“I said, ‘no, I’m just waiting for my son’s father. Sorry,’” Ross added. “He said, ‘well, can I pray with you?’ I was so tired. 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 with you?’ when I felt alone in this lobby. It was so sweet.” Ross said they had their first kiss right in that lobby.
Not all of her testimony about Floyd was positive. Other aspects of Ross’ description of him showed his humanity as much as stories of their relationship showed his kindness and decency. She detailed their shared struggle with opioid addiction when asked about it by the prosecution. “We both suffered from chronic pain,” she said. “Mine was in my neck and his was in his back. We both have prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled, and we got addicted, and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.”
New York Times reporter Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs explained the prosecution’s questioning as an attempt to “get out in front of the argument by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that Mr. Floyd’s drug use may have led to his death or caused him to struggle more with officers as they tried to put him in a police car.” Ross later revealed, in response to defense attorney Eric Nelson’s questioning, that Floyd was treated at a hospital for an overdose last March.
“I thought I was taking him to work. He wasn’t feeling good,” she said. “His stomach really hurt. He was doubled over in pain, just wasn’t feeling well, and he said he had to go to the hospital. So I took him straight to the hospital.” Ross, who said she had to eventually leave the emergency room to get to work, later found out Floyd had overdosed. “You did not know that he had taken heroin at that time?” Nelson asked. Ross responded that she did not. She also said during her testimony that Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 in late March and that his roommates also tested positive, CNN reported.
Although it’s unclear how Floyd’s diagnosis was relevant to the trial, what’s more clear is that Chauvin had no business kneeling on a man’s neck for upward of eight minutes. Minneapolis Fire Capt. Jeremy Norton said he entered the ambulance Floyd was eventually placed in, only to see “an unresponsive body on a cot.” He said in court that he was sure to file a report about the incident with his supervisors. “I was aware that a man had been killed in police custody, and I wanted to notify my supervisors to notify the appropriate people above us in the city, in the fire department and whomever else,” he said, “and then I also wanted to inform my deputy that there was an off-duty firefighter who was a witness at the scene.”
That firefighter, Genevieve Hansen, previously testified that officers on the scene wouldn’t allow her to help Floyd, and they also didn’t take steps she suggested to help him themselves, such as checking his pulse.
David Pleoger, the retired police sergeant who testified on Thursday, said officers should have stopped kneeling on Floyd when he stopped resisting. “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint,” he said.