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

A woman crosses 176th Street in Cloverdale April 12, 2021. 176th will not host Cloverdale Market Days this year as the popular street fest is just the latest casualty in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale Market Days cancelled again

Organizer says popular street fest will return in 2022

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions against new model; BCSS and its board in favour

Vintage scrapbooks gave way to Instagram and Facebook. (Photo: Ursula Maxwell-Lewis)
COLUMN: Prince Philip just got on with it—to our surprise

Ursula Maxwell-Lewis reflects on the passing Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Surrey Vaisakhi parade crowd in Newton, pre-pandemic. (Photo: Crystal Scuor)
Surrey Mounties urge Vaisakhi, Kissan celebrants to heed public health orders

Report violations to the City of Surrey Bylaw call centre at 604-591-4370 or the Surrey RCMP non-emergency line at 604-599-0502

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Top doctor warns B.C.’s daily cases could reach 3,000 as COVID hospitalizations surge

There are more than 400 people in hospital, with 125 of them in ICU

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)
Archibald bowl near Chilliwack. (Submitted)
Cheam First Nation ‘shocked’ over all-season mountain resort proposal near Chilliwack

For five years the band has been working on a gondola project of their own

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The plane blasted through an airport fence and down a hill, before stopping before a cement barrier on Highway 5A, right in front of a school bus. Photo submitted.
Student pilot crashes plane onto Highway 5A almost hitting school bus

Aircraft hit pavement right in front of school bus

Eight-year-old Piper and her family were raising money to help Guinevere, the bearded dragon, get a gynecological surgery. Sadly, the reptile didn’t survive the procedure. (Jackee Sullivan/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Lizard fails to survive surgery, GoFundMe dollars help Langley family offset medical bills

Guinevere, a pet bearded dragon, underwent an ovariectomy on Tuesday

A driver stopped by Saanich police following a road rage incident on April 15 was found to be impaired, in violation of a license restriction and in a damaged vehicle. They received a 90-day driving prohibition and a 30-day vehicle impound. (Saanich Police Traffic Safety Unit/Twitter)
Road rager fails breathalyzer on busy B.C. highway in vehicle he shouldn’t be driving

Saanich police say man was operating vehicle without required ignition lock

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Premier John Horgan booked to get AstraZeneca shot Friday

‘Let’s show all British Columbians that the best vaccine is the one that’s available to you now,’ he said

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

Most Read