Police should have realized “something is not right” with George Floyd and given him medical care as he began to fade away during his fatal arrest, Los Angeles Police Department use of force expert Jody Stiger testified during the Derek Chauvin trial on Wednesday.
“As the time went on, early in the video, you could see that Mr Floyd’s health was deteriorating,” Mr Stiger said. “His breath was getting lower. His tone of voice was getting lower. His movements were starting to cease at that point. As an officer on the scene, you have duty to realize something is not right. “
Officers, he explained, have a legal duty to provide medical care to those in their custody.
“Once you take someone into custody then you’re responsible for their care,” he said. “You’re obligated to as part of your duty.”
The defence, led by attorney Eric Nelson, argues that despite Mr Floyd’s eventual death, Mr Chauvin was both reasonable and legally clear to use force on Mr Floyd—and that his knee may not have been on his neck in the first place.
“A single photograph isn’t going to capture the dynamics of what’s happening,” attorney Eric Nelson said, arguing Mr Chauvin’s knee was closer to Mr Floyd’s shoulder blades.
The trial, however, doesn’t rely on a single photograph, as multiple bystanders recorded video of the incident at close range.
The result won’t come down to whether at one moment or the other Mr Chauvin’s knee was in a certain place, either. Instead, it’s about the totality of the circumstances, and whether Mr Chauvin’s response to those circumstances was legal and justified.
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