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Derek Chauvin’s defense opens with focus on George Floyd’s drug use, rebuttal testimony on use of force – The Washington Post

Defense attorney Eric Nelson provided jurors with body-camera video of a 2019 incident in between Floyd and authorities. In that encounter, Floyd was pulled from an automobile by police at gunpoint.

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In a whirlwind of witnesses, a number of whom invested less than 30 minutes on the stand, Nelson called the policeman who apprehended Floyd in 2019; an emergency medical worker who treated him at the time; and two eyewitnesses from the scene where Floyd was killed, including among the passengers in Floyds cars and truck and a Minneapolis Park Police officer who was standing throughout the street as Floyd passed away.

Floyd was not charged with any criminal offense associated to the stop, and the jury was not informed a number of the details of the occurrence due to the fact that of limitations on statement purchased by the judge.
Nelson battled to include evidence of the May 6, 2019, arrest at Chauvins trial, describing it as “extremely comparable” to the encounter with his customer. He has actually argued that Floyd passed away of a combination of drug intoxication and existing health issue, not from the pressure of Chauvins knee pressing into the Black males neck and back as he was held handcuffed and facedown on the street.

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However a few of the days testimony appeared to undermine the defense.

” I felt that Officer Chauvins interactions with Mr. Floyd were following his training, policing and following current practices and were objectively sensible,” stated Barry Brodd, a former Santa Rosa, Calif., policeman.
Brodd, a Montana-based specialist who was paid $11,400 to be an expert witness for the defense, opposed prosecution specialists and the testimony of many Minneapolis law enforcement officer, consisting of Chief Medaria Arradondo. Brodd consistently stated he did rule out Floyd being put in a prone position on the street, his arms handcuffed behind his back, with Chauvin and the other officers limiting him, to be an usage of force.
” In this circumstance there were space restrictions; Mr. Floyd was butted up versus the tire of the patrol vehicle,” Brodd affirmed. “There was traffic still driving down the street. There were crowd issues that took the attention of the officers. Mr. Floyd was still rather withstanding. I think those were fairly legitimate factors to keep him in the susceptible.”

Brodd argued that the susceptible position was not unsafe and not likely to trigger “discomfort” for restrained suspects, and in a nod to the defense theory of Floyds death, said the position could be deemed “much safer” for suspects possibly on drugs since it was a technique of control should someone suddenly display “unpredictable behavior going from compliant to noncompliant, not feeling any discomfort, potentially having superhuman strength.”

Nelson likewise recalled the Minneapolis law enforcement officer in charge of the departments medical training and ended the day by calling a use-of-force professional who described Chauvins actions at the scene as “justified” and not “fatal force.”

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Defense witness Scott Creighton, a now-retired officer whose body-camera video of the 2019 incident was shown, told the jury that he drew his gun as he approached Floyd while Floyd was sitting in the traveler seat of a cars and truck throughout a traffic stop. “The traveler was noncompliant and unresponsive to my commands,” Creighton stated, including that Floyd appeared “extremely nervous, distressed.”
Nelson two times asked Creighton concerns that appeared to point to Floyds substance abuse, consisting of whether he d seen him swallow anything. But Creighton stated no.
The jury was revealed a roughly two-minute video showing Creighton and another officer cursing and screaming at Floyd as they buy him to show officers his hands. “Dont shoot me, man!” Floyd says to Creighton, who then pulls him from the automobile and handcuffs him without incident.

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” I asked him why,” Moseng testified. “He said it was due to the fact that he was addicted.”

Under cross-examination, Creighton acknowledged that Floyd was given conflicting orders from the officers on where to place his hands, that Floyd was cooperative and meaningful when he was out of the car, and that he was never positioned on the ground, as he was throughout his deadly interaction with Chauvin and other Minneapolis officers.
” Mr. Floyd didnt drop dead while you were engaging with him, correct?” prosecutor Erin Eldridge asked.
” No,” Creighton responded.
The 2nd witness was Michelle Moseng, a retired Hennepin County Medical Center paramedic who dealt with Floyd after his 2019 arrest. She said that Floyds high blood pressure was exceptionally high– 216 over 160– and that she urged him to go to the hospital since she was stressed he might have a stroke.
She said Floyd told her he had high blood pressure however had not been taking his medication. She also testified that Floyd informed her he had actually swallowed about seven tablets of the drug Percocet, a highly addicting prescription narcotic, and had been regularly abusing pain tablets.

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Nelson then turned to 2 eyewitnesses from the scene at East 38th Street and Chicago Avenue, the crossway where Floyd died, as he sought to raise questions about Floyds drug use before his encounter with Chauvin.
He called Floyds ex-girlfriend, Shawanda Renee Hill, who had encountered Floyd at Cup Foods and later was a passenger in the vehicle when authorities responded to a 911 call about a fake $20 expense that had actually been passed inside the store.
Hill testified that Floyd had been “happy, regular, talking, alert” when she experienced him inside the store however that he had actually suddenly dropped off to sleep in the automobile. She stated he nodded awake when he heard Thomas K. Lane, among the first reacting officers, knock on the window with a flashlight and was “startled” when he looked back to see Lane pointing a weapon at him.

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Nelson then bet the jury about 30 minutes of Changs body camera video from the scene– including footage of Floyd handcuffed and resting on the ground, which, under interrogation from the prosecution, he referred to as cooperative behavior.
Nelson also remembered Minneapolis law enforcement officers Nicole Mackenzie, who manages the departments medical assistance training and testified recently about Chauvins hours of emergency situation medical training, including in CPR. He asked Mackenzie about the departments training on “thrilled delirium,” a questionable term utilized by some medical inspectors to describe the sudden in-custody death of people who might be under the impact of drugs or in an upset state.

Hennepin County District Court Judge Peter A. Cahill prefaced Mackenzies statement by informing the jury she was remembered to provide explanatory testament of the term because cops body electronic camera video had actually shown Lane discussing it at the scene.

” He immediately grabbed the wheel, and he was like, “Please, please do not kill me. Please, please dont shoot me. Dont shoot me. What did I do to somebody? Please, please dont shoot me,” Hill affirmed.
Hill was followed on the witness stand by Minneapolis Park Police officer Peter Chang, who reacted to the scene and was asked to secure the car Floyd had been driving. Chang stated he observed Floyd resist being put inside a squad cars and truck and later observed a crowd “that was growing more loud and aggressive.” Nelson asked Chang whether this caused him to feel worried. “Concern for the officers security, yes,” Chang replied.

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Brodd spent roughly three hours on the stand testifying that in his viewpoint, Chauvin had actually not used excessive force against Floyd.

” This is not being offered as a state-of-mind or knowledge of the defendant, given that we have no indicator on the record that this defendant, Mr. Chauvin, took this training,” Cahill informed the jury, a statement that Nelson did not contest.
Mackenzie discussed that inbound Minneapolis policeman are trained to search for signs of ecstatic delirium– consisting of incoherent speech, extreme sweat or superhuman strength. She stated officers are trained to require emergency medical assistance in such cases due to the fact that an individual displaying ecstatic delirium can quickly go into heart attack– a statement potentially damaging to Chauvins defense, even if he had no training in the subject.

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Hill was followed on the witness stand by Minneapolis Park Police officer Peter Chang, who responded to the scene and was asked to secure the automobile Floyd had actually been driving.

He consistently protected Chauvin against the avalanche of video proof in the case, consisting of numerous police body-camera and spectator videos, arguing that the footage does not totally capture what was going on at the scene or what the officers were feeling and believing as they held Floyd on the pavement as he wept out for breath and eventually stopped moving.
” Its easy to evaluate and sit in a workplace on an officers conduct,” Brodd said. “Its more of a difficulty to put yourself in the officers shoes to attempt to make an evaluation through what theyre feeling, what theyre picking up, the fear they have, and after that make a determination.”

Defense attorney Eric Nelson provided jurors with body-camera video of a 2019 incident between Floyd and authorities. In that encounter, Floyd was pulled from a vehicle by cops at gunpoint. When Floyd started speaking incoherently, police called paramedics, who found that his blood pressure was elevated. At the cops station, Floyd confessed to having taken pain tablets and was taken to the medical facility.

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