MINNEAPOLIS — The EMT who leads the Minneapolis Police Department’s emergency medical response training told jurors in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin that officers are trained to call for an ambulance and provide medical aid if a situation is “critical.”
Officers who responded to George Floyd did not render medical aid until paramedics arrived and instructed an officer to check for a pulse. “If you don’t have a pulse on a person, you immediately start CPR,” Officer Nicole Mackenzie said Tuesday. “If it’s a critical situation, you must do both” CPR and call for an ambulance.
The testimony comes a day after Minneapolisrestraint of George Floyd “absolutely” violated department policy. He said the condition should have stopped “once Mr. Floyd stopped resisting” and “once he was in distress and verbalized it.”
Chauvin is facing. Floyd, a Black man, died in police custody on May 25, 2020, after Chauvin, who is white, pinned his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
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- Minneapolis Nicole Mackenzie took the witness stand after the court’s lunch break. She is the department’s medical support coordinator.
- George Floyd’s brothers, family attorney Ben Crump, national civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton, and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner, held a prayer service outside the courthouse Tuesday afternoon.
- Johnny Mercer, a Minneapolis of use-of-force training since 2017, testified Tuesday.
- The first witness to testify Tuesday was Sgt. Ker Yang, crisis intervention training coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department.
- Earlier, Judge Peter Cahill instructed lawyers to draft questions for Morries Hall, the man in the vehicle with Floyd, before struggling with . Hall filed a motion last month saying he would refuse to answer questions if forced to testify.
- Public safety officials said Monday the trial has been going “smoothly,” Nothing indicates “that there is an imminent threat to the court proceedings or either of the Twin Cities.”
arrest. He led the group in a brief prayer to “set a tone of healing.”
“We believe that if you stand for what’s right, you will give us justice,” he said. “We wept through many cases from Rodney King to Eric Garner to Michael Brown. Some never reached the courthouse, but here we are now in the shadows of the courthouse, praying for justice.”
After Sharpton’s prayer, Floyd’s brothers — Philonise, Terrence, and Rodney — thanked their supporters. “After we get the verdict and this conviction, we’ll be able to breathe,” Philonise Floyd said with his arm around Carr.
in October 2018, took the witness stand Tuesday. Mercil, who heads the training division’s use of force lessons, told jurors that a still-image of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck is not a restraint taught to Minneapolis Police Department officers.
Mercil is a crucial witness because he’s the first use-of-force expert the jurors have heard from. He carries additional credibility because he is specifically familiar with and teaches Minneapolis Police Department use-of-force policies.
Mercil said using a knee on the neck or back can be authorized use of force, but it’s usually transitory and depends on the time frame and type of resistance. If the subject is handcuffed and not resisting, it is not authorized, Mercil said. Once the issue is handcuffed and compliant or not fighting, it’s “an appropriate time” for the officer to move their knee, Mercil said.
“There’s the possibility and risk that some people have trouble breathing when they’re handcuffed (to their back) and on their stomach,” Mercil said. A person is rolled on their side to prevent positional asphyxia, Mercil said. The officer should turn the person to this position “sooner the better,” though he noted it depends on the situation and environment.
Officers should change their force if the force they’re facing changes to the situation upon reassessment, Mercil said. Sanctity of life and the protection of the public is a cornerstone of the department’s use of force policy, Mercil said. Use of force includes applying a restraint, which must be reasonable, per the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment and a 1989case.
Force must also be proportional, which means it must be the least force necessary to maintain control over a person and proportionate to the level of resistance an officer is getting from the subject the officer is using power on, Mercil said. If it does not work, then more force may be allowed.
“If you can use a lower level of force to meet your objectives, it’s better and safer for everyone involved,” Mercil said. Prosecutor Steve Schleicher showed Mercil an image of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck and asked if it showed the department-trained neck restraint. Mercil, who teaches officers physically how to do neck restraints, said it does not.
Under questioning by Chauvin’s attorney, Eric Nelson, Mercil acknowledged that using force techniques does not have a strict application in every instance. Officers are taught to be fluid and react to the circumstances they face.
Again, as he’s done throughout the trial, Nelson painted the crowd faced by the officers as a threat, and Mercil agreed that the crowd’s words could be considered threatening to the officers and would be a factor they might think. Mercil also decided under questioning that some people make excuses to avoid arrest and that he had had suspects say, “I can’t breathe” when he tried to arrest them.
Nelson posited that an officer could hold a neck restraint after rendering someone unconscious, perhaps to wait for another officer to arrive. Mercil agreed with that. However, Mercil declined to agree with the argument that Chauvin couldto arrive.
Arradondo, the police chief, said that Chauvin and his fellow officers violated department policy by failing toafter losing his pulse while waiting for an ambulance. Nelson showed Mercil the same image of Chauvin kneeling with his knee on Floyd’s neck. Mercil restated that this is not taught to officers but can be similar to using body weight to control technique.
“However, we tell officers to stay away on the neck and put it on their shoulder and be mindful of the position,” Mercil said. Presented with a still image from an officer’s body-worn camera of an EMT palpating Floyd’s carotid artery on his neck to check his pulse, Mercil said Chauvin’s knee, at that point, “appears to be between the shoulder blades.”
In the bystander video, filmed from another angle, Chauvin appears to shuffle back to allow the EMT access to Floyd slightly. Based on the image, Mercil said Chauvin’s use of force was not a neck restraint and appeared to be a bodyweight hold. Mercil agreed he’s trained officers to use their body weight to control a subject until emergency medical services arrive “as long as it’s needed to control them.”
Sgt. Ker Yang answered questions from prosecutor Steve Schleicher on the witness stand Tuesday morning. The government’s questioning was focused on showing that former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin received specific training for the type of confrontation he ultimately faced with in May 2020.
Yang confirmed records that show Chauvin completed a 40-hour crisis intervention training program in 2016 at the department’s training division. He said the training enables officers to make decisions while interacting with people in crisis. The ultimate goal of such activity, he said, “is to see if that person needs help” from medical personnel or other assistance.
“If someone needs medical attention, then we give him medical attention,” Yang said, referring to a Minneapolis police officer’s duty to act to provide care for a person in custody. He also agreed that a person intoxicated by alcohol or drugs could be in crisis.
During the cross-examination of Yang, defense attorney Eric Nelson repeated a line of questioning he used Monday with Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. The question reminded jurors that Chauvin and other officers struggled with Floyd and received criticism from bystanders who watched and filmed the struggle.
Responding to Nelson, Yang agreed that crisis-intervention training would include teaching officers “how to determine when citizens” observing police actions “pose a threat or risk.” Nelson drew Yang’s agreement that observing police actions to arrest and subdue a suspect could prompt a crisis for some civilian bystanders who watch the process. Nelson also drew Chang to acknowledge that “sometimes police actions can look pretty bad.”
However, during the re-questioning of Yang, Schleicher got the officer to agree that a police officer’s assessment of a suspect’s medical situation during a confrontation would be “a big thing,” while 17-year-old filming that confrontation would be “a small thing.”
Hall has been subpoenaed to appear as a witness by the Chauvin defense and the government. However, Hall filed a motion late last month to quash the subpoena because he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against incrimination and refuse to answer questions if forced to testify.
The judge said he would schedule another hearing after Hall has an opportunity to review the questions with Adrienne Cousins, an assistant public defender representing Hall. Hall’s name came up in questioning last week. Lead defense attorney Eric Nelson asked Floyd’s , about Hall. Ross acknowledged that she told FBI investigators Floyd bought narcotics from Hall but said she “did not see it with my own eyes in court.”
Ross said she was in a car at a hotel while Floyd bought pills abefore his death. She said she was on the phone with him and thought she heard Hall’s voice in the background. She testified that she only learned afterward that Floyd was with Hall the day Floyd died.
and three other officers involved in the incident, said Monday under questioning that he believed Chauvin was trying to employ a conscious neck restraint on Floyd, which consists in using light to moderate pressure on a person who is actively resisting police, according to the department’s policy.
But while viewing a still-frame of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck, Arradando said from the picture and Floyd’s facial expression, it “does not appear in any way, shape or form, that that is light to moderate pressure.” Arredondo added: “I vehemently disagree that that’s the appropriate use of force for that situation.”
The restraint should have stopped “once Mr. Floyd stopped resisting” and “once he was in distress and verbalized it,” Arradondo said. He added that “there’s an initial reasonableness in trying to get him under control in the first few seconds” only.
“And, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone out, handcuffed behind their back. That in no way, shape or form is not backed by policy, our training does not back, and it’s certainly not our ethics or our values,” Arradondo said.
Arradondo said the officers defense attorney Eric Nelson, Arradondo acknowledged that he had not made an arrest, personally, in many years. He also believed that in a side-by-side comparison of bystander video and an officer’s body-cam video, it appears that Chauvin’s knee is more on Floyd’s shoulder blade than on his neck in the latter.by failing to give first aid to Floyd when he appeared not to be breathing while they waited for an ambulance. On cross-examination by
The moment in the video came at the end of the incident after paramedics arrived and checked Floyd’s neck for a pulse. In the body cam video, Chauvin shifts his knees and leans back slightly.
Langenfeld said Floyd had some electrical activity around the heart but no pulse. Floyd’s heart never resumed beating “to a degree necessary to sustain life,” he said.
Asked by Blackwell what was determined to be the cause of Floyd’s cardiac arrest, Langenfeld said: “At the time, based on the history available to me, I felt that hypoxia was one of the most likely possibilities.” Hypoxia is a lack of oxygen, which Langenfeld believed led to Floyd’s death from asphyxia.
During cross-examination by lead defense attorney Eric Nelson, Langenfeld acknowledged that combining fentanyl and methamphetamine could cause hypoxia. A toxicology screen of Floyd after his death found fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system.