Chauvin was trained to defuse crisis, trainer testifies

The testimony in the US trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, resumes Wednesday, with a Los Angeles police sergeant called upon to answer questions about the use of force.

Jody Stiger told the court in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday that after watching footage of Floyd's detention last year, he thinks the force was unnecessary.

Stiger claimed that officers were justified in using force at first because Floyd resisted being placed in a police vehicle, but that once Floyd was on the ground and ceased resisting, the officers "should have" slowed or stopped their force as well, Voice of America (VOA) reported

Also read | George Floyd had coronavirus but was asymptomatic, autopsy finds

In another testimony on Tuesday, Minneapolis Police Sergeant Ker Yang said that Chauvin completed a 40-hour crisis response course.

Yang, who is in charge of preparing officers to deal with emergencies, said Chauvin had been educated in de-escalation strategies.

Yang is the most recent of many Minneapolis police officers to testify as investigators seek to demonstrate that Chauvin violated training by pinning his knee to the back of Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes.

Yang claimed that the de-escalation training Chauvin and other officers received aids them in making decisions concerning individuals in trouble, such as those suffering from mental health problems and the repercussions of substance addiction.

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“When we speak of fast-changing situations...a lot of the time we have the time to slow it down, reevaluate, reassess, and go through this model,” Yang said, VOA reported. 

According to Prosecutor Steve Schleicher, Chauvin took a crisis defusing course in 2016.

Chauvin, a white man, had been a police officer for 19-years before being fired. In the case before a racially mixed 12-member jury, he has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter allegations.

Chauvin's counsel claims that Floyd, an African American, died as a result of underlying health problems and that Chauvin followed his police training in the manner in which Floyd, 46, was arrested.

Yang's testimony comes just one day after Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testified that Chauvin violated his department's policies by pinning Floyd to the ground.

Also read | George Floyd: Jury in murder trial shown harrowing video of death

Kneeling on Floyd's neck after he was handcuffed and subdued is not part of the department's procedure or preparation, according to Arradondo, and it is definitely not part of our principles or beliefs, he said as VOA reported. 

According to the police chief, officers are taught to attempt to de-escalate a crisis and to use intimidation as often as possible.

He also said that they undergo first-aid instruction, adding, "And then, we absolutely have a responsibility to make that.

The day after Floyd's murder, Arradondo -- the city's first Black police chief -- fired Chauvin and three other officers. Arradondo later identified Floyd's death, which occurred last May as "murder."

The first week of the trial was dominated by dramatic testimonies from eyewitnesses who saw Chauvin pinning Floyd to the ground as Floyd repeatedly gasped for a breath.

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Last year's May 25 event of Floyd's killing prompted mass demonstrations in the United States and around the world against police treatment of minorities.

Floyd died as a result of "cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression," according to the Hennepin County medical examiner's office.

Fentanyl intoxication and previous methamphetamine use were classified as "other serious factors" but not as "cause of death" in a summary study.

George Floyd's family received  $27 million in damages by the city of Minneapolis just before the trial began.

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