Minneapolis (US): Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo has testified that now-fired officer Derek Chauvin violated departmental policy. He said DereK Chauvin went against ‘our principles and the values that we have’ in pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck and keeping him down. Arradondo said even after Floyd had stopped resisting and was in distress, Chauvin did not release him.
“Continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was in no way, shape or form part of department policy or training. It is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Arradondo said on Day Six of Chauvin’s murder trial Monday.
Arradondo, the city’s first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd’s death last May. In June he termed the incident ‘murder’.
While police have long been accused of closing ranks to protect fellow members of the force charged with wrongdoing — the ‘blue wall of silence’, as it’s known — some of the most experienced officers in the Minneapolis department have taken the stand to openly condemn Chauvin’s treatment of Floyd.
As jurors watched in rapt attention and scribbled notes, Arradondo testified not only that Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the force, should have let Floyd up sooner, but that the pressure on Floyd’s neck did not appear to be light to moderate, as called for under the department’s neck-restraint policy. He said Chauvin failed in his duty to render first aid before the ambulance arrived; and he violated policy requiring officers to de-escalate tense situations with no or minimal force if they can.
“That action is not de-escalation,” the police chief said. “And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about our principles and the values that we have, that action goes contrary to what we are talking about,” he added.
Arradondo’s testimony came after the emergency room doctor who pronounced Floyd dead said he theorised at the time that Floyd’s heart most likely stopped because of a lack of oxygen.
Dr Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident on duty that night at Hennepin County Medical Centre and tried to resuscitate Floyd, took the stand as prosecutors sought to establish that it was Chauvin’s knee on the Black man’s neck that killed him.
Langenfeld said Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital. The doctor said he was not told of any efforts at the scene by bystanders or police to resuscitate Floyd but that paramedics told him they had tried for about 30 minutes and that he tried for another 30 minutes.
Under questioning by prosecutors, Langenfeld said based on the information he had, it was ‘more likely than the other possibilities’ that Floyd’s cardiac arrest – stopping of his heart – was caused by asphyxia, or insufficient oxygen.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death May 25. The white officer is accused of pressing his knee into the 46-year-old man’s neck for nine minutes, 29 seconds, outside a corner market where Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.
Floyd’s treatment by police was captured on widely seen bystander video that sparked protests around the US that descended into violence in some cases.
The defense has argued that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions caused his death.