The judge overseeing the prosecution of the police officers charged with killing George Floyd ruled Thursday that he will allow defense attorneys to present evidence from a 2019 encounter between Floyd and Minneapolis police almost exactly one year before his death that they say shows Floyd exhibiting similar behavior to the Memorial Day incident that left him dead, the Washington Post reports. The previous encounter occurred after police stopped a car in which Floyd was riding on May 6, 2019. The evidence includes body-camera footage from three officers as well as transcripts of Floyd’s interactions with police and emergency medical workers. The footage shows that Floyd did not immediately comply with police requests to put his hands on the dash or his head — he appears to have been swallowing pills instead. It also shows that he ultimately complied, that the situation de-escalated quickly, and that he was calmly handcuffed and was then seated in a police car without any violence.
Floyd immediately showed concern that police officers might shoot him: “Don’t shoot me, man, please. I don’t want to get shot,” he implored. A police officer responded: “I don’t plan on shooting you.” The evidence shows that Minneapolis police responded aggressively to Floyd’s noncompliance in 2019 — one officer took out his service weapon and another brandished a taser — but also that within moments, they were engaged in civil conversation with him about what had happened. Floyd acknowledged he was addicted to painkillers and had swallowed as many as eight Percocet pills — a powerful prescription narcotic. Earl Gray, representing an ex-officer charged in Floyd’s death, wants to use the footage to argue that prosecutors had presented a “false narrative” about Floyd. “The state is portraying Mr. Floyd as somebody he isn’t,” Gray said.