Off-duty firefighter testifies she 'desperately wanted to help' George Floyd at scene

One of the state’s witnesses in the trial of Derek Chauvin was Genevieve Hansen, 27, who works for the Minneapolis Fire Department. She was off duty when she witnessed the deadly arrest of George Floyd and recorded video at the scene. She also called 911 after the incident.

Before her testimony, the court shared Hansen’s video, which showed her responding to the scene. In the video she can be heard asking officers if they checked Floyd’s pulse. 

Hansen said she was out for a walk on May 25, 2020, when she came across the scene of George Floyd’s arrest and noticed police lights. She said that as she got closer to the scene, she spoke with a woman across the street who was "screaming they were killing him."

"That’s when I was alerted the situation wasn’t a basic medical call," she said.

Hansen said she walked closer to the scene of Floyd’s arrest because she was "concerned to see a handcuffed man who was not moving, with officers with their body weight on his back and a crowd that was stressed out."

She went on to say that the officers’ positions on Floyd concerned her.

"He wasn't moving and he was cuffed… three grown men putting their weight on someone is too much." Hansen said. "He had an alternate level of consciousness. My attention moved from Mr. Floyd to how can I gain access to this patient or direct officers. I was really concerned. I thought his face looked swollen, which would happen if you put a grown man's weight on someone's neck. I noticed fluid coming from his body, and in a lot of cases we see a patient release their bladder when they die. I can't tell you where fluid came from, but that's where my mind went." 

When asked if she tried to assess how much weight Chauvin was placing on Floyd, she said Chauvin "seemed comfortable" in that position.

Hansen said that when she identified herself to former Minneapolis police officer Tou Thao, he said, "if you really are a Minneapolis firefighter, you would know better than to get involved."

"I thought he wouldn't believe me, and not let me help. Also, that's not right. I mean, that's exactly what I should have done. There was no medical assistance and I should have done that."

Hansen said she would’ve "asked someone to run to a gas station and look for AED and checked his airway," and that she was worried about spinal cord injury from so much weight on his neck. She said she would’ve checked for pulse and may have started compressions.

'They had just killed somebody'

During cross-examination, defense attorney Eric Nelson, who represents Derek Chauvin, asked Hansen about her demeanor and the group that was gathered around the scene, noting that many people were swearing and getting upset.

Questioning grew tense, and at times, Judge Cahill reminded Hansen not to be argumentative toward Nelson. Hansen will return to testify Wednesday.

Nelson: As you were there, in four minutes, you agree your own demeanor got louder and frustrated?

Hansen: Um, frustrated. I don’t know if I would…

N: Angry?

H: Desperate

N: You called officers a b*tch

H: I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance, and there was no point in trying to reason with them anymore because they had just killed somebody.

Moments later, Nelson asked about the crowd.

Nelson: Several people were yelling, right?

Hansen: Right

N: And several people were yelling louder than others, right?

H: Right

N: And a lot of people were saying things like, 'get off of him,' right?

H: Right

N: A lot of people - you yourself - were saying, 'check his pulse,' and some people were swearing?

H: Absolutely

N: And would you describe other people's demeanors as upset or angry?

H: Um. I don't know if you've seen anybody be killed, but it's upsetting