Lawyer for white policeman Derek Chauvin, accused of the murder of George Floyd, began building his defense on Thursday, questioning the African-American’s girlfriend at length about their use of opiates.
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After three days of damning testimony for the police officer, his lawyer Eric Nelson took a more offensive stance against Courteney Ross, a 45-year-old white woman who had an intimate relationship with George Floyd from 2017 until her death.
The black forty-something died on May 25 in Minneapolis after being held down for more than nine minutes, with Derek Chauvin’s knee on his neck. The 45-year-old agent, charged with murder in this case which caused a stir around the world, pleads not guilty.
His lawyer says he did not cause George Floyd’s death but that the 46-year-old African-American died of a fentanyl overdose, combined with health problems. The official autopsy did find traces of this powerful synthetic opioid in the victim’s body but identified “neck compression” as the cause of death.
Medical experts will be summoned to discuss it in front of the jurors but as of Thursday, Eric Nelson sought to gather elements going in his direction during the interrogation of Ms. Ross.
The prosecution had tried to clear the land by making her talk about their relationship. Very moved, this mother of two children had portrayed a man “full of energy”, “gentle” with whom life was “an adventure”.
As for their drug use, “it’s a classic story of people becoming addicted to opiates because of chronic pain. Me it was on the neck, him on the back… ”, she had simply explained to the prosecutor.
Mr. Nelson then came into play, assailing him with questions about the nature of the drugs consumed, the effects of certain pills, their sources of supply and a stay in George Floyd’s hospital in early March. for overdose.
He also pointed out that they sometimes bought drugs from the two people who were with George Floyd at the time of his death. One of them, Morries Hall, filed an appeal on Thursday to avoid testifying at trial.
Me Nelson’s strategy aroused the wrath of the Floyd family who denounced “an easy tactic when the facts are against you.”
“Tens of thousands of Americans struggle with self-medication and opioid addiction and are treated with dignity, respect and support, not brutally,” their lawyers wrote in a statement, saying they were confident in the ability of jurors to “override”.
“Not a good sign”
The day before, the last moments of George Floyd had been played and replayed with sequences, almost unbearable, captured by surveillance cameras, cell phones and police pedestrian cameras.
In these images, we see the forty-something moaning, panting, begging more than twenty times, “I can’t breathe”, before being silent.
Derek Chauvin maintains his pressure, even when his colleagues note that George Floyd “has passed out” and has “no more pulse”, and even several seconds after the arrival of an ambulance.
A rescuer, who was in the vehicle, said Thursday that the forty-something already no longer showed any sign of life. His heart rate was “flat”, “which means that the heart was not pumping blood,” said Zachary Bravinder.
“This is not a good sign for the resuscitation of the patient,” he added, describing the unsuccessful efforts to revive him.
The trial of Derek Chauvin, who appears free, is to last until the end of April and the verdict will be rendered immediately. His three ex-colleagues Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao, will be tried in August for “complicity in murder”.