Then-cop Derek Chauvin “knew what he was doing” when fatally kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, says Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo.
“Mr. George Floyd’s tragic death was not due to a lack of training — the training was there,” Arradondo said in a statement obtained by CNN. “Chauvin knew what he was doing.”
The chief called Floyd’s May 25 death a murder.
“The officers knew what was happening — one intentionally caused it and the others failed to prevent it,” he said. “This was murder — it wasn’t a lack of training.”
Chauvin, and one of his three co-defendants Tou Thao both got training on avoiding suffocation in people getting restrained in a prone, or face down position, police said.
Chauvin’s and Thao’s attorneys of record did not immediately respond to a Law&Crime request for comment.
As seen on video, police arrested Floyd on May 25, but bystanders called them out because Chauvin was kneeling on the man’s neck. This went on for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, even after the victim became unresponsive, prosecutors said.
Chauvin, Thao, and two other officers—J. Alexander Kueng, and Thomas Lane–were fired, then charged over the incident. The man who actually kneeled on Floyd’s neck faces the most serious charges: second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. The others were charged for allegedly aiding and abetting the crime.
The Medical Examiner said Floyd died from “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” and said he “experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).” He also had drugs in his system, authorities said. The official story clashed with an independent autopsy commissioned by Floyd’s family; this said he died from compression of the neck, and they dismissed claims of underlying conditions.
Kueng’s and Lane’s attorneys said their clients were only on the job for a few days.
“I’m not claiming that he was following orders,” Lane’s attorney Earl Gray previously told CNN. “I’m claiming that he thought what he was doing was right. Because he asked a training officer: ‘Should we roll him over?’ Twice. You’ve got to have criminal intent for second-degree murder. And, frankly, this is bullshit.”
[Image via Minnesota Department of Corrections]
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