Analysis of the use of force by police officers

When former police officer Derek Chauvin was being tried for the death of George Floyd, the central question was whether he followed the Minneapolis Police guidelines for the use of force, and the reasonable use of that force. Whether it was done or not.

The longest-serving officer in the department sharply criticized Chauvin’s actions in Friday’s testimony, At one point, Chauvin’s long-term detention of Floyd was called “totally unnecessary.”

Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman has shown a series of actions that officers can take with force. He joined the retired Minneapolis Police Department sergeant and also testified about the use of force experts interviewed by the prosecution and the Associated Press when questioning Chauvin’s actions.

Continued use of force

Zimmerman, who has been in the Minneapolis Army since 1985, told the jury that the department’s policies elaborate on the guidelines for the use of force.

He said the lowest level was simply a police officer who appeared in uniform at the event. One step is to use verbal skills to gather information and try to break through the situation, he said.

“The next step is like a soft, soft technique, like escorting a person with your arms,” ​​Zimmerman said. “The next level will be a difficult technique. That’s where you, uh, you know, you might have to use your mace or handcuffs, like that.”

Finally, Zimmerman said a deadly force would come.

Was Chauvin’s use of restraint rational?

Zimmerman’s testimony suggested that this was not the case. When asked by the prosecutor what the officers should do when a person is handcuffed and their fighting power diminishes, Zimmerman said the officer “is aimed at sitting on the curb or calming the person. It’s possible. At that point, you try to help them not to be as upset as they might have been at the beginning. “

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, sought to show that Floyd could still be a threat to police officers. He also said that the decision to use force could also depend on external factors such as whether the officer felt threatened. By bystander..

Forces experts question how Chauvin and three other police officers treated Floyd after being asked to report a person accused of passing a fake $ 20 bill. did.Body camera video played at trial shows what Floyd has said many times He had a hard time and was claustrophobic To avoid being forced by police SUVs.

Mylan Masson, who once led police training at the Hennepin Institute of Technology and worked for the Minnesota Police Officer Standards Training Commission for over 20 years, said police officers know if Floyd knows the bill is fake, and he He said he should have asked if he owned another person. ..

Masson wondered why they decided to arrest him, saying, “He didn’t seem to hurt others.”

Geoffrey Alpert, a professor of criminology at the University of South Carolina, said: “I didn’t hurry or make a momentary decision. There was no reason to push things.”

Both Alpert and Masson said they were claustrophobic and questioned why police refused to put Floyd in large vehicles such as ambulances and vans.

Police stations across the country have been striving for years to train police officers to avoid violence. In 2016, Minneapolis police rewrote the use of armed policy to emphasize “sanctity of life” and began deescalation training to calm people to prevent violence.

Why is it important in court?

Chauvin, 45, Have been charged with murder and manslaughter Floyd’s death.. Prosecutors said the fired police officer knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, complaining that he could not breathe. The most serious accusations against Chauvin involve up to 40 years in prison.

Prosecutors claim that Floyd’s death was caused by Chauvin’s knees. However, lawyers allege that Chauvin had been trained and accused Floyd of drug use, heart disease, high blood pressure, and adrenaline.

Alex Piquero, chairman of the University of Miami’s Department of Sociology, said it was important for prosecutors to show that Chauvin, along with other officers, had made a series of decisions that would lead to Floyd’s death.

He said police officers often work with limited information and must make decisions quickly. But he said it was clear that whatever happened before Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck, it was wrong.

“This is not a way to deal with anyone who seems to be trying to pass counterfeit banknotes,” he said.


Find AP’s full coverage of George Floyd’s death below: