Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

Friday, 02 Apr, 2021

Thus began the testimony of George Floyd's partner during the fourth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former policeman accused of the death of the African American.

Bystander and police bodycam video showed officers pulling the 6-foot-4, 223-pound Floyd from his SUV at gunpoint, then struggling to put him in the back of the squad vehicle as a panicky-sounding Floyd writhed and cried, "I'm claustrophobic!"

Darnella's nine-year-old cousin testified that Mr Chauvin did not remove his knee from Mr Floyd, even after ambulance workers had told him to.

Asked if Floyd was in cardiac arrest, Bravinder said "As we learned, yes". All four officers were later fired. The footage sparked global protests against police brutality.

The other three former police officers involved in the arrest - Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng - are to be tried separately later this year.

Courteney Ross shared details with the jury about Floyd's personal life and drug use, the latter of which is central to Chauvin's defense, Reuters reported.

"We want to remind the world who witnessed his death on video that George was walking, talking, laughing, and breathing just fine before Derek Chauvin held his knee to George's neck, blocking his ability to breathe and extinguishing his life", Mr Crump said.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked Pleoger, based upon his review of this incident, if he believed the restraint on Floyd should have ended at some point. But Friedberg doubted that would happen, saying Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill would halt testimony if it goes too far. He then outlined steps he and others took to try and restart Floyd's heart. She told of some particularly strong drugs that Floyd had obtained that she had taken as well, which packed a punch.

"In lay terms", Derek Smith, one of the paramedics, told the jury, "I thought he was dead".

"If I would've just not taken the bill, this could've been avoided", Mr Martin said, joining the burgeoning list of witnesses who expressed a sense of helplessness and lingering guilt over Mr Floyd's death.

"And that was when he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resistant?" prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked.

Pleoger had gone to the scene after he was contacted by a dispatcher, who was concerned about what she had seen of the arrest on a city surveillance camera.

A key witness in the state's case against Chauvin has filed a notice that he plans to exercise his Fifth Amendment rights, meaning he will likely not testify. "Tell my kids I love them". He was going insane.

Pleoger described the rest of the conversation, saying that he believed Chauvin told him they had tried to put Floyd in the back of the squad auto but that he became combative and injured his nose or mouth.

George Floyd's girlfriend has cried on the witness stand telling the story of how they first met.

Paramedic Seth Zachary Bravinder, who provided medical assistance to George Floyd, told the court that when he arrived at the scene, he could tell from a distance that Floyd wasn't breathing. A second paramedic, Derek Smith, testified that he couldn't find a pulse: "In layman's terms?"

"I thought, I was exhausted", she continued.

Courteney Ross, who was dating George Floyd for almost three years before his death in May, delivered tearful testimony Thursday about their shared struggle with an opioid addiction.

Ross also admitted that she was aware that Floyd had overdosed in March of a year ago and spent five days in the hospital.

It was also apparently to explain his drug use to the jurors and perhaps get them to empathise with what he went through. The defense has argued Floyd's death was caused by his drug use, underlying health conditions and the adrenaline flowing through his body.

In March 2020, Ms Ross drove Mr Floyd to the emergency room because he was in extreme stomach pain, later learning he overdosed.

She said they both had prescriptions, and when those ran out, they took the prescriptions of others and also used illegal drugs. He added that when Chauvin made that disclosure later that night, he did not say for how long.

"Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle", she said.

Ms Ross acknowledged that both she and Mr Floyd had struggled with opioid addiction.

"It's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids", she said.

When Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson cross-examined Ross, he questioned her on Floyd's drug use, driving hard for her to talk about how Floyd was hospitalized in March 2020 and how she had speculated that it was because he had used heroin.

On the footage, a distressed Floyd says repeatedly that he "can't breathe" and calls for his mother until he eventually passes out.