Reversal Follows Testimony on George Floyd's 5 Muffled Words

Witness claimed he said 'I ate too many drugs,' before changing his mind
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2021 8:44 AM CDT

What looked like a win for the defense soon turned into a blow Wednesday during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin's defense attorney, Eric Nelson, was questioning James Reyerson, a senior special agent with Minnesota's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which investigates police use-of-force incidents, when Reyerson said George Floyd had uttered the words, "I ate too many drugs," during his arrest last May. Nelson had played a clip from an officer's body camera showing Floyd, who later died, as he was handcuffed on the ground, asking Reyerson if he'd heard Floyd say those words, per the New York Times. Reyerson replied in the negative, but after a second hearing, said he could make out the phrase.

The defense has been making the case that Floyd died as a result of medical issues, including fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, not from use of force, per NPR. But if Reyerson's testimony inflated the defense's sails, it wasn't for long. Under questioning by the prosecution, Reyerson heard a longer version of the clip, in which officers are heard discussing their belief that Floyd is on drugs. "Having heard it in context, are you able to tell what Mr. Floyd is saying there?" Reyerson was asked, per KARE. "Yes, I believe Mr. Floyd was saying, 'I ain't do no drugs,'" he responded. The state's use-of-force expert Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger previously testified that it was unclear what Floyd said. The muffled phrase is not included in the video's official transcript. (Read more George Floyd stories.)

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