Key witness in George Floyd murder trial seeks to avoid testifying

Henrietta Strickland
Апреля 7, 2021

Mr Floyd's treatment by police was captured on widely seen bystander video, that sparked protests around the USA as people demonstrated against racial inequality.

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

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Floyd's death was due to asphyxiation, while Chauvin's defense claims it was due to illegal drugs in Floyd's system.

A sergeant has admitted officers could have ended their restraint against George Floyd earlier than they did.

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

"It can be easily confused with real breathing, so that's why we teach 'This is not effective breathing, ' " Mackenzie said.

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.

Mr Floyd's heart was not beating enough to "sustain life" at any point after his admission to the hospital, Dr Lagenfeld said.

The court heard that Derek Chauvin, accused of killing Floyd, completed 40 hours of intervention training.

Mr Chauvin's defence team has contended that alleged drug use and an underlying heart condition contributed to Mr Floyd's death. He also said 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 if they can to avoid or minimize the use of force.

Eric Nelson left and Derek Chauvin right listen as Judge Peter Cahill presides in the murder trial
Eric Nelson left and Derek Chauvin right listen as Judge Peter Cahill presides in the murder trial Credit Court TV

Given how uncommon it is for a police chief to serve as a witness in a case involving former officers, Mr Arradondo's testimony will be closely scrutinised.

When prosecutors questioned Johnny Mercil, one of several officers who have been called to the stand, on Tuesday, they asked about the way that officers are taught to use force on suspects during an arrest, and the practice of "neck restraints".

The use of force, as it is known, lies at the heart of the prosecutors' strategy.

Mr Chauvin's lawyer Eric Nelson has fought against that notion by emphasising that officers have to consider different factors while using force, such as potential threats from a nearby crowd.

Arradondo testified that Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the force, should have let Floyd up sooner and that the pressure on Floyd's neck did not appear to be light to moderate, as called for under the department's neck-restraint policy. Experts have shared with Law Officer that there are two distinct possibilities for this.

Witness testimony and the presentation of evidence will resume shortly after.

Before testimony began, lawyers argued over whether a man who was with Mr Floyd at Cup Foods on the day of his death should be forced to speak during the trial.

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.

"Your honor, I can not envision any topic that Mr. Hall would be called to testify on that would be both relevant to the case that would not incriminate him", Cousins told Judge Peter Cahill during Tuesday's hearing, with the jury absent from the courtroom.

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