Testimony in the US trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer charged in the death of George Floyd, continues Wednesday with a Los Angeles police sergeant called upon to answer questions about the use of force.
Sergeant Ker Yang, a crisis intervention training coordinator, testified that Chauvin completed 40 hours of training on dealing with suspects going through a crisis.
On cross-examination, Mercil agreed with Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, when asked whether officers must protect themselves when arresting unruly subjects during evolving situations.
Morries Hall, who was in the vehicle with George Floyd when police first confronted them last May, appeared in front of a judge via Zoom on Tuesday to discuss his intention to plead the Fifth if he is called to testify. On Tuesday, the defense attorney got some police witnesses to acknowledge that jeering onlookers can make it more hard for officers to do their duty. He added that most of the yelling was due to "their concern for Mr. Floyd".
Prosecutors also called to the stand Jody Stiger, a sergeant in the Los Angeles Police Department who is a use-of-force expert. A panicky-sounding Floyd writhed and claimed to be claustrophobic as police tried to put him in the squad vehicle. He said once Floyd was handcuffed, he saw "no reason for why the officers felt they were in danger, if that's what they felt, and that's what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force".
After watching video of Floyd's arrest, Stiger said his "opinion was that the force was excessive".
Prosecutors in the second week of the trial are also expected to zero in on Chauvin's training in the use of force.
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The chief said officers are trained to try to de-escalate a situation and to minimize or avoid the use of force whenever possible.
Hall's testimony could be key for the defense, who has argued that Floyd's cause of death was a mix of drug use and preexisting health issues.
Nelson showed Mercil several images taken from officers' body-camera videos, asking after each one whether it showed Chauvin's knee appearing to rest more on Floyd's back, shoulder or shoulder blades than directly on Floyd's neck.
Nelson asked whether "certain circumstances where there's a lot of noise, or a lot of commotion" would make it more likely that an officer might misinterpret agonal breathing with effective breathing. They were taken at different moments during Floyd's arrest, starting about four minutes after he was first pinned to the ground, according to time stamps on the images.
Chauvin, who is white, has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges. Floyd, 46, was arrested outside a neighborhood market after being accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. The doctor said that he was not told of any efforts at the scene by bystanders or police to resuscitate Floyd but that paramedics told him they had tried for about 30 minutes.
Bystander video of Floyd crying that he couldn't breathe as onlookers yelled at Chauvin sparked protests around the USA that descended into violence in some cases.
Under questioning from Nelson, Yang testified that people watching an arrest may also be in crisis and that officers have to take in the situation around them as well.