Expert: Chauvin never took knee off Floyd’s neck – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on George Floyd’s neck – and carried most of his weight – the entire time the black man was covered with his hands behind his back, a violence expert said Wednesday at Chauvin’s murder trial .
Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who acted as a prosecutor’s witness, said Chauvin’s knee, after reviewing video evidence, was on Floyd’s neck from the time officers put Floyd on the floor until the paramedics arrived lay – about 9 1/2 minutes after the prosecutor’s calculation.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher showed the jury a composite of five photos taken from various videos of the arrest. Stiger went through each photo and said it appeared the Minneapolis officer’s left knee was on Floyd’s neck or neck area in each.
“This particular power has not changed during the entire retention period?” Asked Schleicher.
“Right,” replied Stiger.
Stiger also said that Chauvin squeezed Floyd’s fingers and pulled one of his wrists toward his handcuffs, a technique that uses pain to get someone to comply but didn’t seem to let up while Floyd was restrained.
“Then it’s just pain at that point,” said Stiger.
Stiger’s testimony came a day after Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, attempted to point out moments in the video footage when Chauvin’s knee did not appear to be on Floyd’s neck.
Nelson has also suggested that bystanders yelling at Chauvin to get out of Floyd distracted officials, who perceived the audience as an increasingly hostile crowd. On Tuesday, the defense attorney had some police witnesses acknowledge that mocking bystanders can make it difficult for officers to perform their duties.
But Stiger said to Schleicher, “I didn’t see them as a threat,” even though some viewers mentioned names and used bad language. He added that most of the yelling was due to “her concern for Mr. Floyd”.
During cross-examination, Nelson found that dispatchers described Floyd as being between 6 feet and 6 feet 6 and possibly under the influence. Stiger agreed that it made sense for Chauvin to be there with heightened awareness.
Stiger also agreed with Nelson that an officer’s actions must be viewed from the perspective of a reasonable officer on the ground, not retrospectively.
It was Stiger’s second day on the stand. On Tuesday, he testified that officers were allowed to use force while Floyd resisted their efforts to put him in a patrol car. But once Floyd was down and stopped resisting, the officers “should have slowed down or stopped their forces”.
Stiger said after viewing the video of the arrest, “I thought the violence was excessive.”
Several veteran officials, including the police chief himself, have spoken out as part of prosecutorial efforts to dispel the argument that Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do when he detained Floyd last May.
In 2016, according to statements and records filed Tuesday, Chauvin completed a 40-hour course on recognizing people in crisis – including people with mental health problems or the effects of drug use – and using de-escalation techniques to calm them down.
Sgt. Ker Yang, the Minneapolis police officer in charge of crisis intervention training, said officers are learning to “slow things down and reevaluate and reevaluate”.
Records show that Chauvin was also trained in the use of force in 2018. Lt. Johnny Mercil, a Minneapolis police force brigade, testified that attendees were taught that the sanctity of life is a cornerstone of departmental policy and that officials must use the least amount of force necessary to get a suspect into compliance.
During cross-examination by Nelson, Mercil testified that officers in certain situations are trained to put their knee over a suspect’s back or shoulder and use their body weight to maintain control.
But Mercil added, “We’re telling officers to stay off the neck if possible.”
Nelson has argued that the now-discharged white officer “did exactly what he was trained to do in his 19-year career,” and has suggested that the illicit drugs in Floyd’s system and his underlying health conditions killed him, not Chauvin’s knees.
Nelson showed Mercil several images from the officers’ body camera videos and asked each one if Chauvin’s knees seemed to rest more on Floyd’s back, shoulder, or shoulder blades than directly on Floyd’s neck. Mercil often agreed.
Nelson admitted the pictures were difficult to see. They were taken at various times during Floyd’s arrest, beginning about four minutes after he was first pinned to the ground, as timestamped on the pictures.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with the murder and manslaughter of Floyd’s May 25th death. Floyd, 46, was arrested outside a neighborhood market after he was accused of attempting to hand over a fake $ 20 bill. A panicked sounding Floyd writhed and claimed to be claustrophobic when the police tried to put him in the patrol car.
The bystander video of Floyd crying he couldn’t breathe as viewers yelled at chauvin sparked protests in the U.S., which in some cases led to violence.
Rather than closing ranks to protect a fellow officer behind the so-called “blue wall of silence,” some of the most experienced members of the Minneapolis force have taken a stand to openly condemn Chauvin’s actions as excessive.
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