Factbox-Key moments from fourth day of witness testimony at Chauvin trial

View of Chicago Fine Arts Gallery near George Floyd Square, where mementos dedicated to George Floyd are on display, while the city of Minneapolis enters its third day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is facing murder charges in the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., March 31, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones

(Reuters) -The jury in the murder trial of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin heard testimony on Thursday from George Floyd's girlfriend who told of how the couple struggled with addition, and a retired police sergeant who said that Chauvin told him that Floyd was combative and went "crazy" on the night he died.

Chauvin, who is white, had been pressing his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in handcuffs, for about nine minutes, a scene that ignited global protests against police brutality.

Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges. His lawyers have argued that Floyd's death, which the county medical examiner ruled was a homicide, was an overdose caused by the opioid fentanyl.

Here is some testimony from court on Thursday:


Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin told retired Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Pleoger in a brief phone conversation that George Floyd was combative during the deadly incident, according to a recording of the phone call played during Chauvin's murder trial.

"We just had to hold a guy down who was going crazy on the back of the passenger floor," Chauvin was heard saying to Pleoger, who testified on Thursday.

Later that night at the hospital where Floyd was taken, Pleoger spoke with Chauvin again. It was then that Chauvin told him how he restrained Floyd.

"He said he knelt on Floyd or knelt on his neck," Pleoger testified.


Floyd had no pulse when Seth Bravinder and Derek Smith of Hennepin Emergency Medical Services arrived in an ambulance outside Cup Foods.

They had to ask Chauvin and other officers to move.

"They were still on top of him," Bravinder told the jury. His first thought was that some kind of struggle was going on, but it quickly became clear that Floyd was limp.

Smith could not find a pulse, and his pupils were dilated. Bravinder cradled Floyd's head as they transferred him to a gurney. They stopped two blocks away to continue resuscitation efforts on Floyd. Bravinder saw a flat line on the heart monitor.

"It's not a good sign," Bravinder said.

Jurors were shown images of paramedics checking Floyd inside the ambulance, congealed blood below his nose and red scrape marks on his left shoulder.


Courteney Ross, 45, was the first person who personally knew Floyd to testify in the trial. She tearfully spoke of their romance and their shared struggles with opioid addiction.

"It's one of my favorite stories to tell," she said, smiling toward the jury, when asked by a prosecutor how she first met Floyd in August, 2017, at a Salvation Army homeless shelter, where he worked as a security guard.

She was waiting in the lobby to see the father of her son, tired after closing up the coffee shop where she worked. Floyd approached her.

"Floyd has this great, deep, southern voice, raspy," she said, "and he was, like, 'Sis', you ok, sis'?'"

He sensed she felt alone, and offered to pray with her.

"It was so sweet," she said, dabbing a tissue to her eyes. "At the time I had lost a lot of faith in God."

They had their first kiss in the lobby that night and, but for the occasional break after a lovers' quarrel, were together until his death, she said.

She described how they both began taking prescription painkillers before turning to the black market.

"It's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids," Ross said. "We both suffered from chronic pain: mine was in my neck, his was in his back."

Sometimes they shook the habit, sometimes they relapsed.

"Addiction, in my opinion, is a lifelong struggle," she said. "It's not something that comes and goes, it's something I'll deal with forever."

(Compiled by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago and Jonathan Allen in Minneapolis; editing by Noeleen Walder and Stephen Coates)

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