A special agent for the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension testified Wednesday in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Department officer Derek Chauvin, who is charged in the killing of George Floyd.
Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes during a May 25 arrest, is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
BCA Special Agent James Reyerson testified about Floyd’s arrest and death and the subsequent investigation. Questions surrounding Floyd’s drug use was a key part of Reyerson’s testimony. The cause of Floyd’s death is expected to play a crucial role in the outcome of the trial.
Reyerson booked evidence from the vehicle Floyd was driving shortly before the arrest. This included two bills and a glass pipe.
Reyerson was also questioned about what Floyd said during the arrest. Chauvin’s defense attorney Eric Nelson questioned him about if he heard Floyd say in a video from the incident, “I ate too much drugs.” Reyerson said he did hear Floyd say that.
But after questioning from the prosecution, who showed Reyerson a longer version of the video, he said he heard Floyd say, “I ain’t do no drugs.”
The prosecution also questioned Susan Neith, a forensic chemist from Pennsylvania, about the contents of the pill found in the squad car. Neith also detailed the composition of two pills found in the console of the vehicle Floyd was driving.
Neith tested the pills for their quality of fentanyl and methamphetamine. All three pills contained less than 1% fentanyl, which Neith said is comparable to typical recreational fentanyl.
“Generally we see levels that are less than 1% or slightly more than 1%,” Neith said.
The levels of methamphetamine in the pills ranged between 1.9% and 2.9%, which Neith said was low. She said most recreational samples she has tested have been 90 and 100% methamphetamine.
It had previously been revealed in two autopsy reports that Floyd had methamphetamine and fentanyl in his system at the time of his death, though neither were identified as contributing factors in his death.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, an expert witness on use of force, also continued his testimony from Tuesday.
Under questioning from the prosecution, Stiger said the force used on Floyd would constitute deadly force, adding the pressure from Chauvin’s body could cause positional asphyxia.
Stiger told the prosecution the risks of positional asphyxia have been known “at least 20 years.”
“At the time of the restraint period, Mr. Floyd was not resisting. He was in the prone position, he was handcuffed… he was not attempting to resist,” Stiger said. “The pressure that was being caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxia, which can be deadly.”
Nelson questioned Stiger about a law enforcement training called “Awful but Lawful,” which Stiger said he has presented on before.
The training teaches that some uses of force may be caught on video and appear problematic, but still be lawful, which Stiger acknowledged.