George Floyd's girlfriend cried on the witness stand Thursday as she told the story of how they first met in 2017 at a Salvation Army shelter where Floyd worked as a security guard. Courteney Ross, who was at the shelter to see her son's father, remembered Floyd's "great Southern voice, raspy" as he asked her, "You OK, sis?" per the AP. She also recounted how they both struggled with opioid addiction. “Both Floyd and I, our story, it’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids," said the 45-year-old Ross on Day Four of former Officer Derek Chauvin’s murder trial. "We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back,” She said they “tried really hard to break that addiction many times.” She said she suspected Floyd began using again about two weeks before his death.
Prosecutors put Ross on the stand as part of an effort to humanize Floyd in front of the jury and portray him as more than a crime statistic, and also apparently explain his drug use to the jurors and perhaps get them to empathize with what he went through. Ross described how both she and Floyd struggled with their addiction to painkillers throughout their relationship. She said they both had prescriptions, and when those ran out, they took the prescriptions of others and also used illegal drugs. Under cross-examination by Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson, Ross said Floyd's pet name for her in his phone was “Mama"—testimony that called into question the account that Floyd was crying out for this mother during his arrest. In some of the video, Floyd can be heard calling out, “Mama!” repeatedly and saying, "Mama, I love you! ... Tell my kids I love them.”
(More George Floyd