A use-of-force expert testified that former Officer Derek Chauvin was justified in pinning George Floyd to the ground because of his frantic resistance, contradicting a parade of authorities from both inside and outside the Minneapolis Police Department.
Taking the stand at Chauvin’s murder trial for the defense Tuesday, Barry Brodd, a former Santa Rosa, California, police officer, said officers don’t have to wait for something bad to happen; they need only to have a reasonable fear that there’s a threat and then adjust their actions accordingly. Several top Minneapolis police officials — including the police chief — have testified that Chauvin used excessive force and violated his training. And medical experts called by prosecutors have testified that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen because of the way he was restrained. Brodd also appeared to endorse what prosecution witnesses have said is a common misconception: that if someone can talk, he or she can breathe. Chauvin, a 45-year-old white man, is on trial on charges of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death last May after his arrest of suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 at a neighborhood market.
Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson has argued that the 19-year Minneapolis police veteran did what he was trained to do and that Floyd died because of his illegal drug use and underlying health problems, including high blood pressure and heart disease. Fentanyl and methamphetamine were discovered in his system. As the defense began presenting its case on Tuesday after the prosecution rested following 11 days of testimony and a mountain of video evidence, Nelson sought to plant doubt in jurors’ minds. He brought up a 2019 arrest in which Floyd suffered from dangerously high blood pressure and confessed to heavy use of opioids, and he suggested that the Black man may have suffered from “excited delirium” — what a witness described as a potentially lethal state of agitation and even superhuman strength that can be triggered by drug use, heart disease or mental problems. Today on AirTalk, we talk with a reporter who’s been covering the aftermath of the killing of Daunte Wright in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota. Plus, legal experts share their thoughts on what’s expected during Chauvin’s trial over the next several weeks. Do you have thoughts or questions? Call 866-893-5722.
With files from the Associated Press
Stanley Goldman, professor of criminal law and procedure at Loyola Law School, he previously served as an LA County deputy public defender for eight years