Monday, April 19, 2021
Home The New York Key Moments on Day 6 of the Derek Chauvin Trial

Key Moments on Day 6 of the Derek Chauvin Trial

After a week of often emotional and occasionally explosive testimony, the trial of Derek Chauvin resumed on Monday, with the prosecution continuing to present witnesses that they hope will support the charges of murder in the death of George Floyd.

Mr. Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is accused of killing Mr. Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. The defense will claim that Mr. Chauvin followed his police training and that drug use may have led to Mr. Floyd’s death.

Here are some key takeaways from the sixth day of the trial.

Chief Medaria Arradondo said in court that Mr. Chauvin had failed to follow policies on de-escalation, use-of-force and the duty to render aid to people who need it.

“I absolutely agree that violates our policy,” Chief Arradondo said in response to a prosecutor’s question about Mr. Chauvin’s actions. “That is not part of our policy; that is not what we teach.”

The chief said Mr. Chauvin’s actions may have been reasonable in the “first few seconds” to subdue Mr. Floyd, but that much of his actions had violated policies.

“Once Mr. Floyd had stopped resisting, and certainly once he was in distress and trying to verbalize that, that should have stopped,” Chief Arradondo said.

Chief Arradondo, who became the city’s first Black police chief when he took over in 2017, fired Mr. Chauvin and three other officers involved in the arrest within a day of Mr. Floyd’s death. He publicly called Mr. Floyd’s death a “murder” the following month.

From the witness stand on Monday, Chief Arradondo recounted that he had first learned about the bystander video of the officers’ arrest when a community member sent him a message just before midnight on the night of Mr. Floyd’s death.

“Chief, have you seen the video of your officer choking and killing that man at 38th and Chicago?” the message said, referring to the intersection where Mr. Floyd was arrested, according to Mr. Arradondo, who said he remembered it “almost verbatim.”

An emergency room doctor who tried to save Mr. Floyd’s life for 30 minutes before pronouncing him dead testified on Monday that he believed Mr. Floyd had likely died of a lack of oxygen.

Dr. Bradford T. Wankhede Langenfeld, who was a senior resident at the Hennepin County Medical Center, testified in court that Mr. Floyd’s heart was not beating by the time he arrived at the hospital last May. His testimony followed that of two paramedics who said last week that Mr. Floyd’s heart had stopped by the time they arrived to the scene of his arrest.

The doctor said that, based on the information he had at the time, he thought that oxygen deficiency, sometimes called asphyxia, was “one of the more likely” causes of Mr. Floyd’s death.

Prosecutors have said Mr. Floyd died of asphyxia, appearing to divert from the ruling of the county medical examiner who performed an autopsy on Mr. Floyd and said that he had died of “cardiopulmonary arrest.” That term, prosecutors have said, is applicable to any death because it simply means that a person’s heart and lungs have stopped.

Eric J. Nelson, Mr. Chauvin’s lawyer, has suggested that Mr. Floyd’s death was caused in part by his underlying heart disease and the fentanyl and methamphetamine that were found in his system. In response to questions from Mr. Nelson, Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld agreed that many different things — including taking fentanyl and methamphetamine — can cause a death that would still be considered asphyxiation.

Mr. Nelson used his questioning to press Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld on the fact that naloxone, the overdose-reversing treatment often known as Narcan, was never administered to Mr. Floyd. Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said that even if Mr. Floyd had suffered an overdose, giving him naloxone would have had “no benefit” because his heart had already stopped.

Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said he had viewed an overdose as a less likely cause of Mr. Floyd’s death, at the time, in part because the paramedics who brought Mr. Floyd to the hospital had given no indication that he had overdosed.

Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said that he had pronounced Mr. Floyd dead after about 30 minutes in the emergency department. Mr. Floyd’s official time of death is 9:25 p.m.

Jerry W. Blackwell, the prosecutor questioning Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld, used some of his questions to emphasize that Mr. Chauvin and other police officers at the scene had not given medical care to Mr. Floyd.

In response to the questions, Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld noted that beginning C.P.R. as soon as possible is critical for patients who are in cardiac arrest, as Mr. Floyd was. He said that there is about a 10 to 15 percent decrease in a patient’s chance of survival for every minute that C.P.R. is not administered.

“It’s well-known that any amount of time that a patient spends in cardiac arrest without immediate C.P.R. markedly decreases the chance of a good outcome,” Dr. Wankhede Langenfeld said. He noted that the term “cardiac arrest” means only that a patient’s heart has stopped, not that the patient necessarily suffered a heart attack.

The doctor, who is in his early 30s, earned his medical degree from the University of Minnesota Medical School in 2016 and had received his physician and surgeon license just 18 days before May 25, when Mr. Floyd was rushed to the hospital, according to state records.

Police officers in Minneapolis must undergo extensive training, including annual refreshers on the use of force and obligation to provide medical aid, the previous director of the department’s training division testified on Monday.

The former training director, Katie Blackwell, now an inspector in Minneapolis, testified that Mr. Chauvin had attended at least two sessions in the past three years on use of force. He would have also been told in similar courses to offer medical aid when a suspect is in distress, she said. The prosecution wants to show that Mr. Chauvin violated the standards and training that he had received when he pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck.

Her testimony is significant because she directed some of the most recent training in Minneapolis, and she also chose Mr. Chauvin to become a field training officer. Ms. Blackwell, who became a police officer in 2002, worked alongside Mr. Chauvin in the early 2000s when they were both community service officers.

The trial began in an odd fashion on Monday. The entire jury was brought in for questioning, and Judge Peter A. Cahill had the audio and video feeds turned off. But according to a pool reporter in the room, each of the jurors had a sheet of paper in front of them with a social media post that the judge instructed them to read.

He noted that on the sheet there was a comment about halfway through. He asked the jurors if any of them made a statement, or something similar to it, that was apparently in the social media post.

Thirteen of the 14 jurors raised their hands to indicate that they had not said anything like what was indicated (the specific statement was not shared publicly). The 14th juror shook her head no and eventually raised her hand.

The judge then had them flip over the sheet and asked them if they recognized the picture of the person on the sheet. All 14 jurors raised their hands to indicate that they did not recognize the person. After the jurors left, the judge indicated that he believed the jurors were credible.

“This was nothing more than social media nonsense,” he said.

Jurors are not supposed to discuss the case with anyone — even among each other — or read any coverage of the trial while it is going on.

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