A use of force expert called by the defense on Tuesday testified that Derek Chauvin was justified in pinning George Floyd to the ground during last year’s arrest that ended in Floyd’s death.
During cross-examination, Barry Brodd agreed that Derek Chauvin did not decrease his use of force even as Floyd became “more compliant,” but he took issue with how Floyd was lying on the pavement as Chauvin knelt on him.
“His arm position… a compliant person would have both hands in the small of their back and just be resting comfortably,” Brodd said.
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher, who appeared taken aback by the testimony, asked Brodd if he was suggesting that Floyd’s attempts to breathe were an example of non-compliance — to which Brodd said no.
STATE CROSS: "Did you say resting comfortably?! … So attempting to breathe while being restrained is being non-compliant?"
The State has a BIG moment taking issue with the defense use of force expert’s word choice.
— Court TV (@CourtTV) April 13, 2021
Chauvin, 44, a former Minneapolis police officer, is charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death. Three other ex-officers, Thomas Lane, 37, J. Alexander Kueng, 26, and Tou Thao, 34 are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.
On May 25, Minneapolis police officers were filmed arresting Floyd, 46, on suspicion that he used a counterfeit bill at the Cup Foods supermarket. After police pulled Floyd out of his car and handcuffed him, Chauvin was filmed forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for eight minutes.
Floyd was heard gasping for air and saying he could not breathe before he lost consciousness and died.
Hennepin County’s official autopsy report stated that Floyd’s blood had a fentanyl concentration of 11 nanograms per milliliter. While the medical examiner described the concentration as high and potentially fatal, they stressed that it does not mean Floyd died of an overdose.
The report also stated that there was no evidence “to support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation” in Floyd’s death. Conversely, an independent autopsy asserted that sustained forceful pressure on Floyd’s neck and back led to his death.
Both the county’s and the independent report mentioned drugs in Floyd’s system. However, the two reports listed his cause of death as a homicide.
The defense has argued that a “speedball” — an opioid and a stimulant combination — along with hypertension led to Floyd dying of cardiac arrhythmia. However, the prosecution said video and forensic evidence disproves Floyd was dying from a drug overdose, and that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes killed him.
Chauvin is being tried separately from the other three former officers. Their trial is scheduled to begin this summer.
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[Featured image: Barry Brodd/Court TV via AP, Pool]