Takeaways from Day 6 of the Derek Chauvin Trial

Jurors heard from two key witnesses, including the chief of police. He said Mr. Chauvin “absolutely” violated department policies.,

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Here are the takeaways from Day 6 of the Derek Chauvin trial.

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April 5, 2021, 5:44 p.m. ET

April 5, 2021, 5:44 p.m. ET

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Minneapolis Police Chief Says Chauvin Violated Policy

Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.

“Is what you see in Exhibit 17, in your opinion, within the Minneapolis Police departmental policy 5-300, authorizing the use of reasonable force?” “It is not.” “Do you have a belief as to when this restraint, the restraint on the ground that you viewed should have stopped?” “Once Mr. Floyd, and this is based on my viewing of the videos, once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that — that should have stopped. And clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that, that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy, it is not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.” “And based these observations, do you have an opinion as to whether the defendant violated M.P.D. departmental policy 7-350 by failing to render aid to Mr. Floyd?” “I agree that the defendant violated our policy in terms of rendering aid.”

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Chief Medaria Arradondo testified Monday that the former officer Derek Chauvin should have halted his use of force to restrain George Floyd after Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV

The sixth day of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd, brought two key witnesses to the stand: the doctor who spent 30 minutes trying to save Mr. Floyd’s life before pronouncing him dead, and the chief of the Minneapolis Police Department.

Both witnesses provided testimony that could bolster the arguments of the prosecution, which has argued that Mr. Floyd died because Mr. Chauvin knelt on him for more than nine minutes, rather than by complications of drug use or a heart condition. Here are the key takeaways from Monday.

  • Dr. Bradford T. Wankhede Langenfeld, who was a senior resident at the Hennepin County Medical Center, said he believed that Mr. Floyd died from a lack of oxygen. Mr. Floyd’s cause of death will prove to be a determining factor in this case. The prosecution has maintained that “asphyxia,” or a deficiency of oxygen, caused Mr. Floyd’s death. During a cross-examination, Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld told Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, that asphyxia can be caused by a number of factors, including drug use; a toxicology report found methamphetamine and fentanyl in Mr. Floyd’s system.

  • Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld’s testimony also gave jurors a clearer understanding of what happened after Mr. Floyd was taken away from the scene of the arrest, at the Cup Foods convenience store. Last week, jurors heard from two paramedics who arrived at the scene. One of them, Derek Smith, said he had tried to revive Mr. Floyd using several techniques, but that none were effective. Mr. Smith said Mr. Floyd appeared to be dead by the time he arrived at Cup Foods.

    On Monday, Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said he had tried to save Mr. Floyd for about 30 minutes before pronouncing him dead. Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said that, at the time, he viewed an overdose as a less likely cause of death because the paramedics who brought Mr. Floyd to the hospital made no mention of an overdose. In addition, the doctor said that patients experiencing cardiac arrest have a 10 to 15 percent decrease in their chance of survival for every minute that C.P.R. is not administered. Police officers did not administer C.P.R. at the scene, even after Mr. Floyd lost consciousness.

  • The chief of the Minneapolis Police Department, Medaria Arradondo, testified on Monday that Mr. Chauvin “absolutely” violated the department’s policies when he knelt on Mr. Floyd for more than nine minutes. “Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped,” Chief Arradondo said. The statement was an unequivocal rebuke of Mr. Chauvin from the chief, and an unusual display of an acting chief testifying against a police officer.

    Mr. Chauvin’s defense pushed back on the issue of any possible policy violations, asking Chief Arradondo whether police officers often have to evaluate many factors when applying force to a suspect, such as any possible threat from a nearby crowd. Throughout the trial, Mr. Nelson has pointed to the crowd of bystanders who gathered along the sidewalk during the arrest, suggesting that they may have hampered Mr. Chauvin’s ability to provide medical aid to Mr. Floyd.

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Supervisor Says Chauvin Should Have Provided Medical Aid

Katie Blackwell, the former Minneapolis Police Department training director, testified on Monday that Derek Chauvin had undergone extensive training and should have provided medical aid to George Floyd.

“What is the purpose of making sure that the field training officers are aware of what the training is in pre-service?” “So there’s consistency of how we grade and how we evaluate recruit officers on the street.” “And was the defendant a field training officer?” “He was.” “And what are officers trained to do or supposed to do to prevent positional asphyxia?” “They are supposed to put them on the side recovery position, which is they’re going from prone and just putting them on their side or upright position.” “How soon are they supposed to do that prior to or after getting the person under control in the prone position?” “As soon as possible.” “As part of the medical training, in addition to the actual how-to of providing emergency medical care, are officers taught their obligations to provide and render emergency assistance when the circumstances arise?” “Yes, it’s in policy as well as training.”

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Katie Blackwell, the former Minneapolis Police Department training director, testified on Monday that Derek Chauvin had undergone extensive training and should have provided medical aid to George Floyd.CreditCredit…Still image, via Court TV
  • The court also heard from Inspector Katie Blackwell, a veteran Minneapolis police officer who said she has known Mr. Chauvin for 20 years. Speaking about use-of-force training, Inspector Blackwell said officers should be careful when holding a handcuffed person on their stomach, because the position could make it difficult to breathe. Asked when officers should remove people from this position, she said, “As soon as possible.” Mr. Floyd was kept on his stomach for more than nine minutes, pinned to the ground by Mr. Chauvin’s knee.

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