George Floyd: Court hears that Derek Chauvin was trained to deal with 'suspects going through crisis'

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A painting of George Floyd.
A painting of George Floyd.
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  • A police officer has testified that the man accused of killing George Floyd understood how to deal with suspects who are going through crisis.
  • The court heard that Derek Chauvin, accused of killing Floyd, completed 40 hours of intervention training.
  • It was testified that police are taught how to interact with suspects who are going through crisis.

A day after the Minneapolis police chief appeared on the witness stand, jurors in the trial of former officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murder in the deadly arrest of George Floyd, on Tuesday heard from another police witness about training to deal with crisis situations.

The first witness of the day was Sergeant Ker Yang, a crisis intervention training coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department. Yang testified that Chauvin completed 40 hours of training in how to deal with suspects who are going through crisis.

Yang testified that police are trained in crisis intervention incidents to use principles such as neutrality, respect and trust, and how to spot and interact with suspects who are going through crisis.

Chauvin has argued he followed police training when he kept his knee pushed into Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes on 25 May 2020, as the handcuffed 46-year-old man fell limp and stopped breathing. The incident prompted protests in many cities around the United States and internationally against racism and police brutality.

READ | George Floyd: Jury shown graphic footage of alleged murder

Chauvin has pleaded not guilty to murder and manslaughter charges for Floyd's arrest on suspicion that Floyd had used a fake $20 bill to buy cigarettes at a store.

Before the jury was brought into the court, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill heard arguments on a request by a friend of Floyd to quash a subpoena by prosecutors for him to testify.

The friend, Morries Hall, was in the car with Floyd when police arrived, setting the stage for the attempt to arrest Floyd. Hall has said that he would invoke his constitutional right against self-incrimination if he had to appear in the witness stand.

Chauvin's attorney, Eric Nelson, told Cahill he planned to ask Hall whether he gave Floyd any controlled substances and why Hall left Minnesota immediately after the incident.

Floyd's girlfriend, Courteney Ross, testified last week that she and Floyd struggled with opioid addiction, and that she thought Hall sometimes illegally sold pills to Floyd.

Cahill decided that most questions Nelson wanted to ask could incriminate Hall. Even so, the judge said Hall should be able to testify on Floyd's condition in the car and whether he fell asleep suddenly after possibly taking opioid pills.

"I don't see how that would put him closer to criminal liability, just from those observations," Cahill said, giving Nelson until Thursday to draft potential questions.

The county medical examiner ruled Floyd's death a homicide at the hands of the police, and noted Floyd had also taken the fentanyl and methamphetamine before his death. Chauvin's lawyers argue that Floyd's death was really a drug overdose. Prosecutors from the Minnesota Attorney General's office said medical evidence would contradict that.

Hall attended the hearing via a video link from the county jail, where he is being held on unrelated charges of domestic abuse, according to court and county jail records.

Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo on Monday told the jury that Chauvin's training required him to stop the restraint and provide first-aid treatment while waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

"I vehemently disagree that that was appropriate use of force for that situation on 25 May," Arradondo testified on Monday.

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