Prosecutors in Floyd killing probe use-of-force training
Minneapolis police officers are trained that they have a duty to intervene to stop unreasonable force, the commander of the departments training division testified Friday at the trial of three former officers for allegedly violating George Floyds civil rights when he was killed under the knee of fellow Officer Derek Chauvin.Inspector Katie Blackwell said officers are also trained on neck restraints and how they should be applied, and that they must provide follow-up care because there could be health issues involved.
Minneapolis police officers are trained that they have a duty to intervene to stop unreasonable force, the commander of the department's training division testified Friday at the trial of three former officers for allegedly violating George Floyd's civil rights when he was killed under the knee of fellow Officer Derek Chauvin.
Inspector Katie Blackwell said officers are also trained on neck restraints and how they should be applied, and that they must provide follow-up care because there could be health issues involved. Officers also must tell paramedics or others who take custody of the person that a neck restraint was used, she said. And they must call for medical assistance and render aid while EMS is on the way “to make sure that we do everything we can to save a person's life.” Federal prosecutors say former Officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao failed to act to save Floyd's life on May 25, 2020, as Chauvin knelt on the Black man's neck for 9 1/2 minutes while Floyd was handcuffed, facedown and gasping for air. Kueng knelt on Floyd's back, Lane held his legs and Thao kept bystanders back. Testimony resumes Friday.
Blackwell, on the stand for a second day, said Thao's training record included a 2018 refresher course on use of force, including the duty to use the least amount of force necessary. On Wednesday, she said officers must stop once the person is no longer resisting, then render any necessary medical aid they're trained to provide until medical personnel arrive. Lane's attorney, Earl Gray, said he wanted the record to show that Lane wasn't an officer in 2018, when this refresher course was given. Blackwell said another refresher course on defensive tactics was given in 2019.
Whether the officers deprived Floyd of medical aid is a key element of the case, and prosecutors have sought to show jurors that responding paramedics were not given important information, and that Floyd should have been given medical attention immediately.
On Wednesday, Blackwell testified that it is critical to move someone who is being restrained from a prone position onto their side, otherwise “the concern is that they would die in custody.'' Body camera video shows that Lane twice asked if they should roll Floyd onto his side but was rebuffed.
Blackwell went through department policy and the training required of all officers, and noted that Thao, who has been with the department since 2012, was certified in CPR and attended multiple hours of defensive tactics training, use-of-force training and crisis intervention training while he was on the force. Blackwell did not get into the specific training records of Lane and Kueng before testimony ended for the day.
Officers had responded to a 911 call that Floyd, 46, tried to use a counterfeit $20 bill at a corner store. The videotaped killing triggered worldwide protests and a reexamination of racism and policing. A paramedic testified earlier in the week that he wasn't told that Floyd wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse when police upgraded the urgency of an ambulance call, and wasn't told when he got there that Floyd had been restrained under Chauvin's knee for 9 1/2 minutes An emergency room physician on duty at Hennepin County Medical Center when Floyd was brought in testified Thursday that it was too late to save Floyd.
Dr. Bradford Langenfeld said paramedics told him that although they had tried to resuscitate Floyd for about 30 minutes, he never regained a pulse. He said further attempts to restart Floyd's heart at the hospital failed, and he declared Floyd dead after about a half-hour.
Kueng, who is Black; Lane, who is white; and Thao, who is Hmong American, all are charged with willfully depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights while acting under color of law. One count against all three officers says they saw Floyd needed medical care and failed to help. A count against Thao and Kueng says they did not intervene to stop Chauvin. Both counts allege the officers' actions resulted in Floyd's death.
Prosecutors have argued that the “willful” standard can be met by showing “blatantly wrongful conduct” that deprived Floyd of his rights.
During opening statements, Kueng's attorney, Tom Plunkett, said that Chauvin called “all of the shots” as the senior officer at the scene. Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter in state court last year and also pleaded guilty in December to a federal civil rights charge.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)