Health: Struggle with Opioids Detailed in Testimony

The Story:

The high-profile trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd, underway in Minneapolis, Minnesota took an emotionally wrenching turn Thursday as the alleged victim’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross took the stand to testify about his addition to opioids, and their shared struggles to be free of that substance.

Significance:

The defense has already indicated that part of their defense will turn on the state of Floyd’s health before his encounter with Chauvin. They will maintain that he was dying for reasons of substance abuse, and that accordingly Chauvin cannot properly be blamed for killing him. The prosecutors apparently wanted to get in front of this point. It is a common tactical decision: “If we tell the jury X before they do, then it won’t be a bombshell when they argue about X.”

In Pill Form:

The testimony may have had a greater impact than planned. It didn’t merely blunt a potential defense bombshell; it humanized Floyd to jurors who otherwise didn’t know him except as a name in the headlines. Ross spoke of how Floyd received prescription pain killers due to back problems, and the prescription enabled the addiction. She called it “a classic story.” It is certainly that.

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