Day four of Chauvin trial opens with tearful testimony from Floyd's former girlfriend Courteney Ross

Courteney Ross, George Floyd’s former girlfriend, broke down in tears shortly after taking the stand on Thursday after she was asked about their relationship.

Ross was the first witness to appear on the stand on Thursday morning as the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who faces three criminal counts in Floyd’s killing, entered its fourth day.

She came to tears just moments after taking the stand when she was asked to recount how she first met Floyd.

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“It’s one of my favorite stories,” she said.

She then went on to describe meeting Floyd in Minneapolis when he was a security guard at the Salvation Army around August 2017. At the time, Ross said she had been visiting her son’s father, who had been staying there then. 

Ross said she’d been upset in the lobby at the center after her son’s father didn’t come down to speak to her and was later approached by Floyd. 

“He’s like, ‘Sis, you OK, sis?’” she recalled, choking up.

After she said she told Floyd she wasn’t OK and that she had been waiting for her son’s father, she said the guard then offered to pray with her.

“He said, ‘Well, can I pray with you?’” Ross recounted tearfully. “I was so tired and we had been through so much, my sons and I, and this kind person just to come up to me and say, ‘Can I pray for you,’ when I felt alone in this lobby. It was so sweet."

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“That was just Floyd,” she added.

It wasn’t long after they met that Ross said she and Floyd began dating. She said they were “very close” over the next several years and up to his death in May.

Ross also laughed at a few points during her testimony when discussing Floyd, including one point when she was asked about a selfie Floyd took that media outlets have widely used in coverage of his killing.

“I would call it a dad selfie,” Ross said. “I’m just joking, but a lot of dads sometimes don’t have the best angle when they take selfies.”

Floyd, a Black man, died in May 2020 at the age of 46 after Chauvin, who is white, was recorded kneeling on his neck for more than eight minutes during an arrest. Viral footage of the arrest and Floyd’s subsequent death prompted months of nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Chauvin currently faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges.

Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County medical examiner in Minnesota days after he died. The report released by the county then said he experienced cardiopulmonary arrest while under law enforcement restraint.

“You will learn that he did not die from a drug overdose. He did not die from an opioid overdose,” lead prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said during the trial.

While Floyd was known to have struggled with an opioid addiction and trace amounts of fentanyl and methamphetamine were discovered in his body following his death, neither were found to have caused his death. 

However, Chauvin’s defense has argued otherwise during the trial. 

Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s defense attorney, has argued Floyd died from “a cardiac arrhythmia that occurred as a result of hypertension, coronary disease, ingestion of methamphetamine and fentanyl, and the adrenaline throwing — flowing through his body, all of which acted to further compromise an already compromised heart.”

During his questioning of Ross on Thursday, Nelson focused on pressing her about the couple's addiction to opioids and Floyd's drug use.