Breakdown: Derek Chauvin Trial / Day 4 (first 2 witnesses)

Day 4 of Derek Chauvin’s trail started out with the prosecution calling Courtney Ross to the stand. It appears the prosecution wanted to begin the day with another emotional witness for the jury. Courtney did not let the prosecution down as she wept telling the story of how she met her boyfriend, George Floyd, at the salvation army shelter Harbor Lights. He was working as a security guard at the shelter, and she was there to try and talk to her son’s father, but they ended up kissing instead. The prosecution had her describe how Floyd reacted to his mother’s death in 2018, the hobbies he enjoyed, the two daughters he left behind in Houston TX, and their shared struggle with control substances. The prosecution made sure to gloss over their struggle with drug use, especially in the months leading up to Floyd’s death.
The prosecution asked Courtney if Floyd ever had any breathing problems or other medical problems. She testified that they both got addicted to opioids because of pain. She had neck pain, and Floyd had back pain, but other than that she described him as healthy and enjoyed exercising.
She did admit to the prosecution that they did use illegal drugs and that in March of 2020 she believed Floyd was using again.
She even admitted she believed he was using again in May of 2020 to the prosecution. The prosecution handled her with kid’s gloves. He didn’t ask or even push the uncomfortable questions. But it was now the defense’s turn, and he had those transcripts from interviews with the FBI agents and other LEO.

I really love Nelson’s tactic on cross-examination, and you’ll really see it here.
He didn’t come at Courtney aggressively or in a way to make the jury see him as a bully. He informed Courtney that he wanted to focus only on March 2020 to May 2020. Nelson asked Courtney if they had bought illegal drugs from Moires Hall and she said they had.
She was also able to ID Hall as being with Floyd on May 25, 2020. Now here comes the slight of hand. Nelson then asked Courtney about the time she had to take Floyd to the hospital where he ended up staying for an extended period of time. She acted confused at first but eventually she testified she did remember the event.
Nelson then asked her if she remembered that the reason she had to take him to the hospital was due to an overdose of heroin. She responds to this by saying she didn’t know that was the reason. Keep this in the back of your mind. Nelson continued by asking Courtney about some pills she took in March of 2020 and asked her to describe them. Pills? Courtney testified that these were not the normal pills they got, they were not uniform in size and shape and instead of getting rid of her pain they made her hyper and jittery. She said she couldn’t sleep at all that night. When Nelson started to bring up her statements made to the FBI the prosecution objected, I wonder why.
However, the judge over-ruled and Nelson was allowed to proceed. The lawyers are getting sassy. Nelson asked Courtney how much time Floyd was spending with his friend Hall and if she liked Hall. She said he was spending a fair amount of time with him and she didn’t like him. There’s a reason for this line a questioning.
He asks Courtney if Floyd was buying illegal drug from Hall and she testifies that she “suspected it but never saw it with my own eyes.”
Nelson asked her if she knew that the strange pills she had taken in March 2020 had been purchased by Floyd from Hall and she answered she didn’t know that. This is where Nelson pulls out those transcripts!
He asked Courtney if she remembers when the FBI asked her where Floyd had bought the illegal drugs from, she told them, he bought drugs from Moires Hall. When faced with her own transcript she has to admitted that is what she said.

Nelson continued to press Courtney and asked her if those same pills were around from March to May of 2020 and her answer was “I don’t know.” These state’s witnesses are starting to all sound the same. Nelson offered to show her the FBI transcript to refresh her obviously “bad” memory and she accepted.
The refresher helped, and Nelson was able to re-phrase the question to correspond with the transcript. Courtney had told the FBI that from March – May of 2020 they would buy those same pills from the same source “once in a while when they were desperate.”
In the same line of questioning, referring back to the FBI transcripts, Courtney was also forced to admit that she told the FBI about Floyd being hospitalized on March 6th for 5 days. She also admitted that she told the FBI she knew it was from a heroin overdose and that she saw foam at the corners of his mouth when she took him to the hospital. She had even gone as far as calling the FBI and telling them who she believed had sold Floyd the heroin and that person was in the vehicle with Floyd on May 25, 2020, Shawanda Hill.

Nelson then asked Courtney if they had gotten similar pills from the March 2020 pills, again in May 2020 and she answered yes but didn’t know where they came from. She described how they made her feel similar to the March pills, again like being on a stimulant.
This was two weeks before Floyd died.
Nelson asked her if she told the FBI that “felt it like she was going to die” from taking the pills in May 2020. Her statement is in the transcript and she knows this so she said she didn’t recall saying that but if it’s in the transcript then she must have said it. You can not escape your own words!

The next question Nelson asked seemed a bit odd, until you realized what he just did. He asked Courtney if they had pet names for each other, but then re-phrased the question and asked her under name she was saved in Floyd’s phone.
She looked down as she answered this question because she knew the gravity of it. She testified that Floyd had her saved in his phone as “mamma.” Remember yesterday’s very emotional testimony with one witness breaking down as Floyd called out for “mamma.”
That witness stated he had just lost his mother recently and hearing Floyd call out for who he thought was his mother broke his heart. Now we are learning Floyd may not have been calling out for his mother at all. We also learned today that his mother passed away in 2018. So, who was he realistically yelling for? His mother or his girlfriend who he did drugs with? The biggest strategy by the prosecution right now is emotion. We must cut through emotion and look at evidence. Emotion only comes into the equation during sentencing. Let’s continue.

Nelson asks Courtney about statements she made to the FBI about Floyd purchasing drugs from Hall a week prior to his death. She confirms she made the statements and adds she didn’t see the purchase. Courtney testified that she was in a hotel parking lot while Floyd was on the phone with her, and she could her Hall’s voice with Floyd as he purchased the drugs. Nelson continued by asking Courtney about Floyd’s drug use two week prior to his death. She testified that from his behavior she could tell he was using again.

When the prosecution came back with rebuttal questions, it was an attempt to get the cat back into the bag. They failed. They could not fix the “mamma” revelation for starters. He also kept asking if they had died from their drug use and of course they hadn’t. An average drug user is not going to die from a normal dose of the drugs they typically take. People die when they take too much.

(Editor’s note: Those who overdose tend to die if they do not receive treatment in a timely manner.)

The next witness the state called up was Seth Bravinder, responding Paramedic. The prosecutor asked Seth as series of questions regarding the Codes called and what he observed when he arrived on scene. He described what we’ve all seen so many times by now, Floyd on the ground with three officers on top of him. However, he was not the paramedic who checked Floyd’s vitals, his partner did.
He described from his vantage point by the back of the EMS that Floyd was not responsive, and he believed he was in cardiac arrest. The prosecution asked Seth to describe a cardiac arrest. Seth described it as a catch all term for anyone who’s heart has stopped, or they’ve stopped breathing. The prosecution has Seth continue to describe their treatment of Floyd from loading him into the ambulance and everything they did to him in the back. He explained that it takes a lot of focus to resuscitate a person and they wanted to get away from the growing & hostile crowd. He also stated they needed the equipment in the ambulance.
They had the officer ride with them to help with chest compressions because it takes a lot of work. Then the prosecution got hung up on one of the standard medications given during resuscitation, sodium bicarbonate. We had some lawyer sass here.
The prosecution was leading the witness to say the sodium bicarbonate is used when a patient is asphyxiated, but Nelson was onto this and objected. Sodium bicarbonate, Seth testified, is a standard mediation given during all cardiac arrests.

(Editor’s note: Sodium bicarbonate is baking soda.)

Now it’s the Defense’s turn and Nelson comes out swinging.

He asked Seth if he had been on any calls where officers had been on top of the patients and imminently the prosecution objected! However, the judge over-ruled and Seth answered that yes, he was. Nelson asked Seth if officers would join them on overdose calls because at times when patient come too, they can become violent, and Seth answered yes.
Seth also testified that he had seen this happen personally. Nelson then pulls out the transcripts! Oh Lord! If we have learned anything so far its to always have your transcripts!
Nelson asked Seth if he remembers how he described Floyd’s body position to the FBI. And how did Seth respond you may wonder? I don’t recall what I said. We might as well have a repeat button for that phrase. But don’t worry! Nelson has the transcript to help the witness remember exactly what he said! Apparently, according to the transcripts that Seth did not refute, he described Floyd’s body position as “mostly on his left side.” Remember this position! I believe this will become relevant if Nelson is as good as he seems to be.
Nelson asked Seth about ketamine that paramedics have on the rigs to sedate violent individuals, but not unresponsive individuals like Floyd. Seth stated they do indeed carry this drug. Funny note.
Nelson asked if there were any obstructions from putting in the tube for BVM into Floyd’s throat and Seth stated there wasn’t. This means Floyd’s airway was never crushed or obstructed in anyway. Apparently, Nelson’s cross-examination had pissed off the female prosecutor because she came back on rebuttal with a very snarky attitude.  

(Editor’s note: Bag-Mask-Valve ventilation)

The prosecution came straight up and asked Seth if he thought Floyd was dead when he drove up. Of course Nelson objected and the judge sustained. Seth did not take Floyd’s vitals and only saw Floyd from a few feet away and can not determine if a person is dead or not. Little miss snarky had to rephrase her question and asked Seth if Floyd appeared unresponsive when he arrived and he said yes. However, this was just the beginning of the prosecution’s snarky questions. She asked Seth if he would use the ketamine on people who were “ALIVE” and struggling, to which Seth answered yes. She continued her snark by asking Seth if he would give it someone if they were dead, not responsive or in cardiac arrest, which of course Seth answered no.
When Nelson asked about the ketamine, he made sure to include that individuals, such as Floyd who are not responsive, would not be given such as drug. She wasn’t happy it was pointed out that violent criminals will at times be sedated by paramedics to help police officers, but we’re not done yet with this prosecutor’s snarky questions.
She then asked Seth about when they respond to overdoses, do they check for pinpoint pupils, he answered yes. She then asked if he remembered what Floyd’s pupils were and he said he didn’t recall because his partner had checked them. We know our boy Nelson won’t let this level snarky rest! He has rebuttal!

Nelson steps up and quickly asked Seth if he ever responded to a methamphetamine overdose, to which Seth said he had. Nelson then asked Seth if the pupils for such overdoses are in fact dilated and not pinpoints, to which Seth confirms is fact. Nelson scores.

I have 3 more witnesses that testified today and because tomorrow is going to be a half day, I’m going to save the last three for tomorrow. Also, tomorrow the Judge will hearing from Nelson on allowing the body cam footage from the Park Ranger and adding the Park Ranger to the witness list. We’ll see how things go. However, I’m not feeling well and don’t need to stay up too late tonight.

” so do some serial killers.”
This was in reference to the ketamine. As I did not deem this relevant to the reporting of the trial, I omitted it put it here to explain the omission.

This report and commentary was brought to you by @thewaryfox on Twitter, our newest addition to the team.

Categories: Crime Blotter, George Floyd, True Crime Files

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