The coercion former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin used on George Floyd was not allowed, a city police department official said on Tuesday, the final day of testimony in the Chauvin murder trial.
Prosecutors showed Lt. Johnny Mercil a photograph of Chauvin using his knee to pin Floyd’s neck to the ground and were asked if the officer was using a neck restraint authorized under the circumstances.
“I would say no,” said Mercil, who teaches the proper use of force for the department.
Mercil said officers are trained in certain situations to use their knee on a suspect’s back or shoulder and use their body weight to maintain control, but added: “We tell officers to stay in the loop. ‘neck gap when possible. “
Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to second degree manslaughter and second degree unintentional murder charges, as well as a third degree murder charge, in connection with Floyd’s death in May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The former officer, who was fired from the police force last year after the incident, kept his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
Video footage of what happened has been shown around the world, sparking widespread condemnation and protests demanding racial justice and an end to police violence in the United States and abroad.
the second week Chauvin’s trial began Monday with Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testifying that Chauvin’s actions violates departmental policy and ethics. Earlier today, an emergency room doctor who declared Floyd dead after attempting to resuscitate him said he believed at the time that Floyd was most likely died of suffocation.
Chauvin’s the defense team argued the former 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 underlying health issues were what got him there. killed, not Chauvin’s actions.
Day “ full of nuances ”
John Hendren of Al Jazeera, who reports from Minneapolis, said Tuesday was a day “filled with nuance, not a lot of fireworks, no huge gains for both sides.”
Hendren said that while Mercil’s testimony supported the prosecution’s argument that Chauvin did not use normal police tactics to restrain Floyd, the police lieutenant also provided information that could be considered useful for the prosecution. defense.
Chauvin’s attorneys showed Mercil a freeze frame of video of Floyd’s arrest and asked him where Chauvin’s knee was. “He said, ‘Between the blades of his back.’ In other words, he had moved it off George Floyd’s neck, ”Hendren said.
“Well, that hurts the prosecution’s thesis, because they’ve always maintained that Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds consistently.
Mercil told the court officers were trained to use proportional force and how to properly use collars, handcuffs and straps. He said neck restraint is only allowed when a suspect actively and aggressively resists arrest.
“If you can use as little force as possible to achieve your goals, it’s safer and better,” said Mercil.
Key points for defense
Ronald Sullivan, professor at Harvard University law school and director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute, said the defense was able to gain “key points” in its theory on the case through prosecution witnesses Tuesday.
“I really think it was a bad day for the government,” Sullivan told Al Jazeera.
“The defense will be able to argue today that what officers do on the scene is discretionary, that several variables indicate the degree of pressure an officer could exert on this continuum of force, and that it is from the point of view of the officer on the ground. “
But Sullivan added that trials tend to rise and fall, and last week – which saw nineteen people, including one child and four teenagers, testifying in court – has been a good week for the prosecution.
Chauvin’s trial is expected to last four weeks, but there are indications the jury may be sent to deliberate sooner than that.
“Right now they’re arguing over stories, stories – who’s telling the better story?” Sullivan said. “Is this a case of excessive force, or is it a case of [a] Drug overdose? Whatever the jury’s belief, it’s the one that wins.