New York Correspondent
The presence of drugs in the body of George Floyd at the time of his death is one of the great cards used by the defense of Derek Chauvin, the policeman accused of his murder. Floyd died after Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck for almost ten minutes, which were recorded on cell phones of witnesses who witnessed the episode in May last year in Minneapolis (Minnesota).
The defense, led by the lawyer Eric Nelson, tries to show that the drug use, medical condition and adrenaline surge in Floyd were the determining causes of his death, not the maneuver of the policeman.
One of the first witnesses to address the use of opiates and Floyd’s health has been his girlfriend, Courteney Ross, who took the stand at the end of the first week of the trial in Minneapolis.
In emotional testimony, in which Ross was unable to hold back tears on numerous occasions, the victim’s partner explained that she met Floyd at a low-income shelter and had been in an on-and-off relationship with him since 2017. He also recognized the addiction of both to opiates, a scourge in the US, which has experienced an epidemic of overdoses and deaths from its use in recent years.
“It’s the classic story of how a lot of people get hooked on opiates,” said Ross, who suffered from neck pain and Floyd from back pain. «We both had prescriptions», Explained the witness. “When they finished we were hooked and tried to break the addiction many times.”
“It’s a life-long struggle that you have to face every day,” said Ross, who explained that they bought drugs like oxycodone on the black market or on the street. Attempts to quit the drug often ended in joint relapses. In one of them, in March of last year, Floyd was hospitalized for several days after an overdose. Both were able to cut the addiction afterwards, but Ross believes that Floyd relapsed shortly before his death.
Ross acknowledged that they both bought pills on occasion. Morries Hall, a key piece in the reconstruction of Floyd’s death. Hall, who in an interview last year with ‘The New York Times’ claimed to be very close to Floyd, was in the passenger seat of the car where the victim was detained shortly before he died.
Chauvin’s lawyer pulled Hall’s name relentlessly and repeatedly asked Ross about him. In his opening remarks, Nelson said Hall would testify that Floyd took two pills at the time of arrest to prevent him from being detained in his possession by police. But this week it became known that Hall has decided to file for the Fifth Amendment, which allows a person not testify to avoid self-incrimination, and will not take the stand at the trial.
Floyd’s family attorneys, led by Benjamin Crump, they assured that it was to be expected that Chauvin’s defense would try to use drug consumption as a way to exonerate the agent. “It is the main tactic when the facts are not on your side,” they said in a statement, where they recalled that the victim “walked, spoke, laughed and breathed perfectly before Derek Chauvin pressed his knee against his neck” and that Tens of thousands of Americans struggle with addiction and are treated “with dignity, respect and support, not brutality.”
Floyd’s girlfriend also defended at trial that the victim was in good health and was an athletic person despite his back pain- Floyd tested positive for Covid-19 in April, several weeks before his death, but the prosecution maintains that it had nothing to do with his death.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism