A use-of-force expert for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) testified that Derek Chauvin’s deadly restraint on George Floyd was “excessive.”
On Tuesday (April 6), Sgt. Jody Stiger was brought in by the prosecution to evaluate Chauvin’s arrest of Floyd from last year. He resumed his testimony on Wednesday (April 7), stating that after reviewing the body camera footage and photos of the incident, the former Minneapolis police officer used “deadly force.”
“My opinion was that the force was excessive,” he said.
“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 was being caused by the body weight could cause positional asphyxia, which could cause death,” he added.
Stiger added that positional asphyxia alone could result in death, but in this case, it was combined with the weight of the three former cops — Chauvin, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane. “When you add body weight to that, then it just increases the risk of death,” he said. The sergeant also stated police officers have known about the risks of positional asphyxia for “at least 20 years.”
Stiger reviewed the Minneapolis Police Department’s use-of-force continuum and said that “no force should have been used once [Floyd] was in that position.”
Elsewhere in Stiger’s testimony, he stated that he didn’t believe the onlookers were there to pose a threat to any of the officers, contrary to what Chauvin’s lawyers argued. “Because they were merely filming and they were, most of it was their concern for Mr. Floyd,” he said.
Last week, attorney Eric Nelson argued that the crowd posed a threat to Chauvin and his partners. “There are people across the street, there are cars stopping, people yelling,” the lawyer said. “There is a growing crowd, what officers perceive to be a threat. They’re called names. I heard them this morning: ‘fucking bum.’ They’re screaming at him causing the officers to divert their attention from the care of Mr. Floyd to the threat that was growing in front of them.”
Watch a clip of Stiger’s testimony below.