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George Floyd: Expert witness criticises use of force during arrest George Floyd: Expert witness criticises use of force during arrest
(about 1 hour later)
An expert witness has testified that "excessive" force was used by ex-officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of unarmed black man George Floyd.An expert witness has testified that "excessive" force was used by ex-officer Derek Chauvin during the arrest of unarmed black man George Floyd.
Sgt Jody Stiger, a use of force expert for the Los Angeles Police Department, said that "deadly force" was used after Mr Floyd was in placed handcuffs.Sgt Jody Stiger, a use of force expert for the Los Angeles Police Department, said that "deadly force" was used after Mr Floyd was in placed handcuffs.
Mr Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd for over nine minutes during Mr Floyd's arrest last May.Mr Chauvin, 45, was filmed kneeling on Mr Floyd for over nine minutes during Mr Floyd's arrest last May.
He is on trial for murder and has denied the charges against him.He is on trial for murder and has denied the charges against him.
The footage of Mr Chauvin, who is white, with his knee on Mr Floyd's neck sparked global protests against racism.The footage of Mr Chauvin, who is white, with his knee on Mr Floyd's neck sparked global protests against racism.
With the trial in its second week, jurors have now heard from more than 20 prosecution witnesses, including four police training experts on Tuesday. The trial is expected to last for at least one month, with the defence scheduled to argue its case starting next week.With the trial in its second week, jurors have now heard from more than 20 prosecution witnesses, including four police training experts on Tuesday. The trial is expected to last for at least one month, with the defence scheduled to argue its case starting next week.
On Wednesday, as prosecutors continued to argue that Mr Chauvin had used undue force, the defence team sought to draw attention to Mr Floyd's alleged drug use, claiming he could be heard saying "I ate a lot of drugs" in bodycam video.
As police officers are rarely convicted or charged at all for deaths that occur in custody, the verdict in this trial is being seen as an indication of how the US legal system will treat such cases in future.As police officers are rarely convicted or charged at all for deaths that occur in custody, the verdict in this trial is being seen as an indication of how the US legal system will treat such cases in future.
What did the expert say?What did the expert say?
Sgt Stiger, who reviews use of force investigations for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) testified for the prosecution over two days.Sgt Stiger, who reviews use of force investigations for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) testified for the prosecution over two days.
On Tuesday, he was one of four police officers who condemned Mr Chauvin's handling of the arrest, which was sparked by Mr Floyd's alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill.On Tuesday, he was one of four police officers who condemned Mr Chauvin's handling of the arrest, which was sparked by Mr Floyd's alleged use of a counterfeit $20 bill.
On Wednesday, he argued that "deadly force" was used by the officers who pinned Mr Floyd to the ground.On Wednesday, he argued that "deadly force" was used by the officers who pinned Mr Floyd to the ground.
He added that "no force" was necessary after Mr Floyd had been placed in handcuffs and that continuing to press down on Mr Floyd could have caused "positional asphyxia, which could cause death".He added that "no force" was necessary after Mr Floyd had been placed in handcuffs and that continuing to press down on Mr Floyd could have caused "positional asphyxia, which could cause death".
Watch: The moment the police chief condemns ChauvinWatch: The moment the police chief condemns Chauvin
"He was in the prone position. He was handcuffed. He was not attempting to resist," Sgt Stiger said. "He was not attempting to assault the officers, kick, punch or anything of that nature.""He was in the prone position. He was handcuffed. He was not attempting to resist," Sgt Stiger said. "He was not attempting to assault the officers, kick, punch or anything of that nature."
Being handcuffed with hands behind the back makes it difficult for a suspect to breath, he said.Being handcuffed with hands behind the back makes it difficult for a suspect to breath, he said.
"When you add body weight to that, it just increases the possibility of death," he continued."When you add body weight to that, it just increases the possibility of death," he continued.
He said that officers are trained to be able to make arrests while being confronted by a hostile crowd, and that in his view, he did not perceive the onlookers "as being a threat".He said that officers are trained to be able to make arrests while being confronted by a hostile crowd, and that in his view, he did not perceive the onlookers "as being a threat".
He was also asked about "pain compliance," meaning moments when officers can lessen the amount of pain inflicted on a suspect in exchange for compliance.He was also asked about "pain compliance," meaning moments when officers can lessen the amount of pain inflicted on a suspect in exchange for compliance.
"What if there's no opportunity for compliance?" asked prosecutor Steve Schleicher."What if there's no opportunity for compliance?" asked prosecutor Steve Schleicher.
"At that point, it's just pain." Mr Stiger responded."At that point, it's just pain." Mr Stiger responded.
What did the defence argue?What did the defence argue?
Mr Stiger acknowledged defence attorney Eric Nelson's point that an officer's actions must be viewed from the point of view of an officer at the scene, not in hindsight.Mr Stiger acknowledged defence attorney Eric Nelson's point that an officer's actions must be viewed from the point of view of an officer at the scene, not in hindsight.
Mr Stiger agreed with Mr Nelson that all use of force policies have qualifiers - that is, the context of the situation, security, and experience must be taken into account when examining potential violations.Mr Stiger agreed with Mr Nelson that all use of force policies have qualifiers - that is, the context of the situation, security, and experience must be taken into account when examining potential violations.
He also concurred that it would have been reasonable for Mr Chauvin to arrive on scene with a heightened sense of awareness as dispatchers had described Mr Floyd as over six feet tall (2m) and possibly under the influence.He also concurred that it would have been reasonable for Mr Chauvin to arrive on scene with a heightened sense of awareness as dispatchers had described Mr Floyd as over six feet tall (2m) and possibly under the influence.
The defence team also claimed that Mr Floyd could be heard saying "I ate too many drugs" in bodycam footage of the incident.
Mr Stiger testified that he could not hear the phrase in the clip, though another witness, Special Agent James Reyerson of the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, did agree it appeared to sound that way.
He later retracted that statement, saying he believed Mr Floyd had in fact said "I ain't do no drugs".