Pressing your knee on George Floyd’s neck while he was handcuffed and face down was a “deadly force of the highest order” and something “completely unnecessary,” said Lt. Richard Zimmerman, director of the homicide division of the US Police Department on Friday. Minneapolis.
“If your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them,” Zimmerman said, adding that when someone is handcuffed in a prone position, “their muscles are pulling back … and if they are lying on their chest, that is restricting his breathing even more. “
Zimmerman also testified in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial that once Floyd was handcuffed, he saw “no reason why officers felt they were in danger, if they felt that way, and that’s what they would have to feel for. to be able to use that kind of force ”.
“So, in your opinion, should that restraint have ceased once he was handcuffed and on the ground?” Asked prosecutor Matthew Frank.
“Absolutely,” Zimmerman replied.
He also testified that officers have a duty to provide care for a person in distress, even if an ambulance has already been called.
During questioning, Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, harassed Zimmerman with questions about the use of force, noting that officers must consider the whole situation when deciding whether to use force, including what happens with a suspect and if you are under the influence of any substance, among other surrounding hazards, such as a crowd.
Zimmerman agreed with Nelson that a handcuffed person can still pose a threat and can continue to stumble.
His testimony came a day after a supervising police sergeant who was on duty the night Floyd died, testified that he believes officers pinned him down for too long.
David Pleoger testified Thursday that officers are trained to put people on their side to help them breathe after they have been restrained face down. He said officers may have stopped holding Floyd after he stopped resisting.