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Prosecution Questions Minneapolis Police Chief; Day Six of Witness testimony in Ex-Cop's Murder Trial. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired April 5, 2021 - 13:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[13:00:00]

STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: And would it be fair to say that part of the objective of training is to impart Minneapolis Police Departmental policies onto the officers so that they know what the policies are and are able to apply them.

CHIEF MEDARIA ARRADONDO, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: Yes, it's important through training that we're reemphasizing not only our policies but really our values as a police department and what our community expects of us. It's to help our officers and it's also to help our communities at the same time.

SCHLEICHER: As a former patrol officer who's used force, put handcuffs on people, I mean, you understand the reality of what policing is like when you're actually on duty, is that right?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: You also testified that you've participated and continue to participate in the training that's been provided by MPD, and has continued to be provided, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes, that is correct.

SCHLEICHER: Is this training practical and useful?

ARRADONDO: Yes, it is.

SCHLEICHER: Why do you say that?

ARRADONDO: Our officers are being -- patrol officers are being called to respond to, again, respond in a way to our community's needs and it's hundreds of thousands of calls that they respond to. And we are a very interesting profession that, to some professions, your body of work matters, and to an extent, within the Minneapolis Police Department, our body of work matters but it's more internally.

But to our communities, for the most part, your body of work doesn't hold as much value. We don't have the luxury of being able to go up to a community member for the first time and say, you know, those 99 calls I was on before went really, well, trust me on this one. We don't have the luxury of doing that. Our communities are going, no, what have you done for me lately? This interaction, I'm going to grade you on how you treat me during this call, during this interaction. So we have to make each engagement with our community count.

And so the training is very important because, for many in our communities, the first time that they encounter a Minneapolis Police officer may be the only time in their life they do. And so that singular incident matters.

SCHLEICHER: Aside from the usefulness of it to the community, what about the usefulness of it from a practical standpoint to the patrol officer out on the street? Is this training practical or is it more aspirational?

ARRADONDO: No, it's very practical. As I had mentioned earlier, it's so important that we evolve as a police department and meet our communities where they are. I'll give a couple examples, if you don't mind.

SCHLEICHER: Yes.

ARRADONDO: We've talked a lot about within the department that we know that our communities suffer at times and go through trauma. So it's very important for our men and women to have training as it relates to how we respond in those moments, what resources can we provide for a community.

But one of the things that we have not talked about in this profession, and sadly, is the impacts of trauma on our own officers. And so wellness, we do a great deal of training and work on officer wellness because we need to make sure that our officers are well when they're interacting with our communities in that regard.

I will also tell you a few years ago we were hearing from members of our transgender community, and how they had felt police have played a role in their lives, and not always good, quite frankly. And so we were able to, through conversation, through discussion, through meetings, being very authentic, we were able to sit and craft a policy based upon members of our transgender, gender nonconforming community really guiding that and we had the first policy ever in that.

So, again, it's so important that we as a police agency continue to evolve, continue to place value on all of our community members. And so that's very important.

SCHLEICHER: Now, speaking of Minneapolis Police policies, you're aware that the police department has a fairly extensive policy and procedure manual. It's pretty thick, correct?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And is it important then for policies and procedures to be in a written form so that officers can understand what the expectations are?

ARRADONDO: Yes, it is.

SCHLEICHER: And those are public documents so that the public -- they're also able to see what the expectations of the police officers are, correct?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: As the chief of police, and being employed by MPD as long as you have, I take it you're familiar with the Minneapolis Police Department policy and procedure manuals and all the content contained inside?

[13:05:11]

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: You, in fact, created some of these policies?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And are Minneapolis Police officers required to be familiar with the various written policies?

ARRADONDO: Yes, we are.

SCHLEICHER: And there's a policy requiring them to be familiar with the policies, correct?

ARRADONDO: Yes, that is correct.

SCHLEICHER: Right? So if you would please publish Exhibit 207. If you would highlight section 1-103, this is the policy about the policy and it requires that the MPD employees shall be provided instructions on how to access the policy and procedure manual, is that right?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: They're accountable for knowing how and where to access and for knowing the contents of the manual, is that right?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And they're also required to sign a receipt acknowledging their responsibility for knowing the contents of the manual, correct?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Because, you know, the first policy manual that you would have received as a patrol officer might not be, you know, 30 years later, what you're going to be looking at, correct?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: The policies are changing, but they're published, they're public, and the officers are required to know what they are and to sign something saying that they will continue to review them, is that right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Objection, (INAUDIBLE).

JUDGE PETER CAHILL, HENNEPIN COUNTY, MINNESOTA: It's preliminary, overruled.

SCHLEICHER: Yes, all right. Well, if you could take that one down, please. At this time, ask to just display to the witness Exhibit 274 for identification.

Sir, do you recognize this is a general form being an electronic version of the MPD policy and procedure acknowledgement.

ARRADONDO: Yes, I do.

SCHLEICHER: This is an back example of an acknowledgment form that a Minneapolis Police Department employee patrol officer would sign upon being hired, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Just indicating that they're aware that there are written policies and committing to reviewing them, accessing them, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: At this time, I'd offer Exhibit 274.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can I just have a moment?

ERICA HILL, CNN NEWSROOM: You are watching testimony from Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo right now. He is testifying, of course, the latest witness in the trial of Derek Chauvin, who is charged with the murder and the death of George Floyd. Some exhibits being shown now.

We've been talking -- hearing a lot from the chief not only about his own experience but sort of the nuts and bolts of the training, the POST service requirements, the regular trainings that are required of officers talking about basically how they're still -- what they need to know every day when they go on the job.

I want to bring in Laura Coates, CNN Senior Analyst, former federal prosecutor. So, this is obviously all building up to something, right, Laura, especially as we think about the testimony we heard on Friday when Lieutenant Zimmerman said it was totally unnecessary in terms of use of force that he saw now former Officer Chauvin used.

What is the prosecution building at this point by laying out the nuts and bolts of the training?

LAURA COATES, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I mean, try telling the person who wrote the policy, who's had an experience in every different essentially aspect of being a metropolitan police officer in Minneapolis, imagine trying to tell him that he doesn't know what the training is.

Remember the tactic used by the defense to Lieutenant Zimmerman, you're a veteran officer, you've been on the force so long, sir, perhaps you're out of touch with what use of force should be used and what it looks like to be a patrolling officer, a little bit of condescension that was baked into that particular strategy.

HILL: Laura, let me interrupt you for a second. I think we've just gone back to some of the questioning. But we'll pick that back up.

SCHLEICHER: -- has a code of ethics, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And the code of ethics is contained within the policy manual? Forgive me, we're going to be talking a lot about the policy manual, kind of march through some of these, but the code of ethics, if you could please display Exhibit 215, page 2?

[13:10:05]

And if you could highlight 5-10201?

And as the code of ethics provides in the policy manual law enforcement officers fundamental duty to serve mankind and safeguard lives and property and to protect the innocent against deception and the weak against oppression and intimidation, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes, that is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And if you could take that down, Minneapolis Police Department also has a professional policing policy, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: At a high level, can you describe what professional policing means in this context?

ARRADONDO: Yes. Our Minneapolis Police Department professional policing, it's really about treating people with dignity and respect, above all else, at the highest level. It's that we see each other as necessary, we value one another and it's really treating people with the dignity and respect they deserve.

SCHLEICHER: If we could display then Exhibit 215 and drawing your attention to page 4, section 5-104.01. Sir, is this the professional policing policy?

ARRADONDO: Yes, it is.

SCHLEICHER: And could you read the first bullet, please?

ARRADONDO: The first bullet reads, be courteous, respectful, polite and professional.

SCHLEICHER: And if you would then also read the third bullet? ARRADONDO: Ensure that the length of any detention is no longer than necessary to take appropriate action for the known or suspected offense.

SCHLEICHER: And you can take that down, please.

Sir, fair to say that law enforcement generally has changed a lot since you started back in 1989, is that right?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: 1989, you didn't have body-worn cameras, correct?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And nor did you have sort of the ability for civilians, bystanders to video or record conduct of police officers, right?

ARRADONDO: We did not.

SCHLEICHER: Because we didn't have smart phones.

ARRADONDO: That is true.

SCHLEICHER: And now we do.

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And as you indicated the policies and culture of the police department has to change with the times, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And so in terms of understanding that sometimes bystanders do use their smart phones to take video images of police officers, have you -- or has the Minneapolis Police Department imparted any training or constructed any policies to prepare officers for people recording them?

ARRADONDO: Yes, we have. We've imparted policy that really is informing officers that individuals under their First Amendment rights they have the absolute right to record through cell phone video or other types of video officers interacting or engaging with a community member, with the exception that they cannot obstruct the activity of the officers but they absolutely have the right, barring that, to record us performing our duties.

SCHLEICHER: And what does obstruct mean in this context?

ARRADONDO: Obstruct would mean interfering, doing something where you are physically placing yourself in a position where you can no longer -- you're no longer or you're prohibiting the officers from carrying out their lawful duties. But barring that, individuals have the right to record our engagement with our community.

SCHLEICHER: And, Chief, you would have to acknowledge that a patrol officer may find it irritating to have a civilian recording their activities, true?

ARRADONDO: Very true.

SCHLEICHER: Is that obstruction?

ARRADONDO: It is not.

SCHLEICHER: At this time, I would like to display to the witness only Exhibit 273, and if I may step away for a moment.

And at this time I will offer Exhibit 273.

CAHILL: Any objection?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No objection.

CAHILL: 273 is received.

SCHLEICHER: If you would publish 273, and I'd like to draw your attention to section 9-202.

[13:15:08]

And, again, this is the public recording of police activities providing employees guidance with dealing with members of the public recording them, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes, it is.

SCHLEICHER: And, generally, this informs officers that unless you're being obstructed, people get to record you?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Even if you don't like it?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And how long has this been a policy of MPD?

ARRADONDO: Since May of 2016.

SCHLEICHER: Thank you. You can take that down.

Sir, are you familiar with the concept of de-escalation?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: What is de-escalation?

ARRADONDO: De-escalation is providing a knowledge base or skills, in this case, for officers, to really focus on time options and resources. It's really primarily trying to provide an opportunity to stabilize a situation, to deescalate it, and with the goal is having a safe and peaceful outcome. And so that's -- there's tools associated with that. But that's really the goal of de-escalation, time, options and resources so that we can stabilize a situation peacefully and safely.

SCHLEICHER: And if you think of de-escalation, are you thinking of it as the opposite of using force or is it a part of using force?

ARRADONDO: We teach it as both.

SCHLEICHER: And when you started with the department back in 1989, was there an emphasis on de-escalation.

ARRADONDO: It was not mentioned. It's not really effective (ph).

SCHLEICHER: When did de-escalation start becoming more of a topic of conversation in law enforcement communities?

ARRADONDO: I think that right around late '90s, 2000, I think that when we were -- when there was attention not only in Minneapolis, but in departments across the country, in incidents particularly involving police encounters with those who were suffering from mental illness, we really started to see a lot of work on that.

Here locally, the Barbara Schneider Foundation, there was a very tragic incident in Minneapolis many years ago that involved the death of a community member. But when we started -- that was really what kind of culminated for our department de-escalation.

And even when you heard departments starting to talk about other tools like tasers, all of these types of things, it was around that timeframe that I think our department really started getting a lot more education, awareness and training as it relates to de-escalation.

SCHLEICHER: What about just -- you know, even if you weren't taught de-escalation formally when you started back in 1989, as a practical matter in practice, is that something that's been employed by experienced police officers for a long time now?

ARRADONDO: Yes, it is.

SCHLEICHER: What about in your own experience, when you were on patrol, did you use de-escalation techniques?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Did you find them to be effective, away to talk somebody down to a situation rather than needing to use force?

ARRADONDO: Yes. And the primary goal is that you want to keep yourself safe as an officer and you also want to keep the community safe. And so a lot of it hinged on communication and listening, and verbal skills. And so if you could talk your way out of a situation to deescalate where it didn't have to result in physical force, those are things you certainly utilized and you're always in a better position to look upon someone that you worked with who's -- who had that skill set to do that.

SCHLEICHER: But if you can't talk somebody out of the situation, if you can't deescalate, you can't, right, and you have to then use a different method.

ARRADONDO: That is true.

SCHLEICHER: And so it really comes to what's reasonable at the time, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Does Minneapolis Police Department currently have a de- escalation policy?

ARRADONDO: We do.

SCHLEICHER: And at this time, if I can display Exhibit 219.

[13:20:00]

I think it is admitted. I just want to make sure you -- okay. Yes, if we could publish Exhibit 219, and then Minneapolis Police Department policy 5-304, threatening the use of force and de-escalation. This is the policy and it's a policy as it existed on May 25, 2020, is that right?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: If we could highlight the first paragraph, paragraph A, threatening the use of force, and I'd like you, sir, to please just read into the record the paragraph that you see here all the way up until I guess the first sentence. I won't make you read the whole thing.

ARRADONDO: As an alternative and/or the precursor to the actual use of force, MPD officers shall consider verbally announcing their intent to use force, including displaying an authorized weapon as a threat of force when reasonable under the circumstances.

SCHLEICHER: And I guess is it an either/or alternative, is it you either deescalate or use force and once you start using force, you just give up on de-escalation?

ARRADONDO: The goal is to resolve the situation as safely as possible. So you want to always have de-escalation layered into those actions of using force.

SCHLEICHER: And if you could take that down and highlight paragraph B, de-escalation. And according to policy, officers -- the language here is mandatory when reasonable, whenever reasonable, shall use de- escalation tactics to gain voluntary compliance, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And to seek to avoid or to minimize the use of physical force, correct?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And seeking to minimize physical force, that can be happening while physical force is being employed, can't it?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: An officer can be using physical force and during the course of that still maintain attempts to deescalate and diffuse the situation?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Okay. And if you could clear that, please.

And as part of a de-escalation, the policy indicates the officers are supposed to do what?

ARRADONDO: Attempt to slow down or stabilize the situation so that more time, options and resources are available.

SCHLEICHER: But when you talk about more time, options and resources, could options and resources include, for example, using other officers who may be at the scene?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Or calling for backup?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

Actually, it can also include seeking community's help in the situation as well.

SCHLEICHER: And employing de-escalation techniques, in accordance with the policy, the officer is required to consider a number of factors regarding the subject, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And we're assuming here that the subject is not compliant. You run into people who, you know, maybe don't want to comply with police officers, but you can also run into people who just, for some reason, are unable to do so at that moment, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And officers are required to consider -- if you could highlight B and the bullets that come underneath. Officers under the Minneapolis de-escalation policy are required to consider whether the subject's lack of compliance is a deliberate attempt to resist or an inability, is that right?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: And if you could read, you know, first -- the first bullet is medical -- or medical conditions, correct?

ARRADONDO: Yes. SCHLEICHER: And we have mental impairment, developmental disability, physical limitations, somebody may be physically unable to comply, correct?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Language barrier, you know, the city of Minneapolis has a variety of people who speak a variety of different languages, someone just may not understand you, correct?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And if you're not considering that, you know, perhaps the situation could escalate into something greater than it would need to be.

ARRADONDO: Yes.

[13:25:00]

SCHLEICHER: The last two bullets, the first -- could you read the second to the last bullet?

ARRADONDO: Yes. One of the other considerations officers should take into account is the influence of drug or alcohol use.

SCHLEICHER: How so?

ARRADONDO: We know the research says that people can react differently when they're under the use of alcohol or drugs. And so you trying to get verbal commands if someone is under the use of alcohol or drugs or you're doing force, it may have a different reaction to them. So that should be something that you should be considering.

SCHLEICHER: And -- 12:30?

Sir, drug or alcohol use in this context is being required that the officer consider to determine if de-escalation is appropriate. It can be true that some people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol can become dangerous, correct?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: But isn't it also true that some people react completely different and they are not necessarily under the influence of alcohol or drugs?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: In fact, they may not be more dangerous, they may actually be more vulnerable?

ARRADONDO: True.

SCHLEICHER: And it's important that the officer considers that when determining whether to go the route of force, or continued force or de-escalation, fair?

ARRADONDO: Yes.

SCHLEICHER: Behavioral crisis is the last bullet I'd like you to discuss. What do you mean by behavioral crisis?

ARRADONDO: Behavioral crisis, of all the bullets sometimes, that is probably the one that our men and women experience in our communities most. Someone loses a job, that can trigger a behavioral crisis. If someone loses a loved one, that can trigger a behavioral crisis. If someone has themselves got the worst diagnosis from their doctor that day, that can trigger a behavioral crisis.

And so we want our folks to take all of those things into consideration. When I talk about meeting our community where they are, that's probably the one that we need to really focus on.

SCHLEICHER: And as you testified earlier, the police just don't get to meet people on their very best day, do they?

ARRADONDO: No, they don't.

SCHLEICHER: And behavioral crisis as the kind you described here can, in fact, be a barrier to compliance and would cause an inability to comply even if not, you know, an intentional ability to comply?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's fair. Let's (INAUDIBLE).

SCHLEICHER: And so the purpose of the -- I'm sorry -- of the listing a behavioral crisis as a point of consideration for a law enforcement officer is what?

ARRADONDO: It's recognizing that when we get the call from our communities, it may not often be their best day and they may be experiencing something that is very traumatic. But we're going to respond but we have to take that into consideration. Because as I mentioned, again, we may be the first and last time they have an interaction with a Minneapolis Police officer and so we have to make it count. It matters.

SCHLEICHER: Would this be a good time to stop before I go into the next line? I'm sorry, I was trying to push it to the time limit.

CAHILL: (INAUDIBLE). All right, members of the jury, we'll take our lunch break, come back at 1:30. You may step down, Chief.

HILL: So you've just been watching some of the testimony from Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo. They are taking a short lunch break, an hour lunch break, I should say, right now.

So I just want to take a closer look at what we've heard this morning. Joining me now, Laura Coates, CNN Senior Legal Analyst and a former federal prosecutor, and Cedric Alexander, the former president of the National Organization of Black Enforcement Executives. For folks who are just joining us this morning, we heard a little bit earlier from the E.R. doctor who actually pronounced George Floyd dead, and right now, as I mentioned, we're currently listening to testimony, questioning from the prosecution for Minneapolis Police Chief Arradondo.

And what's really stood out to me, Laura, you and I had started to talk about this, is this is clearly -- you know, there is a reason, as we know, behind all of these questions. But you see the prosecution laying out, this is the code of conduct, this is the training that all police officers must go through.

And the fact that right there at the end, what we've been hearing about for the last several minutes, is about de-escalation, Laura, and whether that can include use of force or not.

[13:30:01]

That's a really interesting point.

COATES: It is, Erica, for a variety of reasons. One, we're talking about the use of force.