George Floyd's girlfriend, who was in a relationship with him when he died, was visibly distressed Thursday as she recounted her first encounter with Floyd — one of her favorite stories, she said — and answered questions about their opioid use.
Why it matters: The prosecution and defense fought to sway jurors on Day 4 of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's murder trial, casting Floyd as a devoted partner and a drug-addled drifter, respectively. Prosecutors are seeking Chauvin's conviction on murder and manslaughter charges.
What she's saying: 45-year-old Courtenay Batya Ross met Floyd in August 2017 while she was waiting to visit her sons' father at a Salvation Army shelter. She said she was tired and feeling alone when Floyd, then a security guard at the shelter, came up to her and said, "Sis, you okay, sis?" — before asking if he could pray with her.
- "We had been through so much, my sons and I," Ross said, repeatedly apologizing to the court as she struggled to speak through emotion. "And this kind person just to come up to me and say, 'Can I pray with you?' ... It was so sweet."
- Afterward, when he found out she was single, Ross said "he asked me if he could get my number and we had had our first kiss in the lobby."
During the three years together, they enjoyed eating and spending every day together, she told jurors. But they also both struggled with opioid addiction, she said, calling it a lifetime battle.
- Floyd used opioids to cope with injuries that stretched from his neck and shoulder blades down to his lower back, according to Ross.
- In March 2020, he was hospitalized for an overdose. She said he appeared to start using again two weeks before he died in May.
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