George Floyd death: Seventh day of Chauvin murder trial begins


Jody Stiger, a use-of-force expert, testified today that the force used by former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin on George Floyd was excessive.

Chauvin, 45, who is white, faces two murder charges - second-degree unintentional murder and third-degree murder - in Floyd's death.

Testimony in the US trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, continues Wednesday with a Los Angeles police sergeant called upon to answer questions about the use of force. In previous cases, police have been accused of closing ranks to protect fellow members.

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".

The police actions immediately prior to the death of George Floyd violated Minneapolis police policy, according to court testimony from the force's police chief.

He also said officers were taught that restraint is considered force and that they must use the least force required because "it's safer and better for everybody involved".

"When we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about our principles and the values that we have, that action goes contrary to what we are talking about". Video captured by a bystander showed the handcuffed Floyd repeatedly say he couldn't breathe.

Mr Chauvin's defence team claims the officer did what he was trained to do, and that Mr Floyd's drug consumption and his underlying health conditions caused his death.

George Floyd called out while Chauvin and the other officers were holding him down, saying that he could not breath.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher said Chauvin attended a course on how to defuse crises in 2016.

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


Stiger said officers were justified in using force initially as Floyd resisted their efforts to put him into a police auto, but that once Floyd was on the ground and stopped resisting, the officers "should have slowed down or stopped their force as well".

"We absolutely have a duty to render that", he said.

His death sparked the Black Lives Matter protests around the world.

She told the jury that if officers can not find a pulse on a subject, they are taught to immediately begin CPR and to administer first aid if they encounter a medical emergency.

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

As police officers are rarely convicted or charged at all for deaths that occur in custody, the verdict in this trial is being seen as an indication of how the USA legal system will treat such cases in future.

Mr Nelson has suggested that onlookers, many of whom were shouting at Chauvin, might have affected officers' response.

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.

Mr Nelson's main argument - that Mr Floyd died largely because of alleged drug usage and a weak heart, not because of the way Mr Chauvin treated him - will be ramped up in the coming days, as medical evidence about his death is presented.

Lieutenant Johnny Mercil said Mr Chauvin was not trained to use his legs as a neck restraint and should not have done so when Mr Floyd was handcuffed and under control.



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