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Live Coverage of Derek Chauvin Trial; Minneapolis Night Shift Police Sergeant Jon Edwards Questioned by Defense; Edwards Outlines Minneapolis Police Initial Investigation of Crime Scene. Aired 10:30- 11a ET

Aired April 2, 2021 - 10:30   ET



STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Now, you've -- as a Minneapolis Police officer, you've signed a certification that you're familiar with various Minneapolis Police Department policies, is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And as part of that, in addition to all of the policies that have been introduced, we're just going to focus on that of a critical incident response, all right?

Now, when we -- looking back to May 2020, you were supervising the dog watch shift. Were you working on May 25, 2020?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir, I was.

SCHLEICHER: OK. And when do you recall beginning your shift?

EDWARDS: Like I said, I'm a dog watch shift. Our shift started at 2030 hours, which is 8:30 p.m.

SCHLEICHER: And what's the first thing you do when you start the shift?

EDWARDS: First thing I do is conduct roll call with my officers.

SCHLEICHER: Describe what roll call involves.

EDWARDS: Roll call is basically attendance, making sure all the officers are there, everybody's there, accounted for, they're ready to work. It's a time where we pass along pertinent information about what has gone on during the day or maybe what crime patterns and things to be aware of. And if the officers have anything that, you know, needs to be brought to the table, they can as well.

Roll call concludes with me giving the officers their squad assignments, and then sending them on their way so that they can start answering 911 calls.

SCHLEICHER: And do you typically receive information from the previous shifts, that you can pass it along to the officers you're sending out in your shift?

EDWARDS: Sometimes, sometimes, yes.

SCHLEICHER: You're generally familiar with the officers that you personally supervise?


SCHLEICHER: And other officers within the 3rd Precinct? Are you familiar with other officers in the 3rd Precinct who have not -- are not necessarily on your specific shift?

EDWARDS: Oh, yes, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Are you familiar with an individual named Derek Chauvin?

EDWARDS: Not personally, but I do know who he is.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Do you believe you'd recognize him if you saw him?

EDWARDS: Absolutely.

SCHLEICHER: Do you see him in the courtroom today?


SCHLEICHER: Would you please point to him and -- OK, thank you.

Your honor, may the record reflect that the witness has identified the defendant.


SCHLEICHER: How do you know him?

EDWARDS: Like I said, I don't know him personally. We worked out of the same building, but we worked different shifts. I wasn't his direct supervisor.

SCHLEICHER: Sort of a name-and-face recognition?

EDWARDS: Absolutely.

SCHLEICHER: Never socialized outside of work?



Are you familiar with an officer named Tou Thao?

EDWARDS: Yes, I know who he is.

SCHLEICHER: OK. Is it the -- you know, basically the same type of relationship as the defendant?

EDWARDS: Yes. We worked out of the same building, but we were on different shifts.

SCHLEICHER: And Thomas Lane?


SCHLEICHER: How would you describe your relationship with Thomas Lane?

EDWARDS: At -- he was also on the midwatch shift, but Thomas Lane did do a rotation when they were new, on my shift, and I believe be was on my shift for about a month when he was -- I think it was probably his second month on the job.

SCHLEICHER: Have you ever interacted with him outside of a work setting?

EDWARDS: No, sir.

SCHLEICHER: And Alexander Kueng?

EDWARDS: Him as well, same relation. He and Officer Lane were both on my shift for approximately a month, and I believe that was his -- also his second month of -- of being on the job.

SCHLEICHER: So I'd like to --

EDWARDS: That was while they were on their FTO rotation, they rotate between different shifts.

SCHLEICHER: Thank you. I'd like to then bring you back to that roll call, on the date of question. Did you receive a telephone call around roll call time?

EDWARDS: I believe the phone call was shortly -- just as roll call concluded, yes.

SCHLEICHER: And who was that phone call from?

EDWARDS: I received a phone call from Sergeant Pleoger, who was the midwatch sergeant.

SCHLEICHER: Do you recall what Sergeant Pleoger -- let me back up. Did Sergeant Pleoger give you information that you relied upon to take further steps in your duties that night?


SCHLEICHER: OK. What did Sergeant Pleoger tell you?

EDWARDS: Sergeant Pleoger informed me that he was at the hospital at that time, and he was with a male that he described may or may not live. Later on in the night, I found out that that male was Mr. Floyd.


He said he was down there at the hospital, he asked me if I would be willing to respond to the incident, location of 38th and Chicago, because he was tied up at the hospital at the time. He asked me if I would respond down there just to make sure, just in case we had to secure that area and make contact with any of his officers that were there on the scene still, because this was a -- had the potential to be a possible critical incident.

SCHLEICHER: Can you describe then what you mean by critical incident?

EDWARDS: Usually an incident -- an officer-involved incident where either the officer or somebody else has died or officer or somebody else has suffered great bodily harm that later led to death.

SCHLEICHER: And based on your knowledge of Minneapolis Police Department policy, what is supposed to happen if there is a critical incident? With the crime scene and with the participants.

EDWARDS: Crime scene is supposed to be secured, which means locked down. And that is for the purpose to preserve any evidence that is there. The involved parties or the involved officers usually are chilling (ph) and awaiting escort sergeants (ph) so that they can be escorted to an interview room downtown. Appropriate notifications are made, I.A. (ph), Homicide, if you will, the upper administration.

The area is canvassed, which just means there's a designated amount of officers that are searching the area, looking for any witnesses that can give a synopsis of what they saw. And then we wait for the investigators to get there, (INAUDIBLE) 21, and pretty much wait for further information from some of the superiors.

SCHLEICHER: Do you take any steps with respect to body-worn cameras and ensuring that those are activated?

EDWARDS: Absolutely.

SCHLEICHER: What do you do?

EDWARDS: Make sure that -- ensure that everybody's body-worn cameras are active and running at all times.

SCHLEICHER: And in this specific case, did you take steps consistent with the procedures you just outlined?

EDWARDS: Yes, when I arrived on scene, yes.

SCHLEICHER: At this time, I'd like to publish exhibit one.

After you got off the phone with Sergeant Pleoger, did you go directly to 38th and Chicago?

EDWARDS: I told Sergeant Pleoger that I didn't mind going down there, I just had to gather some of my things and then I'd head down there. So I believe I got down there to 38th and Chicago at about 9:35 p.m., was when I arrived there.

SCHLEICHER: And were you wearing your body-worn camera?


SCHLEICHER: And it was activated?


SCHLEICHER: Can you please describe the scene as you recall it when you arrived?

EDWARDS: It's 38th and Chicago, so it's kind of a high-profile area. Thirty-eighth Street and Chicago Avenue are both major thoroughfares in South Minneapolis.

When I arrived, the only people that were there were officers Kueng and Lane, it seemed. It wasn't very many other people around when I arrived there.

SCHLEICHER: Now, you indicated that your body-worn camera was activated. And prior to testifying today, you've had an opportunity to review various still photographs taken from the footage of your body- worn camera, is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And at this time, your honor, I'm going to offer exhibits 81 through 95, which are images taken from Sergeant Edwards' body-worn camera.

CAHILL: Any objection?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, your honor.

CAHILL: Eighty-one through 95 inclusive are received.

SCHLEICHER: You indicated that Officers Kueng and Lane were at the scene when you arrived?


SCHLEICHER: Publish exhibit 81.


Do you recognize the individuals in this photograph, exhibit 81?


SCHLEICHER: And who is this individual?

EDWARDS: That's Officer Lane.


EDWARDS: That's Officer Kueng.

SCHLEICHER: Can you tell the jury what if any interaction you had with Officers Lane and Kueng when you arrived? EDWARDS: When I arrived there, I was met by Officer Kueng first.

First thing I did was I told him, hey, if your body-worn camera's not on, turn it on now. He did.

Officer Lane came out of the car, several seconds afterwards. Told the same thing to him, and he activated his body-worn camera.

SCHLEICHER: So Lane was initially sitting in the car?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Do you know what car?

EDWARDS: His squad car, the one that's pictured right there.

SCHLEICHER: Is that 320?


SCHLEICHER: Is that a squad car assigned to that sector within the 3rd Precinct?

EDWARDS: Yes, that's a midwatch squad.

SCHLEICHER: After you instructed both officers to activate or make sure their body-worn camera was activated, did you tell them anything else they needed to do?

EDWARDS: Yes, I asked them where they had interaction with Mr. Floyd. They told me that they interacted with him on the sidewalk there by their squad car. They also told me they interacted with him on Chicago Avenue, right in front of the Cup Foods store.

SCHLEICHER: And based on those statements then, did you direct them to place crime scene tape around the area to preserve the scene?

EDWARDS: Yes. So with that information, I was able to gather where the incident occurred, and then I instructed them to place crime scene tape around the area so that we could preserve any potential evidence that was there.

SCHLEICHER: First, I'm going to ask to publish exhibit 82.

All right, what do you see in this photograph?

EDWARDS: That appears to be Officer Kueng putting up crime scene tape.

SCHLEICHER: And publish exhibit one?

Do you have one of these up there, a little stylus?


SCHLEICHER: If you could use that to just roughly outline the area that will show where the crime scene tape was put up generally. EDWARDS: OK, so generally, their squad was right here at the time,

this is different. Their squad was here, Mr. Floyd's vehicle was -- was right here. I had them encompass this whole area. So crime scene tape was around that whole intersection, it encompassed the entire intersection.

SCHLEICHER: At the time you were having them do this, were there any other officers in the area at the time or was it just Kueng and Lane?

EDWARDS: At that time, I believe it was myself, Kueng and Lane. But I had other officers from my shift responding to the area because I knew we were going to probably have to lock down that area.

SCHLEICHER: So you asked the other officers to (ph) --



SCHLEICHER: -- arrive? That wasn't something that was arranged before?


SCHLEICHER: And the purpose --

EDWARDS: -- I asked for additional officers.

CAHILL: Let's try not to talk over each other?

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm sorry.

CAHILL: No problem, no problem.

SCHLEICHER: All right. And that was for the specific purpose of keeping the area secure?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Can I -- if you would clear that, your honor?

At some point, did you learn that this in fact was a critical incident?

EDWARDS: Later on in the night, yes.

SCHLEICHER: But you were taking steps to secure the scene as if it were going to be a critical incident before that?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: At this point, did you really know anything about what had happened that caused you to be called out there, specifically?

EDWARDS: No, I didn't -- I didn't know specifics. No, at that point, I had very little specifics -- SCHLEICHER: For example --

EDWARDS: -- I was waiting for more phone calls from Sergeant Pleoger for more direction of what was going on.

SCHLEICHER: For example, you didn't know the defendant was involved at that point, is that right?

EDWARDS: Correct.


SCHLEICHER: You had a brief interaction and conversation with Kueng and Lane, is that right?


SCHLEICHER: That based then on what they told you, you took some additional steps. Were you able to then communicate with the other officers that you directed to come to the scene, to provide them direction?


SCHLEICHER: What did you ask the other officers to do?

EDWARDS: A number of the officers, I asked to canvass the area. As I explained before, that just means pretty much go door to door, see if there's any potential witnesses that may have been there when the incident occurred, and obtain a synopsis of what they saw and to get their name and information. It's just searching for any potential witnesses and getting their story.

SCHLEICHER: If we could publish exhibit 83?

Another image from your body-worn camera. You see some of the other officers from your shift, who you called to help you at the scene.

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: I'm going to ask you to just identify some of the folks in the picture. We'll start of course here. Who's that?

EDWARDS: That's Officer Lane.

SCHLEICHER: Right, and this individual?

EDWARDS: Officer Nerling.

SCHLEICHER: OK. And this person?

EDWARDS: That's Officer Cape.

SCHLEICHER: This person?

EDWARDS: Officer Oachs SCHLEICHER: And this person?

EDWARDS: And Officer Arriola.

SCHLEICHER: And Officer Arriola was a fairly new officer at the time?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Now, would you please tell the jury just sort of the scope of the security you provided to the scene at that time, during these early -- it was the early morning hours now of May 26th, is that right?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: What did you do?

EDWARDS: I shortly thereafter here, I received a call from Pleoger telling me that escort officers or escort sergeants would be coming down, and that he was still downtown or at the hospital. I had been notified, and the appropriate people in administration had been notified. And he just requested that the scene just remained secure.

So in answer to your question, we -- my guys and I just remained there for scene security, to ensure that no vehicle or pedestrian traffic entered the crime scene and contaminated our scene.

SCHLEICHER: You made sure no one came into that roped off area?


SCHLEICHER: Did you take any steps with respect to the business Cup Foods?


SCHLEICHER: What did you do?

EDWARDS: Sergeant Pleoger asked me if I was able to make contact with the manager. And if so, to speak with him, which I did.

SCHLEICHER: How many officers at any given time were used to secure the scene?

EDWARDS: I believe that night I only had about maybe eight to 10 officers on. And I didn't have every single one of my officers on the scene, because there were still a lot of 911 calls that needed to be attended to.

SCHLEICHER: In addition to then securing the perimeter of the scene, did you secure any vehicles within the scene?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: What vehicles did you secure?

EDWARDS: Officers Kueng and Lane's squad, as well as Mr. Floyd's vehicle that was parked ahead of theirs.

SCHLEICHER: And could you describe that vehicle, please?

EDWARDS: I honestly don't remember what kind of vehicle Mr. Floyd was driving. It was a dark-colored vehicle, though, if I remember correctly.

SCHLEICHER: Did you keep Officers Kueng and Lane out of the squad 320?

EDWARDS: Yes, I did. And I told them to leave their belongings inside the squad car.

SCHLEICHER: At this time, I'd like to publish exhibit 84.

So exhibit 84, then, for the record, is a photo from your body-worn camera taken at 21:50 and 17 seconds, is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And we see both Kueng and Lane in the photo, correct?


SCHLEICHER: All right. Is this where you had the initial interaction with them, where you asked them to get out of the vehicle so you could secure it?

EDWARDS: That is.

SCHLEICHER: And they complied with it?

EDWARDS: They did.


SCHLEICHER: Did you see anyone, including them, take anything out of the vehicle?


SCHLEICHER: Was the vehicle running or had it been stopped?

EDWARDS: It was running.

SCHLEICHER: What did you do since it was running?

EDWARDS: I told them to get out of the car.


EDWARDS: They got out of the car.

SCHLEICHER: And did you at any point stop the vehicle from running?

EDWARDS: That wasn't until the BCA showed up and I believe it was Special Agent Mike Phill told me that they were going to take custody of the squad and Mr. Floyd's vehicle. We noticed the vehicle -- or we noticed the squad car, I'm sorry, I was still running so he instructed me to power it down.

SCHLEICHER: You'd also mentioned something about a canvass. Did you at some point instruct officers to do a canvass of the area for possible witnesses?

EDWARDS: Yes, I explained that, yes.

SCHLEICHER: And what -- since you didn't know much about what had happened, what were you -- what were you asking the officers to look for?

EDWARDS: You know, anybody that may have been in the area at the time that the incident occurred. You know, we knew that the incident occurred before we got to work, so you know, I guess we were just trying to get lucky, maybe there was somebody still there that was willing to talk to us or yes.

SCHLEICHER: Who did you send out to do the canvass, was it --

EDWARDS: Several officers.

SCHLEICHER: Did that include Arriola and Nerling?

EDWARDS: Yes, it did.

SCHLEICHER: Did they locate any witnesses who were willing to speak with you?

EDWARDS: What was that?

SCHLEICHER: Did they locate any witnesses who were willing to speak with you?

EDWARDS: Who were willing to speak with me?



SCHLEICHER: Did you at any point interact with an elderly or an older gentleman -- I won't say elderly -- older gentleman at the scene?


SCHLEICHER: Did he identify himself to you first or last name?

EDWARDS: He identified himself to me as Charles (ph). He refused to give me his name, his full name.

SCHLEICHER: Publish exhibit 87. It's another body-worn camera image, not from your body-worn camera, but it shows -- who is this?

EDWARDS: That's me. SCHLEICHER: OK. And is this Charles (ph)?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: And this point captures the conversation that you had with him at 22:05 and about 43 seconds, is that right?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: He did not provide any information to you?

EDWARDS: No, he did not. I explained to him that he'd be very valuable to us if he had something to say or if he saw something. But he -- he told me he refused to say anything and wondered if he was under arrest. And I told him no, he told me he wanted to leave.

SCHLEICHER: And of course you didn't know whether or not he had spoken with anybody already about this incident?

EDWARDS: Correct, that was the first time I'd seen him.

SCHLEICHER: Did you ask Kueng and Lane to participate in the canvass?

EDWARDS: No, I don't believe I did, no.

SCHLEICHER: What did you ask them to do?

EDWARDS: I asked them to chill out. Because later on, I knew from Sergeant Pleoger that the -- he had a couple of escort sergeants coming down to transport them to Interview Room 100.

SCHLEICHER: Publish exhibit 85.

Looking at exhibit 85 from your body-worn camera at 21:51:25, you see Officers Lane and Kueng. Were they standing where you told them to stand, waiting where you told them to wait?

EDWARDS: Correct.

SCHLEICHER: And at this time, you instructed them to keep their body- worn cameras activated, is that right?

EDWARDS: Correct.

SCHLEICHER: Do you recall speaking with any other potential witnesses while you were at the scene?

EDWARDS: No, I don't.

SCHLEICHER: Do you recall entering Cup Foods?

EDWARDS: Yes, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Speak with anybody at Cup Foods?

EDWARDS: Yes. Like I said before, Sergeant Pleoger asked me to see if I could make contact with the manager there at Cup Foods, and I did. And I spoke with him.

SCHLEICHER: Publish exhibit 86.


All right, this is an image from your body-worn camera at 21:54 and 32 seconds. Who is that individual?

EDWARDS: I do not remember his name, but he is the manager there at Cup Foods.

SCHLEICHER: OK. And did you learn whether or not he was a witness to the interaction between the police and George Floyd?

EDWARDS: He said he didn't witness anything. I had a brief conversation with him.

SCHLEICHER: Now, when you arrived, you testified you had taken control of the scene, right? As the sergeant, you were the ranking officer there?

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: At some point, did another ranking officer arrive at the scene?

EDWARDS: Yes. (INAUDIBLE) as well as Sergeant Dale.

SCHLEICHER: Publish exhibit 88. All right. I know that's a little hard to see, but can you identify the people in this photo?

EDWARDS: That's myself and that's Lieutenant Zimmerman.

SCHLEICHER: All right. When did he arrive, approximately, if you can take the cutout (ph) out?

EDWARDS: When did he arrive approximately?


EDWARDS: I couldn't tell you the time he arrived. I can tell you the timestamp that I'm seeing right there, 22:06. So --

SCHLEICHER: All right.

EDWARDS: -- so that would be 10:06 p.m.

SCHLEICHER: So even if not exact arrival time, this is pretty close in time to Lieutenant Zimmerman's first arrival?


SCHLEICHER: All right. When Lieutenant Zimmerman arrived, what happened with the scene?

EDWARDS: He came and just ensured that we had the scene secure, and came and ensured that we had officers that were canvassing the area for any potential witnesses that were still there. And yes.

SCHLEICHER: Did you see Lieutenant Zimmerman interact with either of the involved officers Lane or Keung?

EDWARDS: I don't recall seeing him interact with Lane or Kueng. Might have.

SCHLEICHER: Did you impart to Lieutenant Zimmerman any information that you had you know, gathered about the scene or potential witnesses to that point?

EDWARDS: Can you ask that question again?

SCHLEICHER: Sure. Did you tell Lieutenant Zimmerman what you did up to that point, to get him kind of caught up on the scene and the witnesses and what steps had been taken?

EDWARDS: Oh, yes.

SCHLEICHER: All right. Did he direct you take any further steps as a -- now he's a lieutenant, so I suppose --

EDWARDS: More canvassing of the area, and also he wanted more officers there at the scene.

SCHLEICHER: You (ph) confirmed that the scene itself was secure?


SCHLEICHER: And that the squad was secure, 320?


SCHLEICHER: And that the -- Mr. Floyd's vehicle was secured?


SCHLEICHER: You said there was another officer there, a Sergeant Bob Dale? What is Bob Dale assigned to?

EDWARDS: He was there, he came with Lieutenant Zimmerman.

SCHLEICHER: Bob Dale's from Homicide, is that right?

EDWARDS: I believe so.

SCHLEICHER: And then with this being a critical incident, this was going to be handed over to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, correct?

EDWARDS: Well at that point, I -- we still didn't know if this was indeed a critical incident. But we were -- I was going under the assumption that it was -- you know, it was better safe to go that way than not.

SCHLEICHER: And as it -- because of that, there were some steps taken to ensure that when this was handed off, it would be handed off in a manner that it could be taken over with smoothly, correct?


SCHLEICHER: So it was -- did either Dale or Zimmerman make a suggestion to you about having a crime scene log?


SCHLEICHER: All right. What did (ph) they ask for?

EDWARDS: They just asked if a crime scene log had been started. And I tasked Officer Arriola with that task. Crime scene log is just a log of names of officers and personnel that entered the crime scene.

SCHLEICHER: And did you see Officer Arriola start compiling a crime scene log?


SCHLEICHER: Publish exhibit 89.


You can see -- is this Officer Arriola here?