Derek Chauvin’s lawyers found a “speedball” pill with George Floyd’s DNA in the ex-cop’s Minneapolis squad car — months after it was seized and searched by police, testimony at Chauvin’s murder trial revealed Wednesday.
Minnesota forensics scientists said the pill contained traces of fentanyl and methamphetamine when it was tested at the request of Chauvin’s defense team, which found it during a fresh search of the squad car in January.
The car had been sealed since police first searched it on May 27 — two days after Floyd’s police custody death — and with the items inside photographed but not tested.
“At the time, again, I didn’t have any information that I was looking for anything like a pill, or resembling a pill,” McKenzie Anderson, a forensics scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said under questioning by prosecutor Matthew Frank.
“It was in the back seat of the squad car. I wasn’t sure what it was,” she said. “So, at the time I didn’t give it any forensics significance.”
But Anderson said the pill was among several “irregular-shaped” items that appeared to be chewed-up pills found in the back seat of police vehicle 320 — Chauvin’s vehicle.
The state’s lead investigator, James Reyerson, testified earlier on Wednesday that law enforcement officials were present at the time defense lawyers re-opened the vehicle.
“The defense would not have access if you weren’t there,” Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson noted while questioning Reyerson.
Both the police vehicle and Floyd’s Mercedes Benz SUV were seized, searched, and photographed two days after the deadly incident.
Both were kept sealed and locked up at a secure state location.
Floyd’s SUV was re-searched in December at the request of state prosecutors.
Forensics investigators found two pills in the center console of the Benz that proved to be methamphetamine and fentanyl Anderson said.
Also found in the vehicle was a pipe with traces of THC and packets of Suboxone, a drug used by patients addicted to opioids.
In other testimony Wednesday, Nelson tried to convince the jury that Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s back, not his neck, for parts of the encounter.
Prosecutors will continue to present their case against Chauvin on Thursday.
The 45-year-old former cop is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death.