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3:10 p.m. Expert testifies that Chauvin's use of force "excessive"
A long-time Los Angeles Police Department officer is testifying as an expert this afternoon.
Asked by state prosecutors for his analysis of Derek Chauvin's use of force on George Floyd, Jody Stiger said his opinion is "that the force was excessive."
Stiger, a tactics instructor, is the latest in a series of witness called Tuesday to testify on officer training, and said in his testimony he has trained officers from his own departments and consulted those of others on the use of force and on de-escalation procedures.
2:45 p.m. Court resumes with continued focus on officer training
A Minneapolis Police Department officer testified Tuesday afternoon about the emergency medical training her colleagues receive.
Officer Nicole Mackenzie, a medical support coordinator for the department, told defense attorneys that bystanders to an arrest could inhibit an officer's ability to render emergency care to a suspect or other individual in need of it. Derek Chauvin's team has several times attempted to portray the crowd that gathered at the scene of George Floyd's arrest as complicating the work of Floyd's arresting officers.
Mackenzie said officers are trained to recognize signs of urgent medical conditions and to contact emergency technicians for support when appropriate, though they are also instructed to perform CPR and other first-aid forms of assistance to an individual in distress until such time as help arrives.
Shortly before she was dismissed for the day, the officer told state prosecutors that the presence of bystanders would not excuse an officer from not rendering care unless they obstructed he or she from doing so.
12:30 p.m. Testimony of use-of-force instructor concludes
A defense attorney for Derek Chauvin again sought to demonstrate Tuesday that that the ex-Minneapolis Police Department officer was kneeling on George Floyd's shoulder blade, not his neck, for at least part of their encounter the night of May 25, 2020.
Attorney Eric Nelson had Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force instructor for the department, confirm on the witness stand Chauvin appeared to be kneeling on Floyd's shoulder in footage from a camera that another officer wore during Floyd's arrest that night. Mercil's testimony and documents cited in court Tuesday also showed that Minneapolis officers sometimes use such holds when placing suspects in handcuffs.
According to the lieutenant, officers may continue to restrain an individual with such a hold even after handcuffing them if they believe the suspect will continue to resist arrest or if the situation at hand is still generally unsafe. The defense has several times insinuated that the crowd of bystanders gathered at the scene of Floyd's arrest on May 25 made the circumstances more volatile.
Nelson did so again by quoting some of the seeming threats that bystanders made to the officer the night of Floyd's arrest to Mercil, and asking him if they would factor into an officer's decision about to continue restraining a suspect. The prosecution countered by asking the lieutenant if pleas from bystanders that a suspect was dying would also factor into such a decision, which he also confirmed.
Mercil's testimony ended shortly after 12 p.m. Tuesday, at which point the court took a break for the afternoon.
11:15 a.m. New testimony focuses on neck restraints
The Minneapolis Police Department does not teach officers to kneel on the necks of suspects as a means of restraining them by the neck, according to new testimony heard Tuesday in the case against Derek Chauvin.
Police Lt. Johnny Mercil, a use-of-force instructor for the department, said on the witness stand this morning that neck restraints taught to trainee officers more commonly involve the use of one's arms and hands. He said officers may be shown images of what are called "triangle chokes," a neck restraint maneuver made with one's legs and arms, but are not taught how to perform them.
"We don’t train leg-neck restraints," Mercil said. "As far as my knowledge, we never have."
The use of a knee-to-neck move like the one Chauvin was seen using on George Floyd shortly before he died as a more general restraining technique, though, "isn't unauthorized," Mercil said. Officers are however trained not to restrain a suspect to the point of unconsciousness unless they are actively resisting resist in a combative manner, according to Mercil's testimony and documents cited in court Tuesday.
But asked by prosecutors Tuesday if a knee-neck restraint would be authorized for use on a handcuffed suspect such as Floyd, Mercil said no.
10:25 a.m. Witness from police force talks training
Police Sgt. Ker Yang, a 24-year member of the Minneapolis Police Department, testified Tuesday morning.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys both asked him to describe the crisis intervention training he was in charge of implementing. He said officers who undergo the training are taught how to calm down individuals experiencing a crisis and about what crises can be triggered by.
Derek Chauvin underwent such training, jurors heard Tuesday.
9:30 a.m.: Morries Hall seeks to side-step testifying
Attorneys for the man who was with George Floyd the night of his arrest and eventual death are trying to quash a subpoena for his testimony.
Morries Hall, who is currently in jail for matters unrelated to the case against Derek Chauvin, could easily be put at risk of being charged with other crimes if asked to testify, his attorneys argued at a motions hearing Tuesday morning, April 6. He has signaled that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination if asked to testify on the events that took place before and after Minneapolis Police Department officers arrived at the intersection where they arrested Floyd the night of May 25, 2020.
Hall's attorney said her client, who appeared in court Tuesday via a live video feed, could open himself to third-degree murder charges and drug possession charges if he were to testify, noting that individuals who provided drugs to another person can be charged criminally if that person overdoses. Floyd's girlfriend Courteney Ross previously testified in the Chauvin case that Hall provided drugs to Floyd, who was found to have fentanyl and other drugs in his system upon an autopsy, in the past.
Judge Peter Cahill suggested that attorneys for the defense and prosecutions, both of which have called Hall as a witness, could question him more narrowly so as to avoid an instance of self-incrimination. Said Hall's attorney in response: "I cannot envision any topics that Mr. Hall would be called to testify on that would be both relevant to this case that would not incriminate him."
At Cahill's suggestion, Chauvin's defense team is drafting potential questions for Hall that the judge will review later this week.
8:15 a.m.: Minneapolis police chief testifies
Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that Derek Chauvin did not adhere to use-of-force policies when he pinned George Floyd to the ground by his neck. The training of officers on how to assess and de-escalate volatile situations, as well as on how to use force appropriately was the subject of many questions Monday, April 5.
Other witnesses called on Monday included the doctor who treated Floyd following his arrest the night of May 25, 2020, and a city police inspector formerly in charge of officer training.
At 8:30 a.m. today, Morries Lester Hall will appear in court remotely by Zoom video for a hearing on Hall's motion to quash a subpoena for his testimony. Hall was in the car with Floyd on May 25 when the incident with police occurred. Hall previously said he would plead the Fifth Amendment if called to testify.
Court is set to gavel back into session at 9:15 a.m. today. State prosecutors are expected to continue calling witnesses.
Key stories this morning
- Explainer: A legion of Chauvin prosecutors, each with own role
- Explainer: Witnesses relive trauma, guilt over Floyd's death
- Police chief testifies that Derek Chauvin 'absolutely' did not follow policy in George Floyd arrest