Return to Transcripts main page


Derek Chauvin Trial Week Two. Aired 3-3:30p ET

Aired April 5, 2021 - 15:00   ET



STEVE SCHLEICHER, MINNESOTA PROSECUTOR: It's a bat -- maybe the person is at a baseball game -- or a threat; the bad is being brandished, correct?


SCHLEICHER: Then, after that under authority to act, if they have determined that this, in fact, is a risk, and that they're being threatened, they would look at the authority back to the MPD policy and procedure manual; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: Under what is the use of force policy? What tools are available to me to respond here?



The next step, then after considering the authority to act, goals and actions, what is that?

ARRADONDO: The goals.

The officer is making an assessment. So, with the authority act, will an arrest resolve this situation? Will separating the two parties be enough? Is taking a report, will that be enough of a goal or an action?

It may mean a combination of things. It may mean that I'm going to have to or the officer is going to have to make an arrest, but we may need additional resources here because the situation is -- still could have the potential to not be stabilized.

And so all of that is part of that goals and action.

SCHLEICHER: And then to review and reassess, assuming that means exactly what it says?

ARRADONDO: Exactly, yes. And information is going to flow. Dynamics can change. And so it can

be a constant just review and assess, reassess the situation to make sure that we're trying to get to the best possible outcome in this peacefully and safely.

SCHLEICHER: Because circumstances can change, the situation can change, correct?


SCHLEICHER: And force that might be appropriate at one moment might not be appropriate at a different moment, or more force might be needed at yet another point; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: This particular critical thinking model, Exhibit 276, we see examples of this throughout training materials that are provided by the trainers at the facility; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And why is that?

ARRADONDO: It's to really embed that knowledge that we don't want to fall susceptible to kind of check-the-box training. This training is important for all of our officers to have a knowledge of and understanding of, and that our community members can expect this to be consistent as they have encounters or engagements with our officers.

SCHLEICHER: All right.

If we could take that down, please.

And I want to shift a little bit to talk about -- we talked about use of force and the policy. Does Minneapolis Police Department train its officers in specific defensive tactics?


SCHLEICHER: And where does that training occur?

ARRADONDO: That training occurs at our special operations center.

SCHLEICHER: And does the department provide training for officers in handling uncooperative individuals?


SCHLEICHER: Does the department provide training for handcuffing reluctant suspects?


SCHLEICHER: And when you provide the training, assuming you're taking someone into custody, do you also teach officers their responsibilities, their personal responsibility with respect to the person they have just taken into custody?

ARRADONDO: Yes, we do.

SCHLEICHER: And what responsibility does an officer have to a person they have taken into custody or restraint?

ARRADONDO: So, the American policing profession, which I believe is the best in the world -- and I will tell you why, and it's really two reasons.


SCHLEICHER: Yes, Your Honor.

Sir, you have a responsibility, I guess, that's imparted throughout officers in various forms of training as to what -- once someone is in their custody.


We have a duty of care. And so, when someone is in our custody, regardless if they're a suspect, we have an obligation to make sure we provide for their care.

SCHLEICHER: Does that include people to whom defensive tactics are being applied?


SCHLEICHER: Why is that?

ARRADONDO: They are still in our -- they are still in our custody. And they have rights.

And the humanity of this profession, we need to make sure we're taking care of them.

SCHLEICHER: So, how often are officers required to participate in defensive tactics training?

ARRADONDO: That's usually yearly, annual training.

SCHLEICHER: Do you know that, you know, when we're talking about the training and policies in effect on May 25, 2020, were neck restraints and choke holds taught and authorized by MPD policy at the time?


ARRADONDO: At the time, yes.

SCHLEICHER: They were taught pursuant to the defensive tactics training as well?


SCHLEICHER: At this time, I'd like to publish Exhibit 224.

Exhibit 224 showing MPD policy 5-311, use of restraints -- neck restraints and choke holds. You see a choke hold is considered a deadly force option; is that right?



If you could go to the next page, please.

Neck restraints, if you can highlight that portion, from that down to unresponsive neck restraint. OK.

There are various types of neck restraints that were authorized at the time; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And neck restraint was defined as compressing one or both sides of the neck, a person's neck, with an arm or leg; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: But without applying any direct pressure to the trachea, the airway that needs to be protected?



And there were two types of neck restraints that were authorized, conscious neck restraint and unconscious neck restraint.


SCHLEICHER: And the objective of the unconscious neck restraint, the second one, would be to have the person actually pass out.

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And under certain circumstances in which the officer was in fear of grave bodily harm or death, that would be authorized; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And conscious neck restraints were with the neck restraint with the intent to control, but not to render the subject unconscious; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: By applying light to moderate pressure; is that right?

ARRADONDO: That is correct, yes. SCHLEICHER: Then if you could go to Roman II on the same policy.

Highlight that.

Conscious neck restraint can be used for someone who is actively resisting, correct?


SCHLEICHER: And an unconscious neck restraint could be used for a person who is using -- exhibiting active aggression or to save a person's life; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: Or a subject who is exhibiting active resistance if lesser attempts would have or would -- likely to be ineffective; is that right?


SCHLEICHER: But not -- no -- neck restraints were not to be used against person who were merely passively resisting, correct?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: All right.

Now I'd like to draw your attention to May 25, 2020. Can you tell the jury when you first learned of the incident involving the defendant, officers Thao, Lane, and Kueng, and George Floyd?

ARRADONDO: On Monday evening, around 9:00 p.m., back on May 25, 2020, I received a call. I was at my residence.

And I received a call from one of my -- I believe it was a deputy chief who had informed me that Minneapolis police officers had responded to 38th and Chicago and, while attempting to take someone into custody, that -- which I learned now to be Mr. Floyd, they believed he would not make it or survive. And so he was being transported via ambulance to at that time Hennepin County Medical Center.

And while at least the information I had that evening at 9:00 p.m., he, at that time at least was -- I was told, was still alive, I decided to contact the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. And they are a state agency that conducts our critical incidents.

I deemed that this would be a critical incident. And it has been our protocol to alert them, and they would conduct that investigation. So, I made that call to the BCA to have them start to conduct this critical incident.

SCHLEICHER: Did you then proceed to City Hall?

ARRADONDO: I should also say that I -- right after that call, I notified Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey to say this is the situation we have, at least right now, and that I would brief him as I receive more information.


I then proceeded to leave my residence. And I went directly to my office in City Hall.

SCHLEICHER: When you arrived at City Hall, do you recall seeing any video images or footage of this event?

ARRADONDO: The first time that I saw a video of the event was after I was notified that Mr. Floyd had now been -- was now deceased.

And so I had asked my deputy chief to pull up what I -- knowing the area really well and knowing that there's usually a camera, a city- owned camera at that location, I asked him to locate that video, so that I could review it.

SCHLEICHER: And that's what we would refer to as the milestone camera, milestone footage?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: Did you watch the footage from the milestone camera that evening?

ARRADONDO: I did watch that.

SCHLEICHER: Can you describe for the jury what you saw when you watched the footage?

ARRADONDO: When I first viewed this milestone video, what I was able to see -- and I should just note that it was from a distance from where the officers were with Mr. Floyd.

And so all I could really see were the backsides of the officers. There was also no audio to this milestone video. And so I viewed that video in its entirety. And, quite frankly, there was really nothing in terms of the actions of -- at least, again, this non-audio video -- that really jumped out at me.

After a few minutes, it seemed a paramedics vehicle pulled up to the scene. And it was at that time for the first time I saw a glimpse of Mr. Floyd, when paramedics placed him, placed his body on the gurney, and transported him away from the scene. But that was really my first observation of that incident from that night.

SCHLEICHER: At some point did you become aware of another video that had been taken by a bystander?

ARRADONDO: Yes. Probably close to midnight, a community member had contacted me and said: "Chief" -- almost verbatim, but said: "Chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago?"

And so, once I heard that statement, I just knew it wasn't the same milestone camera video that I had saw. And, eventually, within minutes after that, I saw for the first time what is now known as the bystander video.

SCHLEICHER: Fair to say that this was a much closer video that had audio?


This -- I was able to see the occurrence, see the officers involved. I was actually able to see Mr. Floyd. I was actually able to hear what was occurring. And I was also able to get a better understanding of the length of time, the duration of the call, the incident, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Now, prior to testifying today, have you now reviewed the bystander video, Facebook video, in its entirety?

ARRADONDO: Yes, I have.

SCHLEICHER: You have also reviewed and reviewed milestone footage?

ARRADONDO: Yes, I have.

SCHLEICHER: And have you reviewed the body-worn camera footage worn by Officers Thao, Kueng, Lane, and the defendant?

ARRADONDO: Yes, I have.

SCHLEICHER: Now, first, I want to show you what's been received as Exhibit 17.

Do you recognize Exhibit 17 to be an image taken from the bystander video that you reviewed?


SCHLEICHER: Now, sir, based upon your review of all of the information that you just mentioned, do you believe that the defendant followed departmental policy 5-304 regarding de-escalation?


ARRADONDO: I absolutely do not agree with that.

SCHLEICHER: And how so?

ARRADONDO: That action is not de-escalation.

And when we talk about the framework of our sanctity of life and when we talk about the principles and values we have, that action goes contrary to what we're taught.

SCHLEICHER: As you reflect on Exhibit 17, I must ask you, is this a trained Minneapolis Police Department defensive tactics technique?

ARRADONDO: It is not.

SCHLEICHER: When we read the department policy on neck restraints, is this a neck restraint? ARRADONDO: The conscious neck restraint by policy mentions light to

moderate pressure.

When I look at Exhibit 17, and when I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way, shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure.

SCHLEICHER: So, is it your belief then that this particular form of restraint, if that's what you -- if that's what we will call it, in fact, violates departmental policy?

ARRADONDO: I absolutely agree that violates our policy.

SCHLEICHER: Are you aware now that the defendant maintained this position on George Floyd for nine minutes and 29 seconds?

ARRADONDO: I am aware of that.

SCHLEICHER: And I believe you testified that force has to be reasonable when it's applied at the beginning and through the entire encounter; is that right?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: Is what you see in Exhibit 17, in your opinion, within Minneapolis Police Department policy 5-300 authorizing the use of reasonable force?

ARRADONDO: It is not.

SCHLEICHER: And why not?

ARRADONDO: That is -- that is -- it has to be objectively reasonable. We have to take into account the circumstances, information, the threat to the officer, the threat to others.

And we -- and the severity of that. So, that is not part of our policy. That is not what we teach, and that should be condoned (sic).

SCHLEICHER: When do you believe -- or do you have a belief as to when this restraint, the restraint on the ground that you viewed, should have stopped?

ARRADONDO: Once Mr. Floyd -- and this is based on my viewing of the videos -- once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped.

There's an initial reasonableness in trying to just get him under control in the first few seconds, but once there was no longer any resistance, and, clearly, when Mr. Floyd was no longer responsive and even motionless, to continue to apply that level of force to a person proned out, handcuffed behind their back, that that in no way, shape or form is anything that is by policy.

It's not part of our training and it is certainly not part of our ethics or our values.

SCHLEICHER: Sir, based on your review of the video and based on your own experience and training as an MPD officer, did you see signs during the encounter that Mr. Floyd was exhibiting, in addition to being in medical distress?


SCHLEICHER: And you saw -- at one point, I think you just testified that Mr. Floyd was unresponsive?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

SCHLEICHER: And that officers -- were you aware that officers couldn't find a pulse?

ARRADONDO: Could you repeat that, sir?

SCHLEICHER: And were you aware that officers at the time of the restraint were unable to find a pulse?

ARRADONDO: Yes, I was aware of that.

SCHLEICHER: And so stated?

ARRADONDO: I was aware that the officers were not able to find a pulse, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Did you see the defendant or any of the officers attempt to provide first aid to Mr. Floyd?

ARRADONDO: I did not see any of the defendants try to attempt to provide first aid to Mr. Floyd.

SCHLEICHER: The defendant did not start CPR; he did not start chest compressions?



CAHILL: Sustained as leading.


SCHLEICHER: Did you see them -- did you see them provide any medical attention?

ARRADONDO: I did not.

SCHLEICHER: And based on these observations, do you have an opinion as to whether the defendant violated MPD departmental policy 7-350 by failing to render aid to Mr. Floyd?

ARRADONDO: I agree that the defendant violated our policy in terms of rendering aid. SCHLEICHER: Thank you.

I have no further questions at this time, Your Honor.

CAHILL: Mr. Nelson?

NELSON: Good afternoon, Chief Arradondo.

ARRADONDO: Good afternoon, counsel.

NELSON: Thank you for being here this afternoon and this morning.

ARRADONDO: Thank you.

NELSON: A few follow-up questions for you regarding this incident.

Your determinations today are in reference to employment policies and -- Mr. Chauvin's actions violating the departmental employment policies, correct?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

NELSON: Now, as the chief police chief, I assume that you're not out on the street day to day arresting people?

ARRADONDO: That is correct.

NELSON: Can you just give me a general sense, when is the last time that you actually -- I don't mean to be dismissive, but actually arrested a suspect?

ARRADONDO: It's been many years, sir.



NELSON: Your role as the Minneapolis police chief is sort of grander in its scope, right? I mean, it's--

ARRADONDO: It's large in context and the operations of the department, yes.

NELSON: And part of that job is to be sort of aware of issues in policing, kind of policy changes, use of force changes.

All of these things under -- fall under the umbrella of your role as the chief, agreed?


NELSON: And you're sort of the general, in a sense, right, formulating the plan for your police department?

ARRADONDO: And delegating some of those to our subject matter experts, yes. NELSON: Correct.

When you talk about training of a police officer, you would also include the training that the Minneapolis Police Department goes through. But you may go to other trainings out of state, listen to speakers talking about issues that confront policing, right?


NELSON: As well as maybe a homicide detective will get permission to travel to an interviewing a suspect type of a training in some other state or location, correct?


NELSON: And so there is a variability within the training, depending upon your role as in the police department, right?


NELSON: So, that you have got sort of your rank-and-file basic patrol officers. And they go through all of the trainings that you have described, the defensive tactics, medical assistance or basic medical training, crisis intervention, things we have been talking about here today, right?


NELSON: And then the investigative-type officers, they may go to some additional -- they have to go through that training, but they may go through additional training in terms of how to interview suspects or how to properly collect evidence, et cetera, unique to their role, right?


NELSON: And then you, as the police chief or those who are in the more management or administrative side of the police department, you go to the -- kind of the big picture training sometimes?

ARRADONDO: That's correct.

NELSON: All right.

So, I want to review with you a few of the policies that we have already talked about today.

If we could turn -- take this down for the moment, Your Honor.


First of all, I'd like to show, I'd like to show you what has been introduced as Exhibit 216 -- 2-1-6 -- which is the use of force policy for the city of Minneapolis Police Department.

ARRADONDO: Yes. NELSON: We have discussed this.

And I know that kind of what we did a little earlier is, we kind of jumped around from part to part, but I would like to walk through some of these issues in a little bit more linear fashion, if we could.

So, you have described, under policy 5-301.01, that the Fourth Amendment's reasonableness standard applies to the use of force in Minneapolis -- of the Minneapolis Police Department. Agreed?


NELSON: And that goes on to say that MPD employees shall only use the amount of force that is objectively reasonable, and it continues, in light of the facts and circumstances known to that employee at the time the force is used.



NELSON: So, the reasonableness standard or the objectively reasonable standard applies to the facts and circumstances that are known by the officer at the time the force is being used, correct?


NELSON: Now, 5-302 gives some definitions in terms of the use of force. And it differentiates between active aggression and active resistance.

Can you describe the difference between active resistance -- excuse me -- active aggression and active resistance?

ARRADONDO: Active aggression, behavior initiated by the subject that may or may not be in response to police efforts to bring a person into custody or control.

The act of aggression when presented behaviors that constitute an assault or under circumstances reasonably indicate that an assault or injury to any person is likely to occur at any moment. That's active aggression.

NELSON: Yes, let me just stop you there. That's active aggression.

So, that's where a suspect is essentially fighting with a police officer or doing something that is aggressive, behaviorally speaking, agreed?


NELSON: And that is aggressive in its nature?


NELSON: Now, can you read active resistance? ARRADONDO: Active resistance is a response to police efforts to bring a person into custody or control for detainment or arrest. Subject engages in active resistance when engaging in physical actions or verbal behavior reflecting an intention to make it more difficult for officers to achieve actual physical control.

NELSON: So, essentially, what we're talking about here is behavior that may or may not be physical in its nature that simply makes it harder for an officer to take a person into custody. Agreed?


NELSON: And, sometimes, that is maybe not trying to punch the officer, but pulling away or hiding his arms or doing something that just makes it more difficult physically, right?


NELSON: And sometimes it's, you're not going to take me alive, you dirty cop? You know, like, they're saying something to prevent the officer from arresting, right?


NELSON: So, they're using their words, they're using their behaviors.

Is it common, based upon your experience, for people to enjoy being taken into custody?


NELSON: Do people like to be arrested?

ARRADONDO: Typically not.

NELSON: Right.

And, in your experience, is it common practice for people whom are being arrested to say things in an effort to try to get the officer to not arrest them?

ARRADONDO: That certainly occurs, yes.

NELSON: Right.

My mom is homesick, I need to get home to my kids. There may be words that they use to try to convince an officer to not arrest them, right?


NELSON: Now, you would also agree that there is a difference between being arrested and being detained. Agreed?

ARRADONDO: There can be.

NELSON: Right. So, an officer in certain circumstances is permitted to expand the

scope of the original intervention. Would you agree with that?

SCHLEICHER: Objection. Vague.

CAHILL: You can restate.

NELSON: Let me try.

When an officer approaches a situation -- and let's assume it's a relatively minor offense -- is it possible that that minor offense can grow in its scope of investigation?


NELSON: And it's actually quite common for that to happen, correct?