Defense attorney Eric Nelson said during his closing argument that Derek Chauvin’s own use of force trainer at the Minneapolis Police Department testified that placing the knee on the neck of a suspect “is not an unauthorized move.”
Nelson said that many police officers testified about their opinion on Chauvin’s use of force against Floyd but that he found Minneapolis Police Lt. Johnny Mercil’s testimony the “most interesting” and “relevant.”
“The best glimpse that we will get into the training of a Minneapolis Police Department officer comes from the trainer who conducts the training,” Nelson said about Mercil.
He said that Mercil testified that a knee on the neck “can be utilized in certain circumstances.”
“He described using the knee on the neck and back and stated that it can be there for an extended period of time, depending on the level of his resistance you get, once the suspect is handcuffed, it does not necessarily mean that it’s time to move your leg, because when people are handcuffed they can continue to be dangerous to themselves and others.”
Some more context: During his trial testimony, Mercil said that Chauvin’s use of his knee on George Floyd’s neck was not a proper neck restraint.
Asked by Nelson on cross-examinaiton if Chauvin’s technique could be part of another training, Mercil said, “perhaps,” adding that it might be considered “using body weight to control.”
He continued: “However, I will add that we don’t — we tell officers to stay away from the neck when possible and if you’re going to use body weight to pin, to put it on their shoulder and be mindful of position.”