Chauvin attorney questions Floyd girlfriend about drug use

Derek Chauvin trial: First footage shown of George Floyd inside shop

"If I would've just not [taken] the bill, this could've been avoided", Mr Martin, 19, lamented at Mr Chauvin's murder trial, joining the burgeoning list of onlookers who expressed a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt over Mr Floyd's slow death last May.

The 45-year-old also recounted how both she and her boyfriend struggled with opioid addiction.

She said: "We both suffered from chronic pain". Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. They tried to stop using the drugs many times and had sought out various treatments, she said, but they relapsed together as recently as March 2020.

It was also apparently to explain his drug use to the jurors and perhaps get them to empathise with what he went through.

Prosecutors began the fourth day of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial on murder charges by calling George Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross, to the stand. Ross spoke about her affection for Floyd; she also acknowledged that both she and Floyd struggled with opioid addiction.

He has pled not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of murder.

Bravinder describes seeing officers on top of the patient, later identified as George Floyd, when they drove up.

Mr Chauvin, who is white, was sacked by the city's police department the day after he was captured on video with his knee on the neck of Mr Floyd, a black man in handcuffs. In a central dispute of the trial, his lawyers have argued that Floyd's death, ruled a homicide at the hands of police, was really an overdose caused by the fentanyl found in his blood at autopsy.

Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, has claimed Floyd's death was caused by the drug fentanyl and underlying medical conditions and he queried Ross extensively about Floyd's history of drug use. "Tell my kids I love them".

George Floyd's girlfriend tearfully told a jury Thursday the story of how they met - at a Salvation Army shelter where he was security guard with "this great, deep Southern voice, raspy" - and how they both struggled mightily with an addiction to opioids. "It's not something that comes and goes, it's something I'll deal with forever".

Much of her testimony focused on the couple's addiction, seemingly an attempt by prosecutors to get out in front of the argument by Chauvin's lawyer that Floyd's drug use may have led to his death or caused him to struggle more with officers as they tried to put him in a police auto.

Mr Floyd seemed to take time to find his words but replied that he played football, Martin said.

She told jurors she believed Mr Floyd was not taking any drugs from the time he was discharged from hospital up until two weeks before his death, when she noticed "changes in his behaviour".

She said she became upset because the father was not coming to the lobby to discuss their son's birthday.

Ross began her testimony by telling how the two of them met.

As Ross wept, Frank asked if she wanted to take a break. "It's one of my favorite stories to tell".

She was waiting in the lobby to see the father of her son, exhausted after closing up the coffee shop where she worked. "I was like, 'No, I'm just waiting for my sons" father.' He said, 'Can I pray with you?'". Floyd came over to check on her.

Christopher Martin said Mr Floyd made friendly conversation and seemed to be under the influence of drugs.

Under questioning from Nelson, Ross also disclosed Floyd's pet name for her in his phone was "Mama" - testimony that called into question the widely reported account that Floyd was crying out for his mother as he lay pinned to the pavement.

"I was exhausted. We've been through so much, my sons and I, and (for) this kind person just to come up and say, 'Can I pray with you?'.it was so sweet". "At the time I had lost a lot of faith in God".

Minnesota is a rarity in explicitly permitting such "spark of life" testimony ahead of a verdict.

Thursday's testimony came a day after prosecutors played extensive video footage documenting the chain of events that culminated in Mr Floyd's death, beginning with his alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill at a neighbourhood market to pay for a pack of cigarettes.

The jury watched video on Wednesday that showed a cheerful-looking Floyd in his final minutes inside a grocery store before he ended up below Chauvin on the road outside.

Floyd's death, along with the harrowing bystander video of him gasping for breath as onlookers yelled at Chauvin to get off him, triggered sometimes violent protests around the world and demands that the United States confront racism and police brutality.

Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter and paramedic who was near the scene of the arrest, can be heard on the video screaming at the police to check Mr Floyd's pulse.



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