Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Former police officer in George Floyd case violated policy, says chief


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Minneapolis – The police chief of Minneapolis has testified that ex-officer Derek Chauvin violated the agency’s policy on force during the arrest of George Floyd.

Chief Medaria Arradondo said the way Chauvin restrained Floyd was not in line with training and “certainly not part of our ethics and our values”.

The chief had fired Chauvin and the three other officers involved days after Floyd’s death last May.

Chauvin, 45, has denied multiple charges of murder and manslaughter.

Footage of Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on African-American Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes last year sparked global protests against racism.

Monday marks the sixth day in Chauvin’s trial, which is expected to last for at least one month.

What did the police chief say?

In court, Arradondo described the training police officers receive regarding use of force on suspects who are being uncooperative.

“Once Mr Floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalise that, that should have stopped,” he said referring to the restraint officers applied during the arrest.

He said the type of restraint Chauvin was using came “once there was no longer any resistance and clearly after Mr Floyd was no longer responsive – and even motionless”.

“That is, in no way, shape or form, by policy, is not part of our training, and is certainly not part of our ethics and our values,” he continued.

Last June, Arradondo said that Mr Floyd’s “tragic death was not due to a lack of training – the training was there”.

He called Floyd’s death “murder”, and said Chauvin “knew that Floyd was nonresponsive” during the last few minutes.

On Monday, Chief Arradondo was asked several questions by prosecutor Steve Schleicher about de-escalation – strategies that allow officers to diffuse situations without using force.

He said: “if you could take your way out of a situation”, that was always better than using force, adding that officers may seek the “community’s help” when available.

Arradondo was also asked about bystanders who film police on the job. As long as they do not obstruct police, onlookers “have the absolute First Amendment rights to record”, he said, referring to the freedom of expression outlined in the US Constitution.

Earlier in the trial, Chauvin’s defence team had suggested that the crowd of bystanders observing Floyd’s arrest may have influenced the course of events that day.

When asked if he had personally ever handcuffed a suspect, he responded “several times”.

He also said it would be rare for officers to take into custody a suspect accused of passing a counterfeit bill, as Floyd was.

On the stand, Arradondo spoke slowly and in a matter-of-fact manner, occasionally directing his testimony to the jury.

This is not the first time that Arradondo has testified against a former officer. He also testified against patrolman Mohamed Noor for the killing of Australian woman Justine Damond in 2017. He was the assistant chief at the time.

Earlier in his career, he successfully sued the Minneapolis police department along with four other officers, accusing the force of tolerating discriminatory practices.

Arradondo joined the force in 1989. He became the city’s first African-American police chief in 2017. (BBC)




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