Zimmerman's denouncement of Chauvin's actions was echoed by several other witnesses. Recently retired supervisory Sgt. David Pleoger spoke to Chauvin by phone that night; Chauvin said he "had to hold the guy down" after Floyd "became combative" and then "suffered a medical emergency," but mentioned no psychopathic knee on a suffering neck. Asked whether Chauvin's use of force was appropriate, Pleoger said, "When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint." Also testifying was paramedic Derek Smith, who checked Floyd's carotid pulse and pupils as he lay still under Chauvin's knee: "I looked to my partner. I told him, 'I think he's dead.'" Still, he chose to move Floyd into the ambulance and continue working on him. "He's a human being," Smith said. "I was trying to give him a second chance at life." Fire Capt. Jeremy Norton testified he met up with the ambulance at an intersection, where he saw Floyd being treated: "He was an unresponsive body on a cot." Despite the harrowing testimony, it paled before newly released bodycam footage of Floyd's pained, flailing final moments - his terror, his crying, his claustrophobia, the awful baffled dawning he was about to die for a $20 crime he didn't know he'd committed, the heartrending pleading of a reported "Mama's boy" that, "I'm not a bad guy." Viewing the video - here and here - several jurors broke down in tears. Understandably: It's almost unwatchable. Our job is to not look away. And to acknowledge how astounding it is that black people haven't yet burned this country to the ground.
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