Friday, 16 April, 2021

Use-of-Force Trainer Testifies in Chauvin Trial

Key witness in George Floyd murder trial seeks to avoid testifying Minneapolis police chief tells murder trial Derek Chauvin broke policy by pinning George Floyd
Cary Erickson | 07 April, 2021, 05:35

A police trainer has testified that ex-officer Derek Chauvin was not trained to use his knee in a neck restraint as he did during George Floyd's arrest.

According to testimony and records submitted Tuesday, Chauvin took a 40-hour course in 2016 on how to recognize people in crisis, including those suffering mental problems or the effects of drug use, and how to use de-escalation techniques to calm them down.

Records show Chauvin also underwent training in the use of force in 2018.

"When we talk about fast-evolving situations. a lot of the time we have the time to slow things down and reevaluate and reassess and go through this model", Yang said.

Chauvin had been certified to perform CPR, and Minneapolis Officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains members of the force in medical care, testified Tuesday that department policy required him to start aid before paramedics arrived, if possible.

Mercil stated, "It's been said, yes".

Nelson showed Mercil several images taken from officers' body-camera videos, asking after each one whether it showed Chauvin's knee appearing to rest more on Floyd's back, shoulder or shoulder blades than directly on Floyd's neck.

Mercil said officers are trained in how to get control of a suspect by using their arms on the side of a person's neck to slow blood flow to the brain.

While Lt. Mercil said that using a knee on the neck or back can be an authorized use of force, it is usually transitory and depends on the time frame and type of resistance.

"Not that I'm aware of, sir", Mercil replied.

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The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin heard his prolonged use of force broke police protocol.

Mr Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd for over nine minutes during Mr Floyd's arrest last May. The 46-year-old Black man was pinned to the pavement outside a neighbourhood market after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

Vision of Mr Floyd's violent arrest, and subsequent death, was broadcast around the globe, and re-ignited a debate about anti-black racism spearheaded by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Before he was pinned to the ground, a frantic Mr Floyd struggled with police who were trying to put him in a squad vehicle, saying he was claustrophobic.

Nelson has argued that the now-fired white officer "did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career", and he has suggested that the illegal drugs in Floyd's system and his underlying health conditions are what killed him, not Chauvin's knee. Mercil agreed that the crowd's words could be considered threatening to the officers, and would be a factor they might consider. However, Mercil declined to agree with the argument that Chauvin could hold the neck restraint while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive.

Several members of the Minneapolis Police Department, including Chief Medaria Arradondo, echoed this sentiment during earlier testimony.

On the sixth day of the trial into Mr Chauvin, the chief said his officer was responsible for multiple breaches of duty, namely: that he should have let Mr Floyd up sooner; that the pressure on Mr Floyd's neck did not appear to be light to moderate; that Mr Chauvin failed in his duty to render first aid before the ambulance arrived; and that he violated policy requiring officers to de-escalate tense situations with no or minimal force if they can.

Arrondondo said continuing to kneel on Floyd's neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his belly was "in no way, shape or form" part of department policy or training, "and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values".

Witnesses say Mr Chauvin and his colleagues repeatedly ignored pleas for help and mercy from Mr Floyd and bystanders.