During cross-examination of a prosecution use of force expert in the trial over the killing of George Floyd, the defense attorney for former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin suggested that Floyd told police “I ate too many drugs” before Chauvin restrained him, The Hill reported.
“I’d like you to see if you could tell me what Mr. Floyd says in this instance,” attorney Eric Nelson said, as he played a video clip pulled from body camera footage that showed what The Hill described as “Chauvin restraining Floyd during the May 2020 arrest that preceded his death.”
The witness, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, said she couldn’t make out what Chauvin had said, but a later witness, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension James Reyerson, initially agreed Floyd’s words sounded like Nelson’s statement suggested.
After a recess, though, Reyerson reportedly changed his testimony and said he heard Floyd say, “I ain’t do no drugs.”
What caused Floyd’s death?
It is difficult to understand the sentence, which was obscured by other noises in the video.
CROSS-EXAMINATION: Defense presents video evidence claiming #GeorgeFloyd says “I ate too many drugs” while being restrained.
What does it sound like to you?
— Court TV (@CourtTV) April 7, 2021
The testimony came as prosecutors focused on Floyd’s drug use. Nearly three dozen witnesses have been called by the prosecution so far, according to USA Today.
Two forensic scientists testified Wednesday afternoon that partial pills containing methamphetamine and fentanyl were found in the back of George Floyd’s car and the police car where he was put before being restrained.
Can they prove it?
Defense attorneys have argued that Floyd had enough fentanyl in his system to die from an overdose and that the autopsy wasn’t conclusive enough about his cause of death to rule out overdose.
According to Minnesota’s Star Tribune, Chauvin is charged with unintentional second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The difference between these charges is mainly intention: was Chauvin trying to kill Floyd, or was he just negligent in restraining him until he died?
If none of the charges are able to be proven, it is likely to upset a lot of people who saw the video of Chauvin restraining Floyd for what prosecutors say was more than nine minutes — including at least three minutes after Floyd apparently lost consciousness.
It may be that unrest follows if Chauvin is acquitted, or if people don’t think he was given a stiff enough punishment — but that shouldn’t stop anyone involved in the case from doing what they need to do for justice to prevail, whatever that may mean.