Derek Chauvin trial: Restraint of George Floyd ‘absolutely’ violated department policy, chief says

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Monday that Derek Chauvin’s decision to restrain George Floyd with a knee to his neck for more than nine minutes in May 2020 “absolutely” violated department policy.

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“Based on my viewing of the videos, once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting -- and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that -- (the restraint) should have stopped,” Arradondo testified.

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“There’s an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds, but once there was no longer any resistance -- and clearly when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive, and even motionless -- to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned-out, handcuffed behind their back -- that in no way shape or form is anything that is by policy. It is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.”

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Arradondo’s testimony came on the sixth day of the trial against Chauvin, who was arrested on murder and manslaughter charges in May 2020 after video surfaced on social media showing him pressing his knee to Floyd’s neck for minutes.

“That action is not de-escalation,” the chief said in court. “When we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life, and when we talk about the principles and values we have, that action goes contrary to what we’re talking about.”

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He said department policy called for “light to moderate pressure” during neck restraints.

“When I look at … the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any shape or form that that is light or moderate pressure,” he said.

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Arradondo added that officers have a duty to render first aid to people within their care.

Last year, the Hennepin County medical examiner ruled Floyd’s death a homicide after determining that the Houston-native’s heart stopped as he was being restrained.

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A separate autopsy commissioned for Floyd’s family also called his death a homicide but concluded that he died of asphyxiation due to neck and back compression.

Floyd’s death prompted global outrage and sparked a national reckoning over racism and police brutality.

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Three other officers also face charges in Floyd’s death. Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter. They are expected to face juries in August.