Minneapolis’s homicide investigator testified on Friday that Chauvin used the deadly power “which was not at all necessary” when kneeling at George Floyd during last May’s arrest, which triggered global protest against the police brutality in the US.
Chauvin, white, was fired by the city police department the day after he was caught in the video above the handcuffed Floyd as the 46-year-old black man was dying. The former 45-year-old officer has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.
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No need,” Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman told the jury when the prosecutor asked what he thought about Chauvin’s decision to put his knees on Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes. “If your knee is on someone’s neck, it can kill them.” The prosecutor from the Attorney General’s Office of Minnesota called Zimmerman to testify partly to damage the central argument in the defense case – that Chauvin correctly took part in his police training.
Zimmerman, who joined the Minneapolis Police Department in 1985 and is now the most senior officer. Reportedly, he was at home on May 25, 2020, when he was called to the intersection outside the Cup Foods, where Floyd allegedly passed a fake $20 bill a night before.
He arrived before 10 pm, about half an hour after Floyd was declared dead, at the city center hospital. He said he helped ensure that the evidence at the scene was secured well and every witness was found. Zimmerman said officers were responsible for the care of anyone they arrested and are trained to provide first aid to injured or depressed detainees even if they knew the ambulance would come.
“His safety is your responsibility; the welfare is your responsibility,” he told the jury. He described how officers were trained only to respond to threats with the amount of proportional strength. “Once someone is handcuffed, the threat rate descends along the way,” Zimmerman testified. “They are handcuffed. How can they hurt you, you know?”
In a cross-examination, Zimmerman agreed when Eric Nelson, Chauvin’s main lawyer, said that Lieutenant did not train officers in using restraints and that as an investigator, he had to use a rarer power than patrol officers.
Nelson argued that an angry observer shouted at Chauvin to examine the Floyd pulse could have diverted him and other officers from Floyd’s care. Zimmerman said, “It doesn’t matter about the crowd as long as they don’t attack you. The crowd really should not affect your actions.” The court was postponed earlier with a testimony due to a resume on Monday.
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