A use-of-force witness gave a new point of view to former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial on charges of murder and manslaughter. The defense witness said Tuesday that Chauvin and three other officers' actions were justified during the arrest that ended in George Floyd's death and that they used an appropriate amount of force.
"I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified, was acting with objective reasonableness, following Minneapolis Police Department policy and current standards of law enforcement," Barry Brodd, a former police officer, testified.
Brodd described the position in which Floyd was restrained — facedown on the ground — as being safest for officers and suspect. And he added that holding a person in that position does not make it more dangerous.
"If the officer is justified in using the prone control, the maintaining of the prone control is not a use of force. It's a control technique," he testified.
"It doesn't hurt."
Medical and police training experts for the prosecution all testified that keeping Floyd facedown with his arms handcuffed behind him, with the added body weight of three officers and their gear, restricted Floyd's breathing and led to low levels of oxygen, which is what they said killed the 46-year-old.
Brodd said it is a safe position for suspects who may be in danger of vomiting because they are already facedown so nothing can obstruct the airway.
Officers, he said, are often told that if a person can vocalize that they can't breathe, they often can.
Brodd, who said he reviewed the available video footage of the fatal encounter last Memorial Day, told jurors that as the defendant kneeled on the back of Floyd's neck, Chauvin appeared fearful of bystanders, many of whom were recording what was happening and pleading for the officers to release Floyd.
"At one point [Chauvin] felt threatened enough to pull out his pepper spray, shouting commands to move back," Brodd said.
Prosecution witnesses had said Minneapolis officers are not trained to act as Chauvin did.