2/2 © Reuters. City of Minneapolis Enters Third Day of Derek Chauvin Trial 2/2
By Jonathan Allen MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – George Floyd’s girlfriend smiled through tears when she told a jury on Thursday how they met when he offered to pray with her, less than three years before his fatal arrest, and described how the two they struggled with opioids. addiction. Courteney Ross, 45, was the first person to meet Floyd personally to testify in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former white Minneapolis police officer captured in widely seen video kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a man black handcuffed 46 year old. , for about nine minutes. The images sparked worldwide protests against police brutality. “It‘s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids,” Ross, who wore a heart-shaped brooch on his black jacket, told the jury. “We both suffered from chronic pain: mine was in my neck, his was in his back.” Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to the murder and manslaughter charges. In a central dispute of the trial, his lawyers have argued that Floyd’s death, declared a homicide at the hands of the police, was actually an overdose caused by fentanyl found in his blood at autopsy. Prosecutors from the Minnesota attorney general’s office have told the jury that they will hear evidence to contradict this, including Ross’s testimony about his tolerance for drugs, and that Floyd’s drug use is irrelevant to the charges against Chauvin. Here are some key moments from the fourth day of witness testimony: COURTENEY ROSS, FLOYD’S BRIDE “This is one of my favorite stories to tell,” Ross said, smiling at the jury, when asked by a prosecutor how he met Floyd in August. 2017, at a Salvation Army homeless shelter, where he worked as a security guard. He was waiting in the lobby to see the father of his son, tired after closing the cafeteria where he worked. Floyd walked over to her. “Floyd has this big, deep, husky southern voice,” she said, “and he was like, ‘Sister’, are you okay, sister ‘?'” She felt like she was lonely and offered to pray with her. “It was so sweet,” she said, rubbing her eyes with a tissue. “At that point I had lost a lot of faith in God.” They had their first kiss in the lobby that night and, save for an occasional break after a lovers’ fight, they were together until his death, he said. They took walks in the parks and around the Minneapolis lakes, which was still new to the Texas-raised Floyd, and ate a lot: “He was a big man,” she said, describing his daily weight lifting, “and it seems a lot of energy to go ahead “. He said he adored his mother, who died in 2018, and his two young daughters. Sometimes they took prescription painkillers. At other times they obtained opioids illegally. Sometimes they got rid of the habit, sometimes they relapsed. “Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle,” he said. “It’s not something that comes and goes, it’s something that I will deal with forever.” Chauvin’s lead attorney, Eric Nelson, asked Ross many questions in interrogation about how the couple got their drugs and an episode in which Floyd was taken to a hospital emergency room for what turned out to be a non-overdose. fatal. He said he thought Floyd sometimes bought pills from Morries Hall, who was sitting in the car next to Floyd in the front passenger seat when police arrived last May. Nelson has subpoenaed Hall to testify when the defense presents their case, and has told the jury that Hall and a woman in the car would tell them that they saw Floyd swallow two pills before police arrived on May 25 and that he fell fast asleep. . Through an attorney, Hall said he would invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination if called to testify, and asked Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill to vacate the subpoena. SETH BRAVINDER, PARAMEDIC WHO TREATED FLOYD Floyd appeared not to breathe and had no pulse when Seth Bravinder and his partner from Hennepin Emergency Medical Services arrived in an ambulance outside Cup Foods, where Floyd was suspected of having passed a counterfeit 20 bill dollars that same night. . They had to ask Chauvin and other officers to move. “They were still on top of him,” Bravinder told the jury. His first thought was that some kind of fighting was taking place, but it quickly became apparent that Floyd was flaccid, and Bravinder cradled Floyd’s head as he was transferred to a stretcher to keep him from hitting the road. They stopped two blocks away to continue resuscitation efforts on Floyd. Bravinder saw a flat line on the heart monitor. “It’s not a good sign,” he said. On questioning, Bravinder told Nelson that he believed the emergency call he was responding to included a note about possible narcotics involvement. Floyd was pronounced dead at 9:25 p.m. at a downtown hospital, just over an hour after entering Cup Foods.