(CNN) — A Los Angeles Police Department use of force expert stated Wednesday that former Deputy Derek Chauvin used “deadly force” by keeping his knee on George Floyd’s neck for more than 9 minutes in a situation where he was not necessary the use of force.
During his second day on the stand, Sergeant Jody Stiger said that the pressure of Chauvin’s weight on the back of Floyd’s neck could have caused potentially fatal “postural asphyxia.”
‘I was in a prone position. He was not resisting. He was handcuffed. He wasn’t trying to escape. He wasn’t trying to resist, ”Stiger said of Floyd. “And the pressure … that was being caused by body weight could cause postural asphyxia that could lead to death,” he added.
The dangers of this technique have been known for at least 20 years
Stiger stated that law enforcement has known the dangers of postural asphyxia for at least 20 years.
The expert told the jury that “force should not have been used” in a context where three officers were holding Floyd and two others were standing there.
Chauvin is also seen in body camera video grabbing Floyd’s fingers in an attempt to inflict pain on him to obey, Stiger told the court. He was asked what if Floyd couldn’t obey.
“Right now it’s just pain,” Stiger replied.
Stiger took the stand Wednesday as the trial entered its eighth day of testimony. Prosecutors are addressing Chauvin’s actions on May 25, 2020 with a number of law enforcement experts who testified about proper training of officers. Two investigators from the Criminal Detention Office also testified about what they found in Chauvin’s case.
Testimonies counteract defense argument
This week’s testimony countered the defense argument that Chauvin “did exactly what he was trained to do” when he held Floyd. Prosecutors have tried to show that he used excessive and unreasonable force and had a “depraved mind” with no regard for human life.
This focus on police policy and training comes after a first week of testimony that focused on what happened to Floyd on his last day. The evidence presented included cell phones, surveillance cameras, and police body cameras.
The testimony of dismayed passers-by, descriptions of the paramedics and the police supervisor who came to the scene, and Chauvin’s own statements about what happened were also collected.
Chauvin, 45, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter, second degree manslaughter and aggravated manslaughter. Defense attorney Eric Nelson has not indicated whether Chauvin will testify in his own defense.
On Tuesday, a Minneapolis Police use of force training instructor said Chauvin’s kneeling on George Floyd’s neck did not stem from a trained neck-grabbing tactic.
A crisis intervention training coordinator and a police CPR instructor told the jury that officers are obliged to de-escalate situations and assist people in distress.
The trial, which is now in its second week of testimony, is expected to last about a month.
Bystanders weren’t a threat, says Sgt.
Sergeant Stiger stated that the crowd of bystanders gathered at the scene did not pose a threat to Chauvin or other officers, a defense claim, describing the crowd as hostile.
“They were just filming and most of their concern was for Mr. Floyd,” said the expert.
Although it’s possible for a crowd of people to distract an agent, Stiger doesn’t think it happened in this case because Chauvin was talking to Floyd.
“On the body camera video, Mr. Floyd can be heard showing his discomfort and pain, and the defendant can also be heard responding to him,” he said.
During cross-examination, Stiger said that some of the comments could be considered potential threats and that officers are being taught to predict future behavior. He also acknowledged that Chauvin could have used a taser stun gun at first because George Floyd actively resisted attempts to load him into a police vehicle.
Stiger’s testimony began Tuesday afternoon. The sergeant said he has conducted more than 2,500 use-of-force reviews.
A change of circumstances
Stiger said officers were justified in using force at first, when Floyd actively resisted arrest and refused to enter the patrol car. Floyd also kicked officers when they first knocked him to the ground, the body camera shows. Then the circumstances changed.
“However, once he was placed in a prone position on the ground, he slowly stopped resisting and at that point the ex-officers should have decreased or stopped his use of force as well,” Stiger said.
The sergeant said his opinion was based on the standard of what an “objectively reasonable” agent would do. That took into account the low severity of the crime of George Floyd, who allegedly used a counterfeit $ 20 bill at a grocery store, as well as his actions, the policies of the Minneapolis Police Department, and what officers knew at the time. .
“They should have reduced the intensity of the situation or tried to do so,” Stiger said. Instead, “they continued with the force they were using from the moment they first threw him to the ground,” he added.
Analysis of the video showing the last minutes of George Floyd’s life
The special agent who led the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Detention investigation into Chauvin described the case and reviewed portions of a composite video of Chauvin kneeling over Floyd for more than nine minutes.
James Reyerson was shown images from an agent’s body camera synchronized with a passerby video that offered two perspectives on George Floyd’s last moments. The video shows that Floyd stopped talking at four minutes and stopped moving at five minutes, even when Chauvin’s body weight was on Floyd who was face down, Reyerson said.
Even after paramedics arrived, Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd for nearly a minute and a half, until a paramedic motioned for him to get out.
Investigators found several items in an envelope in the trunk of the patrol car, including two $ 20 bills, one of which was split in the middle, as well as cigarettes and a small pipe, Reyerson said. They also found pills in the rear of the patrol car, he said.
On cross-examination, Reyerson said that Floyd seemed at one point to have said “I took too many drugs,” but after hearing the full context of the sentence, he believed that George Floyd actually said, “I don’t take drugs.”