Senior Special Agent James Reyerson saw a Minneapolis Police body camera clip showing Floyd saying something while handcuffed and lying on the floor.
“Did Mr. Floyd say, ‘I ate too many drugs? Defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Reyerson.
“Yes, that’s right,” Reyerson said.
After a short break, the prosecution released a longer clip of the video for Reyerson that provided the basis for this commentary.
“Having heard that in context, are you in a position to say what Mr. Floyd is saying over there?” asked prosecutor Matthew Frank.
“Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, ‘I don’t do drugs,’ Reyerson replied.
The testimony came on the eighth day of Chauvin’s criminal trial as several investigators and medical examiners testified to what they found at the crime scene, including bloodstains from Floyd and a few white pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine.
Earlier today, a Los Angeles Police Department use of force expert hired by the prosecution testified that Chauvin used excessive and lethal force on Floyd when none was needed.
Throughout the trial, jurors watched closely and at various times took notes on much of the testimony, according to reports from the pool inside the courtroom. However, reports from the pool indicate that the attention of some jurors was brought to light during the testimony of BCA investigators on Wednesday.
Chauvin, 45, pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, third degree murder and third degree manslaughter. Nelson has not indicated whether Chauvin will testify in his own defense.
The trial, which is now in its second full week of testimony, is expected to last about a month.
LAPD Sgt. says Chauvin used deadly force
The LAPD use of force expert said on Wednesday that Chauvin used “lethal force” by holding his knee to Floyd’s neck and back for more than 9 minutes in a situation where no force was required.
“He was lying down. He was not resisting. He was handcuffed. He was not trying to escape. He was not trying to resist,” Stiger said of Floyd. “And the pressure … which was caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxiation which could cause death.”
Stiger testified that the dangers of positional asphyxiation have been known to law enforcement for at least 20 years.
He told the jury that “no force should have been used”, with three officers restraining Floyd and two others standing.
Chauvin is seen in the body camera video grabbing Floyd’s fingers in an attempt to inflict pain to make him obey, Stiger told the court. He was asked if Floyd couldn’t comply.
“At this point it’s just pain,” Stiger replied.
He also said the crowds of passers-by gathered at the scene did not pose a threat to Chauvin or other officers – a claim made by the defense, which described the crowd as hostile.
“They were just filming and most of their concerns were with Mr. Floyd,” the expert said.
While it’s possible for a mob to distract an officer, Stiger doesn’t think it happened in this case because Chauvin was talking to Floyd.
“In the body-worn video you can hear Mr. Floyd showing his discomfort and pain, and you can also hear the accused responding to him,” he said.
In cross-examination, Stiger said some of the comments from bystanders could be seen as potential threats and officers learn to predict future behavior. He also admitted that Chauvin could have used a Taser initially because Floyd actively resisted attempts to put him in a police vehicle.
Stiger’s testimony began on Tuesday afternoon. He said he had conducted over 2,500 use of force reviews.
The sergeant said officers were initially justified in using force when Floyd actively resisted arrest and refused to get into the team car. Floyd also kicked officers when he was first taken to the ground, body camera video shows. The circumstances then changed.
“However, once he was placed in a prone position on the ground, he slowly ceased to resist and at that point the former officers should have slowed down or stopped their force as well,” Stiger said.
Forensic scientists say drugs found in the two vehicles
Prosecutors said in their opening statements that Floyd was struggling with an opioid addiction, and Wednesday afternoon’s testimony touched on drugs related to him.
Several white pills containing fentanyl and methamphetamine were found in Floyd’s vehicle, and a smaller pill containing Floyd’s saliva was found in the back of the police car, three medical examiners said on 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.
Inside the police car, she first retrieved 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 were pill fragments. Tests confirmed that the smaller pill contained Floyd’s saliva, she said.
Breahna Giles, a BCA forensic scientist, testified that she analyzed the white pills. They bore the marks of a pill containing oxycodone and acetaminophen, but after testing they actually contained methamphetamine and fentanyl, she said.
In addition, the 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 NMS Labs, also tested the same drugs to determine levels of fentanyl and methamphetamine. She testified that the levels of fentanyl detected were average and that the levels of methamphetamine were low.
The lead investigator breaks down the video
Reyerson, the BCA’s senior special agent, described Chauvin’s extensive case and went through portions of a composite video of him kneeling on Floyd for more than nine minutes.
Reyerson saw camera footage of an officer’s body synchronized with spectator video that provided two perspectives of Floyd’s final moments. The video shows that Floyd stopped talking about four minutes after the video began and stopped moving about five minutes, even as Chauvin’s body weight remained on Floyd in the prone position, Reyerson said.
Even after the paramedics arrived, Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd for almost a minute and a half until a paramedic signaled him to get off.
Investigators found several items in an envelope in the trunk of the team’s car, including two $ 20 bills, one of which was torn in half, as well as cigarettes and a small pipe, Reyerson said. Pills were also found in the back of the police car, he said.