Tuesday, April 20

Minneapolis Police Chief Charges Former Agent in ‘Floyd Case’ Trial: “Violated Protocol” | International


Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo at trial against former Agent Derek Chauvin in the Minneapolis, Minnesota courthouse.
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo at trial against former Agent Derek Chauvin in the Minneapolis, Minnesota courthouse.POOL / Reuters

The Chief of the Minneapolis Police, Medaria Arradondo, declared this Monday in the trial on the murder of African American George Floyd against his subordinate, former agent Derek Chauvin. Arradondo accused him of “absolutely” having violated police protocol, which obliges not to use force when the detainee has adverse medical conditions or is under the influence of drugs. That fateful May 25, 2020, Floyd alleged claustrophobia and an autopsy revealed that he had taken fentanyl and methamphetamine. The action of Chauvin, of nailing his knee in the neck of the detainee for nine minutes and 29 seconds to a detainee in handcuffs, “is not part of our training, it is not part of our ethics or of our values,” said Arradondo in the trial that has reopened the racial wound in the United States.

“Once Mr. Floyd stopped resisting, and certainly once he was going out of his mind and trying to verbalize that, that [la táctica de clavar la rodilla en el cuello] it should have stopped, “said Arradondo, who added that professional police policy establishes” treating people with dignity and respect above all else, “he added. The police leader’s testimony calls into question the defense argument of the accused, who has said that he acted in accordance with the training and that he used “reasonable” force during the arrest of the African American.

The testimony of Arradondo, who fired Chauvin and the other three agents implicated in Floyd’s death, was one of the most anticipated of the trial that this Monday began its second week seen in the court of Hennepin County, jurisdiction in which the events occurred (Minneapolis). Violation of compliance with police protocol is one of the main assets of the Prosecutor’s Office to hold Chauvin responsible for the death of Floyd, who has become a symbol of the racial movement in the United States.

It is very unusual for a police chief to testify against a former officer. In this historic case, moreover, Arradondo came to the stand after classifying Floyd’s death last June as a “murder.” The witness has assured that the type of crime for which the police were called on May 25 – the use of a false 20 dollar bill allegedly forged by Floyd – does not normally result in an arrest because it is not a serious crime or violent. Regarding the use of force that a police officer must apply at the time of arrest, Arradondo said that “it is absolutely vital that the sanctity of life” is the pillar.

The Prosecutor’s Office, which wants to focus the trial on Chauvin’s violation of protocol, has guided Arradondo during the questionnaire to explain the rules that agents must follow when arresting a suspect. The police chief explained that police regulations establish a policy of de-escalation of violence in the use of force when the detainee has medical conditions or is under the influence of drugs. Also that when the police use force they are obliged to verbally announce their intention, something that Chauvin did not comply with, according to the videos posted so far.

Arradondo started in 1989 at the Minneapolis Police Department. He was a patrol officer, inspector, deputy chief, and in 2017 he became the first African-American to hold the position of chief. In 2007, Arradondo and four other agents sued the department for racial discrimination in promotions.

So far the testimonies of the police authorities have been against the use of force applied by Chauvin in the arrest of Floyd. Last Friday, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the most veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department, on the stand rejected Chauvin’s use of force during Floyd’s arrest. “Throwing him on the ground face down and putting the knee on his neck during all that time was simply unnecessary,” said the detective, who claimed that in his 40-year career he never received training for this technique, which he described as lethal. David Pleoger, a recently retired sergeant, also told jurors that law enforcement protocol requires officers to remove the knee from a suspect’s neck when the suspect stops resisting.

On Monday morning, the ex-agent’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, told Judge Peter A. Cahill that not all police officers who testify should refer to the training they have received because some may have received one type of training and others a different one. Nelson specifically asked to limit the prosecution’s focus to the training that they can demonstrate that Chauvin received. The judge clarified that after the testimony of Arradondo on Monday and two other experts in the use of police force, who are expected to testify this week, they will have “ended with asking other police officers about the use of force.”

Lack of oxygen, probable cause of death

Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, who certified Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020, testified Monday at the trial and said he believed the African-American “probably” had died from “lack of oxygen.” This statement reinforces the argument of the Prosecutor’s Office.

Langenfeld claimed that Floyd’s heart was not beating when he arrived at the emergency room at the Hennepin County Medical Center. For half an hour he tried to save the life of the African American before declaring him dead.

The medical examiner’s report concluded that Floyd’s death was a homicide resulting from “cardiopulmonary failure” due to complications due to police action and “neck compression.” The document lists fentanyl poisoning and recent methamphetamine use as “other major conditions,” but not as a cause of death. Chauvin’s defense, on the other hand, insists on proving that Floyd passed away due to drug intoxication and poor coronary health.

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