A national expert in the proper use of force by police testified on Wednesday that former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin had no need to kneel on the neck of George Floyd once he was handcuffed and prone.
The defense shifted its focus to the 46-year-old Black man's drug use.
DEFENSE ATTORNEY ERIC NELSON: "You can't say it was or wasn't fentanyl?" FORENSIC SCIENTIST BREAHNA GILES: "Yes." NELSON: "I have nothing further." The defense on Day 8 of the murder trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin turned its focus back to questions about George Floyd’s drug use on the day of his deadly arrest, and a dispute emerged over what he said while he was pinned to the ground.
NELSON: "Did you ever hear Mr. Floyd say 'I ate too many drugs'?" SPECIAL AGENT JAMES REYERSON: "No." Defense attorney Eric Nelson, who has suggested that it was drugs and not Chauvin's knee that caused Floyd's death, showed a shortened video clip to Senior Special Agent James Reyerson, the lead investigator in the case.
NELSON: "I'm going to ask you, sir, to listen to Mr. Floyd's voice." [PLAYS CLIP] NELSON: "Did you hear that?" REYERSON: "Yes, I did." NELSON: "Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said 'I ate too many drugs'?" REYERSON: "Yes, it did." But later after prosecutors showed Reyerson the full clip, the expert witness heard something different.
PROSECUTOR MATTHEW FRANK: "Having heard it in context, are you able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?" REYERSON: "Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, 'I ain't do no drugs.'" Earlier, the defense tried the same question with LAPD Sergeant Jody Stiger.
NELSON: "Does it sound like he says, 'I ate too many drugs.'
Listen again." [PLAYS CLIP] STIGER: "I can't make that out.
No." Stiger, an expert in the use of force by police, faulted Chauvin's actions during the deadly arrest of George Floyd, saying no force should have been used after he was handcuffed and prone.
STIGER: "My opinion was that no force was reasonable in that position." Chauvin's defense hinges on an argument that drug use was a factor in Floyd's death.
The prosecution's witnesses said he disregarded his training when he knelt on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.