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Chauvin Trial Evidence; Use of Force Expert: "No Force Should Have Been Used" Once Floyd Was Handcuffed And On The Ground. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired April 7, 2021 - 10:30   ET



STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Were you able to hear instances of what you recognize to be ratcheting during the - your review of the body worn cameras?


SCHLEICHER: And so in the principle of game compliance, if I'm to understand your testimony, you would inflict pain for the purpose of having the subject obey your command?

STIGER: Yes. Comply.

SCHLEICHER: What if there's no opportunity for compliance?

STIGER: Then at that point it's just pain.

SCHLEICHER: You again observed the entirety of the body worn camera footage. Did you see whether the defendant discontinued the use of this pain compliance technique during the restraint period that you've defined?

STIGER: Yes, I did. And no, he did not.

SCHLEICHER: If you could take that down please. Now sir, you previously testified about the Graham v. Connor factors, the three different factors you used in your analysis, is that right?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Your review of Minneapolis Police departmental policy; does the Minneapolis Police Department integrate these Graham/Connor factors into its policy and procedure manual?


SCHLEICHER: You testified as to these factors, at least one of them - of the actions, you know, what happened prior to the restrained period, I'd like - now like you to now focus on the restraint period itself, okay?

STIGER: Okay. SCHLEICHER: And if we could publish exhibit 217. I believe this - page two, and highlight the three bullets in the middle of the page. All right, this is from the Minneapolis Police Department use-of-force policy and procedure manual section 5-300 series, is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And you see the different Graham v. Connor factors outlined here that you previously testified about, true?


SCHLEICHER: Now you've already spoken as to the first factor of the severity of the crime at issue, did that change during the restraint period?

STIGER: No. The crime was still that Mr. Floyd was in possession of a fake $20 bill.

SCHLEICHER: So I'd like you to focus that on the second factor; that is whether Mr. Floyd posed an immediate threat to the safety of the officer or others at the time during the restraint period?

STIGER: No, he did not.

SCHLEICHER: And why not?

STIGER: Because he was in the prone position. He was handcuffed. He was not attempting to resist. He was not attempting to assaults the officers, kick, punch or anything of that nature.

SCHLEICHER: Did he ever communicate an intent to do so?

STIGER: No, he did not. I didn't hear any verbalization of any threat towards the officers.

SCHLEICHER: Did he ever indicate whether or not he had the ability to do so?

STIGER: No, he did not.

SCHLEICHER: Can you comment as to the number of other officers on the scene present at the time and how that would relate to any opinion you have regarding whether Mr. Floyd presented a threat?

STIGER: Yes. So another factor that's considered when evaluating a use of force is the number of officers versus the number of subjects. In this particular instance, there were actually five officers on scene, three officers that were using body weight on Mr. Floyd, and there were two additional officers that were on scene as well.

SCHLEICHER: And in terms of the threat, the - there's a descriptor here, and that is it needs to be an immediate threat, is that right?

STIGER: Correct. SCHLEICHER: And so on your analysis, Mr. Floyd, in order to pose an

immediate threat would be able to presently cause some sort of harm, is that correct?

STIGER: Yes. Immediate meaning it's happening right now.

SCHLEICHER: Now focusing on the third factor, and that is whether Mr. Floyd was actively resisting or attempting to evade arrest by flight. Could you describe to the jury your analysis as to that third factor?

STIGER: Based on my analysis, Mr. Floyd never - was not actively resisting at the time that the - he was in the prone position, nor did he communicate to them that he was attempting to resist or evade them.

SCHLEICHER: Now, are you familiar with the concept of proportionality?

STIGER: Yes, I am.

SCHLEICHER: Can you please explain the concept of proportionality as it relates to the use of force to the jury?

STIGER: Yes. So proportionality basically means that an officer is only allowed to use a level of force that's proportional to the seriousness of the crime or the level of resistance that a subject is using towards the officers.


SCHLEICHER: Are you familiar with a graphic known as a force continuum that can be used to illustrate this point?


SCHLEICHER: And does the Minneapolis Police Department use a similar item of force continuum to illustrate this point to its officers?

STIGER: Yes, they do.

SCHLEICHER: And if I can show - publish exhibit 110. Is this the force continuum that MPD uses, the version of it?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: All right. Now, if you could take that down, please. Exhibit 919 is an demonstrative exhibit that can be used to illustrate this concept, and I'm going to ask that exhibit 919 be published at this point.

NELSON: No objection, your honor.

CAHILL: Go ahead (ph).

SCHLEICHER: All right. Sir, we're publishing exhibit 919, and what I'd like you do is sort of walk the jury through the concepts of proportionality using the 919 demonstrative to explain. If you would begin, please? STIGER: OK. If you look on the far left, you see the subject's

behavior. It starts off being active aggression, goes down to active resistance, then passive resistance. We'll start at the top, being active aggression. So if the subject's behavior is active aggression, then depending on the severity of it, if it could cause serious bodily injury or death, then the officer is allowed to use deadly force.

Moving down, if the subject's actions don't meet the deadly force threshold, then an officer is allowed to use a baton, also stunning strikes and unconscious neck restraint. Stunning strike is basically a type of force that an officer can use when he is being assaulted to temporarily stun the person so that they can control - try to control them.

Also, an unconscious neck restraint, I believe, is when an officer uses a neck restraint or a carotid restraint to temporarily make the person unconscious. Continually moving down, as the subject's behavior is less aggressive, moving closer to active resistance, you see an officer is allowed to use a CED, which is a conducted electronic device, or what you might be known to - know as a taser.

And also they can use a chemical aerosol, which you would also maybe know as a pepper spray. If the subject's behavior doesn't meet that threshold, then an officer can utilize a distraction technique. A distraction technique is typically similar to a stunning strike but in a - basically, a distraction technique is used to temporarily stun the person in order to follow-up with another technique to possibly take them down to the ground or used to control them as well.

Obviously you have a controlled takedown as well and a conscious neck restraint to control the person based off of their active resistance. Moving down, if the subject's behavior is passive resistance, then an officer can use a joint manipulation or a pressure point or escort holds, and these are probably the most commonly used types of force when officers are in the field.

And then lastly, you have a verbalization and just an officer's presence when the person is complying or, you know, possibly passively resisting just verbally.

SCHLEICHER: And if no resistance is offered?

STIGER: Then just your presence.

SCHLEICHER: Sir, do you have an opinion to a degree of reasonable and professional certainty to how much force was reasonable for the defendant to use on Mr. Floyd after Mr. Floyd was handcuffed, placed in the prone position, and not resisting?


SCHLEICHER: And what is that opinion?

STIGER: My opinion was that no force should have been used once he was in that position.

SCHLEICHER: I see on this continuum that phrase deadly force. Is deadly force defined?


SCHLEICHER: Is it defined in Minneapolis Police departmental policy?

STIGER: Yes, it is.

SCHLEICHER: At this time, I'd like to publish exhibit 216 and if you could move to page two, calling out the definition of deadly force. Sir, could you read into the record for the jury what the definition of deadly force is beginning at force which the actor uses?


STIGER: Yes. Force which the actor uses with the purpose of causing or which the actor should reasonably know creates a substantial risk of causing death of great bodily harm.

SCHLEICHER: I'd like to now republish exhibit 254, the composite, and this is the force applied. I'm going to ask you, sir, do you have an opinion, to a degree of reasonable professional certainty, whether the force used, as shown in exhibit 254, whether that force being applied then for the restraint period, which you've defined as nine minutes and 29 seconds would constitute deadly force?


SCHLEICHER: And what is that opinion?

STIGER: That it would.

SCHLEICHER: Why is that?

STIGER: Because at the time of the restraint period, Mr. Floyd was not resisting. He was in the prone position. He was handcuffed. He was not attempting to evade. He was not attempting to resist. And the pressure that he was -- that was being caused by the body weight would - could cause positional asphyxia, which could cause death.

SCHLEICHER: Is positional asphyxia a known risk in law enforcement?

STIGER: Yes, it is.

SCHLEICHER: How long have the dangers of positional asphyxia been known?

STIGER: At least 20 years. I can recall a Department of Justice memo from, I believe, 1995 that discussed it, and I know that I was trained on it in 1995 as well.

SCHLEICHER: And the risk of the danger of positional asphyxia is the potential - the worst outcome is death, is that right?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: And when we talk about positional asphyxia and the risk, is that risk increased with the increase of pressure on the subject?

STIGER: Yes. So positional asphyxia can occur even if there is no pressure - no body weight on a subject. Just being in that position and especially being handcuffed creates a situation where the person has a difficult time breathing, which can cause death. When you add body weight to that, then it just increases the possibility of death.

SCHLEICHER: And what additional weight did you see in your analysis here?

STIGER: The defendant's body weight, as well as the two other individuals, the two other officers.

SCHLEICHER: And one of the other officers appeared to be pressing down on Mr. Floyd?


SCHLEICHER: Was that Officer King?


SCHLEICHER: And what was Officer Lane doing?

STIGER: He was holding his legs.

SCHLEICHER: You can take that down, please. Sir, in applying the rules of the use of force and use of reasonable force, it's - the officer has to consider the totality of circumstances, is that right?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: And one of the circumstances can be the location; that could be important. Is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And are you aware that there was a group of bystanders who eventually began to watch the defendant and the other officers use force on Mr. Floyd?


SCHLEICHER: Now, sir, in your experience with the Los Angeles Police Department and in the areas that you were patrolling, have you ever had to use force or apply force or handcuff a suspect in view of bystanders?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Have you ever had to handcuff an unwilling suspect or subject in the view of bystanders?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Have you ever had to do so in the presence of a hostile crowd?


SCHLEICHER: Could you define hostile crowd in that context?

STIGER: I would define hostile crowd in the situations I've been in where the crowd or members of the crowd were threatening and/or throwing bottles and rocks at us, at the police.

SCHLEICHER: Have you had that experience?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: On more than one occasion?


SCHLEICHER: Okay. So if I could publish exhibit 184. I'm getting back to the circumstances of this case. This appeared to be bystanders that were gathered watching the defendant apply force to Mr. Floyd.

STIGER: Yes, it does.

SCHLEICHER: When you review the body worn cameras, did you see anybody throw any rocks or bottles?

STIGER: No, I did not.

SCHLEICHER: Did you see anyone attack - physically attack the officers?

STIGER: No, I did not.

SCHLEICHER: Did you hear foul language or name calling?

STIGER: There was some name calling, yes, but - and some foul language, but that was about the most of it.

SCHLEICHER: Did that factor into your analysis?



STIGER: Because I did not perceive them as being a threat.


SCHLEICHER: And why is that?

STIGER: Because they were merely filming and they were -- most of it was their concern for Mr. Floyd.

SCHLEICHER: (Inaudible) proportionality in the force continuum, the officer - is the officer able to increase the use of force on an individual based on the conduct of some third party over whom the subject has no control?

STIGER: No. The officers can only use force based on the subject's actions.

SCHLEICHER: But you acknowledge that loud noise and name calling can, in fact, be distracting?

STIGER: Yes, it can be.

SCHLEICHER: What is a - an experienced and trained officer do in the face of that sort of distraction?

STIGER: They continue to assess and reassess their force or they would con - they would attempt to lower any type of threat level that they may perceive.

SCHLEICHER: Now based on your review of the offense materials and the records, as of May 25, 2020, how long had the defendant been a Minneapolis police officer?

STIGER: Approximately 19 years.

SCHLEICHER: And if we can call out - I'm sorry, publish exhibit 203, and if you could highlight the top portion. These appear to be workforce training records of the defendant, is that right?


SCHLEICHER: And it indicates approximately 866 hours?


SCHLEICHER: Of paid training.


SCHLEICHER: Okay. Do you think that should've been sufficient training to prepare the defendant for this distraction?

STIGER: Absolutely.

SCHLEICHER: Can you take that down, please. Now sir - but you do acknowledge it would be possible, it would be possible for a group, a loud group, to distract the defendant from being attentive to George Floyd, is that right?


SCHLEICHER: Do you believe that occurred?

STIGER: No, I do not.

SCHLEICHER: And why is that?

STIGER: Because in the body worn video, you can hear Mr. Floyd displaying his discomfort and pain and you can also hear the defendant responding to him.

SCHLEICHER: At this time, I'd like to publish exhibit 47, and bring us to the body - that's the body worn camera footage of Lane. Bring us to the point of 20:22:23. And at this time, I'd like to publish that and play that section for the jury.


GEORGE FLOYD, VICTIM: My stomach hurts. My neck hurts. Everything hurts. I need some water or something, please. Please. I can't breathe, officer. You're going to kill me, it will kill me. Come on, man.


SCHLEICHER: All right. Is that the exchange that you testified to of the defendant responding to statements of Mr. Floyd?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

SCHLEICHER: And sir, approximately how long did the defendant continue to restrain George Floyd after the exchange we just heard?

STIGER: I believe six minutes.

SCHLEICHER: Okay. Thank you. I have no further questions.

CAHILL: Mr. Nelson.

NELSON: I may have just a moment to get set up here.


Good morning, Sergeant Stiger.

STIGER: Good morning.

NELSON: Thank you for being here. Did you enjoy the rain last night?


NELSON: A little different than California, right?

STIGER: Yes. We don't get that much in California.

NELSON: Right. Sergeant, I have a few questions, first and foremost, about your experience. Have you ever previously testified in any court or in any state or in federal court as an expert on the police use of force?

STIGER: No, I have not.

NELSON: Have you ever been qualified by any court of competent jurisdiction on an - as an expert in the use of police force?


STIGER: In Los Angeles during a trial of use of force that I was the investigator for.

NELSON: Okay. Is that the only time in that case?


NELSON: And you are here in your own personal capacity, correct?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

NELSON: You are not here as a representative of either the Los Angeles Police Department or the Office of Inspector General, correct?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: The training that you've experienced and that you have conducted, that has all been by the Los Angeles Police Department, correct?


NELSON: So the training you received to become a police officer, it's primarily conducted by the Los Angeles Police Department, correct?


NELSON: And you may have gone to some outside vendor training, but those vendors had to be approved by the Los Angeles Police Department, correct?


NELSON: Meaning the training that you attended outside of LAPD stuff would have to be consistent with Los Angeles Police Department's policies?

STIGER: Not necessarily, no.


STIGER: They have to be in compliance with the California POST.

NELSON: Okay. Now, you would agree that the policies of the Los Angeles Police Department are their policies, correct?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: And the policies of every police department are going to be different, to some degree?

STIGER: To some degree, yes.

NELSON: And some police departments may authorize a particular form of force, while others don't, correct?

STIGER: To a certain extent, yes.

NELSON: And that is a question of the reasonableness of that type of force. One department may say this is not a reasonable use of force, and another department may say this is a reasonable use of force?

STIGER: Based on my training and experience, every agency that I've seen base their use of force policy on Graham v. Connor, so it's pretty standard.

NELSON: Right, but in terms of the actual tactics of the use of force, right? So a department may authorize the use of a particular tool, and another department may not authorize that tool?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: Use of - and thus they're both uses of force, or potential uses of force, and the instruments to use that force may be different?

STIGER: Yes, but they all have to fall into the objective reasonableness standard.

NELSON: Understood. But one department could determine that that type of an instrument or that technique is within the reasonableness, objective reasonableness standard, while another department may not, right?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: So there can be - it's another way of saying reasonable minds can differ?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: Now, you testified that you have been a trainer for the Los Angeles Police Department in terms of their tactics, correct?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

NELSON: So when you talk about your training experience, are you doing it from a - like a teacher - you're teaching, lecturing, that type of standpoint, or are you doing the training on the mats training the techniques or both?


NELSON: You've never been trained by the Minneapolis Police Department, correct?

STIGER: No, I have not.

NELSON: But upon being hired in this case, you received a lot of materials in this case, right?

STIGER: Yes, I have. Yes, I did. NELSON: You received an extensive amount of Minneapolis Police

Department training materials, right?


NELSON: And you received investigative reports, right?


NELSON: From the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, correct?


NELSON: And you received video cameras, correct, or videotapes, correct?


NELSON: And you received materials within the training materials that also contained, like, videos or examples and illustrative type of materials as part of the training materials, right?

STIGER: I don't quite understand.

NELSON: Let me rephrase it. Sometimes in a PowerPoint presentation, there may be a video embedded in that PowerPoint presentation, and that video is an example of a specific move or it may be training exercises or the scenario based trainings.


Did you see all of those?

STIGER: No, I did not. I wasn't able to because most of the PowerPoint presentation were in a PDF form so I was not able to view the videos.

NELSON: Okay. So you've not seen the training videos prepared by the Minneapolis Police Department?


NELSON: But all of this material that you have received is, in fact, what you used, in part, to form your opinions in this case, right?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

NELSON: You relied on those materials to a certain extent?


NELSON: And some of those materials were completely irrelevant to this case, agreed?


NELSON: Such as use of the taser, right? STIGER: Yes.

NELSON: Such as the mounted patrol unit, right?


NELSON: But you received other information that was informative and had an effect on your analysis in this case, agreed?


NELSON: So those training materials were an important part of how you form - came to form your opinion?


NELSON: Now, you ultimately prepared a written report, correct?

STIGER: Yes, I did.

NELSON: And in your written report, you detailed your opinions and findings on the case, correct?

STIGER: Yes, sir.

NELSON: And you also made an exhibit of the materials that you reviewed, right?


NELSON: Now, would you agree that your report, in total, is 461 pages?


NELSON: Right. I have it here, right. 461 pages.


NELSON: Of the 461 pages, 26 pages constitute your opinions, right?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: And from page 27 to 461, this is a list of the materials that you reviewed in preparation of this case?

STIGER: That I received.

NELSON: That you received?


NELSON: And you reviewed some but not all of these materials.

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: All right. Ultimately, what you concluded that you received a total of 5,737 different training materials or items to review?

STIGER: I don't know the exact number, but --

NELSON: If the last number in your list is 5737, would you dispute that?

STIGER: I would have to look at it, but I would -

NELSON: Wouldn't disagree.

STIGER: - I wouldn't disagree.

NELSON: All right. In addition to your analysis, you are using and relying on your own training, right?


NELSON: Your own experience as a police officer, right?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: Your experiences doing both peer review of use of force with the Los Angeles Police Department and your investigation of uses of force, correct?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: Since - and you ultimately submitted your report to the State of Minnesota on January 31 of this year, correct?

STIGER: I believe so. Yes, that's correct.

NELSON: Since you have submitted your report, have you received any additional information, investigative or otherwise, about this case?


NELSON: So any training materials that were - that came to us prior - or excuse me, subsequent to January 31, any investigative information that was received, you've not had an opportunity to review that, right?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: Since submitting your report, it's fair to say that you've also had several conversations with prosecutors in connection with this case, correct?

STIGER: Correct.

NELSON: I believe that you met with prosecutors or conversed with prosecutors on February 1 of this year, March 3 of this year, March 11th of this year and April 3 of this year. Would you dispute me if I told you that those were the dates?

STIGER: I mean, I would have to look at my calendar, but, no, I believe that that's correct.

CAHILL: Do we have a side bar (ph)?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan. We have all been watching together. More testimony, more witness testimony, this and LAPD Sergeant who is a use of force expert, again on the stand for a second day in the trial of Derek Chauvin.

Let me bring in CNN - CNNs Laura - CNNs Legal Analyst Laura Coates as well as Chief Charles Ramsey. Laura, can you just give me a reaction to what we're - what we've been learning this morning.

LAURA COATES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not uncommon to have an outside expert out of the jurisdiction come and try to buttress what we already know. We want the jurors and the prosecution to know that this is not just an inside perspective but a universally held belief.