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Police training expert speaks about fatal Minneapolis incident

Alex Jokich
Updated: May 27, 2020 06:49 AM
Created: May 26, 2020 06:52 PM

A police training expert shared perspective with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on the cell phone video, showing the incident involving Minneapolis police and George Floyd.
 
Mylan Masson worked as a police officer for 20 years and ran police training for the state of Minnesota at Hennepin Technical College until 2016.
 
"Somebody died in the process of being arrested, which is never something we want to have," Masson said.
 
The cell phone video, taken by a bystander, shows an officer using his knee as a means of putting pressure on Floyd's neck.
 
A neck restraint is listed as a "non-deadly force option" in the Minneapolis Police Department Policy & Procedure Manual, according to the police. 

The Unconscious Neck Restraint shall only be applied in the following circumstances:

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  • On a subject who is exhibiting active aggression, or;
  • For life saving purposes, or;
  • On a subject who is exhibiting active resistance in order to gain control of the subject; and if lesser attempts at control have been or would likely be ineffective.
  • Neck restraints shall not be used against subjects who are passively resisting as defined by policy.

 
"It is a control technique, so you can make sure that if you control the head, you can control the rest of the body," Masson explained. "But of course, there are parameters on that. We do a light pressure on there, just enough to stop the threat and we also make sure that, of course, the person isn’t going to be harmed in any way."
 
In the video, Floyd can be heard saying he can't breathe.
 
"As soon as you hear somebody can't breathe, you need to ask for medical attention, change your positioning change to see what’s going on," Masson said.

Masson said MPD also does not typically teach the "knee on neck" technique and instead teaches "knee into shoulder blades" as a restraint tactic.

The video appears to show the officer's knee on Floyd's neck for at least seven minutes until an ambulance arrives.
 
"Always when you’re using force, you only want to use it until you need to stop the threat," Masson said. "If he's not moving anymore, he's not resisting, then you let up totally. And if somebody is complaining that you should check for a pulse, I certainly would check for a pulse."

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS also asked about the responsibility of the second officer in the video, who is seen standing nearby. Masson said he should have intervened or suggested his partner use a different tactic.
 
"I see the other officer doing nothing, just standing there," Masson said.


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