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Derek Chauvin’s trial puts focus on George Floyd’s suspected drug use as testimony continues

Prosecutors are set to enter the ninth day of testimony in Derek Chauvin’s trial on Thursday after a day that focused on George Floyd’s suspected drug use prior to this death.

On Wednesday, a state investigator testified that three white pills were found in the Mercedes-Benz vehicle Floyd was driving last May, and a similar but smaller white pill with Floyd’s saliva on it was found in the back of the police squad car. The pills were analyzed in a lab and found to contain fentanyl and methamphetamine, a forensic scientist testified.

In addition, the special agent who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigation into Floyd’s death struggled to make sense of a short phrase Floyd said as Chauvin kneeled on him.

Senior Special Agent James Reyerson was shown a clip from Minneapolis Police body-camera footage of Floyd saying something while handcuffed and in a prone position on the ground. He initially agreed with Chauvin’s defense attorney that it sounded like Floyd said, “I ate too many drugs.”

After a short break, the prosecution played for Reyerson a longer clip of the video. Reyerson then changed his mind. “I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, ‘I ain’t do no drugs,’ ” he said.

The drug testimony is important to the defense’s argument that Floyd died due to a drug overdose and preexisting health conditions, rather than because of Chauvin’s actions. Prosecutors have acknowledged Floyd’s opioid addiction but have said he died because Chauvin put his body weight on Floyd’s neck and back for over nine minutes — causing death by “positional asphyxia.”

Earlier on Wednesday, a Los Angeles Police Department use-of-force expert hired by the prosecution testified that Chauvin had used excessive and deadly force on Floyd when none was needed.

Prosecutors have sought to show Chauvin used excessive and unreasonable force on Floyd and had a “depraved mind” without regard for human life.

Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, third-degree murder and third-degree manslaughter. The trial, now in its second full week of testimony, is expected to last about a month.

Forensic scientists say drugs found in both vehicles

Several white pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in Floyd’s vehicle, and a smaller pill with Floyd’s saliva on it was found in the back of the police squad car, three forensic scientists said Wednesday.

BCA investigator McKenzie Anderson searched the vehicles involved in May and then again months later after initially failing to collect some of the pills.

In Floyd’s vehicle, she found two packets of suboxone, a drug that treats opioid addiction, three white pills, and bills stuffed between the seat and the center console, she said.

Inside the police squad car, she initially recovered Floyd’s shoes and a strap and noted eight bloodstains that matched Floyd’s DNA. On her second search of the car, she recovered a pill with a rough texture that did not appear whole as well as several small pieces that she thought might be pill fragments. Tests confirmed the smaller pill had Floyd’s saliva on it, she testified.

Breahna Giles, a BCA forensic scientist, testified that she analyzed the white pills. They had the markings of a pill that would contain oxycodone and acetaminophen, but upon testing they actually contained methamphetamine and fentanyl, she said.

In addition, a glass pipe recovered from the vehicle contained THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, but no plant material, Giles told the court.

Susan Neith, a forensic chemist who works for the company NMS Labs, also tested the same drugs to determine fentanyl and methamphetamine levels. She testified the fentanyl levels detected were average, and the methamphetamine levels were low.

Article Topic Follows: National-World

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