Derek Chauvin trial: Rare testimony from Minneapolis police chief
Apr 06 2021
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo on Monday thoroughly rejected Derek Chauvin's actions during the arrest of George Floyd last May as contrary to department policy. "It's not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or values".
On the sixth day of the trial into Mr Chauvin, the chief said his officer was responsible for multiple breaches of duty, namely: that he should have let Mr Floyd up sooner; that the pressure on Mr Floyd's neck did not appear to be light to moderate; that Mr 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 with no or minimal force if they can.
The disturbing recording of Floyd being pinned down by Chauvin for almost nine minutes and saying "I can't breathe" has been widely circulated on social media and in news reports, and has ignited mass protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death on May 25.
Jack Ryan, a Rhode Island lawyer and former police officer trained in chokeholds who was an expert for plaintiffs in the Smith family lawsuit, questioned in a phone interview whether it ever made sense for Minneapolis and other police departments to allow blood chokes.
More police testimony is expected this week, including Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo, who in June said Floyd's death was murder and "not due to a lack of training".
Arradondo and Blackwell were the latest police officers to be called by the prosecution to testify against Chauvin.
A Texas high school teacher has landed in hot water after giving freshman students in his communications class an assignment to watch the Derek Chauvin trial and act as mock jurors without their parents' consent.
"We are oftentimes the first face of government our community will see, and we will often meet them at their worst moments", he told the jury when asked to describe the meaning of the badge the city's roughly 700 sworn officers wear. "I saw no reason why the officers felt they were in danger if that's what they felt and that's what they would have to feel to use that kind of force", he said.
The students were apparently told to follow the same instructions that the real jury was asked to follow by the judge while trying Derek Chauvin. "Ensure that the length of any detention is no longer than necessary to take appropriate action for the known or suspected offense", Arradondo said as he read the training manual.
The Hennepin County medical examiner's office said that Floyd died of "cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression".
Arradondo also went into great detail about the de-escalation procedures officers are mandated to follow, saying it's really about attempting to stretch out "time, options and resources".
Two paramedics who brought Floyd to the Hennepin County Medical Center after his arrest told Dr. Bradford Langenfeld they had been trying to restart Floyd's heart for about 30 minutes without success. The defense has argued that Floyd's drug use contributed to his death.
Dr Langenfeld told the court, "Any amount of time that a patient spends in cardiac arrest without CPR markedly decreases the chances of survival" before explaining that those chances dropped by 10 to 15 percent with each passing minute. He called Mr Floyd's death "murder", and said Mr Chauvin "knew that Floyd was nonresponsive" during the last few minutes. Langenfeld agreed it could.
Chauvin, who is white, was a 19-year police veteran until he was sacked.
"Simply because someone has a history of chronic opioid abuse, does that mean fentanyl can't kill them?"
The two paramedics testified last week, saying that Floyd appeared already to be dead when they arrived and moved Chauvin off his neck.
Floyd was declared dead at 9:25 pm, about 30 minutes after he arrived at the hospital and less than 90 minutes after police arrived outside the Cup Foods grocery store to arrest Floyd on suspicion of his using a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes.