire world witnessed murder George Floyd on video, is currently unfolding. The tragic death is indefensible by any sane or legal metric, and yet his lawyers are trying to argue that kneeling on the neck of a man who is crying out for help until he goes limp and dies is somehow acceptable behavior.

The testimony against Chauvin so far has been devastating, but perhaps none so moving as that given by Minneapolis firefighter and emergency medical technician Genevive Clara Hansen. She was off duty when she witnessed police arresting George Floyd. She saw that he was handcuffed and his face was “smushed into the ground.”

After Floyd went limp, Hansen offered her medical assistance but was denied access to Floyd by the officers in question. When asked in court today why she was unable to administer medical assistance, she gave an emotional account of what happened.

“Because the officers didn’t let me into the scene. I also offered, in my memory I offered, to kind of walk them through or it told them: ‘If he doesn’t have a pulse you need to start compressions.’ And that wasn’t done either,” recounted Hansen, her voice raw. It’s hard to interpret this behavior on part of the police as anything less than abject apathy as to whether Floyd lived or died.

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Hansen went on to state the assistance she offered was “what I would have done for anybody.” When she was prevented from doing so she became “totally distressed.” Asked if she felt “frustrated,” Hansen replied that she was before visibly tearing up and reaching for a tissue. She then took a long moment to compose herself. Clearly this brave woman, a woman who has dedicated her life to helping other people, was deeply affected by what she saw that day.

Hopefully, Chauvin is held accountable for the second-degree murder charge he’s facing. For now, the rest of us can only watch and pray that justice is served. An acquittal would only serve to signal to other police officers that murdering Black people is not only acceptable but encouraged. Nothing short of a conviction will do.

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