Fred de Sam Lazaro
Fred de Sam Lazaro
Prosecutors continued to lay out their case on day four of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with second and third degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd last May. Jurors heard from Floyd's girlfriend about his life and struggles. Special correspondent Fred De Sam Lazaro has the story.
This was day four of the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. He is charged with second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd last May.
As special correspondent Fred de Sam Lazaro reports, prosecutors continued to lay out their case.
Fred De Sam Lazaro:
A trial already filled with emotion began with more tearful testimony this morning. George Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross, took the stand and cried as she told the story of how the two met at a Salvation Army shelter in 2017.
Floyd has this great, deep Southern voice, raspy. And he's like: "Sis, you OK, sis?"
This kind person just to come up to me and say, "Can I pray with you?" it was so sweet.
Ross described Floyd as a — quote — "momma's boy" who loved his two daughters. She also spoke about their shared struggle with opioid addiction.
We both suffered from chronic pain. We got addicted, and tried really hard to break that addiction.
Derek Chauvin's defense is trying to convince jurors that Floyd's drug use, coupled with underlying health conditions, actually caused his death.
An autopsy revealed Floyd had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system when he died. Ross told jurors she took Floyd to the hospital in March 2020, just two months before his death, for what she later learned was an overdose.
Shortly after Ross' testimony, lawyers for Floyd's family released a statement, saying: "We fully expected the defense to put George's character and struggles with addiction on trial, because that is the go-to tactic when the facts are not on your side."
Lawyers also questioned a Minneapolis police sergeant who came to the scene after Floyd died.
Based on your review of the body-worn camera footage, do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?
What is it?
When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint.
And that was after he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resistant?
Jurors also heard from first responders, including one paramedic who moved Chauvin's knee off Floyd, and another who thought Floyd was dead when they arrived.
For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Fred de Sam Lazaro.
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Fred de Sam Lazaro is director of the Under-Told Stories Project at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, a program that combines international journalism and teaching. He has served with the PBS NewsHour since 1985 and is a regular contributor and substitute anchor for PBS' Religion and Ethics Newsweekly.
Sam Lane is reporter/producer in PBS NewsHour's segment unit.
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