George Floyd's girlfriend tells jury of couple's struggle with addiction

A man holds a sign with a quote from Martin Luther King Jr. outside of the Fountain of Praise church in Houston Texas

"Both Floyd and I, our story, it's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids".

Floyd had been working as the head of security at a nightclub shortly before his death but had lost the job when the club closed because of the coronavirus, she said.

Bravinder describes seeing officers on top of the patient, later identified as George Floyd, when they drove up.

The equipment to treat a stopped heart was in the ambulance, Bravinder explained, and said there was a crowd of people yelling on the curb and so they wanted to move Floyd away from that to give him the auto he needed in the most "optimum environment" they could.

Prosecutors put Ms Ross on the stand as part of an effort to humanise Mr Floyd in front of the jury and portray him as more than a crime statistic.

The defence has argued that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd's death was caused instead by his illegal drug use, underlying health conditions and the adrenaline flowing through his body. Defense attorneys plan to make the case that Floyd died of unrelated medical issues and drug use, and they have argued Chauvin was following proper police protocol.

UPDATE, 10:30 a.m. ET: The first witness on Thursday is Courteney Ross, a woman who met Floyd in 2017 and was in a relationship with him.

The lawyers for Mr. Floyd's family said thousands of people who are addicted to drugs "are treated with dignity, respect and support, not brutality".

Mr. Chauvin is facing charges including second-degree murder in the trial, which entered its fourth day on Thursday.

However, prosecutor Matthew Frank tried to downplay the potential toxicity of those pills, getting Ross to agree that, obviously, neither she or Floyd had died from ingesting them in March or May.

"Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle". It's not something that just kind of comes and goes.

"He's a human being and I was trying to give him a second chance at life", he said.

The girlfriend of George Floyd, Courteney Ross, testified today they both purchased opioids from a man who was in the passenger seat of Floyd's auto on the day that he died. Ross said he tested positive for Covid-19 in "late March" and that he had been quarantining.

She said she noticed a change in Floyd's behaviour about two weeks before his death.

Nelson then asked Ross if she learned what caused the overdose.

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Under questioning from Nelson, Ross also disclosed that Floyd's pet name for her in his phone was "Mama" - testimony that called into question the widely reported account that Floyd was crying out for his mother as he lay pinned to the pavement.

In some of the video, Floyd can be heard calling out, "Mama!" repeatedly and saying, "Mama, I love you!. Tell my kids I love them".

"I kind of saw him move his knee down more", said the 18-year-old, "down onto Mr Floyd's neck".

Bravinder said they loaded Floyd into the ambulance so he could get care "in an optimum environment", but also because bystanders "appeared very upset on the sidewalk", and there was some yelling.

The call that brought an ambulance to the corner of 38th Street and Chicago south Minneapolis was a "code 2 for someone with a mouth injury", Bravinder said. "In my mind at least, we wanted to get away from that".

Prompted by Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson, Bravinder said that they chose to drive away in part because the tense crowd could potentially distract them from their work.

He said that en route to the hospital, he stopped the ambulance to help his colleague treat Floyd because his heart "flatlined". "Because they are all black", said the 18-year-old that filmed the viral video of the arrest.

She was waiting in the lobby to see the father of her son, exhausted after closing up the coffee shop where she worked. "It's one of my favorite stories to tell".

"And I had to go to work myself that Friday night", she said.

He said Mr Floyd "appeared to be high" that day because he struggled to respond to a simple question, but that he was lucid enough to able to hold a conversation.

"Floyd has this great, deep Southern voice, raspy", Ross recalled. "And he's like, "Sis, you OK, sis?' And I wasn't OK. I was like, 'No, I'm just waiting for my sons" father.' He said, 'Can I pray with you?'".

"It's been nights I stay up apologising and apologising to George Floyd for not doing more and not physically interacting and not saving his life", she continued.

Minnesota is a rarity in explicitly permitting such "spark of life" testimony about a crime victim at trial. Defense attorneys often contend such testimony allows prosecutors to play on jurors' emotions.

The teenage store clerk who says he believes that Mr Floyd unknowingly paid for cigarettes with a fake $20 bill told the court carried guilt around Mr Floyd's death.

"They were still on the ground".

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