Police testimony: Derek Chauvin was trained to avoid neck pressure

In 2016, according to testimonies and records filed Tuesday, Chauvin took a 40-hour class on how to identify and how to identify people in crisis – including those suffering from mental health problems or the effects of drug use use de-escalation techniques to calm them down.

Sgt. Ker Yang, the Minneapolis police officer in charge of crisis intervention training, said officers are learning to “slow things down and reevaluate and reevaluate”.

Records show that Chauvin was also trained in the use of force in 2018. Mercil said attendees were taught that the sanctity of life is a cornerstone of departmental policy and that officials must use the least amount of force to get a suspect into compliance.

Under cross-examination by chauvin attorney Eric Nelson, Mercil testified that officers were trained to put their knee over a person’s back or shoulder and use their body weight to stay in control.

But Mercil added, “We’re telling officers to stay off the neck if possible.”

Nelson has argued that the now-discharged white officer “did exactly what he was trained to do in his 19 year career,” and has suggested that the illicit drugs in Floyd’s system and underlying health conditions killed him, not Chauvin’s knees.

In fact, Nelson wanted to point out moments in the video footage when he said that Chauvin’s knee did not appear to be on Floyd’s neck.

Nelson showed Mercil several images from the officers’ body camera videos and asked each one if Chauvin’s knees appeared to be resting more on Floyd’s back, shoulder, or shoulder blades than directly on Floyd’s neck. Mercil often agreed.

Nelson admitted the pictures were difficult to see. They were taken at different times during Floyd’s arrest, starting about four minutes after he was first pinned to the ground, as timestamped on the pictures.

In another testimony, Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant who served as an expert on the use of force with the prosecutor, said that officers were allowed to use force while Floyd resisted their efforts to put him in a patrol car. But when he was down and stopped resisting, “at that point the officers should have … slowed down or stopped their forces as well.”

Stiger said after viewing the video of the arrest, “I thought the violence was excessive.”

Chauvin, 45, is charged with the murder and manslaughter of Floyd’s May 25th death. Floyd, 46, was arrested outside a neighborhood market after he was accused of attempting to hand over a fake $ 20 bill. A panicked sounding Floyd writhed and claimed to be claustrophobic when the police tried to put him in the patrol car.

The bystander video of Floyd crying he couldn’t breathe as viewers yelled at Chauvin to get rid of him sparked protests in the U.S., which in some cases resulted in violence.

Rather than closing ranks to protect a fellow officer behind the so-called “blue wall of silence,” some of the most seasoned members of the Minneapolis force have taken a stand to openly condemn Chauvin’s actions as excessive.

Chauvin had been certified to perform CPR, and Minneapolis officer Nicole Mackenzie, who trains members of the armed forces in medical care, testified Tuesday that departmental guidelines require him to agree to help before paramedics start if possible begin.

Officers continued to hold Floyd – with Chauvin kneeling on the back of his neck, another kneeling on Floyd’s back, and a third holding his feet – until the ambulance got there, even after statements and video footage made it unresponsive .

The officers also turned down offers of assistance from an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter who wanted to provide assistance or tell officers how to do it.

Mercil testified that, in his experience, it took less than 10 seconds for someone wearing a neck brace to pass out. He said that someone who has an adrenaline rush or higher breathing or heart rate can be affected even faster.

“Have you ever had a circumstance in which an individual lost their pulse and suddenly came back to life and became more violent?” Attorney Steve Schleicher asked, suggesting that Floyd was being held well beyond the point where he could pose a threat.

“Not that I know of, sir,” Mercil replied.

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