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Use-of-Force Trainer Testifies in Chauvin Trial

'We tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2021 5:03 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Minneapolis Police Department use-of-force trainer testified in the trial of Derek Chauvin Tuesday and said the former officer was not following his training when he kept his knee on the neck of George Floyd for more than nine minutes. Lt. Johnny Mercil, who oversees training for the department, said that while the department doesn't specifically forbid the restraint, it should have stopped as soon as Floyd was handcuffed and under control, the Star Tribune reports. He said officers are trained to put their knee across a suspect's back or shoulders and use their weight to restrain them, but we "tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible." He said that in his experience, a neck restraint can cause a suspect to lose consciousness in less than 10 seconds.

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"Have you have ever had a circumstance where an individual has lost their pulse and suddenly come back to life and become more violent?" prosecutor Steve Schleicher asked, per the AP. Mercil responded: "Not that I'm aware of, sir." Other witnesses Tuesday included Los Angeles Police Department use-of-force expert Jody Stiger, who said that in his opinion, Chauvin's use of force was excessive, the New York Times reports. Stiger said that while officers would have been justified in using force while Floyd was refusing to get in a squad car, they should have "slowed down or stopped their force" when he was on the ground and no longer resisting. Nicole Mackenzie, who oversees medical response training for the department, said policy required Chauvin, who was certified in CPR, to start helping the unresponsive Floyd before paramedics arrived, if possible. (Read more Derek Chauvin stories.)

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