Derek Chauvin lawsuit: Officer never took George Floyd’s knee off the neck, says an expert on violence

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin held his knee against George Floyd’s neck and carried most of his weight the entire time the black man lay face down with his hands cuffed behind his back, one testified. expert on violence use Wednesday.

45-year-old Chauvin is on trial on charges of murder and manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death in May 2020. Prosecutors allege that Chauvin held his knee in Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, despite Floyd being handcuffed, in prone position. Floyd was later pronounced dead.

Police at the time responded to a report that Floyd, 46, had attempted to use a counterfeit $ 20 note while buying cigarettes at a convenience store, Cup Foods. Chauvin and three other officers were fired after Floyd’s death.


On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Jody Stiger testified as an expert witness on behalf of the Prosecution. Stiger said that based on his assessment of video evidence, Chauvin’s knee was on Floyd’s neck from when officers put Floyd on the ground until the paramedics arrived.

“Didn’t that particular force change throughout the restraint period?” prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked as he showed the jury a composite image of five photos from the various videos of the arrest.

“Right,” Stiger replied.

Stiger’s testimony came a day after Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson tried to point out moments in the video footage when, he said, Chauvin’s knee didn’t appear to be on Floyd’s neck.

Bystander video of Floyd crying that he couldn’t breathe as onlookers shouted at Chauvin to get rid of him sparked protests and spread violence throughout the US and sparked a reckoning over racism and police brutality.

Nelson has argued that the now-fired white officer “did exactly what he was trained to do during his 19-year career,” and he has suggested that the illegal drugs in Floyd’s system and his underlying health condition killed him, not Chauvin’s knee.

Nelson seized the drug corner by cross-examining Stiger, playing an excerpt from then agent J. Kueng’s bodycam video, and asking if Stiger could hear Floyd say, “I’ve been eating too many drugs.”


Stiger replied that he could not make out those words in the images. Prosecutors did not bring up the matter when they re-questioned Stiger.

Nelson has also claimed that the agents on the ground saw the spectators as an increasingly hostile crowd and were distracted by it. On Tuesday, the lawyer had a number of police witnesses acknowledge that mocking bystanders can make it more difficult for officers to do their duty.

On Wednesday, Stiger told the jury, “I didn’t see them as a threat,” although some onlookers scolded and used foul language. He added that most of the screaming was due to “their concern about Mr. Floyd.”

“I would describe a hostile crowd as a crowd or members of the crowd who threatened and threw bottles and stones at the police,” he said.

Nelson’s voice came when he asked Stiger how a reasonable officer would be trained to see a crowd while dealing with a suspect, “and someone else is pacing around now and looking at you and looking at you and calling you out and says (expletives). ” Nelson said “this could be considered a threat by a reasonable officer.”

In this video, attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, right, listen as Judge Peter Cahill in Hennepin County presides over Chauvin’s trial, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Hennepin County. Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. (Court TV via AP, pool)

“As a potential threat, correct,” said Stiger.

The defense attorney also asked Stiger if the video showed Floyd picking up his head and sometimes moving it.

‘A little bit yes. He tried, ”Stiger replied.

In his cross-examination, Chauvin’s attorney also noted that dispatchers had described Floyd as being between six and six feet and possibly under the influence. Stiger agreed that it was reasonable for Chauvin to arrive on the scene with heightened awareness.

Stiger further agreed with Nelson that an officer’s actions should be viewed from the standpoint of a reasonable officer on the scene, not retrospectively.

The defense attorney suggested that when Chauvin told Floyd to “relax,” he tried to calm and reassure him. And Nelson said that given the typical ambulance response times, it was reasonable for Chauvin to believe that paramedics would be there soon.

This video witnesses Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant, as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis.  (Court TV via AP, swimming pool)

This video witnesses Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant, as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill presides over Wednesday, April 7, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. (Court TV via AP, swimming pool)

Stiger also testified that Chauvin squeezed Floyd’s fingers and pulled one wrist to his handcuffs. He said it appeared that Chauvin was applying the practice of “ pain relief, ” a technique used to cause pain and, in the process, get a person to comply. When asked if he thought Floyd was trying to resist arrest, Stiger said, “No.”

But if someone doesn’t get the chance to comply, “it’s just pain,” Stiger said.


Stiger said Chauvin didn’t seem to give up while Floyd was being held.

“At the time of the duress, Mr. Floyd didn’t resist – he was prone, he was handcuffed,” Stiger said. “He wasn’t trying to dodge, he wasn’t trying to resist, and the pressure exerted by body weight could cause positional asphyxiation, which could cause death.”

When asked by prosecutors whether Chauvin was obligated to consider Floyd’s distress while considering what level of force to use, Stiger replied, “Absolutely. As time went on, you could clearly see in the video that Mr. Floyd’s. “His health was deteriorating. His breath softened. His voice softened. His movements began to stop.”


So at that point, like one [sic] Officer on the ground, you have a responsibility to realize that, “Okay, something isn’t right, something has changed drastically from what happened before,” Stiger continued. So that’s why you have a responsibility to take some action. ‘

It was Stiger’s second day in the stands. On Tuesday he testified that the violence against Floyd was excessive. He said the police were justified in using force while Floyd opposed their attempts to put him in a police car. But once Floyd was on the ground and stopped resisting, agents “should have slowed or stopped their troops too.”

Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this report, as did the Associated Press.