Today marks the beginning of Derek Chauvin’s trial in the murder of George Floyd. The murder trial began with both parties offering their opening statements. Chauvin’s defense made a bold claim in an attempt to prove his client’s innocence, claiming that George Floyd did not die from suffocation and excessive force but an overdose of drugs. Attorney Eric Nelson claimed that it can be proved entirely by the 9-minute of his death. Nelson added that a witness claimed Floyd appeared “drunk” when he tried to use a counterfeit bill to purchase cigarettes.
Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office via Getty Images
Nelson added that Floyd fell asleep in his car, attempting to suede that fact as proof that he was intoxicated. Additionally, Nelson said that Floyd “put drugs in his mouth” when he was confronted by police. Nelson said an autopsy indicated they found a “speedball” in his system. He said that Chauvin’s use of force was justified because of the weight and height difference — Floyd 6’3″ and 240 lbs and Chauvin 5’9″ and 140 lbs. Nelson said that this trial should be regarded as a trial against one man, and not a “social justice” trial.
Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said Chauvin “betrayed his badge” during George Floyd’s death. Blackwell immediately addressed Nelson’s claim, saying that Floyd did struggle with substance abuse issues, though the video of Floyd’s death clearly indicates that he was murdered and didn’t die of an overdose. Blackwell explained that Floyd couldn’t have died from an overdose because he was clearly struggling to breathe from being suffocated.
View the opening statement from Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell below.
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