George Floyd's family says defense lawyers' claim that he died from overdose feels like 'knife in the heart'
After a pre-trial hearing, Floyd's brother said in an emotional address to reporters that hearing the defendants blame his brother for his own death felt like a 'knife in the heart'
George Floyd's family is fighting back against claims that his death on May 25, 2020, was due to a drug overdose. Floyd was unarmed at the time of his arrest in Minneapolis by four police officers who detained him on suspicion of using a counterfeit $20 bill. His death was captured on camera which saw former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
Floyd begged Chauvin to get off saying "I can't breathe" till the time he lost consciousness. He was then pronounced dead by medical technicians who responded to the scene after which Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder. All four former officers who were charged for Floyd's death attended a pre-trial hearing in Minneapolis on Friday, September 11.
It was held to discuss if the trial should be moved out of the county and if the defendants should be tried in one trial or separately, the juror selection process and other issues.
At the hearing, attorneys defending the charged officers claimed that Floyd’s death likely resulted from a fentanyl intake prior to the arrest. His family disputed all of these claims outside the court stating, "The only overdose that killed George Floyd was an overdose of excessive force and racism by the Minneapolis Police Department," according to Daily Mail.
Floyd's family lawyer Ben Crump added, "America saw what happened. The world saw what happened. And so, who are you going to believe, your eyes or these killer cops?"
He continued to hit back saying, "The world witnessed Floyd's asphyxiation on video, and now defense counsel is asking us to disbelieve our own eyes. Multiple autopsies determined that he died of asphyxiation because of the officers kneeling on his back and neck." Floyd’s brother Philonese also took to the microphone outside the court.
In an emotional address to reporters, he said, "Watching our brother die on video was the most painful experience of our lives. But listening to those defending these officers blame him for his own death today felt like a knife in the heart. It shows the degree to which the justice system works to protect those in authority at our expense," Philonese added.
While Chauvin has been arrested and continues to be in prison, the other three officers Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane, and Tou Thao have been charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and are out after posting bail. Attorneys representing Lane and Kueng have argued that the only role their clients had to play in Floyd's murder was following Chauvin's lead.
Bob Paule, who is representing Thao, argued that the latter’s role was "absolutely distinct". While speaking about his client's role in the murder, Paule added that he was on crowd control and securing the scene and was nowhere involved with the other three officers in Floyd's detainment.