Apr 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Defense use-of-force expert says Chauvin's actions were "justified"

A use-of-force expert called by Derek Chavin's defense team on Tuesday said the former Minneapolis police officer was "justified" in his actions when he knelt on George Floyd's neck last May.

The big picture: The testimony of Barry Brodd, a former police officer, comes after witnesses called by the prosecution argued the opposite.

  • Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo testified that Chauvin's actions "absolutely" violated department policies.

What he's saying: Brodd said the position in which Floyd was held — facedown while Chauvin pinned him to the ground — was safe, did not typically injure suspects and was an accepted way to control someone during an arrest.

  • "I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, and was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement, in his interactions with Mr. Floyd," Brodd testified.
  • “Police officers don’t have to fight fair,” he said. “They’re allowed to overcome your resistance by going up a level.”
  • He said that keeping Floyd in a prone position while handcuffed did not constitute use of force.
  • Under cross-examination, however, Brodd said that if Floyd was in pain, it would qualify as use of force. Brodd added that while he heard Floyd say "my neck hurts," he didn't "necessarily note it."
  • After playing a video clip of Floyd saying, "my stomach hurt, my neck hurt, everything hurt, the prosecution asked if that would be an expression of pain. "It could, " Brodd responded.

Worth noting "In recent years, many police departments have trained officers to be alert to the risk of what's called 'positional asphyxia,' the possibility that prolonged restraint of a suspect in a prone position can be deadly," NPR writes.

Go deeper: Chauvin trial leaves cities, activists across America on edge

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