According to some experts, former officer Derek Chauvin was justified in holding George Floyd on the ground as he continued to fight police. A use-of-force expert testified on Tuesday for the trial for Floyd’s death.
Taking the stand at Chauvin’s murder trial, Barry Brodd, a former Santa Rosa, California, officer, stoutly defended Chauvin’s actions, even as a prosecutor pounded away at the witness during cross-examination and banged on the lectern. At one point, the prosecutor reacted mockingly when Brodd said that Floyd kept moving instead of “resting comfortably” on the pavement.
“It’s easy to sit and judge … an officer’s conduct,” Brodd said. “It’s more of a challenge to, again, put yourself in the officer’s shoes to try to make an evaluation through what they’re feeling, what they’re sensing, the fear they have, and then make a determination.”
He stated that he does not think Chauvin or the other officers used deadly force against Floyd. Instead, he compared it to a situation to which an officer uses a taser on a suspect fighting with officers, and then the perp falls and hits his head and dies.
“That isn’t an incident of deadly force. That’s an incident of an accidental death,” Brodd stated.
Several top Minneapolis police officials, including the police chief, have testified that Chauvin used excessive force and violated his training. And medical experts called by prosecutors have said that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen because of the way he was restrained.
However, Brodd testified, “I felt that Officer Chauvin’s interactions with Mr. Floyd were following his training, following current practices in policing and were objectively reasonable.”
Prosecutor Steve Schleicher used his cross-examination to once again painstakingly go through video clips of a pinned-down Floyd gasping that he couldn’t breathe and then going limp.
The prosecutor hammered away at Brodd, saying that a reasonable officer in Chauvin’s position would have known Floyd stopped resisting, that another officer told him he couldn’t find a pulse, and that others said Floyd had passed out and was no longer breathing.
“And the defendant’s position is, and was, and remains, as we see here at this moment, in this time, in this clip — on top of Mr. Floyd on the street. Isn’t that right?” Schleicher asked, as he banged his hand on the podium repeatedly.
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