What You Need To Know:
As the Derek Chauvin murder trial moved through the second week, the prosecution shifted from eyewitness testimony to focusing on the former Minneapolis police officer’s use of force, trying to show his restraint was excessive and led to Floyd’s death.
The defense has argued Floyd died as a result of the drugs in his system and underlying medical issues.
An expert witness returned to the stand Wednesday telling jurors that Chauvin used “deadly” force on George Floyd and kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Sgt. Jody Stiger, a Los Angeles Police Department officer who has conducted over 2,000 use-of-force reviews in his career, said the initial force used on Floyd was appropriate because Floyd was resisting arrest as officers tried to get him into their patrol car.
However, after officers forced Floyd to the ground, “they should have de-escalated the situation,” Stiger said. Instead, the officers continued to intensify the situation, he said.
Stiger also told prosecutors he did not believe the crowd of onlookers posed a threat to officers, “because they were merely filming, and most of it was their concern for Mr. Floyd.”
To a point the defense has tried to make, during cross-examination by defense attorney Eric Nelson, Stiger acknowledged some of the name-calling and aggressive statements by the crowd could be perceived as a threat.
The prosecution then called to the stand a senior special agent with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension who investigated George Floyd’s death.
James Reyerson is a special agent with the newly-formed use of force investigation group, which conducts criminal investigations into police use of force. He is the lead investigator in the review of Floyd’s death.
Chauvin’s defense pushed forward the use of drugs by George Floyd that the original investigation of the crime scene missed. repeating the issue of the role drugs played in George Floyd’s death.
Chauvin’s attorney continued to push the use of drugs by George Floyd. The defense used their cross-examination to point to what the original investigation of the crime scene missed, pills in the backseat of the police vehicle.
In playing video from the May 25 death, there was some back-and-forth-and-back again between the prosecution and the defense with Special Agent Ryerson. Playing a short piece of tape and a longer version, Ryerson was asked if he previously heard footage of Floyd appearing to say he had taken too many drugs. Reyerson said he had not. Then Ryerson agreed with the defense. But upon a redirect by the prosecution, the special agent said, “I believe Mr. Floyd was saying ‘I ain’t do no drugs.”