LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, on his second day in the stands, said the pressure of Chauvin’s body weight on Floyd’s neck could have caused potentially fatal “positional suffocation”.
“He was lying down. He was not resisting. He was handcuffed. He was not trying to escape. He was not trying to resist,” Stiger said of Floyd. “And the pressure … which was caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxiation which could cause death.”
Stiger testified that the dangers of positional asphyxiation have been known to law enforcement for at least 20 years.
He told the jury that “no force should have been used”, with three officers restraining Floyd and two others standing.
Chauvin is also seen in the body camera video grabbing Floyd’s fingers in an attempt to inflict pain on him to make him obey, Stiger told the court. He was asked if Floyd couldn’t comply.
“At this point it’s just pain,” Stiger replied.
Stiger took the stand as the trial entered its eighth day of testimony on Wednesday, with prosecutors targeting Chauvin’s actions on May 25, 2020, with a series of police experts testifying with appropriate training.
Chauvin, 45, pleaded not guilty to second degree murder, third degree murder and third degree manslaughter. Nelson has not indicated whether Chauvin will testify in his own defense.
On Tuesday, a Minneapolis Police Force use-of-force training instructor said Chauvin’s kneeling on George Floyd’s neck was not a neck restraint tactic.
A crisis intervention training coordinator and police CPR instructor each told the jury that officers are required to defuse situations and assist those in distress.
The trial, which is now in its second full week of testimony, is expected to last about a month.
LAPD Sgt. said spectators weren’t a threat
Sgt. Stiger testified that the crowd of passers-by gathered at the scene did not pose a threat to Chauvin or other officers – a claim made by the defense, which described the crowd as hostile.
“They were just filming and most of their concerns were with Mr. Floyd,” the expert said.
While it’s possible for a mob to distract an officer, Stiger doesn’t think it happened in this case because Chauvin was talking to Floyd.
“In the body-worn video you can hear Mr. Floyd showing his discomfort and pain, and you can also hear the accused responding to him,” he said.
In cross-examination, he said some of the comments could be seen as potential threats and officers learn to predict future behavior. He also admitted that Chauvin could have used a Taser initially because Floyd actively resisted attempts to put him in a police vehicle.
At one point, Nelson played a video of Floyd handcuffed to the ground and asked Stiger if Floyd could be heard saying, “I ate too many drugs.” Stiger said he couldn’t understand what Floyd was saying.
Stiger’s testimony began on Tuesday afternoon. He said he had conducted over 2,500 use of force reviews.
The sergeant said officers were initially justified in using force when Floyd actively resisted arrest and refused to get into the team car. Floyd also kicked officers when he was first taken to the ground, body camera video shows. The circumstances then changed.
“However, once he was placed in a prone position on the ground, he slowly ceased to resist and at that point the former officers should have slowed down or stopped their force as well,” Stiger said.
He said his opinion was based on the standard of what an “objectively reasonable” officer would do. This took into account the low gravity of Floyd’s underlying crime – allegedly using a fake $ 20 bill – as well as his actions, the MPD’s policies, and what agents knew at the time.
“They should have defused the situation, or attempted to do so,” Stiger said. Instead, “they continued the force they were using from the moment they first brought him down.”
Minneapolis Police Lt. Says They Don’t Teach Leg-Neck Ties
While neck ties may be permitted for suspects who are actively resisting, they should not be done with the knee and would not be permitted on a suspect who is handcuffed and under control, testified Lt. Johnny Mercil, the appeal. to the Minneapolis Police Force. training instructor.
“We don’t train leg restraints with serving officers, and as far as I know we never have,” Mercil said on Tuesday.
Officers learn to use only force proportional to the threat.
“You want to use the least amount of force necessary to achieve your goals,” Mercil said. “If you can use a lower level of force to achieve your goals, it’s safer and better for everyone involved.”
He also said handcuffed suspects may have difficulty breathing on their stomachs. He said officers are trained to move suspects to a lateral recovery position – “the sooner the better”.
However, Mercil said during cross-examination that Chauvin’s position could be seen as “using body weight to control,” a tactic in which officers place a knee on the shoulder blades of a lying suspect to handcuff them. He admitted that some police body camera screenshots show Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s shoulders.
“However, I will add that we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible, and if you are going to use your body weight for pinning, put it on their shoulder and pay attention to their position.” , did he declare.
Mercil said the position is transitional and is supposed to end once the suspect is under control.
CNN’s Eric Levenson contributed to this report.