George Floyd’s girlfriend broke down in tears on the witness stand Thursday as she gave jurors an intimate glimpse on the “mama’s boy,” novice athlete, restaurant lover and struggling drug person whose demise prompted nationwide protests in opposition to police brutality final summer time.
Courteney Ross mentioned she had a relationship with Floyd for about three years after they met in Minneapolis in August 2017.
“It is one in every of my favourite tales,” she mentioned, rising emotional and stifling tears as she recounted the romantic starting.
Ross was among the many prosecution witnesses who testified Thursday within the trial of Derek Chauvin, a white, former Minneapolis police officer. He is charged with second-degree homicide, third-degree homicide and second-degree manslaughter within the demise of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man.
Ross was the thirteenth witness to testify, however the first to element Floyd’s life past the day he died.
Floyd was devastated by his mom’s demise
The day they met, Ross had gotten off work on the espresso store the place she has labored part-time for 22 years. She went to see her son’s father, who had fallen on arduous instances and was staying on the Salvation Military Harbor Mild Heart shelter for the homeless, the place Floyd labored as a safety guard.
“Floyd got here as much as me. Floyd had this nice, deep Southern voice, raspy. ‘You OK, Sis?’ he mentioned. I wasn’t OK. He mentioned, ‘Can I pray with you?'” mentioned Ross, 45. “We would been by a lot, my sons and I. And this sort particular person asks if he can pray with me. It was so candy. … We had our first kiss within the foyer.”
In early 2020, the 2 separated for some time, Ross mentioned. However from March to early Could, they had been collectively on daily basis. She described visits to a sculpture backyard, eating places and different locations with Floyd. She choked again tears, then chuckled after being proven a photograph that he’d apparently taken himself. She referred to as it a “dad selfie.”
Ross mentioned Floyd was “devastated” after his mom died in Could 2018.
“Floyd is what I’d name a mama’s boy. I might inform, from the minute I met him,” Ross mentioned. When he returned from his mom’s funeral in one other state, “he appeared like a shell of himself, like he was damaged.”
Ross mentioned Floyd saved her quantity in his mobile phone as “mama.” Requested by prosecutor Matthew Frank whether or not Floyd additionally referred to his mom that means, Ross mentioned: “He referred to as her mama, too,” however in a special means.
Floyd cried out “mama” greater than 20 instances as cops struggled to subdue him and as he lay on the bottom with Chauvin and three different officers holding him down, based on recordings performed throughout the trial.
One of many Black males on the jury appeared to change into emotional behind a face masks throughout components of Ross’ testimony.
Each struggled with drug addition
Floyd was normally very energetic, Ross mentioned, and labored out on daily basis.
“He lifted weights that had been far past something I might elevate. He did sit-ups, push ups … he would do something bodily,” she mentioned. “Floyd cherished taking part in sports activities with anybody who needed to, together with neighborhood youngsters. He is that one that’d simply run to the shop.”
He by no means complained about shortness of breath, she mentioned.
Guilt, remorse, helplessness:Watching George Floyd die had a ‘profound’ affect on witnesses
Ross acknowledged that drug use was a part of their relationship. The couple typically break up up for a interval however at all times bought again collectively, she mentioned.
“Floyd and I each suffered from opiate habit,” she mentioned. “We each suffered from continual ache. Mine was in my neck. His was in his again. We each had prescriptions. After prescriptions had been crammed, we bought addicted, and we each tried, very arduous, to interrupt the addictions, many instances.”
On cross-examination by lead protection lawyer Eric Nelson, Ross acknowledged that she and Floyd had ups and downs throughout which one in every of them typically used medicine however the different did not.
Most of the medicine had been opiates, extremely addictive drugs obtained by prescriptions of their very own or purchased from others who had gotten prescriptions, mentioned Ross.
“Dependancy, in my view, is a lifelong wrestle” that continues on daily basis, she mentioned. “It is not one thing that comes and goes.”
Protection focuses on Floyd’s drug use
Nelson requested Ross a couple of time in March 2020 when Floyd required hospitalization. She mentioned she went to Floyd’s home to choose him up, however “his abdomen actually harm” and he was “doubled over in ache.”
She took Floyd to the hospital and later discovered he had overdosed. Ross testified that she did not know at the moment that Floyd had taken heroin or any medicine apart from opiates.
Nelson turned his questioning to Maurice Corridor, who was in a automobile with Floyd when Minneapolis cops first approached his automotive on Memorial Day. Ross mentioned she “didn’t like Maurice very a lot.” She acknowledged that she informed FBI investigators that Floyd had purchased narcotics from Corridor, however in court docket she mentioned she “didn’t see it with my very own eyes.”
“Do you recall telling the FBI (that Floyd’s hospital keep for an overdose) was from heroin?” Nelson requested. “I used to be speculating,” Ross replied.
Nevertheless, Ross additionally testified that she and Floyd had taken different medicine moreover opiates. These drugs seemed completely different from the others they took, made her really feel jittery, and saved her from sleeping effectively.
Ross mentioned she was in a automotive at a lodge whereas Floyd purchased drugs per week earlier than his demise. She mentioned she was on the telephone with him and thought she heard Corridor’s voice within the background. She testified that she solely discovered afterward that Floyd was with Corridor the day Floyd died.
Throughout re-questioning, Frank tried to point out that Floyd had not been in instant hazard of dying from the medicine he’d taken within the weeks earlier than his demise.
“He had a number of power,” Ross mentioned. “He was taking part in soccer, consuming, hanging out.”
Her final phrases with Floyd got here throughout a telephone name the day earlier than he died. “He mentioned he was going to be staying at Sylvia’s.” She was a mutual good friend he knew from the Salvation Military shelter.
Contributing: Eric Ferkenhoff, Tami Abdollah, N’dea Yancey-Bragg