Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric J. Nelson suggested on Thursday that Mr. Floyd could have died of a fentanyl overdose if he had taken the drug in the moments before police officers pushed him to the ground. Dr. Tobin said that, unlike someone who died of a fentanyl overdose, Mr. Floyd had never gone into a coma. Mr. Nelson also sought to portray the medical care that Mr. Floyd received from paramedics as lacking; it took them nine minutes to insert a tube down Mr. Floyd’s throat after they arrived on scene, he said, but the nearest hospital was a five-minute drive away.
Mr. Nelson also noted that even doctors sometimes have trouble understanding that a patient who can talk is having trouble breathing. Mr. Floyd told police officers that he could not breathe, and in response, one officer told him that it takes oxygen to talk, implying that he must be able to breathe, something medical experts have said is false or misleading.
Mr. Nelson is expected to call his own medical experts later in the trial.
An expert said no force was needed once Mr. Floyd was subdued.
On Wednesday, a use-of-force expert, Sgt. Jody Stiger, who works with the Los Angeles Police Department Inspector General’s Office, testified that “no force should have been used” once Mr. Floyd was subdued, handcuffed and facedown on the pavement. The sergeant also said that Mr. Chauvin put Mr. Floyd at risk of positional asphyxia, or a deprivation of oxygen.
“He was in the prone position, he was handcuffed, he was not attempting to resist, he was not attempting to assault the officers — kick, punch, or anything of that nature,” Sergeant Stiger told prosecutors.
Responding to questions from the defense, Sergeant Stiger said that Mr. Floyd resisted arrest when officers tried to put him in the back of a squad car. In that moment, Mr. Chauvin would have been justified in using a Taser, Sergeant Stiger said.
There was contradictory testimony about Mr. Floyd’s drug use.
Asked to interpret footage from a police body camera, Senior Special Agent James D. Reyerson of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension initially said Mr. Floyd appeared to say, “I ate too many drugs.” But in later testimony, Mr. Reyerson changed his assessment and said Mr. Floyd had actually shouted, “I ain’t do no drugs.”
His revised judgment could chip away at Mr. Chauvin’s defense, which has tried to argue that Mr. Floyd died from complications of drug use, not the actions of Mr. Chauvin. A toxicology report found methamphetamine and fentanyl in Mr. Floyd’s system.