Much of the media focus on the fourth day of the trial for former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was on the testimony of George Floyd’s former girlfriend.
Chauvin is facing murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Floyd, who died after being detained by the police in May 2020, with Chauvin kneeling on his neck as he lay face-down in handcuffs.
The defense argument is that the former officer was following his training and that Floyd’s death was because of illegal drug use, underlying health conditions and the adrenaline flowing through his body, Fox News reported. Fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in his system during an autopsy — Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 in April, and again following his death.
Floyd’s former girlfriend, Courteney Ross, offered emotional testimony about how they met at a Salvation Army shelter and talked about a shared history of narcotics addiction and drug abuse.
“Both Floyd and I, our story, it’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back,” Ross said. “We both had prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, and we got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.”
(Video: The Hill)
Ross was a prosecution witness and she said they used drugs on and off throughout their three-year relationship, and explained that Floyd had overdosed in March 2020. She said Floyd used OxyContin, and that they had purchased narcotics from Morries Lester Hall, whose name has also been spelled “Maurice.”
As Fox News noted, Hall was a passenger in Floyd’s car when police approached him on May 25, 2020 — police were called over Floyd allegedly trying to pass a counterfeit bill.
Seen as a key witness, Halls’ attorney said in court papers filed on Wednesday that he would invoke the Fifth Amendment if called to testify.
Ross said she had reason to suspect that Floyd was using drugs around the time of his death and that she was on the phone with Floyd a week before he died and that he was allegedly buying drugs. She recognized the voice in the background as Hall’s.
When Floyd was being held down by police, he could be heard calling for “Mama,” but he may have been thinking of Ross rather than his mother — the media narrative is that he was crying out for his mother.
Floyd can be heard repeatedly calling out “Mama!” in video footage of the incident, saying, “Mama, I love you! … Tell my kids I love them.”
During cross-examination, Ross explained that Floyd’s pet name for her in his phone was “Mama.”
As for when they met, Ross said she was crying in the lobby of the Salvation Army when Floyd came up and asked, “You okay, sis?”
Floyd was working as a security guard at the shelter at the time.
“I was not okay,” she said. “I was just waiting for my son’s father. He said, ‘Uhm, well can I pray with you?’ I was so tired. We’d been through so much, my sons and I. And this kind person just to come up to me and just say, ‘Can I pray with you?’”
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