Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Melissa Macaya, Melissa Mahtani, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 10:54 PM ET, Thu April 1, 2021
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11:28 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

The prosecution's strategy in addressing Floyd's opioid addiction, according to a CNN legal analyst

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

As Courteney Batya Ross testified that she and George Floyd struggled with opioid addiction, CNN legal analyst Laura Coates explained the prosecution’s strategy behind addressing this fact — even though it may seem to cast Floyd in a negative light.

“It's because as the prosecutor, you want to present and address and resolve these bad facts. You don't want to have the defense be able to say, ‘Hey, jury, why didn't they tell you about this? Here are the things they don't want you to know.’ Sprinkling seeds of doubt,” Coates explained.

Coates added that the prosecution is addressing it so they can “package it essentially” to say, “‘So what? He has an opioid addiction.' And of course in America, we view opioid abuse very differently than we did even decades ago. How does this actually impact Chauvin's decision to act?” 

11:15 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

Trial is on a short pause

The trial is on a pause as the defense and prosecution are speaking to the judge.

The defense attorney, Eric Nelson, had been cross-examining Floyd's girlfriend. 

11:24 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

Floyd's girlfriend testifies he was hospitalized for an overdose in March 2020

Pool
Pool

Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend, testified that in March 2020, Floyd was hospitalized for an overdose.

Responding to questions from defense attorney Eric Nelson, Ross said she picked Floyd up one night to take him to work, but he didn't feel well, so she took him to the hospital instead.

"I thought I was taking him to work. He wasn't feeling good. His stomach really hurt. He was doubled over in pain. Just wasn't feeling well, and he said he had to go to the hospital, so I took him straight to the hospital. We went to the ER, and they were checking him out in the ER, and it was getting late. And I had to go to work myself that Friday night," she said.

"You later learned that that was due to an overdose?" Nelson asked.

"Yes," Ross responded

Nelson then asked Ross if she learned what caused the overdose. She said she did not.

Here's how the rest of the exchange happened:

Nelson: "At that time frame, did you learn that Mr. Floyd was taking anything other than opioids?"
Ross: "No."
Nelson: "You did not know that he had taken heroin at that time?"
Ross: "No."

Prosecutors were the first to ask about opioid use during the trial to get ahead of some of the defense team's arguments. Defense attorneys plan to make the case that Floyd died of unrelated medical issues and drug use.

11:03 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

The defense is cross-examining Floyd's girlfriend 

The prosecuting team has finished questioning Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend. 

Defense attorney Eric Nelson is cross-examining her now in court. 

11:10 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

George Floyd's girlfriend tells the couple's story

From CNN's Aditi Sangal

Pool
Pool

As the fourth day of the Derek Chauvin trial began, Courteney Ross took the stand as the first witness of the day. Ross said her relationship with George Floyd began in August 2017 and they were together until his death.

Ross said she met Floyd when she went to see her son’s father at the Salvation Army shelter. Floyd worked there as a security guard, and came up to her and offered to pray with her.

“I was upset and I started fussing in the corner of the lobby. And at one point, Floyd came to me. And Floyd had this great deep southern voice. Raspy. And he's like, ‘sis, you OK, sis?’ And I wasn't OK. I said, ‘no, I’m just waiting for my son's father. Sorry.’ He said, ‘well, can I pray with you?’ I was so tired. We had been through so much, my sons and I. And this kind person, just to come up to me and say can I pray with you, when I felt alone in this lobby. It was so sweet.”

After he found out she was not in a relationship, they shared a kiss in the lobby.

The prosecution is establishing Floyd's characteristic traits while questioning her.

11:00 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

Floyd's girlfriend said he tested positive for Covid-19 in late March

Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend, said he tested positive for Covid-19 in "late March."

"I believe it was late March," Ross said. She noted that her tests were negative, and Floyd's were positive. 

Ross said Floyd had been quarantining and that his roommates also had Covid-19. 

More on the witness: Ross is the 13th prosecution witness in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged in Floyd's death. Ross said she met Floyd in August 2017. 

10:53 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

George Floyd's girlfriend: We "both suffered with opioid addiction"

Courteney Ross, George Floyd's girlfriend, testified that they both struggled with opioid addiction.

"Floyd and I both suffered with opioid addiction," she said, answering a prosecutor's question during the fourth day of testimony at the trial of Derek Chauvin.

She continued:

"Both Floyd and I, our story — it's a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids. We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both have prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, and we got addicted, and tried really hard to break that addiction many times."

Prosecutors were the first to ask about opioid use during the trial to get ahead of some of the defense team's arguments. Defense attorneys plan to make the case that Floyd died of unrelated medical issues and drug use, and they have argued Chauvin was following proper police protocol.

10:58 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

Witness describes how George Floyd reacted to his mother's death

Pool
Pool

George Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross testified she had been in a relationship with Floyd since August 2017. 

She was asked by the prosecution if she knew Floyd when his mother died to which she replied, "yes."

Ross said that was in May of 2018.

Asked how he reacted to his mother's death, she said:

"Floyd is a momma's boy, I could tell from the minute I met him. And when he came back from Houston, he seemed like a shell of himself. Like he was broken. He seemed so sad. He didn't have the same kind of bounce that he had. He was devastated."

"He loved his mom so much," Ross said, in an emotional testimony. 

"He talked about her all the time. I knew how he felt. It's so hard to lose a parent. That you love like that," she added. 

Ross is the 13th prosecution witness in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

10:45 a.m. ET, April 1, 2021

George Floyd’s girlfriend is testifying now

From CNN’s Aaron Cooper in Minneapolis

Pool
Pool

George Floyd’s girlfriend is the 13th prosecution witness in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin.

Courteney Ross testified she has been in a relationship with George Floyd since August 2017. 

Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck on May 25 as Floyd told Chauvin and three other officers he couldn't breathe.

Ross said she met Floyd when she went to see her son’s father at the Salvation Army shelter. Floyd worked there as a security guard and came up to her and offered to pray with her.

After he found out she was not in a relationship, they shared a kiss in the lobby.

Today is the sixteenth day of the trial and the fourth day of the prosecution’s case.