The trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin focused Wednesday on a statement made by George Floyd during his arrest, which sparked disagreement between state prosecutors and Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney.
“Did you hear Mr. Floyd say, ‘I ate too many drugs,’” Nelson asked Special Agent James Reyerson, who was called as a witness by the prosecution.
“No,” Reyerson initially replied.
But after Nelson replayed the video, he asked again what Reyerson heard.
“Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, ‘I ate too many drugs?’” Nelson asked.
“Yes it did,” Reyerson answered.
Later, when re-called by the prosecution, Reyerson agreed that instead, he heard Floyd say, “I ain’t do no drugs.”
A similar scenario played out between Nelson and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) use-of-force expert Sgt. Jody Stiger, another witness called by the prosecution.
At first, Stiger said he could not understand what Floyd was saying. But after being pressed, he begrudgingly agreed that Floyd could have made the statement about eating too many drugs, and that due to the chaos of the situation, that statement might have been missed.
“In the chaos of a situation, things can be missed, right?” Nelson asked.
“Yes,” Stiger replied.
The question is a central one to the defense’s argument – that Floyd died of a drug overdose, not at the hands of Chauvin, the arresting officer.
An autopsy found that Floyd had possibly fatal levels of drugs in his system, including methamphetamine, and the ultra-deadly drug fentanyl.
Floyd’s potential admission to swallowing drugs during his arrest is another major revelation made public by the defense, which earlier this week cast doubt on whether Chauvin’s knee was ever placed on Floyd’s neck during the arrest.
Last week, Floyd’s girlfriend admitted on the witness stand that Floyd’s pet name for her was “mama,” busting the ubiquitous media and race huckster narrative that Floyd called for his mother before his death.
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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Minnesota Sun and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Hennepin County Government Center” by Lorie Shaull. CC BY-SA 2.0.