Defense Attorney Eric J. Nelson, who is representing former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, is now claiming that George Floyd died of a drug overdose, rather than in a police homicide.
Chauvin has been charged with Floyd’s murder which occurred as officers got into an altercation with him purportedly involving counterfeit money. Nelson has filed a motion asking a judge to dismiss all charges against Chauvin because he does not believe Floyd was murdered, according to ABC News.
In the motion, which was filed in Minnesota’s Hennepin County District Court on Friday, Nelson claimed that the prosecution has not shown probable cause in charging Chauvin with second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. He claimed that his client carried out Floyd’s detainment by the book, including the use of a “Maximal Restraint Technique.”
Nelson argued that this technique was necessary because of fears that Floyd could harm himself, Chauvin, or the other officers that were present. The lawyer added that the cops were actually trying to help Floyd and were worried he might fall and strike his head or be hit by an oncoming vehicle in the road.
In his motion, Nelson also pointed out that Floyd’s autopsy concluded that there was both fentanyl and methamphetamine in the late suspect’s system, otherwise known as a “speedball.” On top of that, Floyd was reportedly positive for COVID-19 at the time of his death.
“Put simply, Mr. Floyd could not breathe because he had ingested a lethal dose of fentanyl and, possibly, a speedball,” the motion stated in part. “Combined with sickle cell trait, his pre-existing heart conditions, Mr. Floyd’s use of fentanyl and methamphetamine most likely killed him. Adding fentanyl and methamphetamine to Mr. Floyd’s existing health issues was tantamount to lighting a fuse on a bomb.”
Hennepin County Medical Examiner Dr. Andrew Baker even said that if Floyd were found dead in any other circumstance — in this case, “home alone and no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an [overdose].”
This motion is set to be addressed by Judge Peter Cahill in a hearing that is scheduled for September 11.
This comes one week after attorney Earl Gray, who represents former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane, filed a motion stating that Floyd intentionally swallowed fentanyl tablets while he and his fellow officers, including Chauvin, attempted to take Floyd into custody. Gray claimed that bodycam footage showed a “white spot” on Floyd’s tongue, which disappeared moments later. He also claimed that at the time of the altercation, Floyd was in the process of swallowing “2 milligrams of fentanyl, a lethal dose” to avoid being caught with the drugs on his person.
“All [Floyd] had to do is sit in the police car, like every other defendant who is initially arrested. While attempting to avoid his arrest, all by himself, Mr. Floyd overdosed on Fentanyl,” Gray stated in the motion. “Given his intoxication level, breathing would have been difficult at best. Mr. Floyd’s intentional failure to obey commands, coupled with his overdosing, contributed to his own death.”
Like Mr. Nelson (and for the same reasons), Mr. Gray would like the charges against his client to be dropped as well.