Expert testimony resumes in Chauvin trial Wednesday

U.S. & World

MINNEAPOLIS (NewsNation Now) — The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will resume Wednesday with expert testimony continuing from Los Angeles Police Sgt. Jody Stiger.

In this image from video, witness Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant testifies as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

Stiger began his testimony as a prosecution use-of-force expert Tuesday. Stiger said officers were justified in using force while Floyd was resisting their efforts to put him in a squad car. But once he was on the ground and stopped resisting, “at that point, the officers … should have slowed down or stopped their force as well.”

Stiger said that after reviewing video of the arrest, “my opinion was that the force was excessive.”

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, has argued that Chauvin “did exactly what he had been trained to do over his 19-year career” and that it was Floyd’s use of illegal drugs and his underlying health conditions — not the officer’s knee — that killed him.

On Tuesday, prosecutors presented a series of witnesses in a bid to show that the former Minneapolis police officer disregarded his training when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.

Lieutenant Johnny Mercil, who teaches the proper use of force for the department, told jurors the neck restraint applied by Chauvin during the deadly arrest of Floyd was unauthorized. Officers are trained to use the least amount of force necessary to subdue a suspect, he said.

Two department trainers in crisis intervention and first aid also took the stand to describe what they characterized as extensive and continuing training that Minneapolis police officers receive.

Before the jury was brought into the courtroom in the morning, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill heard arguments on a request by a friend of Floyd to quash a prosecution subpoena for him to testify.

Morries Hall was in the car with Floyd when police arrived, setting the stage for the attempt to arrest Floyd. Hall has said he would invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination if he had to appear on the witness stand.

Nelson told Cahill he planned to ask Hall whether he gave Floyd any controlled substances and why Hall left Minnesota immediately after the incident. Floyd’s girlfriend testified last week that she and Floyd struggled with opioid addiction and that she thought Hall sometimes illegally sold pills to Floyd.

Cahill decided that most questions Nelson wanted to ask could incriminate Hall. Even so, the judge said Hall should be able to testify on Floyd’s condition in the car and whether he fell asleep suddenly after possibly taking opioid pills. Cahill gave Nelson until Thursday to draft potential questions.

Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges for Floyd’s arrest, which happened on suspicion that Floyd used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes on May 25, 2020.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. Reporting by Jonathan Allen and Brendan O’Brien of Reuters. Reporting by Amy Forliti, Steve Karnowski and Tammy Webber of AP.

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