Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday at Derek Chauvin’s murder trial that she “vehemently disagrees” that there is any justification for the former police officer to keep his knee on George Floyd’s neck during more than nine minutes.
Arradondo said on the sixth day of the trial that Chauvin’s treatment of the 46-year-old black man violated regulations and showed contempt “for the sanctity of life.”
“Once Mr. Floyd stopped resisting, and certainly once he was distraught and trying to verbalize that, that should be over,” he said.
The police chief said that while it might have been reasonable to use a certain level of force “to keep it under control in the first few seconds,” Chauvin’s subsequent actions did not meet the standard of “objectively reasonable force.”
“Continuing to apply that level of force to a person pointed, handcuffed behind the back, which in no way, shape or form is something that is political,” he said.
Arradondo said that, far from being aggressive, Floyd appeared to be completely passive. “In fact, when I saw that video, I didn’t even know if Mr. Floyd was alive at the time,” he said.
It is highly unusual for a police chief to testify against one of his own officers.
Arradondo, the city’s first black police chief, fired Chauvin shortly after Floyd’s death.
Chauvin, 45, has denied charges of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. He faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted of the most serious charge. Three other agents face charges.
Floyd’s death last year reinvigorated the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked mass protests for racial justice in the United States and other parts of the world.
The prosecutor spent Monday building a case that Chauvin did not follow through on his training to consider whether the resistance from Floyd’s arrest was “a deliberate attempt to resist or an inability to comply” due to issues such as medical conditions, mental disability or the Drug influence.
On Thursday, Floyd’s girlfriend testified that he was addicted to opioids and another witness said he appeared to be high shortly before his arrest. Arradondo agreed that a person under the influence of drugs can be more vulnerable than dangerous.
The police chief said Chauvin should have considered a number of factors in the way he treated Floyd.
“Is the person a threat to the officer and others? What is the seriousness of the crime? Are you reassessing and evaluating the person’s medical condition? “Arradondo said.
Considering all these issues, the police chief added: “I vehemently disagree that this was an appropriate use of force.”
He said that Chauvin also did not appear to have been following his training to reduce the escalation of a confrontation. “You always want to have a layered de-escalation in those actions of use of force,” Arradondo said.
Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, told Arradondo that the use of force, such as an officer pointing a gun, could be a de-escalation tactic in certain circumstances if it prevents further violence. The police chief was hesitant, but said that sometimes it might be the case.
The police chief questioned the need to arrest Floyd, saying it would not be normal to arrest a person for passing a falsified bill because “it is not a violent crime.”
The prosecutor also drew Arradondo’s attention to the fact that Chauvin and the officers accompanying him failed to provide Floyd with medical assistance when he stopped breathing.
The police chief said all officers are trained in first aid and “have an absolute duty” to hand it over to a person in a medical crisis like Floyd when he said he couldn’t breathe and then passed out.
Earlier Monday, the emergency room doctor who tried to save Floyd’s life said at trial that he most likely died of suffocation.
Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld said he saw no evidence that Floyd died of a heart attack or drug overdose, as Chauvin’s defense has claimed in attempting to deny that the death was due to the officer holding his knee to his neck. of the detainee for more than nine minutes.
Langenfeld, who pronounced Floyd dead, told the court that there was not a heartbeat “enough to sustain life” and that he believed the cardiac arrest was due to “lack of oxygen.” The prosecutor asked him if there was another term for that.
“Suffocation,” Langenfeld said.
The doctor said he thought a heart attack was unlikely because when he opened Floyd’s chest he saw no evidence of it. He also said that paramedics who took him to the hospital said Floyd did not display typical behavior for the condition.
“There was no report that the patient complained of chest pain or was clutching his chest,” he said.
The state medical examiner found that Floyd’s death was caused by “cardiopulmonary arrest,” which the prosecution says is a broad enough term that it can be applied to any death because it only means that a person’s heart and lungs are have stopped.
The defense claims that the finding means that Floyd died of a heart attack.
Langenfeld told the court that a delay in Floyd’s treatment, particularly in giving him CPR, could have reduced his chances of survival. Ambulance paramedics reported that police made no effort to provide medical assistance to Floyd despite the fact that he had passed out and was unresponsive when they arrived at the scene.
The trial continues.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism