Derek Chauvin trial: Minneapolis police chief to testify about his former officer’s use of force – watch live
The Minneapolis Police chief has been called to testify against his former officer Derek Chauvin today, in an extraordinary move by the prosecution in the murder trial.
Medaria Arradondo, the city’s first black police chief, will “not mince his words” when he is questioned on police training and the use of force on suspects when he takes the stand, prosecutors told the court.
Later today, the prosecution will likely ask Chief Arradondo whether Mr Chauvin was following police protocol when he knelt on the neck of George Floyd, an unarmed and handcuffed man, for more than nine minutes.
The police chief dismissed Mr Chauvin and three other officers at the scene shortly after footage of the fatal arrest last May went viral and sparked a wave of unrest in Minneapolis.
On the stand now for the fifth day of Mr Chauvin’s trial is police sergeant Jon Edwards. Sgt Edwards attended the scene shortly after Mr Floyd’s death.
Sgt Edwards described the steps taken to secure the crime scene and interview potential eye witnesses to the court.
“This was a violation of humanity,” Chief Arradondo said at the time. “This was a violation of the oath that the majority of the men and women that put this uniform on (make).”
Chief Arradondo, who once sued his own police department over allegations of systemic racial discrimination, has said he is working to improve relations between officers and the community in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death.
The decision to call him as a witness for the prosecution is highly unusual. The police chief has not commented on his testimony ahead of his appearance, but in their opening arguments prosecutors made him a key foundation of their case.
“He is going to tell you that Mr Chauvin’s conduct was not consistent with Minneapolis Police Department training, was not consistent with Minneapolis Police Department policy, was not reflective of the Minneapolis Police Department,” prosecutors told the jury in opening statements on Monday.
“He will not mince any words. He’s very clear. He will be very decisive that this was excessive force.”
The use of force training will be critical to the prosecution’s case as they seek to argue that Mr Chauvin used excessive force and his actions were a substantial factor in Mr Floyd’s death.
Mr Chauvin’s lawyers have argued Mr Floyd’s death was caused by drugs found in his system and underlying health problems.
Mr Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter and third-degree murder.
On Thursday, Mr Chauvin’s former supervisor told the court that the officer should have stopped using force on Mr Floyd when the unarmed black man stopped resisting while handcuffed on the ground.
Chauvin’s supervisor testifies
David Pleoger, a now-retired Minneapolis Police sergeant, was on duty the night Mr Floyd died and arrived on the scene after receiving a call from a 911 dispatcher who was concerned by what she had seen of Mr Floyd’s arrest.
Sgt Pleoger told the court that Mr Chauvin did not tell him that he had knelt on Mr Floyd’s neck when he first arrived on the scene.
In his first call with his supervisor after the incident, Mr Chauvin said the officers “had” to hold Mr Floyd down. “He was going crazy,” Mr Chauvin told Sgt Pleoger in a call that was played to the court.
Mr Chauvin switched off his body camera for the remainder of the call.
Sgt Pleoger testified that Mr Chauvin told him the suspect had “become combative” and had “suffered a medical emergency and an ambulance was called”.
The testimony from Sgt Pleoger offers the first insight into the aftermath of Mr Floyd’s fatal arrest.
During his testimony, Sgt Pleoger suggested that Mr Chauvin should have removed his knee from Mr Floyd’s neck much earlier.
He explained that Minneapolis police officers are trained to roll suspects onto their side to help with their breathing after they have been restrained in the prone position.
Prosecutors asked Sgt Pleoger, who has known Mr Chauvin since 2008, at what point the officers should have stopped using restraint in the arrest.
“When Mr Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, ” he replied.
Asked by the prosecution if that would be after Mr Floyd was handcuffed, on the ground and no longer resisting, he replied: “correct”.
Mr Pleoger said police are trained to use the “hobble” – a move to put a suspect in a prone position – but officers are required to put the suspect on their sides to help them breathe as soon as possible.
The former sergeant said officers are trained that leaving a suspect on their chest or stomach for too long can compromise their breathing.
“The danger is there without anyone pressing down on them?” the prosecution asked. “Yes,” he responded.
‘I thought he was dead’
The paramedic who treated George Floyd said he thought the 46-year-old “was dead” when he arrived at the scene of his arrest in Minneapolis last May.
Derek Smith told the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing Mr Floyd, that he first attempted to detect a pulse while police officers were on top of the unarmed, handcuffed man and believed he was already dead.