George Floyd's girlfriend breaks down while testifying in Chauvin trialLast updated on Apr 03, 2021, 12:57 am
George Floyd's girlfriend broke down in tears as she took the witness stand on Thursday at the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former cop accused of murdering Floyd.
Courteney Ross (45) was the first witness who personally knew Floyd before he died last May after Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.
Here are more details.
Ross smiled through tears during testimony
Ross smiled through her tears as she described her relationship with Floyd, how they first met, and their addiction to painkillers in her testimony.
Ross wore a heart-shaped brooch to her black jacket for the occasion.
Already, the jury has heard three days of testimony from witnesses, including a paramedic from the scene who told the jury, "I thought he was dead."
She described her first meeting with Floyd
Ross said she first met Floyd in August 2017 at a Salvation Army homeless shelter, where he worked as a security guard, while she waited in the lobby to visit her son's father.
"Sis? You OK, sis?" she recalled Floyd asking her, sensing that she felt alone.
He offered to pray with her, she said, adding that they shared their first kiss that night.
Ross described Floyd as a 'mama's boy'
Ross said she and Floyd would take long walks and they dined out often.
"He was a big man," she said, describing his weightlifting, "It took a lot of energy to keep him going."
Floyd's phone had listed Ross, a mother of two, as 'Mama'. Ross also described Floyd as a "mama's boy," saying that he was "broken" after his mother died in 2018.
She also described their struggle with addiction
Ross said they both struggled to quit opioid after taking prescription painkillers for their chronic pain.
They also bought OxyContin and other pills from the black market, she said.
Sometimes they beat addiction, other times they relapsed, she said, describing addiction as a "lifelong struggle."
When asked about Floyd's past drug overdose, Ross said she did not know he had taken heroin.
Chauvin's lawyers argue Floyd died from Fentanyl overdose
Chauvin's lawyers said Floyd died due to an overdose from the Fentanyl found in his blood at an autopsy.
Notably, the county medical examiner had ruled his death a homicide at the hands of police.
Prosecutors argue that Eric Nelson, Chauvin's lead attorney, has sought to raise the drug use to muddy Floyd's character. They said the theory would be contradicted by medical evidence.
'People struggling with opioid abuse treated with support, not brutality'
Lawyers for Floyd's family, Ben Crump, and Antonio Romanucci, criticized Chauvin's defense in a joint statement: "Tens of thousands of Americans struggle with self-medication and opioid abuse and are treated with dignity, respect, and support, not brutality."
Floyd's death last May sparked protests globally
Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes. Floyd was being arrested for allegedly buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 note.
Videos of the incident, where Floyd can be heard complaining "I can't breathe" and "Don't kill me," had gone viral.
The incident sparked a global movement over racial injustice and police brutality against Black people.