It is day eight of the testimony in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was charged with the death of George Floyd.
Four police officers took positions in court yesterday during the part of the prosecution.
If you just read in, this is what happened yesterday in court:
Johnny Mercil, Minneapolis Police CommissionerChauvin’s knees on Floyd’s neck are not a trained neck support tactic. While suspects who actively resist may allow neck restraints, they are not allowed to be performed with the knee and would not be allowed on suspects who are handcuffed and under control, he said. Officials are taught to use only force proportional to the threat. He also testified that handcuffed suspects can have difficulty breathing in the stomach. He said officers were trained to put suspects in a side recovery position – “the sooner the better”.
However, under cross-examination, Mercil said that Chauvin’s position could be viewed as “using body weight for control,” a tactic that involves officers placing a knee on a vulnerable suspect’s shoulder blades to be handcuffed. He admitted that some screenshots from police cameras showed Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s shoulders.
“I would add, however, that we tell officers to stay away from the neck if possible and that if you want to use your body weight to stick, you should put it on your shoulder and be careful of your position,” he said.
Minneapolis Police Sgt. Ker Yang, the crisis intervention training coordinator for the department’s training unit, said the importance of recognizing when someone is in a crisis and de-escalating the situation. Officials are trained in a critical decision-making model to address people in crisis that prompts them to continually assess and reevaluate what is needed in the situation, he said. Chauvin took part in a 40-hour course on crisis intervention training in 2016, in which actors portrayed people in crisis and officials had to de-escalate the situation, Yang testified.
During cross-examination, Yang said the crisis intervention model may apply to both suspects and nearby observers. The training advises officers to appear confident, stay calm, save space, speak slowly and softly, and avoid staring or eye contact, he said.
Minneapolis Police Officer Nicole Mackenzie, a medical response coordinator and CPR instructor, testified that officials must provide first aid and call emergency services if someone needs medical attention. The department teaches officers how to determine the level of responsiveness for a person in need of help. If the person does not respond, the officer should check their airways, breathing, and circulation. If the person does not have a pulse, the officer should begin CPR immediately. She also said it wasn’t right to say that if someone can speak, he can breathe. On cross-examination, she said that a hostile crowd could make it difficult to focus on a patient.
Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger, an expert on the use of force, testified that the force used by Chauvin on Floyd was excessive. “My opinion was that the violence was excessive,” he told the court. Stiger reviewed materials from the incident following Floyd’s death and conducted approximately 2,500 use of violence reviews during his career.
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