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Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo yesterday refuted Derek Chauvin's claim that he followed department policy and training when he pinned George Floyd to the pavement with his knee for more than nine minutes. The chief's testimony in Chauvin's murder trial reinforced the evaluations of other police officials who rejected defense lawyer Eric Nelson's contention that Chauvin "did exactly what he had been trained to do" during Floyd's May 25 arrest for buying cigarettes with a counterfeit $20 bill.
"Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped," Arradondo said. "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."
Specifically, Arradondo said, the prolonged prone restraint violated the Minneapolis Police Department's policy authorizing "reasonable force" during an arrest. "It has to be objectively reasonable," he said. "We have to take into account circumstances, information, the threat to the officer, the threat to others, and the severity of that. So that is not a part of our policy. That is not what we teach, and that should [not] be condoned."
Arradondo said Chauvin also violated the department's policy regarding neck restraints by kneeling on Floyd's neck. "A conscious neck restraint by policy mentions light to moderate pressure," he said. "When I look at [a photo of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck] and when I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way, shape, or form that that is light to moderate pressure."
Arradondo added that Chauvin "violated our policy in terms of rendering aid." Even after Floyd stopped moving, became unresponsive, and had no detectable pulse, neither Chauvin nor his colleagues performed CPR or otherwise attended to Floyd's medical needs.
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