Minneapolis police head: Kneeling on Floyd's neck violated restraint policy

Yolanda Curtis
April 6, 2021

Mr Arradondo, the city's first black police chief, fired Mr Chauvin and three other officers the day after Mr Floyd's death last May, and in June called it "murder".

Medaria Arradondo, Chief of Police in Minneapolis, gives testimony against Derek Chauvin, stating that the former police officer's action violated his department's restraint policy and the arrest should have ended once Floyd "stopped resisting".

In particular, the chief said Chauvin's kneeling on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds is not a trained tactic and was a violation of the policies around de-escalation, objectively reasonable use of force and requirement to render aid.

What did the police chief say?

"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", Chief Arradondo said.

LIVE UPDATES: Derek Chauvin trial continues Monday

Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, had filed a motion asking to enter a longer edit of body-worn camera footage shown by the prosecution last week.

Langenfeld, who was a senior resident in the emergency room at Hennepin County Medical Center in May 2020, when Floyd died, detailed the feverish pace he and his team took in performing a series of procedures to determine if there was even a chance to revive Floyd, at one point cutting open the patient's chest.

He took over Floyd's care from the paramedics who testified last week that Floyd's heart had "flatlined" and that, in layman's terms, he was dead when they transported him to the hospital.

Asked by prosecutor Jerry Blackwell if the paramedics indicated that they suspected a drug overdose or heart attack, Langenfeld said they did not, indicating that only that Floyd's heart had stopped beating and that there may have been a delay in starting resuscitation efforts.

Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in Floyd's death on May 25.

Footage of Mr Chauvin, who is white, kneeling on African-American Mr Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes previous year sparked global protests against racism.

Mr Nelson, Mr Chauvin's lawyer, asked Dr Langenfeld whether some drugs can cause hypoxia, or insufficient oxygen.

Asked if the restraint Chauvin used on Floyd was a violation of department policy, Arradondo answered, "I absolutely agree that violates our policy". He could tell from Floyd's grimaces that Chauvin was using more than the maximum "light-to-moderate" pressure an officer is allowed to use on someone's neck. A summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under "other significant conditions" but not under "cause of death".

In a separate letter, the principal of Cedar High School, Jason Miller, said, "I don't feel that viewing and discussing this case in school is age-appropriate for scholars". But on questioning from the prosecutor, the doctor said the high levels were also consistent with cardiac arrest. They are trained in basic first aid and given annual refresher courses, be it in tying a tourniquet to a bleeding gunshot victim or using a naloxone inhaler to reverse an opioid overdose.

Floyd had been in cardiac arrest before arriving at the hospital and doctors worked on him for roughly half an hour after his arrival.

The other three former police officers involved in the arrest, Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng, are to be tried separately later this year. He said there is an approximately 10% to 15% decrease in survival for every minute that CPR is not administered.

In testimony later that day, Arradondo agreed when prosecutor Steve Schleicher said that some people become more vulnerable when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Another said Chauvin never eased up, either by putting a hand on the ground or leaning on a squad auto next to him.

"Once Mr Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalise that, that should have stopped", Arradondo said.

Prosecutors countered that the video depicted the moment when paramedics arrived and Chauvin had removed his knee from Floyd's neck to get up.

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