This is the eighth day of testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with the death of George Floyd.
Four police officers appeared in court yesterday during the prosecution portion of the trial.
If you’re just reading this is what happened in court yesterday:
Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, an instructor on the use of force with the department’s training unit, said that kneeling Chauvin on Floyd’s neck is not a neck restraint tactic. While neck ties may be allowed on suspects who are actively resisting, they should not be done with the knee and would not be allowed on a suspect who is handcuffed and under control, he said. Officers learn to use only force proportional to the threat. 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.
Minneapolis Police Sgt. Ker Yang, the crisis intervention training coordinator for the ministry’s training unit, testified on the importance of recognizing when a person is in crisis and defusing the situation. Officers are trained in a critical decision-making model for dealing with people in crisis that calls on them to continually assess and reassess what is needed in the situation, he said. Chauvin took a 40-hour crisis response training course in 2016, in which actors portrayed people in crisis and officers had to defuse the situation, Yang testified.
In cross-examination, Yang said the crisis response model could potentially apply to the suspect as well as nearby observers. The training advises officers to appear confident, stay calm, keep space, speak slowly and softly, and avoid staring or making eye contact, he said.
Minneapolis Police Officer Nicole Mackenzie, a medical response coordinator and CPR instructor, said officers are required to provide first aid and request emergency services when a person needs medical help. The department trains officers to determine the responsiveness level of a person in need of assistance. If the person does not respond, then the agent should check their airway, breathing and circulation, and if the person has no pulse, the agent should begin CPR immediately. She also said that it was not correct to say that if someone could speak, then they could breathe. In cross-examination, she said that a hostile crowd can make it difficult to focus on a patient.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody stiger, a use of force expert, said the force Chauvin used against Floyd was excessive. “My opinion was that the force was excessive,” he told the court. Stiger reviewed the elements of the incident after Floyd’s death and conducted approximately 2,500 use of force reviews during his career.