Wednesday marks Day 2 in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and one witness called to the stand set social media aflame after a searing testimony that lasted over an hour.
Firefighter Genevieve Hansen, who worked in Minneapolis and witnessed the assault on Floyd, testified how police officers at the scene, including Chauvin, refused to allow her to give Floyd medical aid. Hansen’s collected demeanor and refusal to be put off by questions from Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson.
The trial is being streamed live, and reactions poured in on social media almost immediately after Hansen took the stand. Her powerful delivery and refusal to be thrown off by questions that seemed sexist or downright confusing, as well as her ample facial expressions (plenty of eye-rolls at Nelson in the first hour of her testimony), drew viewers in instantly.
“May we all be as confident as Genevieve Hansen when facing a bully,” activist Melissa Byrne wrote on Twitter Tuesday.
Another Twitter user Catie Tyrakowski noted the obvious sexism in Nelson’s cross-examination of Hansen and her job — “watching Eric Nelson try to mansplain things he doesn’t understand to discredit Genevieve Hansen, a compelling witness, and sidestep the fact that she was on hand and qualified to assist minutes before the ambulance arrived is truly something else,” Tyrakowski said.
Nelson tried to put Hansen off her testimony by accusing her of being “too angry” and swearing at officers at one point. Nelson asked, “you called officers a bitch, right,” to which Hansen replied, “I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance & there was no point in trying to reason w/ them anymore because they had just killed somebody.”
Nelson continued with this line of questioning, asking if Hansen would describe the other people at the scene as also being “upset or angry.” Hansen said, “I don’t know if you’ve seen anybody be killed, but it’s upsetting.”
At another point in the trial, Nelson tried to argue that Hansen’s memory of watching George Floyd die in police custody in the middle of a Minneapolis street could have been altered or rendered inaccurate by the trauma of seeing it. Hansen disagreed, and replied that regardless, there is an over nine-minute video of the incident for prosecutors to use.
“A stressful situation can impact your memory,” Nelson said, and Hansen quickly replied, “absolutely, that’s why we’re lucky it was videotaped.”
Hansen also said multiple times that she tried to help Floyd — “I was desperate to help, but officers wouldn’t let me,” she said.
Check out more reactions to Hansen’s testimony, and the ongoing trial, below.
Wow, this female firefighter's testimony is powerful. This is going to be problematic for the Chauvin defense and the defense for officer Tao to explain — why they wouldn't allow a trained EMT to provide George Floyd with assistance, and so casually dismissed her while he died.
— Joy-Ann Pro-Democracy & Masks Reid ? (@JoyAnnReid) March 30, 2021
Bastards didn’t believe she was a med certified firefighter. Said if she was a firefighter, she’d know not to interfere. So infuriating. She wanted so desperately to help & was blocked by the officers from doing so while they murdered George. She will carry this burden for life.
— JG Grey ? (@NewsSprint) March 30, 2021
Watching Eric Nelson try to mansplain things he doesn't understand to discredit Genevieve Hansen, a compelling witness, and sidestep the fact that she was on hand and qualified to assist minutes before the ambulance arrived is truly something else. #ChauvinTrial
— Catie Tyrakowski (@catie_ski) March 30, 2021
Derek Chauvin's lawyer: You called officers a bitch, right?
Genevieve Hansen, off-duty firefighter on scene: "Mmhm … I got quite angry after Mr. Floyd was loaded into the ambulance & there was no point in trying to reason w/ them anymore because they had just killed somebody."
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) March 30, 2021
Minneapolis firefighter Genevieve Hansen, off-duty when she came upon scene, becomes emotional as she testifies that the officers arresting George Floyd did not allow her to give Floyd medical attention.
Q: How did it make you feel?
Hansen: Totally distressed.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 30, 2021
Derek Chauvin’s defense: “A stressful situation can impact your memory, right?”
Genevieve Hansen, the off-duty firefighter who witnessed George Floyd’s death: “Absolutely, that’s why we’re lucky it was videotaped.” pic.twitter.com/uyxNb7vYBd
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) March 30, 2021
Ok — I say we make firefighter Genevieve Hansen the new Captain America. She is a true Avenger.
— Vaccines Saves Lives (@Barbarianmommy) March 31, 2021
Genevieve Hansen was off duty and on a walk when she ended up feet from George Floyd as he was pinned under the knee of Derek Chauvin, "I had already assessed that he had an altered level of consciousness, what I needed to know was whether or not he had a pulse any more."
— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenez) March 30, 2021
The judge castigates Genevieve Clara Hansen, tells her to "not argue with counsel, and specifically do not argue with the court" pic.twitter.com/S8n80LRN6M
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 30, 2021
— MuslimMarine (@mansoortshams) March 31, 2021
Man, this defense lawyer was not prepared for Genevieve Hansen https://t.co/0MmWVS5QYk
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) March 30, 2021
— Silence Dogood (@Silence_DG1776) March 30, 2021
Idk if y’all watching the Derek Chauvin trial but Genevieve Clara Hansen, ate that incompetent defense UP. Also, I hope she’s protected because the police WILL try to end this woman’s life. We’ve all seen it before! https://t.co/BYNllW3CpP
— ✨Lightning ⚡️McQueer✨ (@rekcut__) March 31, 2021
Let me just say, Firefighter Genevieve Clara Hansen is literally destroying killer Derek Chauvin’s idiot lawyer. ?
— Ricky Davila (@TheRickyDavila) March 30, 2021
He incorrectly called her a paramedic. He spent several minutes explaining the basics of HER job to her. That was mansplaining disguised as "so let me make sure I have this right…?"
— ? Grace Brunson ? #BLACKLIVESMATTER (@itsmegrace_b) March 31, 2021
Eric Nelson: A stressful situation can impact your memory.
Genevieve Hansen: Absolutely. That's why we're lucky it was videotaped.
Eric Nelson: Right.
— Elyse Ash (@elyseash) March 30, 2021
Genevieve Hansen to the defense attorney: "That's why we're lucky to have this video" in response to the implication that her memory in fallible. OOF. #ChauvinTrial
— Catie Tyrakowski (@catie_ski) March 30, 2021
I learned the names of 2 heroic people Genevieve Hansen and Donald Williams. A firefighter &Good Samaritan who pleaded for the life of George Floyd. It was clear good people fought hard to help the man clearly being murdered. A White woman and a Black man working together to help
— Wendell Pierce (@WendellPierce) March 29, 2021
Chauvin defense: “Some people were swearing.”
Firefighter Genevieve Hansen: “Absolutely.”
Defense: “And would you describe other people's demeanors as upset or angry?”
Hansen: “I don't know if you've seen anybody be killed, but it's upsetting.” pic.twitter.com/Mwu0zvJFf3
— Tony Webster (@webster) March 30, 2021
I love her! He tried to discredit Genevieve Hansen repeatedly and she repeatedly knocked him down.
— overly caffeinated (@7Kellx) March 30, 2021