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Snippet of Up First: Emotions Run High During Testimony at Derek Chauvin's Trial

From Audio: Friday, April 2, 2021
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The first full week of the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was full of emotion, medical details and an examination of the police's use of force policy.
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Yeah. The first week of the trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin featured some very emotional witness testimony yesterday. George Floyd's girlfriend, Courtney Ross, was in tears when she took the stand. She cried as she talked about her relationship with Floyd and the moment they met this kind person just to come up to me and say, Can I pray with you? When I fell alone, it was so sweet, Chauvin's former supervisor also testified. He said officers on the scene should have ended their restraint of Floyd sooner. The judge says today will be a half day court session. NPR's Cheryl Corley has been following this trial from Minneapolis. Good morning, Cheryl. Good Morning, a retired Minneapolis police sergeant by the name of David Plugger was on the witness stand yesterday. Why was he there? Well, he was there because this was a discussion about how and when police should use force. And David Plugger was Derrick Childrens supervisor. And he testified that according to police policy, officers are supposed to put restraints subjects on their side to help with breathing. He said that it might be reasonable to put a knee on someone's neck briefly or to use force to restrain someone, and prosecutor Steve Schlesser asked him for more of an explanation. Once the person wants, the subject is handcuffed and no longer resisting. At that point, the restraint should stop. Yeah, and Luger said, Um he had a phone conversation with Derek Chauvin after George Floyd was taken to the hospital, Um, that Shelvin didn't mention that he had put his knee on Floyd's neck or for how long. And a lot of the conversation was just about the police departments use of Force Police Manual when the report you supports who reviews cases and what type of training is provided. Okay, so some bigger context. You also heard from the paramedics who were on the scene? What did they say? Well, two paramedics testified, and and they talked about seeing no signs that George Floyd was breathing or moving, and it appeared when they got there, uh, that he was in cardiac arrest. And one of the paramedics, Derek Smith, said that he checked for a pulse. He couldn't find one, and essentially he thought Floyd was dead. Even so, they transported him to the hospital, continued to work on him. Smith said they were trying to give him a second chance at life. And then, of course, George Floyd's girlfriend, Courtney Ross, was on the stand. Yeah, and I think that was really an attempt to humanize George Floyd and what's called a spark of life testimony. Uh, that's where the prosecution can have people. People detail, how a person lived or who he or she was. And Ross began talking about how she met George Floyd at a shelter. Uh, he was a security guard in 2017, and that was actually one of her favorite story. She sat, I'd like to say his voice dropped, like, two levels, even though it was deep already, and he asked me, um, if he could get my number and we had our first kiss in the lobby. That's when our relationship started and they were involved. For newly nearly three years. She talked about how he loves sports and, uh, love kids. But prosecutors also had to talk about how she in Floyd struggle with opioid drug addiction, which she called a classic story. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We got addictive and tried really hard to break that addiction many times. And prosecutors essentially trying to get the jump on any talk about Floyd drug use, which the defense has argued is what really caused his death. NPR's Cheryl Corley covering the trial of Derek Chauvin Cheryl, Thank you. You're what?