Chauvin Trial Testimony: Trainer said 'If you can talk, you can breathe'

07 Avril, 2021, 08:19 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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The Minneapolis Police Department's coordinator on the use of force told jurors on Tuesday the neck restraint applied by former policeman Derek Chauvin in the deadly arrest of George Floyd was unauthorized and that officers are trained to use the least amount of force necessary.

Officers kept restraining Floyd - with Chauvin kneeling on his neck, another kneeling on Floyd's back and a third holding his feet - until the ambulance got there, even after he became unresponsive, according to testimony and video footage. The 46-year-old Black man was pinned to the pavement outside a neighbourhood market after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked Mackenzie whether officers are taught "that if a person can talk, that means that they can breathe?"

"I would say no", Lieutenant Mercil testified.

Chauvin, who was sacked from the police force after the incident, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and manslaughter.

He also said officers were taught that restraint is considered force and that they must use the least force required because "it's safer and better for everybody involved".

On Tuesday, with the trial in its second week, Mercil also told Hennepin County District Court that police should try to put a suspect in the "recover" position, sit them up or stand them up, as soon as possible to decrease the risk of difficulty breathing while on their stomachs.

Mercil testified that a neck restraint created to render a suspect unconscious neck is authorized only when the suspect is actively and aggressively resisting.

Under cross-examination by Chauvin's lawyer Eric Nelson, Mercil acknowledged that, in his experience, there have been times when suspects, who he was in the process of detaining, were lying about having a medical emergency.

Under questioning from Nelson, Yang testified that people watching an arrest may also be in crisis and that officers have to take in the situation around them as well.

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"We tell them to stay away from the neck when possible", Mercil told jurors.

The police actions immediately prior to the death of George Floyd violated Minneapolis police policy, according to court testimony from the force's police chief.

Sergeant Ker Yang, a crisis intervention training coordinator for the department, testified as the day's first witness that Chauvin completed 40 hours of training on dealing with suspects going through a crisis.

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.

A panicky-sounding Floyd writhed and claimed to be claustrophobic as police tried to put him in the squad vehicle. Hall has said that he would invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination if he had to appear in the witness stand.

Nelson asked if it can be confused with effective breathing.

Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross, testified last week that she and Floyd struggled with opioid addiction, and that she thought Hall sometimes illegally sold pills to Floyd. "So, what I'm going to do is I'm going to ask Mr. Nelson essentially to draft to in written question form, with the expected answer based on whatever statements were made, on what that would be".

The judge said he would rule later on Hall's request not to testify.

But the county medical examiner's office ultimately classified Mr Floyd's death a homicide - a death caused by someone else.

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