Derek Chauvin justified in use of force against George Floyd, witness recounts murder trial

Derek Chauvin justified in use of force against George Floyd, witness recounts murder trial

Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was right to use his knees to pin down George Floyd, a use of force expert testified on Tuesday, contradicting testimony from former and current city police officers who said Chauvin’s actions violated policy and were excessive.
“I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, acted with reasonable objectivity, in accordance with Minneapolis Police Department policy and current law enforcement standards in his interactions with Mr. Floyd,” said Barry Brodd , a former officer from Santa Rosa, Calif. Hennepin County District Court in downtown Minneapolis.

Brodd, one of a series of witnesses who testified for the defense on Tuesday in the Chauvin murder trial, also claimed that putting Floyd in a supine position – handcuffed while he was placed on his stomach and face down first to the sidewalk – was not a force utility.

“It’s a technique of control. It doesn’t hurt, ”he says. “You’ve put the suspect in a position where it’s safe for you, the officer, safe for them, the suspect, and you make minimal effort to keep him down. “

The defense exposes the case

Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, began laying out the defense case on Tuesday after 11 days of prosecution witness testimony. Floyd died on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pressed one knee on the back of his neck for about nine minutes as two other officers held him face down while he was handcuffed. He had been detained outside a convenience store after being suspected of paying with a fake ticket.

Chauvin is on trial for unintentional second degree murder, third degree murder and second degree manslaughter in connection with the death of the 46-year-old black man.

The prosecution says Chauvin pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck caused his death. But the defense contends that it was a combination of Floyd’s underlying medical conditions, drug use, and the adrenaline circulating in his system that ultimately killed him.

Defense attorney Eric Nelson begins to expose Chauvin’s case in his murder trial Tuesday after 11 days of prosecution witness testimony in a Minneapolis courtroom. (Court TV / The Associated Press)

Several senior Minneapolis police officials, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, have testified to the charge that Chauvin used excessive force and violated his training. And medical experts called by prosecutors said Floyd died of lack of oxygen due to the way he was restrained.

But the defense claims Chauvin did what his training taught him to do.

Brodd said that once Floyd was grounded, he was still engaged in “active resistance” and fought against the efforts of the officers.

“Officers are trained so that any time you get resistance from a suspect or come across a high risk suspect it is safer for you, the officer and the suspect to take them down. , prone for a variety of reasons, some of which reduce the suspect’s mobility. ”

WATCH | Prosecutor cross-examines witness on use of force

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher cross-examines defense witness and use of force expert Barry Brodd to find out if George Floyd was having trouble breathing. 1:21

It didn’t matter that Floyd was handcuffed at that point, Brodd said, as any resistance, handcuffed or not, would have to go to the ground in a controlled position.

He said there were a number of valid reasons for keeping Floyd in this position, including the limitation of space, the traffic on the street, the crowd issues and the fact that Floyd was “still holding out somewhat. “.

Crowd distraction

Chauvin’s defense also raised the issue that the officer may have been distracted by Floyd’s declining state due to the growing anger of the mob.

Brodd agreed that, based on his review of the video evidence, Chauvin’s attention began to shift from Floyd to the crowd.

“I think Officer Chauvin felt threatened enough that he removed his pepper spray and gave verbal orders to the crowd to stay behind. So now he faces the biggest threat, ”he said.

Tense cross-examination

Cross-examination under prosecutor Steve Schleicher has been strained at times, as it struck an incredulous tone with some of Brodd’s claims.

He grasped Brodd’s argument that Floyd’s further duress was not a use of force.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher questions Brodd during cross-examination. (Court TV / The Associated Press)

“I have to ask you if you think it’s unlikely that orienting yourself over a person, on the sidewalk with both legs, won’t produce pain,” Schleicher asked.

“It might,” Brodd replied.

“What do you mean it could?” Is it unlikely to produce pain or is it likely to produce pain, ”Schleicher asked.

“I say it might cause pain. “

But Brodd admitted that based on one of the photos showing Chauvin applying his knee to Floyd, “it could be a use of force.”

Schleicher asked Brodd if a reasonable officer would know that placing someone in this prone position could cause positional asphyxiation.

“A reasonable policeman would at least recognize and consider the possibility that what he is doing is a problem, right?” “

However, Brodd said according to the video it looked like Floyd was still struggling.

“Struggle or twist,” Schleicher asked.

“I don’t know the difference,” Brodd said.

WATCH | Scheicher growls at Brodd for his comment

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher disputes the testimony of use of force expert Barry Brodd that Floyd was “resting comfortably” on the sidewalk. 0:37

Brodd argued that Floyd continued to struggle, and he suggested that if Floyd had complied he would have had both hands on his lower back “and just rested comfortably.” “

“Did you say ‘rest comfortably’? Schleicher asked.

Brodd: “Or lying comfortably. “

Schleicher: “To rest comfortably on the sidewalk? “

Brodd said yes and added that he was describing the signs of a perfectly compliant person.

“So trying to breathe, while being restrained, is slightly off-line now,” said Schleicher.

“No,” said Brodd.

Schleicher argued that Floyd’s only difficulty was that he was trying to breathe.

« I don’t know, if he was having trouble or having trouble catching his breath… I can’t tell, ”said Brodd.

Other witnesses

Earlier today, the court heard from Shawanda Hill, a friend of Floyd’s who was in the SUV with him before he was met and arrested by the police. Hill testified that she met Floyd in the convenience store and that he was alert and happy, but by the time they got back to the car he suddenly fell asleep and she repeatedly tried to wake him up .

Shawanda Hill, who was in the car with Floyd at the time of his initial arrest, testified at Chauvin’s trial on Tuesday. (Court TV / The Associated Press)

His testimony was important to the defense as they tried to prove Floyd potentially reacted to fentanyl in his system.

Nelson also called a former policeman and paramedic who testified about a 2019 arrest in which Floyd suffered from dangerously high blood pressure and confessed to heavy opioid use.

Police officer Peter Chang, who assisted at the scene that day, also testified. He said he saw a “crowd” growing up across the street who “were getting louder and more aggressive, shouting a lot from across the street.”

“Did this worry you? Nelson asked.

“Concern for the safety of the officers, yes,” Chang replied.


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