Court TV via AP
Seth Stotton, a former police officer and expert in the use of force, told the jury in the Derek Chauvin murder trial that the actions of the officers involved in the killing of George Floyd violated the actions of a “reasonable officer” throughout the period of fatal detention.
Stoton repeated several findings in his 100-page report, recording the pivotal moments in which Floyd’s actions influenced the officers’ response and how what the officers did changed Floyd’s behavior, as well as the level of potential threat to the crowd.
“It is clear from the number of officers, Mr. Floyd’s position, and the fact that he is handcuffed and searched, he is not a threat of harm,” Stoton told the jury after reviewing a short clip of the body camera where Floyd stood. Handcuffs flanked by the officers next to the group’s car.
Stoton, who is also a law professor, explained that the criterion of reasonableness is a four-step process that determines whether an officer’s decisions to use force are legitimate and is based on “relevant facts and circumstances as seen through the officer’s lens in a scene.” In order to assess this, he said, experts consider the threat an officer faces at any given moment, as well as the “anticipated effects of the use of force.”
Despite Floyd’s initial resistance to being placed in the back of the squad’s car, Stutton testified that he did not appear to be engaging in active aggression toward the officers and had indicated no intention of assaulting them.
He added that Chauvin and the other officers engaged in two types of simultaneous use of force: the defendant’s knee resting on Floyd’s neck and placing Floyd in a prone position, both of which lasted 9 minutes and 29 seconds, according to the Body Camera video. One of the officers.
Stoton informed the court that the officer’s use of force must be reasonable when it begins and it must be reasonable throughout its implementation.
“The knee to Mr. Floyd’s neck and his prone restraint was unreasonable, excessive, and inconsistent with generally accepted police practice,” said Stoton.
He later explained that the unreasonable force began the moment Floyd was forced to move from a kneeling position to a prone position, and ended when Chauvin’s knee was raised by Floyd’s neck and back.
“No reasonable officer believed this was an appropriate, acceptable or reasonable use of force,” said Stoton, who testified that he had reviewed all available video footage of the incident and prepared more than 130 hours for the case.
He also testified that the prone position – face down – could be beneficial for officers trying to tie the hands of a suspect who might resist.
He said, “The prone position is a very useful position in controlling security to control someone for purposes of tying their hands.”
He added: “When officers struggle with someone or when they handcuff someone they expect to struggle with, then you often see officers put someone in this folded position for purposes of handcuffing because it is very difficult for someone to fight or resist, such as facing face down on the ground,” he added. Especially when their arms are sticking out from their side. ”
But he stressed that the situation “is supposed to be temporary” and does not last for minutes or minutes. He explained, “As soon as his hands are tied, you remove him from this situation.”
Defense attorney Eric Nelson noted that the Stoton review was conducted in very different circumstances from those that Chauvin and the other officers faced.
“When you use strength analysis, are you not doing it in a dangerous situation?” Nelson asked.
Stoton replied, “No.”
After Stoton’s testimony, Judge Peter Cahill told the jury that the defense case would begin on Tuesday and would likely end by the end of Thursday. He encouraged them to “pack a bag” on Monday, when closing arguments began, marking the start of the reservation.