Lawyers for George Floyd's Family Say Jurors Should Look Past Drug Use
Apr 02 2021
A cashier who was one of the last people to speak with George Floyd before his deadly arrest last May testified at Derek Chauvin's murder trial in Minneapolis on Wednesday that Floyd appeared to be high on drugs but was able to make conversation. Both Houston natives, they had connected in Minneapolis through a pastor and had been in touch every day since 2016, Hall said in an interview with The New York Times past year.
"We both suffered from chronic pain". Mr. Chauvin is facing charges including second-degree murder in the trial, which entered its fourth day on Thursday. "They said, if he keep talking, well, he can breathe", McMillian said.
Ross admits both her and Floyd were both using in March 2020, and they tried to help each other.
Morries Hall, a man who was in the vehicle with George Floyd on the day of his death, has invoked his 5th Amendment right not to testify in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin.
He has pled not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges and faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of murder.
Floyd's death, along with the harrowing bystander video of him gasping for breath as onlookers yelled at Chauvin to get off him, triggered sometimes violent protests around the world and a reckoning over racism and police brutality across the U.S.
The 45-year-old also recounted how both she and her boyfriend struggled with opioid addiction.
"Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle", she said.
"I was exhausted. We've been through so much, my sons and I, and (for) this kind person just to come up and say, 'Can I pray with you?' ... it was so sweet".
"Both Floyd and I, our story, it's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids", she said.
Eric Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, has claimed Floyd's death was caused by the drug fentanyl and underlying medical conditions and he queried Ross extensively about Floyd's history of drug use.
Mr Chauvin, who is white, was sacked by the city's police department the day after he was captured on video with his knee on the neck of Mr Floyd, a black man in handcuffs. "Mama, I love you", he says.
'Can I pray with you?'
In March 2020, Ross drove Floyd to the emergency room because he was having extreme stomach pain, and she later learned he had overdosed.
Ross said she met Floyd in August of 2017, while she was waiting in the lobby of the Salvation Army's Harbor Lights shelter in Minneapolis.
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 the two of them met.
Asked by Nelson what she thought about Hall, Ross said "I didn't like Morries very much". "It's one of my favourite stories to tell".
"We went out to eat a lot because Floyd loved to eat a lot", she said, adding, "It was an adventure always with him".
She said there would be times when he would be up and bouncing around and other times when he would be unintelligible.
She recalled: "Floyd has this great Southern voice, raspy". Mr Floyd refused to return and the shop later called the police. "And he's like, "Sis, you OK, sis?' And I wasn't OK". "I was exhausted. We've been through so much, my sons and I, and (for) this kind person just to come up and say, 'Can I pray with you?'.it was so sweet". "At the time I had lost a lot of faith in God".
Minnesota is a rarity in explicitly permitting such "spark of life" testimony about a crime victim ahead of a verdict.
Asked by prosecutor Matthew Frank what he felt at the time, Martin became visibly upset and said "disbelief and guilt".
A few days after Floyd's death previous year, McMillian told a journalist he was also suffering the consequences of seeing a man die.
Prosecutors played police bodycam video of Mr Floyd pleading that he is "claustrophobic" and calling for his mother as the officers attempted to place him in the auto.
Bystander and police bodycam video showed officers pulling Floyd from his SUV at gunpoint, then struggling to put him in the back of the squad auto as a panicky-sounding Floyd writhed and cried, "I'm claustrophobic!"