Veteran Minneapolis Police Officer Calls Chauvin Kneeling on Floyd's Neck "Totally Unnecessary"

Henrietta Strickland
Апреля 6, 2021

He recently informed the court that he will invoke the Fifth Amendment if asked to testify in the ongoing trial of Chauvin, who has been accused of murder and manslaughter in the May 2020 death of Floyd.

Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) training coordinator Mr Mercil told the court that officers are taught to use force in proportion to a suspect's level of resistance and it was "very important to be careful with the person".

Sgt. Ker Yang, the Minneapolis police official in charge of crisis-intervention training, and use-of-force instructor Lt. Johnny Mercil became the latest department members to testify on Tuesday (Wednesday AEST) as part of an effort by prosecutors to demolish the argument that Chauvin was doing what he was trained to do when he put his knee on Floyd's neck last May.

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Mr Chauvin's actions violated his training and have focused their questions on police guidelines and strategies taught to help officers de-escalate situations.

"That action is not de-escalation", the police chief said.

Footage of Mr Chauvin kneeling on Mr Floyd's neck was viewed around the world and sparked mass demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

Chauvin's lawyer, Eric Nelson, has argued that Chauvin "did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career" and that it was Floyd's use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions - not the officer's knee - that killed him.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher noted that while some people may become more risky under the influence of drugs or alcohol, some may actually be "more vulnerable".

Medaria Arradondo told Mr Chauvin's murder trial that the "sanctity of life" was at the core of a police officer's use of force.

Mr Arradondo said officers are trained in basic first aid, including chest compressions, and department policy requires them to request medical assistance and provide necessary aid as soon as possible before paramedics arrive.

Former US President Barack Obama said the protests represented a "genuine and legitimate frustration over a decades-long failure to reform police practices and the broader criminal justice system".

Floyd, who had taken drugs, frantically struggled with officers who tried to put him in their squad vehicle, saying he was claustrophobic.

George Floyd's death sparked a global movement of protest and desire for change.

Footage of Mr Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on African-American Mr Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes previous year sparked global protests against racism.

Arradondo, the city's first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd's death.

Mr Nelson, Chauvin's attorney, noted on cross-examination that department policies direct officers to do what is reasonable in a given situation.

Earlier in the trial, Mr Chauvin's defence team had suggested that the crowd of bystanders observing Mr Floyd's arrest may have influenced the course of events that day.

But prosecutors quickly got Mr Arradondo to note that the clip played by Nelson depicted only the few seconds before Floyd was moved onto a stretcher. "But what we train is using one arm or two arms, to do a neck restraint", she said.

"We were taught about positional asphyxia all the way back to my academy", Blackwell said, adding that her time with the department overlaps with the length of time Chauvin has also been there.

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