A city police department official said Tuesday, the day of the latest testimony during the Chauvin trial, used the restraint used by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin against George Floyd is illegal.
Prosecutors showed Lieutenant Johnny Mercil a photo of Chauvin using his knee to clamp Floyd’s neck to the ground and asked if the officer used an authorized neck restraint in the situation. or not.
“I would say no,” said Mercil, who teaches the proper use of force for the department.
Mercil said officers were trained in some situations to use their knees on the suspect’s back or shoulders and use their body weight to maintain control, but added: “They I ask the officers to stay away from her when possible. “
Chauvin pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter and second-degree unintentional murder, as well as a third-degree murder charge, in connection with Floyd’s death in May 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The former officer, who was fired by police forces last year after the incident, held Floyd’s knee in the neck for more than 9 minutes.
Video footage of what happened was shared around the world, sparking widespread condemnation and racial fairness rallies and an end to police violence in both the United States and the country. out.
The the second week Chauvin’s trial began on Monday with Minneapolis Sheriff Medaria Arradondo testifying that Chauvin’s actions violate the department’s policy and ethics. Earlier that same day, an emergency room doctor who claimed Floyd had died after trying to resuscitate him testified that at the time, he believed it was very likely that Floyd had died of asphyxiation.
Chauvin’s The defense team has argued The former officer “did exactly what he was trained to do in his 19-year career” and argues that the illegal drugs in Floyd’s system and his latent health status are new. What kills him, not Chauvin’s action.
The day is ‘filled with nuances’
Al Jazeera’s John Hendren, reporting from Minneapolis, said Tuesday was a day “filled with nuance, without a lot of fireworks, with no big profits for both sides”.
Hendren said that while Mercil’s testimony supported the prosecutor’s argument that Chauvin did not use normal police tactics to contain Floyd, the police lieutenant also provided some information that could be considered. Useful for an advocate.
Chauvin’s attorneys showed Mercil a frozen frame of the captured Floyd video, and asked him where Chauvin’s knee was located. “He said, ‘Between the blades behind his back.’ In other words, he pulled it out of George Floyd’s neck, ”said Hendren.
“Well, that is bad for the prosecutor’s case because they argued all the time that Chauvin put his head on Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds in a row.”
Mercil told the court that the officers were trained to apply the right amount of force and the correct use of neck belts, handcuffs, and straps. He said he was only allowed to tie the neck when a suspect actively and fiercely opposed the arrest.
“If you can use the least amount of force to achieve your goal, then it will be safer and better,” Mercil said.
The main points for defense
Ronald Sullivan, professor at Harvard Law School and director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute, said the defense was able to grasp the “key points” of their theory of the case through personalities. prosecution on Tuesday.
“I really think this is a bad day for the government,” Sullivan told Al Jazeera.
“Nowadays, the defense could argue that it is arbitrary for officers to do the scene, that certain variables indicate the degree of pressure an officer can apply to this continuing force. , and that is from the point of view of the officer. ground.”
But Sullivan added that trials tended to go up and down, and last week – saw nineteen people, including one child and four teenagers, testifying in court – is a good week for prosecution.
Chauvin’s trial is expected to last four weeks, but there are indications that a jury could be put in for consideration earlier than that.
“Now they are arguing about stories, stories – who is the best storyteller?” Said Sullivan. “It is a case of excessive force, or a case of [a] overdosing? The jury believes whichever is the winner ”.