Prosecutors are calling a series of law enforcement officials to the stand Friday as they continue to lay out their case against Derek Chauvin, the fired Minneapolis police officer charged in the death of George Floyd. Chauvin, who was seen in disturbing videos kneeling on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes, is charged with second-degree murder,and second-degree manslaughter. He has pleaded not guilty.
Lieutenant Rick Zimmerman, who heads the Minneapolis Police Department’s homicide unit, testified Friday that a knee on someone’s neck should “absolutely” be considered deadly force. When asked why, he said, “Because of the fact that if your knee is on a person’s neck, that can kill them.”
Zimmerman said he had never been trained to use such a tactic in his decades-long career.
Zimmerman testified there was no reason for the officers to believe they were in danger from Floyd. When asked whether officers should have stopped restraining Floyd once he was no longer resisting, he said, “Absolutely, I would stop.”
On Thursday, Chauvin’s police supervisor also testified the officers’ restraint against Floyd “could have ended” once the man stopped resisting. Retired Minneapolis Police Sergeant David Pleoger testified that he called Chauvin after receiving a concerned call from a 911 dispatcher who had been watching the arrest on surveillance camera. Prosecutors played a portion of the supervisor’s call in court, in which Chauvin is heard saying, “We had to hold a guy down. He was going crazy… wouldn’t go in the back of the squad.”
Pleoger said Chauvin didn’t tell him on the call he had pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, only telling him later at the medical center where Floyd was pronounced dead.