The lead defense attorney for ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin suggested on Wednesday that George Floyd was filmed saying he “ate too many drugs” during last year’s arrest that ended with his death.
Lawyer Eric Nelson showed footage from then-officer J. Kueng’s body camera and asked Los Angeles police Sergeant Jody Stiger whether Floyd uttered the phrase. Stiger responded that he could not make out what Floyd was saying.
The body camera footage that was scrutinized showed Floyd lying on his stomach near the wheel of a vehicle as officers forced his arms behind his back.
The prosecution hired Stiger to review video footage of last year’s deadly arrest in addition to court records and training policy. He testified on Wednesday that Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd’s neck from the time Floyd was forced onto the ground until paramedics arrived.
BREAKING: Chauvin lawyer plays clip of George Floyd, asks if he is saying “I ate too many drugs” pic.twitter.com/JiUDVQMjUf
— Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) April 7, 2021
Yesterday, Stiger said that responding officers were acting appropriately when they forced Floyd out of his SUV and into the back of the police cruiser. According to the sergeant, officers should have lowered or completely stopped using force once Floyd was placed on the ground in a prone position.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 44, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes.
Floyd was heard gasping for air and repeatedly saying he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and died.
As previously reported, Hennepin County’s official autopsy report stated that Floyd’s blood had a fentanyl concentration of 11 nanograms per milliliter. While the medical examiner described the concentration as high and potentially fatal, they stressed that it does not mean Floyd died of an overdose. The report also stated that there was no evidence “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation” in Floyd’s death.
Conversely, an independent autopsy asserted that sustained forceful pressure on Floyd’s neck and back led to his death.
Both the county’s and the independent report mentioned drugs in Floyd’s system. However, the two reports listed his cause of death as a homicide.
The defense has argued that a “speedball” — an opioid and a stimulant combination — along with hypertension led to Floyd dying of cardiac arrhythmia. However, the prosecution said video evidence and expert testimony disproves Floyd was dying from a drug overdose, and that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes killed him.
Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death. In addition to Chauvin, three other ex-officers, Thomas Lane, 37, Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death.
Chauvin is being tried separately from the other three former officers, who will stand trial together. Their trial is scheduled to begin this summer.
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[Featured image: Court TV via AP, Pool]