Sergeant Stiger also agreed, in response to Mr. Nelson’s questioning, that it would have been appropriate for Mr. Chauvin to use a Taser on Mr. Floyd when he first arrived on scene, given that Mr. Floyd appeared to be resisting officers’ efforts to get him into a police car. Still, the jury has heard from many experts — including Sergeant Stiger — who said that the appropriate level of force changed once Mr. Floyd was on the ground and no longer resisting.
Mr. Nelson also emphasized that the sergeant was an outside expert who worked for the Los Angeles Police Department, which he joined in 1993, and might not be as familiar with Minneapolis police policies.
Mr. Nelson also highlighted that the Minneapolis Police Department’s policies on using force give discretion to officers. He read from one portion of the department’s policy that says that the reasonableness of an officer’s use-of-force has to be judged “from the perspective of the reasonable officer on the scene rather than with the 20-20 vision of hindsight.”
Police officers testify that bystanders could pose a distraction.
On Tuesday, Officer Nicole Mackenzie, the medical support coordinator for the Minneapolis Police Department, agreed with an assertion by Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer that a crowd of vocal bystanders could make it difficult for an officer to render medical aid during an arrest. Lt. Johnny Mercil, a veteran of the Minneapolis Police Department and use-of-force instructor, also said that hostile bystanders could raise alarm with officers.
Sgt. Ker Yang, a crisis intervention coordinator with the Minneapolis Police Department, was asked whether an officer can “look bad” even when applying force that is lawful, and asked whether officers are tasked with weighing possible threats, such as a crowd of bystanders, when applying force. “You’re taking in a lot of information and processing it all kind of simultaneously through this critical decision-making model,” Mr. Nelson said. Sergeant Yang agreed.
Mr. Nelson has suggested throughout the trial that the crowd outside Cup Foods, which yelled at Mr. Chauvin as he knelt on Mr. Floyd for nine and a half minutes, might have made it more difficult for the former officer to help Mr. Floyd.
Discussion of neck restraints may help the defense’s arguments.
When reviewing a picture of Mr. Chauvin pinning Mr. Floyd to the ground, Lieutenant Mercil told prosecutors that Mr. Chauvin’s position was not consistent with the Minneapolis Police Department’s training on use of force. In addition, Lieutenant Mercil said that officers are trained to “use the lowest level of force possible” when controlling a subject.
Still, Mr. Nelson made some potential headway with the testimony of Lieutenant Mercil. Asked about neck restraints, Lieutenant Mercil said it generally takes less than 10 seconds for a person to become unconscious because of a neck restraint. The question could allow Mr. Nelson to argue that Mr. Chauvin’s knee did not qualify as a neck restraint because it took several minutes for Mr. Floyd to lose consciousness.