MPD Chief Arradondo says use of force used on Floyd unethical in Chauvin trial

4:30 p.m.

Blackwell has been excused from the witness stand. The court is in recess until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

3:49 p.m.

Arradondo has been excused from the witness stand. The next witness is called by the state, Katie Blackwell. She is an inspector with the Minneapolis Police Department for the Fifth Precinct.

Blackwell notes she has served on the Minnesota National Guard for 23 years. She has a decorated past with the Minneapolis Police Department. She has experience leading a SWAT crisis negotiator team, also serving as a lieutenant in the training unit before being promoted to commander in April 2019.

"The time I was commander, it was my 18, 19-week police academy that they would go through that they had to pass before they could enter into their field training officer program," Blackwell said, in regards to the police training program. She adds it includes a de-escalation program.

Blackwell stated that the position Chauvin held Floyd in was an "improvised position" and it’s "not what we train."

3:20 p.m.

Nelson resumes questioning with Arradondo, moving on to neck restraints.

After the defense conducts thorough questioning regarding Chauvin’s actions during the incident, the state takes over to redirect.

3 p.m.

The court has gone into a 20-minute recess.

2:20 p.m.

The defense cross-examines Arradondo.

Nelson asks Arradondo about the difference between active aggression and active resistance. The police chief confirms to the defense that there are times where those getting arrested will attempt to lobby in not being arrested.

Arradondo also said that there is a "heightened sense of awareness" when an officer walks up to a vehicle for the officer.

Arradondo clarified when asked about policy differing from when he was being trained into what it is now.

"It’s not a policy change, it’s just the best practice change, and they can still use the old way they did it," the police chief testified.

Nelson had Arradondo confirm that sometimes an officer has to command a presence and take control of a situation. Arradondo believes that most officers do not want to perform any use of force on an individual, and acknowledges in court that it can garner a lot of attention.

1:30 p.m.

The court has resumed for the afternoon session. Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo resumes the witness stand with state prosecutor Steve Schleicher asking questions.

Arradondo says he believes the department responded to about 4,500 emotionally disturbed person (EDP) calls. Arradondo then explained what those calls consisted of and how the department would go about their response.

"We want to meet people where they are, we want to bring our values and our principles to those situations," he said. "We recognize that oftentimes people who are experiencing crisis, it is not something they brought on themselves."

The police chief also called training to provide medical care by an officer "vital," saying "every second" matters in that situation.

The state also moved their questioning to use of force by the department. Arradondo stressed the importance of the "sanctity of life" piece of the policy. The police chief read the following as it reads of MPD’s policy in court:

"The amount and type of force that would be considered rational and logical to an ‘objective’ officer on the circumstances known to an officer at the time force was used."

He also confirmed to the court that the use of force needs to be judged by a reasonable police officer at the scene. Arradondo adds that someone accused of using a counterfeit bill would not be taken into jail. He also stated that violence would be more important than serving someone who has a felony on their record. This means that Floyd should have never been arrested on May 25, 2020.

Arradondo was also asked to explain the critical decision-making model.

"If police departments treat people with respect, give them voice, establish neutral engagements and build areas of trust, our communities are more likely to cooperate with us, we’re likely to be seen more as legitimate," he stated.

He added, "We have a duty to care so when someone is in our custody … we have an obligation to provide further care."

When asked if neck restraints were authorized by MPD policy on May 25, 2020, Arradondo said yes. He also explained that the neck restraint is not allowed to use on someone who is passively resisting.

The police chief was notified that Floyd would not make it the night of the incident around 9 p.m. Arradondo said he requested the BCA at that point and viewed the milestone camera (city camera, positioned across the street from Cup Foods). He was made aware of bystander video around midnight after a community member contacted him.

"Almost verbatim, but [the community member] said ‘chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago?’"

He confirmed that Chauvin’s tactic used on Floyd was not trained to use by the department and it was not a de-escalation tactic.

"When I look at the facial expression of Mr. Floyd, that does not appear in any way, shape or form that that is light to moderate pressure," Arradondo said. He stated he "absolutely agrees" that it violated the department’s policy of use of force.

When asked when he believes the restraint should have stopped on Floyd, he stated once Floyd stopped resisting, and once he showed distress, then it should have stopped.

"To continue to apply that level of force to a person, prone out, handcuffed behind their back, that in no way, shape, or form is anything is by policy is not part of our training, and it is certainly not part of our ethics or values," Arradondo testified.

12:30 p.m.

The court is in recess until 1:30 p.m. Arradondo will retake the witness stand with Schleicher still questioning when the court resumes.

11:10 a.m.

Dr. Langenfeld has been excused from the witness stand. Minneapolis Police Department Chief Medaria Arradondo.

Arradondo says wearing the badge of MPD "means a lot" to him.

"We are oftentimes the first face of government that our communities will see. We will often times meet them at their worst moments. And so the badge that I wear, and that members of the MPD wear, means a lot," he said in court Monday.

State prosecutor starting with questioning. He asked Arradondo about law enforcement training. He elaborated by saying the training has improved since he has been in the industry. He also went into detail about specific training.

Arradondo has been with MPD since 1989. He was promoted to chief within the last few years. He was promoted to sergeant in 1997. The state asks Arradondo an array of questions, relating to being in situations where he has had to conduct use of force, deescalate, and working in the internal affairs department. Arradondo says he has and adds he worked in the internal affairs department for about two years.

He also makes it known to the court that as chief, he is familiar with the day-to-day operations from the patrol level, to the level he is at now. Arradondo says there are about 700 members of the MPD.

He identified Chauvin in the courtroom.

Arradondo was told to identify and distinguish the precincts in Minneapolis.

Schleicher also asked Arradondo about Inspector Katie Blackwell. She was the commander in charge of training for the department last year. Earlier, Nelson brought her name up as one of the witnesses that is expected to take the stand Monday or sometime this week. During opening statements, state prosecutor Jerry Blackwell stated he and Katie are not related, for discretion.

The police chief called the training the officers go through "essential." He also explained the difference between recruit and cadet programs. Arradondo says recruits have been focused on a law enforcement career, and a cadet was created to "capture diversity of candidates."

Arradondo calls the training practical and useful.

"We have to make each engagement with our community count and so the training is very important," he said, adding the community grades MPD officers on each and every interaction.

Evidence such as Chauvin signing off an electronic version of the MPD policy and procedure manual was shown in court.

Arradondo also explained de-escalation.

"…In this case for officers to really focus on time options and resources, it’s really primarily trying to provide an opportunity to stabilize a situation … with the goal is having a safe and peaceful outcome," he said.

10:50 a.m.

The court has reconvened after a short break.

Dr. Langenfeld is still on the witness stand, with defense attorney Eric Nelson questioning.

Langenfeld stated if opiates are in one’s system, administering Narcan could be a lifesaver. However, Langenfeld said it does not apply to Floyd’s case, saying it wouldn’t benefit someone who is in cardiac arrest.

9:30 a.m.

9:20 a.m.

Attorneys and Judge Peter Cahill met Monday morning to go over a few motions.

After that time, the jury was brought in and the court held a hearing on the record but off live video and audio. When video and audio resumed, Cahill said he didn’t find any evidence of juror misconduct and he found them credible in their responses.

Testimony was set to resume Monday morning. Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is expected to testify at some point on Monday.

The trial of a former Minneapolis police officer in George Floyd’s death is expected to turn toward the officer’s training on Monday after a first week that was dominated by emotional testimony from eyewitnesses and devastating video of Floyd’s arrest.

Derek Chauvin, 45, is charged with murder and manslaughter in the May 25 death of Floyd. Chauvin, who is white, is accused of pinning his knee on the 46-year-old Black man’s neck for 9 minutes, 29 seconds as Floyd lay face-down in handcuffs outside of a corner market.

Prosecutors say Chauvin’s knee killed Floyd. The defense argues that Chauvin did what he was trained to do and that Floyd’s use of drugs and underlying health conditions caused his death.

Floyd’s treatment by police was captured on widely seen bystander video that soon sparked protests that rocked Minneapolis and quickly spread to other U.S. cities and beyond. The video, plus officers’ body-camera video and previously unseen bystander footage, was a heavy component of the first week of the trial, reawakening traumatic memories for viewers of the livestreamed trial.

Police Chief Medaria Arradondo is expected to testify during the trial’s second week, perhaps as early as Monday. Arradondo, the city’s first Black chief, fired Chauvin and three other officers the day after Floyd’s death, and in June called it "murder."

KSTP’s latest coverage of the Chauvin trial

"Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training — the training was there," Arradondo said then. "Chauvin knew what he was doing."

The city moved soon after Floyd’s death to ban police chokeholds and neck restraints. Arradondo and Mayor Jacob Frey have also made several policy changes, including expanding requirements for reporting use-of-force incidents and documenting their attempts to de-escalate situations even when force isn’t used.

Prosecutors have already called supervisory officers to build the case that Chauvin improperly restrained Floyd. A duty sergeant and a lieutenant who leads the homicide division both questioned Chauvin’s actions in pinning Floyd after officers responded to a report that Floyd had passed a counterfeit $20 bill.

"Totally unnecessary," Lt. Richard Zimmerman, the longest-tenured officer on the force, testified Friday. He said once Floyd was handcuffed, he saw "no reason for why the officers felt they were in danger, if that’s what they felt, and that’s what they would have to feel to be able to use that kind of force."

Zimmerman, who joined the department in 1985, said he has never been trained to kneel on someone’s neck if their hands are cuffed behind their back and they are in the prone position. Officers are supposed to get a person out of the position as soon as possible because it restricts their breathing, he said.

Instead, officers continued to restrain Floyd until an ambulance arrived — even after he became unresponsive.

Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson peppered Zimmerman with questions about the threat a handcuffed suspect might still pose, as well as whether handcuffs might fail. Nelson has also suggested that bystanders shouting at police might have distracted them from Floyd and made them feel threatened.

Jurors heard several days of testimony from those bystanders, several choking up as they recalled feeling powerless to help Floyd and guilt over his death.

Genevieve Hansen, an off-duty firefighter who came on the scene as she was out for a walk, said she immediately recognized Floyd was in trouble and tried to offer help. Instead, Officer Tou Thao ordered her to stay on the sidewalk. Hansen, who was mostly stoic while testifying, was overcome as she recalled her frustration.

"There was a man being killed," she said. "I would have been able to provide medical attention to the best of my abilities. And this human was denied that right."