Derek Chauvin is on trial for George Floyd's death

By Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani, Veronica Rocha and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 2:23 AM ET, Thu April 8, 2021
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6:57 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Here's what happened today in the Derek Chauvin trial

Defense attorney Eric Nelson questions a witness on April 7 in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson questions a witness on April 7 in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Court TV/Pool/AP

Law enforcement officers and forensic experts testified today in Minneapolis about video footage taken on May 2020 and evidence found during the incident involving George Floyd.

Here's what they said today during the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin:

James Reyerson, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified today that he could hear Floyd saying he "ate too many drugs" in a video of the May 25, 2020 incident, but later acknowledged in redirect that Floyd could have said something different.

Reyerson was shown video of the incident and asked by defense attorney Eric Nelson, "Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, 'I ate too many drugs?'" "Yes, it did," Reyerson said.

After a short break, Reyerson was recalled to the stand by the prosecution and they played him a longer video that included the same audio. Prosecuting attorney Matthew Frank asked if he was able to tell what Floyd was saying.

"Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd is saying, 'I ain't doing no drugs,'" Reyerson said, contradicting his earlier answer.

Frank followed up, "That's a little different than what you are asked about when you're only saw a portion of the video, correct?" "Yes, sir," Reyerson said.

LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified that Chauvin had an obligation to take into consideration whether Floyd was in distress when considering to continue the type of force he was applying. "As the time went on, clearly in the video you could see that Mr. Floyd's medical — his health was deteriorating," Stiger said.

Stiger also testified that officers are trained that they can put their knee in between the shoulder blades at the base of the neck of a suspect to hold them on the ground.

Asked by Nelson if this was standard police practice to his knowledge, Stiger, a use-of-force expert, said yes.

A pair of forensic scientists testified today about what was found in a Mercedes at the scene and in the squad car Floyd was moved to.

McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified that the blood found in the back of a squad car in May 2020 belonged to Floyd. Anderson spoke specifically about eight specific locations in the vehicle where blood was found.

"From all eight of those locations, I obtained a single source male DNA profile that matches of George Floyd, and again this DNA profile would not be expected to occur more than once among unrelated individuals in the rural population," Anderson said.

Giles, a forensic scientist also with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified about tests she conducted on two pills found in the Mercedes in May 2020.

"The tablets contained methamphetamine and fentanyl," Giles said.

5:48 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Court has adjourned for the day

Court is adjourned until tomorrow morning when testimony is expected to resume in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.

5:47 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

A forensic chemist who tested pills found during investigation testifies

Pool
Pool

Susan Neith, a forensic chemist at NMS Labs in Pennsylvania, is now testifying in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Neith said she performed tests on three pills that had been retrieved from the console of a Mercedes during the investigation into the May 25, 2020 incident.

"They were not complete tablets," she told the court. "They had a portion that appeared to be cut off, so I couldn't read the exact monogramming on either tablet. They appeared to be round tablets, nothing out of the ordinary."

5:48 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Another forensic scientist describes the pills found in the Mercedes at the scene

Pool
Pool

Breahna Giles, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, is now testifying in the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

Giles tested two pills found in the Mercedes in May 2020.

"The tablets contained methamphetamine and fentanyl," Giles said.

Giles' colleague, McKenzie Anderson, testified before her. Anderson told the court that George Floyd's blood was found in the back of a squad car.

5:08 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Forensic scientist says Floyd's blood was found in squad car

Pool
Pool

McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified today that the blood found in the back of a squad car in May 2020 belonged to George Floyd.

Floyd was placed inside the squad car by officers during the May 25, 2020 incident.

Anderson spoke specifically about eight specific locations in the vehicle where blood was found.

"From all eight of those locations, I obtained a single source male DNA profile that matches of George Floyd, and again this DNA profile would not be expected to occur more than once among unrelated individuals in the rural population," Anderson said.

4:07 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Lead investigator changes answer about what he heard George Floyd saying in video

Pool
Pool

James Reyerson, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, testified today that he could hear George Floyd saying he "ate too many drugs" in a video of the May 25, 2020 incident, but later acknowledged in redirect that Floyd could have said something different.

Reyerson was shown video of the incident and asked by defense attorney Eric Nelson, "Did it appear that Mr. Floyd said, 'I ate too many drugs?'"

"Yes, it did," Reyerson said during the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin.

During redirect questioning, prosecuting attorney Matthew Frank asked Reyerson if he ever tried to listen to this piece of audio and figure out what Floyd was saying.

"I did not, no," Reyerson said.

"That was an exercise Mr. Nelson asked you to do for the first time sitting there," Frank followed up. "Yes, sir," he responded.

After a short break, Reyerson was recalled to the stand by the prosecution and played him a longer video that included the same audio. Frank asked him again if he was able to tell what Floyd was saying.

"Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd is saying, 'I ain't doing no drugs,'" Reyerson said, contradicting his earlier answer.

Frank followed up, "That's a little different than what you are asked about when you're only saw a portion of the video, correct?"  

"Yes, sir," Reyerson said.

Some more context: Earlier today, while cross-examining use-of-force expert LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, Nelson showed similar body camera video of the Floyd incident.

Nelson asked Stiger if he could interpret what Floyd was saying at that time, saying, “Does it sound like he says ‘I ate too many drugs’?” Stiger said he could not make out what Floyd was saying.

This post has been updated with new testimony from BCA special agent James Reyerson to prosecutors about Floyd's remarks in a May 25, 2020 video.

3:56 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

A forensic scientist is now testifying

Pool
Pool

McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, has taken the stand to testify.

James Reyerson, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, just wrapped his testimony.

2:20 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

Testimony has resumed in the Chauvin trial

The testimony of James Reyerson, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, has resumed following a short lunch break.

He was the lead case agent for the agency's investigation into the Floyd incident.

1:24 p.m. ET, April 7, 2021

The court is in a lunch break

The court has taken a break for lunch.

The testimony of James Reyerson, senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, will resume after the break.