Crime George Floyd's suspected drug use becomes focus as Derek Chauvin trial continues
Minneapolis officers line up to reject Chauvin's actions
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The parade of Minneapolis police officers rejecting a former officer’s actions in restraining George Floyd continued at his murder trial, including a use-of-force instructor who said officers were coached to “stay away from the neck when possible.” Lt. Johnny Mercil on Tuesday became the latest member of the Minneapolis force to take the stand as part of an effort by prosecutors to dismantle the argument that Derek Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do when he put his knee on George Floyd’s neck last May.
Prosecutors are set to enter the ninth day of testimony in Derek Chauvin's trial on Thursday after a day that focused on George Floyd's suspected drug use prior to this death.
On Wednesday, a state investigator testified that three white pills were found in the Mercedes-Benz vehicle Floyd was driving last May, and a similar but smaller white pill with Floyd's saliva on it was found in the back of the police squad car. The pills were analyzed in a lab and found to contain fentanyl and methamphetamine, a forensic scientist testified.
In addition, the special agent who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into Floyd's deathFloyd said as Chauvin kneeled on him.
Defense set to take turn in ex-cop's trial in Floyd death
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The defense for a former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's death was set to start presenting its case Tuesday, following 11 days of a prosecution narrative that combined wrenching video with clinical analysis by medical and use-of-force experts to condemn Derek Chauvin's actions. Prosecutors called their final witnesses Monday, leaving only some administrative matters before they were expected to rest Tuesday. Once the defense takes over, Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson is expected to have his own experts testify that it was Floyd's drug use and bad heart, not Chauvin's actions, that killed him.
Senior Special Agent James Reyerson was shown a clip from Minneapolis Police body-camera footage of Floyd saying something while handcuffed and in a prone position on the ground. He initially agreed with Chauvin's defense attorney that it sounded like Floyd said, "I ate too many drugs."
After a short break, the prosecution played for Reyerson a longer clip of the video. Reyerson then changed his mind. "I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, 'I ain't do no drugs,' " he said.
The drug testimony is important to the defense's argument that Floyd died due to a drug overdose and preexisting health conditions, rather than because of Chauvin's actions. Prosecutors have acknowledged Floyd's opioid addiction but have said he died because Chauvin put his body weight on Floyd's neck and back for over nine minutes -- causing death by "positional asphyxia."
Duty sergeant: Officers could have ended Floyd restraint
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minneapolis police supervisory sergeant who was on duty the night George Floyd died testified that he believes the officers who restrained Floyd could have ended it after he stopped resisting. David Pleoger testified Thursday at the trial of since-fired officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death. He noted that officers are trained to roll people on their side to help with their breathing after they have been restrained in the prone position.
Earlier on Wednesday, a Los Angeles Police Department use-of-force expert hired by the prosecution testified that Chauvin had used excessive and deadly force on Floyd when none was needed.
Prosecutors have sought to show Chauvin used excessive and unreasonable force on Floyd and had a "" without regard for human life.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and third-degree manslaughter. The trial, now in its second full week of testimony, is expected to last about a month.
Forensic scientists say drugs found in both vehicles
Several white pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in Floyd's vehicle, and a smaller pill with Floyd's saliva on it was found in the back of the police squad car, three forensic scientists said Wednesday.
BCA investigator McKenzie Anderson searched the vehicles involved in May and then again months later after initially failing to collect some of the pills.
Police chief: Fired cop broke policy in pinning Floyd
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minneapolis police chief who called George Floyd's death “murder” soon after it happened testified that Officer Derek Chauvin had clearly violated department policy when he pinned Floyd's neck beneath his knee for more than 9 minutes. Continuing to kneel on Floyd's neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, "and it is certainlyContinuing to kneel on Floyd's neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, "and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday on D
In Floyd's vehicle, she found two packets of suboxone, a drug that treats opioid addiction, three white pills, andand the center console, she said.
Inside the police squad car, she initially recovered Floyd's shoes and a strap and noted eight bloodstains that matched Floyd's DNA. On her second search of the car, she recovered a pill with a rough texture that did not appear whole as well as several small pieces that she thought might be pill fragments. Tests confirmed the smaller pill had Floyd's saliva on it, she testified.
Breahna Giles, a BCA forensic scientist, testified that she analyzed the white pills. They had the markings of a pill that would contain oxycodone and acetaminophen, but upon testing they actually contained methamphetamine and fentanyl, she said.
In addition, a glass pipe recovered from the vehicle contained THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, but no plant material, Giles told the court.
Susan Neith, a forensic chemist who works for the company NMS Labs, also tested the same drugs to determine fentanyl and methamphetamine levels. She testified the fentanyl levels detected were average, and the methamphetamine levels were low.
Key takeaways from 1st week of Derek Chauvin trial .
Here are some key takeaways five days into Derek Chauvin's trial. The high-profile trial is expected to last another three weeks, as Chauvin faces charges of manslaughter, second-degree murder and third-degree murder. Even President Joe Biden is "watching closely," according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.