Derek Chauvin’s use of neck restraint on George Floyd was ‘unauthorised’, according to a police trainer.
The former Minneapolis Police officer is currently on trial for third-degree murder, second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for the death of Floyd, 46, who died in police custody after Chauvin, 45, leaned on his neck.
Lt. Johnny Mercil, the department’s coordinator on the use of force, told the court that the actions exhibited by Chauvin during Floyd’s arrest would not be authorised.
As per Sky News, Mercil was asked if Chauvin’s actions showed an MPD-trained neck restraint, to which he said, ‘No sir,’ adding it has never been part of the department’s training.
He went on to explain how it’s ‘not unauthorised… it would depend on the circumstances of the time, [such as] the type of resistance you’re getting from the subject’.
The prosecutor then asked if the restraint would be authorised if the subject was under control and in handcuffs, to which he said, ‘I would say no.’ Mercil said officers have been trained to put their knees over a suspect’s back and shoulder, but ‘we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible’ as it’s the most dangerous area.
Chauvin’s defence attorney Eric Nelson later asked Mercil, ‘Sometimes an officer may hold a person, using their body weight restrain them, awaiting the arrival of EMS?’ He replied, ‘As long as needed to control them, yes.’
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo also criticised the force used by Chauvin and his colleagues – Thomas Lane, J Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were all fired following the incident – saying the use of a neck restraint came ‘once there was no longer any resistance and clearly after Mr Floyd was no longer responsive – and even motionless’.
As per The Independent, he said, ‘There’s an initial reasonableness in trying to get him under control in the first few seconds… to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way shape or form is by policy, is not part of our training, and is certainly not part of our ethics or values.’
Arradondo added, ‘When I look at the facial expression of Mr Floyd, that does not appear in any way shape or form, that that is light to moderate pressure. Matter of fact, as I saw that video, I didn’t even know if Mr Floyd was alive at that time.’
Chauvin’s trial began on March 29 and is expected to last for at least one month.
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