• Mon. Oct 3rd, 2022

Death of George Floyd: Lawyers for former Minneapolis cops question police training

The lawyers representing the three former Minneapolis police officers upright test in federal court on charges related to George Floyd‘ Death asked a senior officer on Monday about the department’s training on constraints and an officer’s duty to intervene, as well as a culture they say teaches new officers not to question their superiors.

Former Minneapolis Police Department training officer Inspector Katie Blackwell testified that former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao acted in a manner ‘inconsistent’ with department policies . Blackwell, who testified on his third day on Monday, said the trio defied MPD training by failing to step in to stop Chauvin, not rolling Floyd to the side when he stopped resisting and not providing medical help when he stopped breathing and they couldn’t find a pulse.

Federal prosecutors say Kueng, Lane and Thao violated their training by failing to act to save Floyd’s life on May 25, 2020, when fellow officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the black man’s neck for 9 minutes and a half while Floyd was handcuffed face down and struggled to breathe. Kueng reportedly knelt on Floyd’s back, Lane held his legs and Thao held back passers-by.

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police officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao. “/>

FILE – This combination of photos provided by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office in Minnesota on June 3, 2020, shows, from left, former Minneapolis police officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao.
(Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office via AP, file)

Thao’s attorney, Robert Paule, asked Blackwell on Monday whether the officers had received adequate training, including on the use of neck restraints. He also presented the department’s training materials on how to recognize and arrest someone suffering from “excited delirium” – an agitated state that the training materials say might warrant more forceful restraint.

Documents presented by Paule, taken from on-the-job training Thao allegedly received, say that a person with excited delirium, which is a disputed condition, can exhibit extraordinary strength. In the videos, people are behaving erratically, not being stopped by Tasers, and sometimes escaping police restraint.

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Blackwell has previously testified that people should be rolled onto their side or made to stand after being restrained. But in the materials presented on Monday, a single sentence in a training slide indicates that officers should put a person in the side recovery position.

FILE - This image from video shows Minneapolis Police Officers Thomas Lane, left, and J. Alexander Kueng, right, escorting George Floyd, center, to a police vehicle outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, May 25, 2020.

FILE – This image from video shows Minneapolis Police Officers Thomas Lane, left, and J. Alexander Kueng, right, escorting George Floyd, center, to a police vehicle outside Cup Foods in Minneapolis, May 25, 2020.
(Short TV via AP, Pool, File)

Floyd struggled with officers who tried to put him in a police vehicle and continued to struggle on the ground as he said he couldn’t breathe, before finally coming to a stop.

Kueng, who is black, Lane, who is white, and Thao, who is Hmong American, are charged with willfully depriving Floyd of his constitutional rights while acting under government authority. A charge against the three officers alleges they saw Floyd in need of medical attention and failed to help. A tally against Thao and Kueng argues that they did not intervene to stop Chauvin. Both counts allege that the officers’ actions resulted in Floyd’s death.

Prosecutors argued that the “deliberate” standard can be met by showing “patently wrongful conduct” that deprived Floyd, 46, of his rights.

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Lane’s attorney, Earl Grey, suggested on Monday that his client did what he was trained to do, including trying to defuse the situation, breaking his restraint when Floyd stopped moving, checking his pulse and asking him if he should be rolled onto his side.

This image from a police body camera shows people gathering as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded pressing his knee on George Floyd's neck for several minutes as onlookers shouted at Chauvin getting off and Floyd saying he couldn't breathe on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis.

This image from a police body camera shows people gathering as former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was recorded pressing his knee on George Floyd’s neck for several minutes as onlookers shouted at Chauvin getting off and Floyd saying he couldn’t breathe on May 25, 2020 in Minneapolis.
((Minneapolis Police Department via AP))

Blackwell agreed with Gray that Lane went above and beyond in assisting paramedics trying to revive Floyd in the ambulance that eventually arrived.

Blackwell testified that officers are told they have a duty to intervene if a fellow officer uses unreasonable force, and are taught to use the least amount of force necessary and to stop once the person is no longer resisting. . Gray pointed out that the policy states that officers must stop or “attempt” to stop the force, which he said his client did.

Defense attorneys have suggested that Chauvin – who was a field training officer for new recruits – took charge of the scene. Blackwell testified that she saw no reason to remove Chauvin from his coaching role prior to Floyd’s murder.

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Paule also said that while departmental policy allowed officers to use their legs to put on a neck restraint, they weren’t taught how to do it.

“In other words, the police have had absolutely no training in how to use a leg as a restraint mechanism,” he said. Blackwell agreed.

Ashley Soriano of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.