Derek Chauvin Trial, Day 7: Officer Who Trained Chauvin And LAPD Use-Of-Force Expert Testify

6April 2021

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A use-of-force expert from the Los Angeles Police Department took the stand Tuesday in the seventh day of testimony in the Derek Chauvin trial.

Sgt. Jody Stiger was asked his opinion on the force Chauvin used on George Floyd on May 25, 2020. Stiger called it “excessive,” then explained how he came to that opinion.

“I try to look at a number of factors, what was known to officers at the time, and one of the biggest things I look at is what was the person’s actions at the time the officers were using force,” Stiger said.

He also testified that officers are taught to make critical decisions in dealing with people in crisis, including people suffering from mental problems, or the effects of drug use. He then said officers are then taught to diffuse the situation.

The sergeant from the LAPD was the fourth witness to take the stand Tuesday, following testimony from officers responsible for training within the Minneapolis Police Department.

Sgt. Jody Stiger (credit: CBS)

In opening statements, defense attorney Eric Nelson said the evidence would show that Chauvin did exactly what he was trained to do. The prosecution’s witnesses Tuesday were there to show that’s not the case.

Among the experts testifying was Lt. Johnny Mercil, who had trained Chauvin. He was asked by prosecutor Steve Schleicher about a still from the bystander viral video that shows Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck.

“Is this an MPD-trained neck restraint?” Schleicher said.

“No sir,” Mercil said.

“Has it ever been?” Schleicher said

“Neck restraint, no sir,” Mercil said.

“Say for example, the subject was under control and handcuffed, would this be authorized?” Schleicher said

“I would say no,” Mercil said.

He also testified that the prone position is a dangerous one.

“There is the possibility and risk that some people have difficulty breathing when their handcuffs are behind their back and they’re on their stomach,” he said.

But under cross examination, Nelson pushed Lt. Mercil, asking about the inability of three officers to get Floyd into a squad car.

“If some person had fought with more than one officer at a time, so one person against three people is a factor that officers would consider for the continued use of force?”

“Yes sir,” Mercil said.

Lt. Johnny Mercil (credit: CBS)

The defense touched on their repeated point that an unconscious person can regain consciousness.

“Sometimes they can be just as aggressive or even more aggressive after coming to consciousness?” Nelson said.

“That is possible, yes,” Mercil said.

“At any point did you see Officer Chauvin use a choke hold in this case?” Nelson said.

“No sir,” Mercil said.

The defense was able to get Lt. Mercil to say what they were able to get Chief Medaria Arradondo to say Monday: That later in the encounter, some angles show a different Chauvin knee position.

“Can you see in this photograph what appears to be the knee and shin placement of the officer?” Nelson said.

“Yes sir,” Mercil said.

“And would you agree that it appears that the knee is placed in the center between Mr. Floyd’s shoulder blades?” Nelson said.

“It appears to be between his shoulder blades, yes,” Mercil said.

We heard testimony that a knee on a shoulder blade or upper back is part of Minneapolis Police training. The prosecution was able to point out that this positioning of Chauvin’s knee occurred when Floyd no longer had a pulse.

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Author: WCCO | CBS Minnesota

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