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Derek Chauvin Trial 4/5/21: Minneapolis police chief testifies Chauvin's actions violated policy

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Chief condemns Chauvin's use of force on Floyd
Chief condemns Chauvin's use of force on Floy... 03:03

Follow the latest trial updates here. Earlier coverage is below.


Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo took the stand Monday in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the fired police officer charged in George Floyd's death. He testified Chauvin's actions violated Minneapolis police policy. The jury also heard from another police official, Inspector Katie Blackwell, who oversaw the department's training. Both police officials testified Chauvin's restraint of George Floyd using his knee was not something Minneapolis officers are taught.

Arradondo testified there was an "initial reasonableness in trying to just get [Floyd] under control" in the first few seconds of the deadly May 25 encounter. But when Floyd had stopped resisting and "clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person prone out, hands cuffed behind their back — that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy," Arradondo said. "It's not part of our training and it's certainly not part of our ethics or values." 

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo testifies in the trial of Derek Chauvin on Monday, April 5, 2021. Court TV/pool via WCCO

Arradondo said Chauvin's restraint should have stopped once Floyd stopped resisting, and "certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, [Chauvin] should have stopped."

Earlier, under questioning by prosecutor Steve Schleicher, Arradondo emphasized that the department values treating others with dignity and respect. When asked to explain the department's goal of "serving with compassion," Arradondo said: "It means to understand and authentically accept that we see our neighbors as ourselves."

"We value one another," he said. "We see our community as necessary for our existence."    

Arradondo was also asked about the department's de-escalation policy, which requires officers to seek to minimize the use of physical force. Of Chauvin's restraint against Floyd, he said, "That action is not de-escalation."

"When we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life [policy] and talk about principles that we have, that action goes contrary to what we're talking about," he said.

Earlier in the day, the emergency doctor who tried to resuscitate Floyd took the stand and was asked about how he believed Floyd died. Prosecutors have said Floyd died of oxygen deprivation underneath the pressure of Chauvin's knee, but defense attorney Eric Nelson has said Floyd's drug use caused a fatal heart arrhythmia. 

Two other members of the department took the stand last week and criticized Chauvin's use of force. Chauvin's supervising sergeant said force should have ended as soon as Floyd stopped resisting, and the high-ranking lieutenant who heads the homicide unit called Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck "totally unnecessary" and "just uncalled for." 

Court is expected to resume Tuesday with a motions hearing at 8:30 a.m. local time (9:30 a.m. ET).

Chauvin, who was seen in disturbing videos kneeling on Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.  

 

Training officer: Dangers of positional asphyxia are well known

Police Inspector Katie Blackwell, who previously oversaw training for the department, outlined a series of training courses that Chauvin completed both as a field training officer and for regular in-service training. They included crisis intervention training, which goes over "de-escalation and mental health awareness." 

blackwell.jpg
Minneapolis Police Inspector Katie Blackwell testifies in the trial of Derek Chauvin, April 5, 2021. Court TV/pool via WCCO

She also said officers receive medical training about the dangers of positional asphyxia, when the position of someone's body interferes with their ability to breathe, especially while prone. Those dangers have been taught for years and are well known throughout the department, Blackwell said. She said officers are instructed to place individuals on their side as soon as possible.

Blackwell said officers at the time were taught to use neck restraints as a defensive strategy, but were taught to use one arm or two arms. When prosecutor Steve Schleicher showed a picture of Chauvin restraining Floyd with his knee, Blackwell said it's not something officers are taught.

"I don't know what kind of improvised position that is, so that's not what we train," Blackwell said.

Blackwell finished her testimony and court recessed for the day around 4:30 p.m. local time (5:30 p.m. ET).

By Erin Donaghue
 

Minneapolis police inspector testifies about training

Minneapolis Police Inspector Katie Blackwell has taken the stand. Blackwell was responsible for the department's training programs at the time Floyd died. 

Blackwell testified that she chose Chauvin to be a field training officer, a more senior officer who is paired with junior officers in the field.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Police chief finishes testimony

Under questioning from defense attorney Eric Nelson, Arradondo agreed an officer needs to be concerned about other elements when deciding to use force, including whether the person had resisted arrest moments before. Officers must also be aware of their surroundings, including the presence of a potentially hostile crowd, Arradondo agreed. Arradondo also agreed with Nelson that a person is not "threatless" once handcuffed.

Nelson then played two short video clips side by side — one from the widely-viewed cellphone video of the fatal arrest, and the other of former officer J. Alexander Kueng's body camera, both showing a motionless Floyd in the moments before he was moved to a gurney. Arradondo agreed with Nelson's statement that in Keung's bodycam video, Chauvin's knee appeared to be on Floyd's shoulder blade.

On re-direct questioning from prosecutor Steve Schleicher, Arradondo said Chauvin's knee had appeared to be on Floyd's neck up until that moment the short video depicted. Arradondo said officers are trained to turn anyone restrained in that position on their side immediately to ensure their airway is not restricted.

When a person is restrained in a prone, handcuffed position, Arradondo said "the risk and potential for them... of us killing them goes up substantially, so that side recovery position is very, critically important."

Schleicher asked about de-escalating crowds who are shocked by officers' actions. Schleicher asked whether one way to de-escalate the situation would be "to stop doing the thing that's shocking them?"

"Absolutely," Arradondo replied.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Arradondo recalls citizen's phone call: "Chief, have you seen the video?"

Chief Arradondo testified about how he found out about Floyd's death. He said he received a call from a deputy chief informing him that they believed someone whom officers were trying to take into custody "would not make it or survive." Arradondo said he contacted the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the state agency that investigates deaths involving police in the state, and notified Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey. He said he first saw a video of the incident after Floyd was pronounced deceased, which was city surveillance footage filmed from a distance with no audio. He said nothing immediately jumped out at him about that footage, but later, he received a call from a concerned citizen.

"[The citizen] said, 'Chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago?'"

That's when, Arradondo said, he realized the video the caller was referring to was not the city surveillance footage the chief had watched earlier. He then watched the disturbing bystander video of the incident, in which Floyd can be heard pleading for air.

"I was able to see the occurrence, see the officers involved, and I was able to actually see Mr. Floyd, actually hear what was occurring," he said. "I was also able to get a better understanding of the length of time" Floyd was restrained, he said.

Arradondo was being cross-examined by defense attorney Eric Nelson before court recessed for an afternoon break.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Chief: Chauvin's use of force not part of policy, ethics or values

Chief Medaria Arradondo has testified that Chauvin's use of force against George Floyd violated Minneapolis police policy. 

 Arradondo testified there was an "initial reasonableness in trying to just get [Floyd] under control" in the first few seconds of the encounter. But when Floyd had stopped resisting 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, hands cuffed behind their back — that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy," Arradondo said. "It's not part of our training and it's certainly not part of our ethics or values." 

He said Chauvin's restraint should have stopped once Floyd stopped resisting, and "certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, [Chauvin] should have stopped."

Police chief: Chauvin "violated our policy" 06:07

Arradondo said that while defensive training at the time allowed for neck restraints, he said the tactic called for "light to moderate pressure."

"When I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way shape or form that is light to moderate pressure," he said. 

Arradondo said Chauvin "absolutely" violated the department's de-escalation policy, which requires officers to seek to minimize the use of physical force. Of Chauvin's restraint against Floyd, he said, "That action is not de-escalation."  

"When we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life [policy] and talk about principles that we have, that action goes contrary to what we're taught," he said.

Arradondo also said he didn't see officers administering first aid to Floyd, another violation of policy.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Chief: Officers bound to uphold "sanctity of life"

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said officers are trained in basic first aid, including chest compressions, wound care and emergency breathing. While paramedics and fire personnel have higher levels of medical training, Arradondo noted that police officers are often the first to respond to a medical emergency. He read a department policy that requires officers to apply their medical training skills to help a person while they are waiting for EMS to arrive.

"We are oftentimes going to be the first to respond to someone who needs medical attention, so we absolutely have a duty to render that," Arradondo said.

Arradondo also read from the department's use of force policy, which requires officers to uphold "sanctity of life" and the protection of the public. Arradondo called sanctity of life a "pillar" of the policy.

"While it is absolutely imperative officers go home after the end of their shift, we want to ensure that community members go home too," he said.

He said officers are allowed to use "objectively reasonable" force during the course of their duties. Arradondo said officers should consider the severity of the crime, any immediate threat to the officers or others, and whether the person is actively resisting arrest or attempting to flee.

Arradondo said the crime of which Floyd was accused, passing a counterfeit bill, does not meet his definition of severe crime.

"We would certainly respond to it; it would not rise to level in terms of severity of the crime here," Arradondo said.

Forgery would typically not result in an arrest because it is not a violent felony, though it could be charged later by complaint, he said.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Chief back on stand to continue testimony

Court is back in session after a lunch break. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is continuing his testimony.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Chief describes department's de-escalation policy

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher displayed a document signed by Chauvin in 2001, indicating that Chauvin had read the department's policy manual, which officers are required to maintain familiarity with. The manual includes a code of ethics and a professional policing policy, which Arradondo said "is really about treating people with dignity and respect above all else."

Minneapolis police chief takes the stand 08:25

Schleicher asked Arradondo to read a portion of the policy which requires that officers detain someone for no longer than the time it takes to take appropriate action for a known or suspected offense. 

Arradondo also read from another policy that instructs officers that bystanders are allowed to videotape their actions as long as they are not obstructing them. 

Arradondo described the department's approach to de-escalation, which he said is about "time, options and resources so we can stabilize a situation safely and peacefully." He said the primary tactic is communication and listening to keep both the officer and the person involved safe, and can also include calling for backup or involving community resources.

He read from the department's de-escalation policy, which requires officers to verbally announce their intent to use force before doing so and seek to minimize the use of physical force.

The policy requires officers to take into account whether someone might be having difficulty complying with their commands because of drug or alcohol use or a behavioral crisis. Arradondo agreed that someone under the influence of alcohol or drugs could be dangerous under some circumstances, but under others could pose no threat and may be more vulnerable.

Court recessed for a lunch break at 12:30 local time (1:30 p.m. ET).

By Erin Donaghue
 

Chief outlines Minneapolis police training

Arradondo described the training Minneapolis police officers receive, including academy training for new recruits and ongoing training officers receive in the field. During "pre-service" training, recruits get "basic indoctrination" into the department, he said, learning defensive tactics, procedural justice, critical thinking and technology. Recruits then enter into a field training period, where they are paired with a more senior officer. 

Officers also receive mandatory "in-service" training, which is required annually for all officers, including crisis intervention training, defensive tactics and basic CPR and first aid. Arradondo said the training is important to emphasize both policies and values as a department. He said the department invests a "lot of time, energy and resources" into the training program.

"Training is absolutely vitally essential to us at the department," Arradondo said.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Arradondo points out Chauvin in court

Responding to questions from prosecutor Steve Schleicher, Arradondo said he recognized Chauvin as a former officer. He pointed Chauvin out in the courtroom and described what he was wearing.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Chief Medaria Arradondo takes stand

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo has taken the stand.

Responding to a question from prosecutor Steve Schleicher, Arradondo described what "serving with compassion" means to him.

"It means to understand and authentically accept that we see our neighbors as ourselves," Arradondo said. "We value one another. We see our community as necessary for our existence."  

Arradondo described his background with the Minneapolis Police Department. He testified he reviewed allegations of officer misconduct and excessive force in his former role as a sergeant in the department's internal affairs division. He said he was later promoted to lieutenant, serving in the fourth precinct on the night shift. He was then appointed to the role of commander, where he was in charge of the internal affairs unit. 

He moved on to work as the inspector in charge of the downtown precinct in a patrol function, working on community partnerships and crime reduction efforts, before being promoted to a deputy chief and then assistant chief. He was appointed chief of police in 2017 by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Doctor says he thought asphyxia a likely possibility for Floyd's death

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld said he treated Floyd for about 30 minutes with his team in the emergency department before pronouncing him dead. He said he realized he would not be able to resuscitate Floyd. When asked by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell whether he believed oxygen deficiency was the cause of Floyd's death, he responded, "That was one of the more likely possibilities."

Langenfeld agreed a more common term for the possible cause of death would be asphyxia. 

Under questioning from defense attorney Eric Nelson, Langenfeld agreed that drug use including from methamphetamine and fentanyl can cause a lack of oxygen to the brain. Langenfeld agreed that Floyd had "exceptionally high" levels of carbon dioxide in his system, which he agreed can result from fentanyl use. Langenfeld testified that heightened levels of carbon dioxide can affect the respiratory system and cause a feeling of shortness of breath.

Langenfeld said he did not administer Narcan, which can reverse the effects of opioid overdose, to Floyd. Later, on re-direct questioning from Jerry Blackwell, Langenfeld clarified that administering Narcan would have no effect on someone whose heart had stopped. He said he considered the elevated carbon dioxide level to be "weak evidence" in relation to Floyd's cause of death, because it indicates someone's heart has stopped but no indication as to why.  

By Erin Donaghue
 

Emergency doctor describes treating Floyd

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld testified he was a senior resident at Hennepin County Medical Center who treated Floyd after he was transported to the hospital May 25. He said Floyd's heart had stopped, and he worked to try to resuscitate him. 

dr-langenfeld.jpg
Dr. Bradford Langenfeld testifies about trying to treat George Floyd. Court TV/pool via WCCO

A mechanical CPR device was performing chest compressions on Floyd when paramedics brought Floyd into the emergency department, Langenfeld said. The paramedics told Langenfeld they had also inserted an airway device to help the man breathe and had administered several medications. 

In response to questions from prosecutor Jerry Blackwell, Langenfeld said paramedics did not tell him that Floyd suffered a drug overdose or a heart attack. In opening statements, the defense suggested Floyd died because of a heart arrhythmia complicated by drugs he had taken before the arrest. How Floyd died has been a key point of dispute at the trial.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Emergency doctor who tried to save Floyd's life takes stand

Dr. Bradford Wankhede Langenfeld, the emergency medical physician who tried to save George Floyd's life, has taken the stand. He is being questioned by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Judge rules officers may give opinion on Chauvin's actions

Defense attorney Eric Nelson continued to argue Monday that opinions of members of the Minneapolis Police Department that Chauvin's actions amounted to excessive force should not be allowed. Nelson had previously objected to that testimony from Chauvin's supervising sergeant and a high-ranking lieutenant who called Chauvin's actions "uncalled for." Cahill allowed the testimony, and said he will allow similar testimony today from Medaria Arradondo, the Minneapolis police chief, and a police inspector who headed the department's training. 

Cahill said a member of the department's crisis intervention team, which trains officers to recognize people in mental distress, may testify about the training but may not offer an opinion about Chauvin's actions. 

Earlier, Cahill conducted a brief hearing off of audio and video. Back on camera, he said he had conducted a juror misconduct hearing but ruled that no misconduct had taken place. It wasn't immediately clear what prompted that hearing.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Judge allows video of Chauvin after fatal arrest

Monday morning, defense attorney Eric Nelson argued to introduce additional body camera video from the moments after Floyd's fatal arrest. He argued the video, which shows the officers interacting with the crowd of bystanders and continuing to investigate the original call  for a counterfeit $20, will offer jurors a picture of the "totality of circumstances" as they evaluate what a reasonable officer would do in the same situation.

Prosecutor Matthew Frank argued that whether or not Floyd knowingly passed a counterfeit bill is not relevant to the force Chauvin used against Floyd, but Judge Peter Cahill ruled he will allow the video to be introduced.

"I think it is relevant to show Mr. Chauvin's demeanor and actions immediately following Mr. Floyd being removed to the hospital," Cahill said.

Cahill did not allow additional video of former officers Thomas Lane and J. Alexander Kueng "telling their side of the story" after the fatal arrest as Chauvin stood by.

Cahill is now considering another issue that is not being broadcast via audio or video. Pool reporters will be allowed to take notes.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Court resumes with motions hearing

Court has resumed with defense attorneys and prosecutors arguing a motion about the introduction of video evidence. The jury has not yet been called into the courtroom.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Police chief expected to testify

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is expected to take the stand for the prosecution and say that Chauvin's use of force against Floyd was excessive. The testimony could come as soon as Monday, but the court is not releasing daily lists of expected witnesses so an exact timeline remains unclear.

In opening statements last Monday, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said Arradondo will "not mince any words."

 "He's very clear, he'll be very decisive that this was excessive force," Blackwell said.

Two other members of the department took the stand last week and criticized Chauvin's use of force. Chauvin's supervising sergeant said force should have ended as soon as Floyd stopped resisting, and the high-ranking lieutenant who heads the homicide unit called Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck "totally unnecessary" and "just uncalled for." 

The statements finished a week of raw and emotional testimony in Chauvin's trial. 

Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd sat in the courtroom Friday in the lone seat reserved for members of Floyd's family. He told a pool reporter that the trial has been incredibly emotional for the family, and that he's been trying to stop crying.

The first three days of testimony included firsthand accounts of Floyd's fatal arrest from a series of eyewitnesses, some of whom broke down in tears and described feeling helpless as the unarmed Black man struggled for air. On Wednesday, jurors watched a series of police body camera videos showing the fatal encounter.  

Philonise Floyd said the testimony of Charles McMillian, the bystander witness who sobbed on the stand Wednesday as he watched the bodycam video, was particularly emotional. George Floyd's girlfriend Courteney Ross also gave tearful testimony on Thursday.

arrodondo.jpg
Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo CBS News
By Erin Donaghue
 

The charges

In order to convict Chauvin of second-degree murder, prosecutors will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin caused Floyd's death while committing or attempting to commit a related felony, in this case third-degree assault. To convict the former officer of third-degree murder, prosecutors must convince the jury that Chauvin caused Floyd's death during an act that was "eminently dangerous to others and evincing a depraved mind, without regard for human life." 

The charge was initially dropped by Judge Cahill, but was re-instated earlier this month after an appeals court handed a win to prosecutors.

To convict Chauvin of second-degree manslaughter, prosecutors will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Chauvin caused Floyd's death by "culpable negligence," meaning he created unreasonable risk and consciously took a chance of causing death or serious harm.

Prosecutors do not need to prove that Chauvin intended to cause Floyd's death. Since police officers are authorized to use force, prosecutors must prove that the force Chauvin used against Floyd was unlawful.

In Minnesota, second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison. Third-degree murder is punishable by up to 25 years. Second-degree manslaughter carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

By Erin Donaghue
 

Opening statements focused on cause of death

During opening statements last week, prosecutors played the video showing former officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee against George Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds. 

A key point of dispute in opening statements was how Floyd died. Prosecutors played the video of Floyd being pinned down, saying Chauvin used lethal force against a "defenseless" and handcuffed Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds. Prosecutor Jerry Blackwell said Floyd died of oxygen deprivation beneath the pressure of Chauvin's knee. But the defense argued Floyd died of a heart arrhythmia complicated by the fentanyl and methamphetamine he had ingested before his arrest.  

Chauvin trial underway 10 months after Floyd ... 04:41
By Erin Donaghue
 

Expert witnesses expected

An emotional week of testimony ended with prosecutors moving to a new stage in the Derek Chauvin murder trial. Prosecutors are expected to introduce experts next week who are likely to say that Chauvin's knee pressed onto George Floyd's neck caused his death. CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas reports from Minneapolis in the video below.

Next stage in Chauvin murder trial 03:50
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