Witnesses called by prosecution in the Derek Chauvin trial provided further examination of police use of force policies on Tuesday and gave the defense team for the former Minneapolis police officer some overtures potential.
Mr Chauvin’s defense, led by attorney Eric J. Nelson, tried to bolster his argument that the crowd that formed on the sidewalk during George Floyd’s arrest could have made it more difficult for Mr. Chauvin to provide medical assistance or move his knee, which he held over Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes.
While the first week of the trial brought moving witness testimony, Tuesday’s proceedings appeared to cement the trial in phase two: focusing on whether Mr. Chauvin, who is accused of murder in the death of Mr. Floyd, violated police policy, or so his actions aligned with his training. Here are the highlights for Tuesday.
Mr. Nelson found evidence from prosecution witnesses that could support his arguments. Constable Nicole Mackenzie, Medical Support Coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, concurred with Nelson’s claim that crowds of voice passers-by can make it difficult for an officer to provide medical assistance during a arrest. Lt. Johnny Mercil, a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department and use of force instructor, also said hostile passers-by could sound the alarm bells to officers. Mr Nelson hinted throughout the trial that the crowd outside the Cup Foods convenience store, who yelled at Mr Chauvin as he knelt on top of Mr Floyd for nine and a half minutes, could have prevented the former agent once help Mr. Floyd. he became numb.
Mr. Nelson touched on a similar theme during the interview with Sgt. Ker Yang, Crisis Intervention Coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department. He asked if an officer could “look bad” even when using legal force, and asked if officers were responsible for weighing possible threats, such as crowds of passers-by, when applying force. “You get a lot of information and you sort of process it all at the same time through this critical decision-making model,” Nelson said. Sergeant Yang agreed.
Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger, a use of force expert, told prosecutors Mr Floyd kicked police officers as a possible attempt to break free from their grip. Still, Sergeant Stiger said that the kick was the only such attempt by Mr. Floyd. He also said that, based on his review of the body camera footage, Mr Floyd appeared to bow to the police shortly after they placed him face down on the sidewalk with his hands cuffed behind his back. .
Examining a photo of Mr. Chauvin pinning George Floyd to the ground, Lt. Mercil told prosecutors that Mr. Chauvin’s position was inconsistent with the Minneapolis Police Department’s training on the use of force. Additionally, Lt. Mercil said officers are trained to “use the lowest level of force possible” when controlling a subject. Mr. Chauvin kept Mr. Floyd pinned down for several minutes even after he became unresponsive. Yet Mr. Nelson made potential progress thanks to the testimony of Lieutenant Mercil. When asked about neck ties, Lt. Mercil said it usually takes less than 10 seconds for a person to become unconscious due to a neck restriction. The question could allow Mr. Nelson to argue that Mr. Chauvin’s knee did not constitute a cervical restraint, as it took Mr. Floyd several minutes to pass out.