Thursday, 17 June, 2021


George Floyd's girlfriend tells of couple's 'sweet' meeting, drug use

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Melba Vasquez | 02 April, 2021, 02:19

Mr Floyd can be heard begging, "Please don't shoot me". We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck, his was in his back. The witness initially couldn't recall saying that and when provided with a transcript of her interview said she was "shocked" and "don't know what I mean by some of the things I said", prompting the defense to call for her words to be stricken from the record.

In her evidence, Ms Ross described how both she and Mr Floyd struggled with their addiction to painkillers throughout their relationship.

It was also apparently to explain his drug use to the jurors and perhaps get them to empathise with what he went through.

She spoke during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd by putting his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd said, "I can't breathe". The most serious charge against Chauvin carries up to 40 years in prison.

Minneapolis police officers attempt to remove George Floyd from a vehicle.

The topic of drug use came up to get ahead of defense attorneys' plans to argue that Floyd's death was due to drug use and medical issues unrelated to Chauvin's actions, according to CNN.

Fentanyl and methamphetamine was found in Mr Floyd's system during an autopsy.

He said Mr Floyd had ingested drugs at the time of his arrest "in an effort to hide them from the police", and suggested this had contributed to his death. They invariably complied when the officers told them to back up and remain on the sidewalk.

She said they "tried really hard to break that addiction many times".

"It is a classic story of how many people get involved in opioids", she said. "It's not something that comes and goes, it's something I'll deal with forever".

Jurors on Wednesday saw Minneapolis police officers' body camera footage showing how an initial confrontation over an alleged misdemeanour a year ago spiraled into George Floyd begging for his life underneath the knee of a police officer as two other officers held him down.

In March 2020, Ross drove Floyd to the emergency room because he was in extreme stomach pain, and she later learned he overdosed.

Mr Martin said he watched Mr Floyd's arrest outside with "disbelief - and guilt".

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Floyd had been "clean" after that, she said, but he appeared to have begun using pills again in the two weeks before his death.

Ross began her testimony by telling how she and Floyd first met in 2017 at a shelter where Floyd was a security guard.

"I pled and was desperate", she testified on Tuesday, dressed in her Minneapolis Fire Department uniform of a white shirt with a badge and black tie. "It's one of my favourite stories to tell".

She said she became upset because the father was not coming to the lobby to discuss their son's birthday. The prosecution's first turn with the witness ended as she was asked about Floyd's positive coronavirus diagnosis and how that might have come about.

"Floyd has this great Southern voice, raspy".

Ross' testimony could help prosecutors blunt the argument that drugs killed Floyd.

"This kind person, just to come up to me and say, 'Can I pray with you?' when I felt alone in this lobby, it was so sweet", she continued. "I had lost a lot of faith in God".

Prompted by Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson, Bravinder said that they chose to drive away in part because the tense crowd could potentially distract them from their work.

Minnesota is a rarity in explicitly permitting such "spark of life" testimony about a crime victim at trial.

Defence attorneys often complain that such testimony allows prosecutors to play on jurors' emotions.

Also testifying on Thursday was a paramedic who said Floyd was "unresponsive" and appeared to be in cardiac arrest when he and a partner arrived on the scene in an ambulance.

Chauvin's knee pins his neck, another officer's knee holds his back and a third officer holds his legs, with the officers talking calmly about whether he might be on drugs.

Mr McMillian, the first bystander on the scene, can be heard on video at one point telling a handcuffed Mr Floyd "you can't win" and to get into the back of a police squad auto. "We gotta control this guy 'cause he's a sizable guy... and it looks like he's probably on something".

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