Published: Wed, April 07, 2021
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Chauvin was trained to avoid neck pressure, police instructor testifies

Chauvin was trained to avoid neck pressure, police instructor testifies

In this image from video, Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discussed motions before the court Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, in the May 25, 2020, death of George Floyd at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn.

Medaria Arradondo told Mr Chauvin's murder trial that the "sanctity of life" was at the core of a police officer's use of force.

Chauvin is facing charges of murder and manslaughter in George Floyd's death last May.

He stands accused of pressing his knee into the deceased's neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, outside a corner market where Mr Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of trying to pass a counterfeit $US20 bill ($26) for a pack of cigarettes.

Prosecutors are seeking to prove that Floyd's death was due to asphyxiation, while Chauvin's defense claims it was due to illegal drugs in Floyd's system.

Earlier in the day, Sgt Ker Yang, a crisis intervention training coordinator, confirmed that Mr Chauvin had completed the department's 40-hour practical training course and his "ultimate goal" should have been to assess Mr Floyd's medical condition during his arrest.

Mercil testified that officers like Chauvin are trained to use a proportional amount of force and on how to properly use neck restraints, handcuffs and straps.

Mercil said officers are trained in how to get control of a suspect by using their arms on the side of a person's neck to slow blood flow to the brain.

Mercil added, "We tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible".

Schleicher showed a still image taken from bystander video of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd's neck - one that jurors have seen several times - and asked Mercil: "Is this a use of force?" On Tuesday, he testified that officers were justified in using force while Floyd was resisting their efforts to put him in a squad auto.

As witnesses and law enforcement officials take the stand each day in the trial of Chauvin, members of Floyd's family have gathered in Minneapolis, awaiting testimony this week that will look at his cause of death and autopsy.

Stiger said that after reviewing video of the arrest, "my opinion was that the force was excessive".

"I would say no", Lieutenant Mercil testified. He said once Floyd was handcuffed, he saw "no reason for why the officers felt they were in danger, if that's what they felt, and that's what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force".

Floyd's treatment by the white officer was captured on widely seen bystander video that sparked protests around the U.S. that descended into violence in some cases.

The footage of Mr Chauvin, who is white, with his knee on African-American Mr Floyd's neck sparked global protests against racism.

Further witnesses on Tuesday largely took the same line as they were questioned over Chauvin's actions.

The police chief told the court Mr Chauvin's extended use of restraint was "in no way, shape or form" part of department policy or training, "and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values".

Yang testified that police are trained in crisis intervention incidents to use principles such as neutrality, respect and trust, and how to spot and interact with suspects who are going through crisis.

She told the jury that if officers can not find a pulse on a subject, they are taught to immediately begin CPR and to administer first aid if they encounter a medical emergency.

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