File-This Feb. 17, 2021, file photo shows Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo addressing the media on preparations for the upcoming Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis. The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer in George Floyd’s death is expected to turn toward the officer’s training on Monday after a first week that was dominated by emotional testimony from eyewitnesses and a devastating video of Floyd’s arrest. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

File-This Feb. 17, 2021, file photo shows Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo addressing the media on preparations for the upcoming Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis. The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer in George Floyd’s death is expected to turn toward the officer’s training on Monday after a first week that was dominated by emotional testimony from eyewitnesses and a devastating video of Floyd’s arrest. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP, Pool, File)

Police chief: Kneeling on George Floyd’s neck violated policy

Doctor who tried to resuscitate Floyd said he died of lack of oxygen

The Minneapolis police chief testified Monday that now-fired Officer Derek Chauvin violated departmental policy — and went against “our principles and the values that we have” — in pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck and keeping him down after Floyd had stopped resisting and was in distress.

Continuing to kneel on Floyd’s neck once he was handcuffed behind his back and lying on his stomach was “in no way, shape or form” part of department policy or training, “and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values,” Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said on Day Six of Chauvin’s murder trial.

Arradondo, the city’s first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd’s death last May, and in June called it “murder.”

While police have long been accused of closing ranks to protect fellow members of the force charged with wrongdoing — the “blue wall of silence,” as it’s known — some of the most experienced officers in the Minneapolis department have taken the stand to openly condemn Chauvin’s treatment of Floyd.

As jurors watched in rapt attention and scribbled notes, Arradondo testified not only that Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the force, should have let Floyd up sooner, but that the pressure on Floyd’s neck did not appear to be light to moderate, as called for under the department’s neck-restraint policy; that Chauvin failed in his duty to render first aid before the ambulance arrived; and that he violated policy requiring officers to de-escalate tense situations with no or minimal force if they can.

“That action is not de-escalation,” the police chief said. “And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about our principles and the values that we have, that action goes contrary to what we are talking about.”

Arradondo’s testimony came after the emergency room doctor who pronounced Floyd dead said he theorized at the time that Floyd’s heart most likely stopped because of a lack of oxygen.

Dr. Bradford Langenfeld, who was a senior resident on duty that night at Hennepin County Medical Center and tried to resuscitate Floyd, took the stand as prosecutors sought to establish that it was Chauvin’s knee on the Black man’s neck that killed him.

Langenfeld said Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time he arrived at the hospital. The doctor said that he was not told of any efforts at the scene by bystanders or police to resuscitate Floyd but that paramedics told him they had tried for about 30 minutes and that he tried for another 30 minutes.

Under questioning by prosecutors, Langenfeld said that based on the information he had, it was “more likely than the other possibilities” that Floyd’s cardiac arrest — the stopping of his heart — was caused by asphyxia, or insufficient oxygen.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death May 25. The white officer is accused of pressing his knee into the 46-year-old man’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds, outside a corner market where Floyd had been arrested on suspicion of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill for a pack of cigarettes.

Floyd’s treatment by police was captured on widely seen bystander video that sparked protests around the U.S. that descended into violence in some cases.

The defence has argued that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions caused his death.

Nelson, Chauvin’s attorney, asked Langenfeld whether some drugs can cause hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen. The doctor acknowledged that fentanyl and methamphetamine, both of which were found in Floyd’s body, can do so.

The county medical examiner’s office ultimately classified Floyd’s death a homicide — a death caused by someone else.

The report said Floyd died of “cardiopulmonary arrest, complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression.” A summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.”

Prosecutor Steve Schleicher noted that while some people may become more dangerous under the influence of drugs or alcohol, some may actually be “more vulnerable.” Arradondo agreed and acknowledged that this must also be taken into consideration when officers decide to use force.

Before he was pinned to the ground, a frantic Floyd struggled with police who were trying to put him in a squad car, saying he was claustrophobic.

Arradondo said officers are trained in basic first aid, including chest compressions, and department policy requires them to request medical assistance and provide necessary aid as soon as possible before paramedics arrive.

“We absolutely have a duty to render that,” he said.

Officers kept restraining Floyd — with Chauvin kneeling on his neck, another kneeling on Floyd’s back and a third holding his feet — until the ambulance got there, even after he became unresponsive, according to testimony and video footage.

The officers also rebuffed offers of help from an off-duty Minneapolis firefighter who wanted to administer aid or tell officers how to do it.

Langenfeld testified that for people who go into cardiac arrest, there is an approximately 10% to 15% decrease in survival for every minute that CPR is not administered.

Nelson noted on cross-examination that department policies direct officers to do what is reasonable in a given situation. He asked whether officers need to take the actions of a crowd into account, and Arradondo agreed. Nelson has suggested that onlookers — many of whom were shouting at Chauvin — might have affected officers’ response.

Nelson also questioned whether Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck, playing a few seconds of bystander video side-by-side with footage from an officer’s body camera that Arradondo agreed appeared to show Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s shoulder blade.

But prosecutors quickly got Arradondo to note that the clip played by Nelson depicted only the few seconds before Floyd was moved onto a stretcher.

Minneapolis police Inspector Katie Blackwell, commander of the training division at the time of Floyd’s death, also took the stand Monday.

She said Chauvin, whom she’s known for about 20 years, received annual training in defensive tactics and use of force, and would have been trained to use one or two arms — not his knee — in a neck restraint.

“I don’t know what kind of improvised position that is,” she said, after being shown a photo of Chauvin with his knee on Floyd’s neck.

She said Chauvin also was a field-training officer, receiving additional training so he would know what prospective officers were learning in the academy.

The city moved soon after Floyd’s death to ban police chokeholds and neck restraints. Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey also made several policy changes, including expanded reporting of use-of-force incidents and attempts to de-escalate situations.

READ MORE: Chauvin’s trial leaves many Black viewers emotionally taxed

___

Webber reported from Fenton, Mich.

Amy Forliti, Steve Karnowski And Tammy Webber, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Racial injusticeUSA

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Edna Whiteley in 2016. “Her whole life has been happy and about helping others,” says her nephew Bob Steed. Photo: Submitted
Nelson’s ‘little firecracker’ Edna Whiteley turns 100

Whiteley is known as a welcoming ambassador for new arrivals in the city

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

An animal carrier full of bullet holes and containing a dead animal was found near Castlegar. Photo: Colleen Schwartz
Castlegar woman finds dead animal inside carrier riddled with bullet holes

The remains were discovered near Syringa Creek Provincial Park

For web
Advocates hold opioid crisis vigil in Trail and Rossland

A delegation offered a powerful presentation on the opioid crisis to Rossland council last month

A lone traveler enters the Calgary Airport in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
VIDEO: Trudeau defends Canada’s travel restrictions as effective but open to doing more

Trudeau said quarantine hotels for international air travellers will continue until at least May 21

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson leaves the assembly with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Paid sick leave for ‘hard-hit’ workers left out of provincial budget: BCGEU

‘For recovery to be equitable it requires supports for workers, not just business,’ says union president Laird Cronk

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

Former University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Rowing Canada sanctions former head coach of B.C. varsity women’s team

Suspension of Barney Williams would be reversed if he complies with certain terms

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Most Read