Apr 5, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Minneapolis police chief: Chauvin "absolutely" violated department policies

Screenshot of an NBC News channel broadcasting the Derek Chauvin trial, which shows the police chief sitting as he's being questioned

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo. Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday "sanctity of life is absolutely vital" when considering the use of force and that former police officer Derek Chauvin "absolutely" violated department policies in his use of force on George Floyd.

Why it matters: In the second week of Chauvin's trial, Arradondo described a departmental culture at odds with Chauvin's behavior when he kneeled on Floyd's neck for over nine minutes.

  • "That is not part of our policy. That is not what we teach..." Arradondo said on Monday.
  • "Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped," he added.

Details: Every year, officers undergo training that prioritizes de-escalating situations, rendering aid where necessary and treating people "with the dignity and respect they deserve," said Arradondo, who has served in the department's highest-ranking position for three years.

  • The training is meant to reinforce "muscle memory" because the type of calls that require law enforcement itself is "probably pretty small" compared to the other types of calls officers address.
  • Though he said handcuffing people or using force is fairly common for patrol officers, Arradondo emphasized the importance of using "reasonable" force.
    • "The one singular thing that we will be judged on will be our use of force," he told jurors. "We want to make sure and ensure our community members go home [along with police officers]."

What he's saying: "We have an obligation to make sure we provide for their care," he said, adding that that also applies to people who require officers' defensive tactics.

  • When asked if it's critical for officers to perform CPR when necessary, the chief said, "Absolutely." The doctor who treated Floyd had said earlier in the day he received no report of CPR administration on the scene.
  • "To serve with compassion to me means to understand and authentically accept that we see our neighbor as ourselves, we value one another, we see our community as necessary for our existence," he said.
  • "For many in our communities, the first time they encounter a Minneapolis police officer may be the only time in their life they do, so that singular incident matters," he added.
    • The press pool noted that jurors were particularly attentive to Arradondo in this segment.

The big picture: The doctor who testified earlier said Floyd likely died from loss or deprivation of oxygen.

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