The use of force against George Floyd should have ceased once he was arrested and handcuffed, the murder trial of ex-cop Derek Chauvin has heard.
Use of force expert Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant serving as a prosecution witness, said that based on his review of the video evidence, Chauvinistthe knee was on Mr. Floydhis neck from the time officers took him to the ground until the paramedics arrived – about nine and a half minutes, according to prosecutors’ calculations.
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Chauvin, 45 years old is charged with second and third degree murder and manslaughter of Mr. Floyd, following his death on May 25 of last year.
Mr Floyd, 46, was arrested after being accused of attempting to use a fake $ 20 bill to buy cigarettes at a neighborhood store in Minneapolis.
A panicked sound Mr. Floyd struggled and pretended to be claustrophobic as officers tried to put him in a police car, and instead dropped him on the sidewalk.
Images of onlookers of Mr. Floyd crying at not being able to breathe, as onlookers screaming Chauvinist to get rid of him, sparked protests across the United States and around the world – and sparked a judgment on racism and police brutality.
During Chauvin’s trial on Wednesday, prosecutor Steve Schleicher showed jurors a composite image of five photos taken from various videos of the arrest.
Mr. Stiger went through each photo, saying it looked like the Minneapolis officer’s left knee was on Mr. Floyd’s neck or neck area in each one.
“Did that particular strength not change during the entire period of restriction?” Asked Mr. Schleicher.
“Correct,” replied Mr. Stiger.
His testimony came a day after Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson sought to point out moments in the video footage where, he said, Chauvin’s knee did not appear to be on Mr. Floyd.
Mr Nelson argued that the officer, who was sacked after the incident, “did exactly what he was trained for in his 19-year career” – and he suggested that illegal drugs in Mr. Floyd’s system and his underlying health issues are what killed him, not Chauvin’s knee.
Mr Nelson also claimed that officers at the scene perceived spectators as an increasingly hostile crowd and were distracted by them.
Mr Stiger told the jury on Wednesday: “I did not see them as a threat”, although some onlookers were insulting and used foul language.
He said he thought most of the screaming was due to “their concern for Mr. Floyd”.
In cross-examination, counsel for Chauvin noted that dispatchers described Mr. Floyd as being between 6 feet and 6 feet 6 inches tall and possibly under the influence of something, possibly drugs. .
Mr. Stiger agreed that it was therefore reasonable for Chauvin to arrive with a heightened sense of conscience.
And he suggested that when Chauvin told Mr. Floyd to “relax,” he was trying to calm and reassure him.
According to evidence and files submitted Tuesday, Chauvin took a 40-hour course in 2016 on how to recognize people in crisis, including those with mental health issues or the effects of drug use, and how to use drugs. de-escalation techniques to calm them down. .
Sgt. Ker Yang, the Minneapolis Police chief responsible for crisis response training, said officers were learning to “slow things down and reassess and reassess.”
Records show that Chauvin also completed use of force training in 2018.
Asked by prosecutors about whether Chauvin had an obligation to take Mr. Floyd’s distress into account as he considered what level of force to use, Mr. Stiger replied, “Absolutely. Over time. , clearly in the video you could see that Mr. Floyd’s … health was deteriorating.
“His breath was diminishing. His tone of voice diminished. His movements were starting to stop.
“So at this point, as an officer on the scene, you have a responsibility to realize that ‘OK, something is wrong’,” Mr. Stiger continued.
“” Something has changed dramatically from what happened before. “So you have a responsibility to take a certain type of action.”
The trial continues.