To remember from day 8 of the Derek Chauvin trial.


A use of force expert called by prosecutors testified Wednesday that Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged with the murder of George Floyd, used “lethal force” when it was appropriate not to use any.

The expert, Sgt. Jody Stiger, who works with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Office of the Inspector General, also said Mr. Chauvin put Mr. Floyd at risk of positional asphyxiation or oxygen starvation. His testimony could corroborate one of the prosecution’s main claims: that Mr. Floyd died of asphyxiation because Mr. Chauvin knelt on top of him for more than nine minutes.

Senior Special Agent James D. Reyerson of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, whose agency is investigating police use of force, briefed jurors on the bureau’s investigation into Mr. Floyd’s death and told stated that Mr. Chauvin had shouted, “I do not take drugs”, while he was handcuffed. Here are the highlights for Wednesday.

  • Sergeant Stiger said “no force should have been used” once Mr. Floyd was restrained, handcuffed and face down on the sidewalk. “He was lying on his stomach, he was handcuffed, he wasn’t trying to resist, he wasn’t trying to assault the officers – kicks, punches or anything of that nature,” said Sergeant Stiger. The prosecution argued that Mr. Chauvin’s forces continued for much longer than necessary; in all, Mr. Chauvin pinned Mr. Floyd with his knee for about nine and a half minutes.

  • Responding to questions from the defense, Sergeant Stiger said Mr. Floyd resisted arrest when responding officers attempted to put him in the back of a patrol car. At that point, Mr. Chauvin would have been right to use a Taser, said Sergeant Stiger. The defense has suggested that people who do not appear to be dangerous to officers can quickly pose a threat. The line of questions appeared to be an attempt to establish that Mr. Floyd had been combative at first and therefore could have become so again. Sergeant Stiger rebuffed the argument, saying officers should use whatever force the suspects are doing now, not what they might be doing later.

  • When asked to interpret camera footage of the police body, Mr. Reyerson first said that Mr. Floyd appeared to be saying, “I ate too many drugs.” But in later testimony, Mr. Reyerson changed his assessment and said Mr. Floyd had actually shouted, ‘I don’t do drugs. His revised judgment could undermine the defense of Mr. Chauvin, which attempted to argue that Mr. Floyd died as a result of drug use, not Mr. Chauvin’s actions. A toxicology report found methamphetamine and fentanyl in Mr. Floyd’s system. Sergeant Stiger told the jury that he could not understand what Mr. Floyd had said at the time.

  • Much of Wednesday’s debate centered on Mr. Floyd’s drug use. The jury heard testimony from McKenzie Anderson, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who dealt with the squad car in which Mr. Floyd was briefly placed on the night of his death. An initial treatment did not reveal any drugs in the vehicle, but during a second search requested by Mr. Chauvin’s defense team in January, the team discovered fragments of pills. Judge Peter Cahill called the surveillance “staggering”. Ms Anderson said she wasn’t looking for pills on the initial search and just passed them. While testing the fragments, Ms Anderson said a lab found TBEN matching Floyd’s.

  • Breahna Giles, a forensic scientist with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said some of the pills recovered from the scene had been tested and contained methamphetamine and fentanyl. The pills were marked with letters and numbers that seemed to indicate that they were pharmaceutical grade acetaminophen and oxycodone, although illicit pills are sometimes branded by drug dealers to give the false impression they are came from a pharmacy.

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