Video report by ITV News Correspondent Robert Moore
George Floyd's girlfriend wiped away tears as she told jurors of the day she met Mr Floyd, a security guard with “this great Southern voice, raspy” who tried to comfort her.
“May I tell the story?” Courteney Ross, 45, asked on Thursday, the fourth day of Derek Chauvin's murder trial. She said: “It’s one of my favourite stories to tell.”
Ms Ross, 45, said she met Mr Floyd in August 2017, who was a security guard at a Salvation Army shelter, because her sons' father was staying at the shelter.
She said she became upset because the father was not coming to the lobby to discuss their son's birthday and Mr Floyd came to check on her.
She recalled: “Floyd has this great Southern voice, raspy. He was like, `Sis, you OK, sis?’
Courtenay Ross tells jurors how she met George Floyd
"I was tired. We’ve been through so much, my sons and I, and (for) this kind person just to come up and say, ‘Can I pray with you?’ ... it was so sweet. At the time, I had lost a lot of faith in God.”
Asked if that was the beginning of their relationship, Ms Ross smiled and said: "Well, not that part. That was just Floyd. Afterwards, he had asked me who my son's father was and I said we're co-parenting and we're not in a relationship.
"And that's when his voice dropped two levels even though it was deep already. And he asked me if he could get my number and we had our first kiss in the lobby. And that's when our relationship started."
Ms Ross recalled that the two would eat out at restaurants a lot, saying: "Because he loved to eat a lot. He was a big man and it took a lot of energy to keep him going. And he loved food and so did I.
"It was fun, it was an adventure always, with him."
Former police officer Chauvin is on trial, accused of killing Mr Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, while arresting him in Minneapolis, US.
Jurors were shown on the first day a video of Chauvin, 45, pressing his knee on Mr Floyd's neck for several minutes as onlookers yelled at him to get off.
Ms Ross breaks down as she is shown a selfie of George Floyd:
Ms Ross broke down in tears when she was shown a photo of Mr Floyd, which she called a "dad selfie".
She continued: "I'm just joking but a lot of dads sometimes don't have the best angle. When they take selfies, it's kind of lower and it's just, they don't, I don't know, take the time to do the certain angles that everybody else does."
She said she believed the photo was taken outside the Salvation Army in the autumn of 2017.
She also told jurors that Mr Floyd had two girls, who he loved.
Ms Ross spoke about Mr Floyd's grief when his mum died in May 2018:
Speaking about his grief when his mother died in May 2018, she said: "Floyd was what I would call a mama's boy. I could tell, from the moment I met him. and when he came back from Houston, he seemed kind of like a shell of himself - like he was broken.
"He seemed so sad. He didn't have the same kind of bounce that he had. He was devastated. He loved his mom so much. He talked about her all the time."
Ms Ross also explained that both she and Floyd struggled to overcome opioid addiction.
She said: “We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back.
“We both had prescriptions. But after prescriptions that were filled and we got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times.”
When questioned by defence lawyer Eric Nelson, she said Mr Floyd was hospitalised for five days from March 6, 2020 due to an overdose of a new drug.
Ms Ross, who took the new drugs herself, described them as a "stimulant".
She said: "Opioid relaxes. The pill that time looked like a strong stimulant. I couldn’t sleep all night. I felt very jittery."
Asked if she noticed any foam coming from his mouth when he was hospitalised in March, she said there was "some foam building on the corner of his mouth" and clarified it was some dry white substance.
She told jurors she believed Mr Floyd was not taking any drugs from the time he was discharged from hospital up until two weeks before his death, when she noticed "changes in his behaviour".
She said she and Mr Floyd got some pills in May, which gave her a "similar experience" to the pills in March.
The white police officer on trial, Chauvin, is charged with murder and manslaughter. He is accused of killing Mr Floyd by kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, as he lay face-down in handcuffs.
The defence has argued that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and Mr Floyd’s death was caused by drug use, heart disease, high blood pressure and the adrenaline flowing through his body.
Fentanyl and methamphetamine was found in Mr Floyd's system during an autopsy.
Later in the day, paramedic Seth Bravinder who arrived on the scene on May 25, 2020, told jurors he was initially called out for a non emergency (Code 2) for someone with a mouth injury. But this was upgraded to a life-threatening incident (Code 3) a minute and a half later.
When he arrived at the scene, he said Mr Floyd was no breathing or moving and appeared to be in a cardiac arrest. Another paramedic, Derek Smith, said he couldn't find a pulse, adding: “In layman’s terms? I thought he was dead.”
Mr Bravinder said they loaded Mr Floyd into the ambulance so he could get care “in an optimum environment,” but also because members of the public “appeared very upset on the sidewalk”.
“In my mind at least, we wanted to get away from that,” he said.
Likewise, Mr Smith said there were “multiple people” with “multiple cellphones out,” and “it didn’t feel like a welcoming environment.”
Mr Bravinder said he drove the ambulance three blocks and stopped the vehicle to help his partner. But the monitor showed Mr Floyd's his heart had stopped. He said they could not restore a pulse.
Chauvin’s lawyer asked why the ambulance did not go straight to the hospital. Mr Smith said Mr Floyd was “dead” or “deceased.”
Mr Floyd was 6 foot 4 inches tall and 223 pounds, according to the autopsy. Chauvin’s lawyer said the officer is 5 foot 9 inches and 140 pounds.
In Wednesday's court hearing, prosecutors played extensive video footage of Mr Floyd's arrest, showing officer pulling Floyd from his SUV at gunpoint and struggling to put him in a police car before the officer put him on the ground. They also show Mr Floyd being loaded into an ambulance.
Police arrested Mr Floyd after he allegedly handed a cashier at Cup Foods a counterfeit bill for a pack of cigarettes.