Derek Chauvin trial: Police expert says force against George Floyd was deadly

Derek Chauvin. File Photo courtesy Ramsey County Sheriff's Office

April 7 (UPI) — A police expert on use of force testified Wednesday in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, telling the court that no force should have been used against George Floyd when he was handcuffed and lying on his stomach during his arrest last May.

Attorneys continued questioning Los Angeles Police Dept. Sgt. Jody Stiger in Chauvin’s murder trial for Floyd’s death. Tuesday, Stiger said that his analysis of the May 25, 2020, arrest, during which Chauvin kept his knee pressed to the back of Floyd’s neck for almost 10 minutes, showed that the officer used excessive force.

Wednesday, Stiger said Chauvin’s force was deadly because Floyd was on the ground in a prone position.

“He was not resisting, he was handcuffed, he was not attempting to evade, he was not attempting to resist,” he said. “And the pressure that was being caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxia, which could cause death.”

Stiger added that Chauvin should have considered Floyd’s level of distress.

“As the time went on, clearly in the video you could see that Mr. Floyd’s medical — his health was deteriorating,” he said. “His breath was getting lower and his tone of voice was getting lower and his movements were starting to cease. So as the officer on scene, you have to see that something is not right … so you have a responsibility to take some type of action.”

Stiger, a paid witness for the prosecution, also testified that officers are trained to place a knee in between a suspect’s shoulder blades to restrain them on the ground. Officers, he added, are always cautioned to stay away from the neck as much as possible to restrain a suspect — echoing testimony earlier this week from Minneapolis Police trainer Lt. Johnny Mercil, who said the same thing.

Stiger went on to say that the crowd gathered at the scene outside a Minneapolis convenience store was not a threat and had not become hostile.

Chauvin faces conviction on a charge of second- or third-degree murder in Floyd’s death. He could also be convicted of second-degree manslaughter. The trial is expected to last a couple more weeks.

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