A murder jury watched new footage of an earlier arrest of George Floyd which a defence witness claimed shows the slain man as 'non-compliant.'
In the footage Mr Floyd was described as nervous and anxious and becoming distressed when a gun was pointed at him.
A paramedic later said that Mr Floyd would tell her he consumed opioids as he was an addict.
After weeks of prosecution evidence in the major murder trial in Minnesota, US the defence began its own case on Tuesday.
Prosecutors claim that Derek Chauvin murdered Mr Floyd during an arrest outside a store where he was filmed kneeling on the slain man's neck.
Chauvin, 45, denies second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
At court on Wednesday the first witness was called by Chauvin's defence team.
Scott Creighton, a now-retired Minneapolis police officer, pulled over a car in which Mr Floyd was a passenger in 2019, a year before the deadly encounter with Chauvin.
The jury saw a video taken by a body-worn camera during the traffic stop as Mr Floyd became distressed when a gun was pointed at him and he was ordered out of a car.
"The passenger was unresponsive and noncompliant to my commands," Mr Creighton told the jury, describing Floyd as nervous and anxious.
"I then had to reach in to him because I wanted to see his hands." He repeatedly ordered Floyd to keep his hands on the dashboard.
In a video of the incident, Mr Creighton is heard saying, "Keep your hands where I can see them."
"You're not going to get beat up or nothing," he said on the video to a distraught Mr Floyd.
During cross-examination, prosecutors asked him whether Floyd died during the encounter.
"No, he did not," the retired officer said.
Michelle Moseng, a retired paramedic for Hennepin County Medical Center Emergency Medical Services, also gave evidence and told the jury she checked Floyd's vital signs at a police station after the 2019 arrest.
"It was quite hard to assess him," she testified. "He was upset and confused."
She said that Mr Floyd told her he consumed opioids because he "was addicted."
Chauvin's lawyers argue that he followed his training and that the main cause of Mr Floyd's death - which the county examiner ruled a homicide - was a drug overdose.
What else happened on the first day of the defence case?
Use of force 'reasonable'
An expert witness said that the former Minneapolis police officer was justified and reasonable in his use of force during his arrest of George Floyd.
Barry Brodd, a private consultant in the use of force by law enforcement said Chauvin was following his training during the encounter.
His testimony contradicted several prosecution witnesses, including the city police chief, who earlier in the trial said Chauvin had no justification for kneeling on the 46-year-old black man's neck for more than nine minutes.
"Officer Chauvin's interactions with Mr. Floyd were following his training, following current practices and were objectively reasonable," he testified.
History of drug abuse
Chauvin's defence team sought to highlight Mr Floyd's apparent history of drug abuse.
They argue that he died of an overdose, rather than from lack of oxygen caused by Chauvin's actions as the prosecution claims.
Restraint even after the man stopped breathing
In cross examination prosecutor Steve Schleicher challenged the claim that Chauvin was justified in his use of force.
Mr Brodd agreed that Chauvin continued restraining Mr Floyd even after the man had stopped resisting.
"By the time the defendant got off of Mr. Floyd, Mr. Floyd could not support his own head," Mr Schleicher said.
Mr Brodd agreed.
Slain man 'fell asleep in car before murder'
Shawanda Hill - who was in Mr Floyd's SUV with him when police arrived on May 25 took the stand for the defence.
She described him as "happy," "normal" and "alert" when she saw him in Cup Foods and asked him for a ride home.
She got into his Mercedes-Benz where she and Floyd chatted for about eight minutes before he fell asleep.
She testified that she tried to wake him a couple of times and that she was able to wake him but he nodded off again.
Mr Floyd was asleep and startled awake when officers arrived and tapped on the window, she testified.
Officers 'concerned for their safety' by 'aggressive' crowd
Minneapolis Park Police officer Peter Chang told jurors that when he arrived at the scene he was told to go across the street to where Mr Floyd's two passengers stood near his SUV.
He testified that he was concerned for the police officers' safety.
"There was a crowd," he told the jury. "They were very aggressive toward the officers."
Chauvin's defence argues that bystanders who watched the incident unfold threatened the officers.
During cross-examination, Mr Chang said that when he arrived, Mr Floyd was sitting on the pavement and was not agitated.
He also testified that the four officers who were present never radioed for more help.
The trial continues.