A Los Angeles Police Department expert on police use of force offered paid testimony Tuesday that Derek Chauvin used excessive force during George Floyd’s police custody death.
LAPD Sgt. Jody Stiger, who said he received nearly $13,000 to testify in the case, said at Chauvin’s murder trial that the former Minneapolis cop’s knee restraint on Floyd’s neck was not standard practice.
“Based upon your review of these materials … what is your opinion as to the degree of force used by the defendant on Mr. Floyd?” prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked.
“My opinion was that the force was excessive,” Stiger responded.
Stiger said he considered several factors in coming to that conclusion, including the “severity of the offense” that led to Floyd’s arrest — passing a counterfeit $20 bill.
“Typically in a normal situation where you’re dealing with someone who is a counterfeiter or someone who is using a counterfeit bill, typically you wouldn’t even expect to use any kind of force,” Stiger testified.
Schleicher also showed Stiger a photo of Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck.
“Can you describe what you see here?” the prosecutor asked.
“I see an officer with his knee on the neck of Mr. Floyd,” the sergeant said.
“Is this a form of force?” Schleicher asked.
“Yes,” Stiger replied.
Stiger, a consultant and expert on the use of force said he was hired by state prosecutors to review documents and testify in the high-profile murder case.
He conceded that Floyd was initially “actively resisting officers,” but said that “once he was placed in the prone position on the ground he slowly ceased his resistance,” and said cops should have stopped using force.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson is due to cross-examine Stiger on Wednesday.
In other testimony Tuesday, Lt. Johnny Mercil, the department’s chief use-of-force instructor, said Chauvin’s restraint is not authorized — and never has been.
Chauvin, 45, is charged with second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death on May 25 outside a city convenience store.
Prosecutors contend Chauvin and three other cops caused Floyd’s death by ignoring his pleas for air and calls by a crowd of bystanders to take his pulse.
Nelson, Chauvin’s lawyer, has argued that the bystanders distracted the ex-cop, created an unsafe environment — and says Floyd died due to drug use and a heart ailment.
In testimony earlier on Tuesday, Nichole MacKenzie, the Minneapolis Police Department’s medical support coordinator said all cops on the force are trained to provide CPR and trained in the use of Narcan — a drug used on overdosing patients.
But none of the cops provided medical care to Floyd, who was unconscious and had no pulse by the time paramedics finally arrived at the scene.
On cross-examination by Nelson, MacKenzie agreed that bystanders could provide a distraction to cops on a scene, and said that making a judgment on a suspect’s medical condition could be difficult under similar circumstances.
“Does it make it more difficult to assess a patient? Nelson asked.
“It does,” MacKenzie replied.
“Make it more likely that you may miss signs that a patient is experiencing something?” Nelson followed up. “And so the distraction can actually harm the potential care of patients?”
“Potentially,” MacKenzie said.
The trial, which began last week, is expected to last four weeks.
Nelson will present his defense to the jury after prosecutors conclude their case.
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