Police officers testify to Chauvin, but the “blue wall of silence” is still standing, former police officers say

Against the so-called Blue Wall of Silence, many senior Minneapolis police officers have recently been “unnecessary,” “unsolicited,” and of the ministry’s use of force against former Derek Chauvin police officer George Floyd. He is in a position to blame the opposite. Ethics and values.

As a witness in Chauvin’s murder trial, Minneapolis Police Chief Medallia Aradondo testified that “that level of power against those handcuffed behind their backs is by no means a policy.” “And when we talk about the framework of the sanctity of life [policy], And we talk about the principles and values ​​we have … that behavior goes against what we are talking about. “

Aradondo’s testimony, along with the testimony of former Minneapolis Sergeant. David Pleoger and Lt. Richard Zimmerman were notable in that they seemed to violate informal norms that discourage law enforcement officers from openly blaming each other, especially in court.

“For the first time, we see the blue wall of silence collapse,” said Alexis Hogue, a civil rights lawyer and lecturer at Columbia Law School. Said Saturday’s MSNBC. “And police officers testify to themselves.”

Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Preoger, Chief Medalia Aradondo, and Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman testify at Derek Chauvin's trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; Photo: Court TV via Reuters Video)

David Preoger, police chief Medalia Aradondo, and Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman testify at the Derek Chauvin trial in retired Sergeant Minneapolis. (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; Photo: Court TV via Reuters Video)

However, despite these “Blue Wall of Silence” violations, Chauvin’s testimony at the trial may not be a complete departure from the deeply rooted police mindset.

“At the police, you are taught us vs. their scenario,” Lorenzo said. voidFormer Deputy Sheriff and Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion at the University of New Haven, Connecticut, told Yahoo News. “You are taught that the only person who really has your back is your partner, and you learn not to trust everyone else.”

David Thomas, a forensic professor at Florida Gulf Coast University who previously worked as a police officer for about 20 years, thought that “blue walls” are often “reliable on fellow police officers” in dangerous professions. Said it started from. “For support.

But at some point, long before Thomas joined the army in 1978, the notion changed to the belief that “you must support fellow officers and protect them no matter what.” “It was,” Thomas told Yahoo News. “And that’s what the average person sees, and that’s what the average person understands.”

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cayhill said Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medalia Aradondo tried two, three, and two manslaughter trials of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (L). I hear you answer the question on the day. In this court sketch, a photo of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, April 5, 2021.Reuters / Jane Rosenberg

Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cayhill hears Minneapolis Police Chief Medallia Aradondo answering questions at the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin on the left in a sketch of the court in Minneapolis on Monday. I will. (Jane Rosenberg / Reuters)

Thomas recalled the incident of the 1980s when he was a police officer in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In this case, a police officer testified to another police officer in a civil suit against a suspected drug possessor who alleged that a police officer in trial had beaten him. Baton.

After the incident, the police officer who testified was forced to patrol the park, known for his frequent criminal activity, Thomas said. One day, multiple battles broke out and police demanded backup. However, according to Thomas, the officer he testified was part of the unit.

“They literally turned around and went in the opposite direction to leave him alone there,” said Thomas. “That is, when you think about trust and think about the blue wall— [if] If you break the silence, you may not be able to make a backup. “

    Material that requires attention. This image can be offensive or confusing. George Floyd kneels down to former Minneapolis Police (MPD) officer Derek Chauvin next to former MPD officer J. Alexander Quen, as seen in a still image from former MPD officer Thomas Lane's body camera video. It was.  He died on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minneapolis, USA.  Video taken on May 25, 2020.  Distribution via MPD / Hennepin County District Court / Reuters This image was provided by a third party. This image has been processed by Reuters to improve quality and a raw version is provided separately.

George Floyd, as seen in the still image from Thomas Lane’s body camera video, J. Kneel down to Derek Chauvin next to Alexander Quen. (Distribution via Minneapolis Police / Hennepin County District Court / Reuters)

Minneapolis police officer testimony during Chauvin’s trial last week was with Joseph Ested, a former police officer in Richmond, Virginia. Author He believes that there are important exceptions to law enforcement loyalty code.

“They always tell you, don’t put yourself in a situation I can’t protect [you]”Estedo said. “So this is not new. The new thing about it is that police have never been so badly exposed where the department couldn’t protect them.”

Chauvin said he had collected 17 complaints filed against Chauvin before he clashed with Floyd, including six allegedly using force against those arrested by Chauvin. It was. USA Today.. A Minnesota man who claimed that Chauvin had abused him during his 2013 arrest NBC News The excessive force complaint he filed with Chauvin in the department was rejected.

“The problem is that these same people who are now turning their backs on him have been protecting him for the last few years,” Ested said. “But now he is in a situation where he cannot protect them.”

Defense lawyer Eric Nelson, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, was charged with murder at the death of George Floyd during a jury selection in a trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA on March 15, 2021. Introducing Vin in this court sketch from the video. Minutes feed.Reuters / Jane Rosenberg

Attorney Eric Nelson, in a sketch of the court, introduces Derek Chauvin to a jury candidate during a jury selection at a trial in Minneapolis on March 15. (Jane Rosenberg / Reuters)

According to Boyd, it’s important to hear from senior officials like Aradondo, but it’s not unexpected.

“I’m hoping that the command staff will be able to see the 30,000-foot police view as a whole,” he said. “And patrol officers tend to see only what’s right in front of them. It’s possible that a classmate or another officer will see someone at his level testify to him. It is low.”

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, seemed to emphasize this point during the police cross-examination. As an adjutant, Zimmerman from the armed tactics that patrol officers may use while Nelson asks Zimmerman that he should stop detaining Floyd when he is handcuffed to the ground. It should be used more often than it seemed to suggest that it might be too far away.

“When was the last physical battle with a person?” Nelson asked on Friday.

“Around 2018,” Zimmerman replied.

“So, has it been a few years since you had a physical fight with a person?” Nelson asked. Zimmerman agreed.

Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman of the Minneapolis Police Department testified at the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  April 2, 2021.  (Court TV by Reuters Video)

Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Richard Zimmerman testified at the Derek Chauvin trial on Friday. (Court TV via Reuters Video)

So far, most of the current and former law enforcement officers who testify to Chauvin are actually in leadership positions or hold higher ranks than patrol officers. The only exception was Nicole Mackenzie, an MPD police officer who previously provided medical training to Chauvin and other police officers.During her testimony she I talked more Generally about the case.

Especially, J., a policeman who was on the scene. Alexander Quen, Thomas Lane, and Tow Sao have all been charged with supporting Chauvin’s actions and beating him. In other words, for them, breaking the blue wall can prove an act of self-incrimination.

For Boyd, the dismantling of this culture begins at the police academy. There, he says, police officers are often defensive and are taught to stay vigilant. This can lead to a “warrior mindset”.

“Many police academy train law enforcement agencies that enforce the law, as opposed to the police that provide the service,” Boyd said. “Law enforcement is just one part of what the police do, but the role of the police is that they still call themselves law enforcement when they need a positive guardian mindset. Is this reactive warrior type idea. “

Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Pleoger testified at the Derek Chauvin Trial in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  April 1, 2021.  (Court TV by Reuters Video)

Former Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Preoger at Derek Chauvin Trial Stand on April 1 (Court TV by Reuters Video)

According to Thomas, police officers need to take seriously not only with each other, but with the communities in which they serve.

“The question I always had was who made the vow,” said Thomas. “When you decided to raise your hand and become a police officer, did you make your vow to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the state in which you live and the laws of that state? Even so, have you vowed to support the brotherhood of the badge? “


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