Here are three takeaways from yesterday’s testimony at the trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin, accused of killing George Floyd, a Black man whose death in May led to protests against racial injustice in cities worldwide:
* Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross, 45, testified they were a loving couple who struggled with an addiction to painkillers.
Chauvin’s lawyers argue Floyd’s death was the result of an overdose, but the Floyd family’s lawyers said in a statement: “Tens of thousands of Americans struggle with self-medication and opioid abuse and are treated with dignity, respect and support, not brutality.”
Months ago the county medical examiner ruled the death a homicide at the hands of police, even though an autopsy found fentanyl in Floyd’s blood.
* Chauvin told retired Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Pleoger in a brief phone conversation that Floyd was combative during the deadly incident, according to a recording of the call played at the trial.
“We just had to hold a guy down who was going crazy on the back of the passenger floor,” Chauvin was heard telling Pleoger. Testifying on Thursday, Pleoger said Chauvin later acknowledged having knelt on Floyd or his neck.
* Paramedics who arrived at the scene testified they had to move police off Floyd, who by then had stopped breathing, had no pulse and whose pupils were dilated. “In lay terms,” paramedic Derek Smith told the jury, “I thought he was dead.”