USA: George Floyd’s drug use becomes central element in his girlfriend’s interrogation – 01/04/2021

USA: George Floyd’s drug use becomes central element in his girlfriend’s interrogation – 01/04/2021
USA: George Floyd’s drug use becomes central element in his girlfriend’s interrogation – 01/04/2021

The lawyer of former police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of causing the death of George Floyd, started on Thursday (1st) to build his defense during the process currently taking place in Minneapolis. He interrogated the victim’s boyfriend, who reported the couple’s struggle to quit drugs.

The lawyer of former police officer Derek Chauvin, accused of causing the death of George Floyd, started on Thursday (1st) to build his defense during the process currently taking place in Minneapolis. He interrogated the victim’s boyfriend, who reported the couple’s struggle to quit drugs.

Courteney Ross, who maintained a relationship with Floyd from 2017 until his death on May 25, 2020, was the first person close to the victim to testify at the trial, after three days of testimony that put Chauvin’s defense in difficulty. The 45-year-old woman answered the questions with emotion in her voice, interrupting her speech for moments of crying and sobbing. In her account, she told details of the beginning of their relationship, how Floyd approached her and won her over with his deep voice.

“Floyd and I live the classic history of opioid addiction,” she said when asked by prosecutor Matthew Frank about the couple’s relationship with drugs. “We get addicted and try very hard to stop the addiction, many times,” added Ross. Both had a prescription for sedative opioid pills and, after becoming addicted, started to buy these drugs on the street or in the parallel market.

According to his girlfriend, despite the addiction, Floyd, a man who was almost 2 meters tall and weighed 100 kilos, maintained a healthy lifestyle and exercised daily. “He was training with weights that I couldn’t even lift,” said the woman, who thinks that dealing with addictions is a lifelong struggle.

Testimonials broadcast on television

One of the main arguments in the defense of the former police officer is the fact that, at the time of his death, Floyd was under the influence of fentanyl (a synthetic opioid), which would have contributed to his death. For that reason, Chavin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson bombarded Ross with questions about the nature of the drugs used, how the couple got them, and an episode in March when Floyd overdosed and had to be hospitalized.

Nelson’s strategy sparked outrage in the Floyd family, who denounced “an easy tactic when you know you have the facts against you”. In a statement, the lawyers for the family said that “there are tens of thousands of Americans who fight self-medication and addiction to opiates and are treated with dignity, with respect and support and not with brutality”. They said they trusted the jury’s ability to see further.

The Minneapolis process is looking forward to in the United States. Many television stations broadcast live footage of the testimonies after the death of African-American Floyd sparked a wave of protests against racism not seen in decades.

Floyd died after Chauvin immobilized him for several minutes by placing his knee on his neck. The former police officer, who pleaded not guilty, faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge: second-degree murder.

With information from AFP

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