Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday that ex-cop Derek Chauvin violated department policy and training during hi
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday that ex-cop Derek Chauvin violated department policy and training during his fatal encounter with George Floyd.
Arradondo, testifying at Chauvin’s murder trial in Floyd’s death, also said the former officer should have taken his knee off the victim’s neck “once there was no longer any resistance.”
“Clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person, prone, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics,” the chief testified.
“Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and verbalized that, that should’ve stopped.”
However, Arradondo conceded under cross-examination that department policies do allow cops to make decisions based on the situation and that “restraint” is an allowed de-escalation tool.
Chauvin lawyer Eric Nelson also noted that conscious and unconscious neck restraints are allowed under department policy in certain situations — and that even a handcuffed suspect can pose a threat.
“Someone who is handcuffed can be equally a threat to an officer as someone who is not handcuffed,” he asked.
“Yes,” the chief replied.
“They can kick, and they could bite, they could spit, they could do all sorts of things, agreed,” Nelson followed up.
“Yes,” Arradondo said.
But, Arradondo added, “it is contrary to our graining to indefinitely place your knee on a prone, handcuffed individual for an indefinite period of time.”
Nelson also noted that a crowd of angry bystanders at the scene also impacted Chauvin’s “critical decision making” at the time.
The chief testified earlier in the day that the department provides a myriad of conduct guidelines and training that includes defensive tactics and de-escalation techniques — none of which Chauvin followed the day Floyd died.
“Of all the things that we do as peace officers for the Minneapolis Police Department,” he testified, “it is my firm belief that the one singular incident we will be judged forever on will be our use of force.”
“And while it is absolutely imperative that our officers go home at the end of their shift, we want to ensure that our community members go home too,” the chief added.
The chief, who fired Chauvin and three other cops following the May 25 incident, has referred to Floyd’s death as “murder.”
Arradondo said he received a call from one of his officers on the day of the incident and was told they believed “he would not make it, or survive.”
He is the department’s first black chief and is a former commander of internal affairs.
Arradondo said cops also get “guidance” that civilians have the right to shoot video of them — as was the case with Floyd’s arrest, in which video of the incident went viral.
Prosecutors have repeatedly shown the jury various angles of Floyd’s police-custody death, including surveillance footage and bodycams worn by cops at the scene.
Various eyewitnesses to the deadly encounter testified last week — in some cases breaking down on the witness stand — as did high-ranking officers in the Minneapolis Police Department, as prosecutors continue to present their case at the murder trial.
The footage shows Chauvin pressing his knee to the back of Floyd’s neck while he is handcuffed and lying face down on the ground.
Chauvin kept the hold for more than nine minutes, despite pleas from a group of outraged bystanders to release Floyd.
On Friday, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the department’s highest-ranking homicide detective, testified that Chauvin’s actions in Floyd’s arrest were “totally unnecessary.”
On Thursday, retired Sgt. David Pleoger gave similar testimony, saying Chauvin should have let Floyd up when he “was no longer offering resistance.”
Two paramedics who responded to the scene testified that Floyd had no pulse when they arrived and never regained consciousness.
Prosecutors are expected this week to continue to focus on Chauvin’s training and are expected to call more department brass.
However, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill told prosecutors Monday that he would limit the number of city cops who will testify in the case, saying the testimony was starting to become “cumulative.”
The case will also hinge on medical evidence. Floyd’s death was ruled a homicide by the city coroner’s office, but defense attorneys contend that Floyd’s drug use and a heart condition caused his death — not Chauvin’s tactics.
Floyd’s girlfriend, Courteney Ross, testified last week that they both struggled with drug addiction during much of their three-year relationship.
“Floyd and I both suffered with an opioid addiction,” Ross testified.
“Both Floyd and I, it’s a classic story of how many people get addicted to opioids,” she said. “We both suffered from chronic pain. Mine was in my neck and his was in his back.”
A clerk at Cup Foods, the convenience store where Floyd passed a counterfeit $20 bill, also testified that Floyd “appeared to be high” when he was in the store.
Earlier on Monday, Cahill addressed an unspecified complaint about juror misconduct from lawyers in the case but ruled that the panel had not been compromised.
Chauvin faces second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges in the case.
As he has throughout the trial, Chauvin, dressed in a suit and tie, was seen sitting next to Nelson scribbling notes on a yellow legal pad.
Monday marked the sixth day of testimony, with prosecutors still presenting their case.
Three other cops at the scene of Floyd’s death — Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao — are scheduled to stand trial in August on charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and manslaughter.