George Floyd allegedly told officers “I ate too many drugs” while he was being handcuffed during his fatal arrest, according to a brief, chaotic video clip defence attorneys played in court on Wednesday during the Derek Chauvin murder trial.
Witnesses who reviewed the footage before and during the trial of Mr Chauvin said they don’t agree that Mr Floyd actually said that.
James Reyerson, a special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who investigated Mr Floyd’s death, at first said he hadn’t heard that specific clip and couldn’t make out Mr Floyd’s remarks upon listening in court.
After hearing the clip for a second time in court on Wednesday, Mr Reyerson agreed that it did sound like Mr Floyd was talking about ingesting drugs.
Finally, upon being recalled to the stand and hearing it for a third time, this time in an extended clip to put Mr Floyd’s words in their full context, he concluded Mr Floyd didn’t say he taken drugs, but rather the opposite.
“I believe Mr Floyd was saying, ‘I ain’t do no drugs,’” Mr Reyerson said.
Previously, Jody Stiger, a use of force expert with the Los Angeles Police Department called as an expert witness to review the case, told the court on Wednesday he couldn’t hear what Mr Floyd was saying in the clip.
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s lawyers have blamed George Floyd’s death in part on a drug overdose.
“The evidence will show that Mr Floyd died of a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, his coronary disease, the ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline flowing through his body – all of which acted to further compromise an already comprised heart,” attorney Eric Nelson said during his opening statement last week.
The state, meanwhile, argues it was Mr Chauvin’s knee on George Floyd which ultimately killed him, and medical testimony from the doctors and medics who treated Mr Floyd has supported that interpretation.
Dr Bradford Langenfeld, who was a resident at the Hennepin County Medical Center and treated Mr Floyd, said that after examining the evidence, “asphyxia, as it’s commonly understood,” a lack of oxygen to the body, seemed to him the most likely cause of death.