While Arradondo’s testimony was expected to focus on police training and policies, the chief twice told jurors that Chauvin’s actions violated the department’s “values”.
“It’s certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” said Arradondo, who previously publicly offered that Chauvin’s actions amounted to murder.
Some experts said the judge probably shouldn’t have allowed the boss to go that far.
“He added, gratuitously, that this was not our standards or values,” said Geoffrey Alpert, professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina. “He probably shouldn’t have said that.”
While most of the witnesses are classified as expert or factual, the police chief appeared to be active in both areas, discussing departmental guidelines, police techniques, and the investigation into Floyd’s death.
“That is something that an expert should not do, but the fact [prosecutors] I posted him as a factual witness who sort of refined that, ”said Mark Osler, a law professor at the University of St. Thomas, based in the Twin Cities. “There is no doubt that he was a very good witness for the government.”
Osler said Arradondo’s practical role may seem strange in larger cities, but makes sense in Minneapolis.
“In New York City there are so many levels in the police department and it’s a major operation,” Osler said. “We’re so small here that the third or fourth person who calls when something big happens is the chief of police. … He was there, he was involved in many decisions.”
While the testimony of a seated police chief is highly unusual at an official or former official trial, Arradondo also testified two years ago at the trial of former official Mohamed Noor, who was convicted of murder for shooting Justine Damond, 40, while he responded to her 911 call about possible sexual assault.
Noor was convicted and sentenced to 12.5 years in prison. The Minnesota Supreme Court announced last month that it would begin Noor’s appeal, but it is unclear whether the judges will address issues that may affect Chauvin’s case.
The public turmoil over Floyd’s death and the attention the media and prominent politicians paid to Chauvin’s trial could also give rise to an appeal, lawyers said.
MP Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) And even President Joe Biden backed the expected appeal with comments indicating that convictions were needed in the case to keep the peace going.
“We’re looking for a guilty verdict,” Waters said during a rally near Minneapolis on Saturday night. She added, if there was no such outcome: “We have to become more active, we have to become more confrontational.”
These remarks sparked a flare of anger in the normally meek Judge Cahill, who described her comments as “hideous”.
“I give you that Congressman Waters may have given you something on appeal that could result in this entire process being overturned,” Cahill said. “It goes back to what I said from the start. I wish elected officials would stop talking about this case, especially in ways that do not respect the rule of law, the judiciary and our function. “
Despite his suggestions for an appeal, Cahill declined to declare a mistrial or ask jurors whether they had heard Waters’ remarks.
Biden’s comments on Tuesday morning that he was praying for the “correct judgment” were a little vague than Waters’, but also seemed to signal concern that an acquittal could cause problems. The president added that he only shared his thoughts because the jury was confiscated after the clashes ended on Monday.
Osler said defense attorneys would likely argue that the high profile statements created an atmosphere that put pressure on the jury.
“Your basis for the appeal would be that the jury was not influenced by the evidence, but by fear of what would happen if they weren’t convicted,” the professor said, noting that the defense was a change of location Process was denied.
Another possible influence in the midst of Chauvin’s trial: the shooting and killing of an African-American suspect, Daunte Wright, by a police officer in the nearby suburb of Minneapolis.
Convictions were rarely overturned because of advertising before or during the trial or because of pressure on the jury. The most famous case of this type recently involved Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death following a trial for the fatal bombing of the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013. Tsarnaev’s lawyers denied the death sentence but admitted his involvement in the bombing.
Last year, a federal appeals court overturned the death sentence, ruling that the 2015 trial appeared to have been hit by an “avalanche of pre-trial publicity” and that the judge overseeing the case did not adequately question the jury on whether they were involved in the “reign of terror.” the Boston area during the manhunt for Tsarnaev and his brother, who died in a police shootout.
The Supreme Court announced last month that it would take up the marathon bombing case, which means judges will likely come to a public relations ruling by the end of this year or early next year.
In a unique Minnesota twist of the case, Chauvin might even have an appeal because prosecutors were too mean to his attorney. Defense attorney Eric Nelson appealed after a prosecutor called the defense’s arguments “nonsense”.
“We actually have a rule in Minnesota that says you can’t belittle defense,” Osler explained as a product of the state’s reputation for courtesy.
“It’s a very Minnesota problem,” he said. “If you didn’t belittle the defense as a state attorney in Texas, you probably wouldn’t do your job.”