Witness Seth Stoughton testified Monday at the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin that the violence used against George Floyd was inappropriate. Court TV over AP hide caption
Court television on AP
Court television on AP
Seth Stoughton, a former police officer and expert on the use of force, told jurors in Derek Chauvin’s murder trial that the actions of the officers involved in George Floyd’s murder during the fatal arrest were contrary to those of a “reasonable officer.”
Repeating many of the findings in his 100-plus page report, Stoughton recorded the pivotal moments when Floyd’s actions influenced the officers’ response and how what the officers did changed Floyd’s behavior as well as the level of potential threat to the crowd.
“From the number of officers and Mr. Floyd’s position, and the fact that he was handcuffed and searched, it appears that he poses no threat of harm,” Stoughton told the judges after taking a quick body cam -The clip in which Floyd was handcuffed and flanked by officers next to a patrol car.
Stoughton, who is also a law professor, stated that the adequacy standard is a four-step process that determines whether an official’s use of force decisions are legitimate and based on “relevant facts and circumstances as seen through the official’s lens on the scene. ” In order to be able to assess this, experts consider the threat to which an officer is exposed at a given point in time and the “foreseeable effects of the use of force”.
Despite Floyd’s initial resistance to being put in the back of the patrol car, Stoughton testified that he did not appear to have actively engaged in aggression against the officers, nor did he indicate any intention of attacking them.
He added that Chauvin and the other officers used two types of violence at the same time: the defendant’s knee on Floyd’s neck and Floyd in the prone position, both of which lasted 9 minutes and 29 seconds, according to the video on the body camera of one of the officers.
The use of force by an officer must be reasonable at the outset and reasonable throughout the implementation, Stoughton told the court.
“Both the knee above Mr. Floyd’s neck and the prone reluctance were unreasonable, exaggerated and contrary to generally accepted police practice,” said Stoughton.
He later made it clear that unreasonable violence began the moment Floyd was forced to go from a kneeling position to the prone position and ended when Chauvin’s knee was lifted off Floyd’s neck and back.
“No sane officer would have believed this was an appropriate, acceptable or reasonable use of force,” said Stoughton, who testified that he had reviewed all of the available video footage of the incident and prepared for the case for more than 130 hours.
He also testified that the prone position – face down – can be useful for officers trying to handcuff a suspect who may be resisting.
“The prone position is a very useful position in police work for gaining control of someone and handcuffing them,” he said.
He added, “When officers are fighting someone, or when they are handcuffing someone who they are likely to be struggling with, you will often see officers putting someone in this prone position to handcuff them because it is very difficult for someone to do so is to fight or to resist. ” They lie face down on the floor, especially when their arms are stretched out to their sides. ”
But he stressed that the position should only “be temporary” and not last minutes and minutes. “As soon as someone is handcuffed, remove them from this position,” he explained.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson noted that Stoughton’s review was conducted under very different circumstances than that of Chauvin and the other officers.
“If you are doing the force analysis, aren’t you doing it in a dangerous situation?” Nelson asked.
“No,” replied Stoughton.
According to Stoughton’s testimony, Judge Peter Cahill told jurors that the defense case will begin Tuesday and is expected to be completed by the end of the day on Thursday. He encouraged them to “pack a bag” on Monday for the final arguments to begin, marking the start of the sequestration.