In Derek Chauvin’s case, a police lieutenant attests to how the police used violence against George Floyd “unwanted”
Lieutenant Rick Zimmerman, head of the Minneapolis Police Department’s murder unit, testified on Friday that a knee in a person’s neck should be considered lethal. When asked why, he said, “Because if your knee is in someone’s neck, that could kill them.”
Zimmerman said he had never been trained to use such a strategy in his decades.
He described the use of the police as unnecessary. He said he did not see any reason for the officers to believe they were in danger from Floyd.
Zimmerman’s testimony ended a week of raw and emotional evidence in Cauvin’s case. Judge Peter Cahill adjourned the court at noon and ordered the judges to return at 9:15 a.m. local time on Monday (10:15 a.m. ET). He had previously indicated that the process was ongoing.
Defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in court during the trial of Cauvin’s murder of George Floyd.
Floyd’s brother Philonise Floyd sat in court on Friday in a single seat reserved for Floyd’s family. He told the pool reporter that the trial had a profound effect on the family, and that he was trying to stop crying.
On Thursday, Cauvin’s police chief, Sergeant David Pleoger, also testified that Floyd’s police blockade would “end” when the man stopped protesting. Prosecutors played part of the manager’s phone call in court, where Cauvin was heard saying, “We should have held the boy down. He was crazy … he wouldn’t have come in after the squad.” Cleoger said Cauvin did not tell him on the phone that he had pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck, and told him later at the medical center where Floyd was pronounced dead.
The first three days of testimony included accounts of his own experience with Floyd’s assassination in a series of eyewitness accounts, some of whom wept as he felt helpless as the unarmed black man fought for his life. On Wednesday, judges watched a series of police body videos showing the accident.
Philonise Floyd said the testimony of Charles McMillian, an eyewitness who cried at the station on Wednesday while watching a disturbing camera video of the massacre, was very close. George Floyd’s girlfriend Courtney Ross also testified in tears on Thursday.