Chauvin trial: Homicide unit chief says kneeling on a suspect’s neck is ‘deadly force’

The head of the Minneapolis Police Department’s homicide unit testified Friday that former cop Derek Chauvin used “totally unnecessary” force against George Floyd.

Lt Richard Zimmerman was one of two officers to testify in Chauvin’s murder trial on Friday, the only witnesses in the half day session.

“First of all,” Zimmerman said, “pulling him down to the ground facedown and putting your knee on a neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for.”

Friday’s testimony came with procedural evidence, still photographs and short videos on procedure and routine, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said.

Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes on May 25, 2020, after officers responded to call that Floyd had possibly passed a counterfeit $20 bill. Chauvin has been charged with second and third degree murder. Three other officers are set to go on trial together in August on aiding and abetting charges. All four were fired.

Zimmerman said that in his opinion, the restraint on Floyd should have stopped once he was handcuffed and on the ground.

The lieutenant also said that putting a knee on a suspects neck is not part of training and would be considered “deadly force.”

“If your knee is on someone’s neck, that could kill them,” he said.

Sgt. Jon Edwards, the night supervisor in the Third Precinct where Floyd was arrested and Friday’s other witness, answered questions about his activities on the day of Floyd’s death. He testified that he was just begun his shift when the previous sergeant told him that Floyd “may or may not live.”

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[Featured image: Screenshot from witness video]