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Kamis, 01 April 2021

George Floyd's partner and paramedics take the stand in Derek Chauvin trial - ABC News

George Floyd's partner has tearfully told a jury how they first met and described how they both struggled with opioid addiction.

Courteney Ross, 45, was the first person who personally knew Mr Floyd to testify in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the white former Minneapolis police officer seen in video footage kneeling on the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old handcuffed black man, for about nine minutes.

The footage sparked global protests against police brutality.

"It's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids," Ms Ross, who wore a heart-shaped brooch on her jacket, told the jury.

"We both suffered from chronic pain: mine was in my neck, his was in his back."

Mr Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges.

The most serious charge against him carries up to 40 years in prison.

You view Derek Chauvin from the waist up wearing orange prison clothes against a grey background.
Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.(

AP via Hennepin Country Sheriff

)

In a central dispute of the trial, his lawyers have argued that Mr Floyd's death, ruled a homicide at the hands of police, was really an overdose caused by the fentanyl found in his blood at autopsy.

Prosecutors from the Minnesota Attorney-General's office told the jury they would offer evidence to contradict this, including Ms Ross's testimony about his drug tolerance, and that Mr Floyd's drug use is irrelevant to the charges against Mr Chauvin.

Medical experts have said that while the level of fentanyl in his system could be fatal to some, people who use the drug regularly can develop a tolerance to it.

'Addiction ... is a lifelong struggle'

Two men posing in front of a car
George Floyd was 46 when he died.(

Christopher Harris via AP

)

Ms Ross first met Mr Floyd in August 2017 at a Salvation Army homeless shelter, where he worked as a security guard.

"Floyd has this great, deep, southern voice, raspy," she said, "and he was, like, 'Sis, you OK, sis?''"

He sensed she felt alone, and offered to pray with her.

"It was so sweet," she said, dabbing a tissue to her eyes. "At the time I had lost a lot of faith in God."

They had their first kiss in the lobby that night and, but for the occasional break after a lovers' quarrel, were together until his death, she said.

She said he adored his mother, who died in 2018, and his two young daughters.

At times they took prescribed painkillers. At other times they illegally obtained opioids. Sometimes they shook the habit, sometimes they relapsed.

"Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle," she said.

Mr Chauvin's lead lawyer, Eric Nelson, asked Ms Ross many questions in cross-examination about how the couple got their drugs and an episode where Mr Floyd took himself to a hospital emergency room for what proved to be a non-fatal overdose.

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

A pedestrian walks past a protester with a sign that says George Floyd's death was "murder".
A protester holds a sign in Minneapolis where the trial is underway.(

AP: Jim Mone

)

In the months that followed, Ms Ross said, she and Mr Floyd spent a lot of time together during the coronavirus quarantine, adding that he was clean.

But she suspected he began using again about two weeks before his death because his behaviour changed: She said there would be times when he would be up and bouncing around, and other times when he would be unintelligible.

Under questioning from Mr Nelson, Ms Ross also disclosed that Mr Floyd’s pet name for her in his phone was “Mama” — testimony that called into question the widely reported account that Mr Floyd was crying out for his mother as he lay pinned to the pavement.

Paramedics take the stand

Witness Seth Bravinder answers questions on a court stand.
Paramedic Seth Bravinder said a monitor showed that Mr Floyd had flatlined in the ambulance.(

AP: Court TV

)

A paramedic who arrived on the scene that day said  he saw no signs that Mr Floyd was breathing or moving, and it appeared he was in cardiac arrest.

A second paramedic, Derek Smith, testified that he checked for a pulse and couldn't detect one.

"In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead," he said.

The first paramedic, Seth Bravinder, said paramedics loaded Floyd into the ambulance so he could get care "in an optimum environment," but also because bystanders “appeared very upset on the sidewalk,” and there was some yelling.

"In my mind at least, we wanted to get away from that," he said.

Mr Bravinder said after he drove the ambulance three blocks and jumped in back to help his partner, a monitor showed that Mr Floyd had flatlined -- his heart had stopped.

He said they were never able to restore a pulse.

ABC/wires

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiZmh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIxLTA0LTAyL2Zsb3lkcy1wYXJ0bmVyLXJlY2FsbHMtdGhlaXItc3RydWdnbGVzLXdpdGgtYWRkaWN0aW9uLzEwMDA0NjI1MtIBKGh0dHBzOi8vYW1wLmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvYXJ0aWNsZS8xMDAwNDYyNTI?oc=5

2021-04-01 22:17:07Z
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