According to testimonies 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 them. 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. Mercil said attendees learned that the sanctity of life is a cornerstone of departmental policy and that officers should use the least. of force necessary to bring a suspect into compliance.
On cross-examination by Chauvin’s attorney Eric Nelson, Mercil testified that officers are trained to use their knee on a person’s back or shoulder and use their body weight to maintain control.
But Mercil added, “We tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible.”
Nelson argued that the now-fired white officer “did exactly what he was trained to do in his 19-year career,” and suggested that the illegal drugs in Floyd’s system and his health problems underlying are what killed him, not Chauvin’s knee.
In fact, Nelson sought to point out moments in the video footage where he said Chauvin’s knee didn’t appear to be on Floyd’s neck.
Nelson showed Mercil several images taken from the officers’ body cam footage, after each asking if it showed Chauvin’s knee appearing to rest more on Floyd’s back, shoulders, or shoulder blades than directly on Floyd’s neck. Mercil often agreed.
Nelson admitted that the images were difficult to see. They were taken at different points in Floyd’s arrest, starting around four minutes after he was first pinned to the ground, according to the timestamp of the footage.
In another testimony, Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant acting as a use of force expert, said officers were justified in using force as Floyd resisted their efforts to put him in a squad car. But once he was on the ground and stopped resisting, “at that point the officers … should have slowed down or stopped their force as well.”
Stiger said that after viewing the video of the arrest, “my opinion was that the force was excessive.”
Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death on May 25. Floyd, 46, was arrested outside a neighborhood market after being charged with attempting to pass a fake $ 20 bill. A panicked Floyd twisted and pretended to be claustrophobic as police attempted to put him in the team car.
Video of a bystander of Floyd crying he couldn’t breathe as bystanders shouted at Chauvin to leave him sparked protests across the United States that have turned into violence in some cases.
Instead of closing ranks to protect another officer behind what has been dubbed the “blue wall of silence,” some of the more senior members of the Minneapolis force have taken a stand to openly condemn Chauvin’s actions as excessive.
Chauvin had been certified to perform CPR, and Minneapolis officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains force members in medical care, said on Tuesday that department policy required him to begin aid before the arrival of the paramedics, if possible.
Officers continued to restrain Floyd – with Chauvin kneeling on his neck, another kneeling on Floyd’s back, and a third holding his feet – until the ambulance arrived, even after he became unresponsive, according to testimonials and video footage.
Officers also rejected offers of help from an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter who wanted to administer help or tell officers how to do it.
Mercil testified that in his experience, it takes less than 10 seconds for a person to become unconscious with a neckband. He said that a person with an adrenaline rush or higher breathing or heart rate can be affected even faster.
“Have you ever had a situation where a person lost their pulse and suddenly came back to life and got more violent?” Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked, suggesting Floyd has been held back far beyond the point where he could be a threat.
“Not that I know of, sir,” Mercil replied.