Derek Chauvin used force that was “totally unnecessary” when he knelt on George Floyd’s neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds while Floyd was handcuffed and no longer a threat, the longest-serving officer in the Minneapolis department testified Friday.
Capping a dramatic first week of testimony in Chauvin’s murder trial, Lt. Richard Zimmerman, a 35-year veteran who leads the department’s homicide division, questioned the reasoning and technique behind Floyd’s restraint, saying the man no longer appeared to be a threat.
“Pulling him down to the ground, facedown and putting your knee on the neck for that amount of time is just uncalled for,” Zimmerman testified. “I saw no reason 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 was called to the scene of Floyd’s death at 38th and Chicago on May 25, testified that once someone is handcuffed, “they are not a threat to you at that point” and the amount of force should be immediately reduced. “If your knee is on a person’s neck, that could kill him.”
The longtime homicide detective, who used to work patrol, said he and other Minneapolis officers had been specifically trained to take particular care with handcuffed suspects and warned to limit use of the prone position, in which suspects are held facedown on the ground, because it can limit a person’s ability to breathe.
Basically, the question is whether Chauvin is convicted or the jury nullifies.