Neck restraints authorized, but Chauvin violated use-of-force policy, court hears

Johnny Mercil Ap

A Minneapolis Police Department use-of-force trainer testified in the trial of Derek Chauvin Tuesday and said the former officer was not following his training when he kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death in May.

In this image from video, Morries Hall appeared via video as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discussed motions before the court Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. 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". But once he was on the ground and stopped resisting, "at that point the officers ... should have slowed down or stopped their force as well".

Yang said officers are taught to make critical decisions in dealing with people in crisis, including those suffering mental problems or the effects of drug use, and then de-escalate the situation.

"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.

Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, told Cahill he planned to ask Hall whether he gave Floyd any controlled substances and why Hall left Minnesota immediately after the incident.

No witnesses at the scene were arrested, and several of them have testified that they urged officers to check Mr Floyd's pulse and provide him with medical care.

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 when Floyd was resisting efforts to get him into a squad vehicle, officers were justified in using force, but once he was on the ground and no longer resisting, officers "should have slowed down or stopped their force as well".

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Arradondo, the city's first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd's death.

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

The officers also rebuffed offers of help from an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter who wanted to administer aid or tell officers how to do it.

Mr Nelson granted that, occasionally, an officer might "look bad" while restraining a suspect, but the officer could still be following the law, and the policies, on the use of force.

The jury in the trial of Derek Chauvin heard his prolonged use of force broke police protocol. They are trying to show that Mr Chauvin broke rules, and was a rogue officer.

Prosecutors argue Chauvin, who is White, killed Floyd by kneeling on the 46-year-old Black man's neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds as he lay face-down in handcuffs outside a corner market.

But prosecutors quickly got Mr Arradondo to note that the clip played by Nelson depicted only the few seconds before Floyd was moved onto a stretcher.

Morries Hall, who was with Floyd in his vehicle shortly before his death, is in custody and appeared by video camera at the hearing after he was subpoenaed to testify.

She said Chauvin, whom she's known for about 20 years, received annual training in defensive tactics and use of force, and would have been trained to use one or two arms, not his knee, in a neck restraint.

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