Photo: courtesy of Democracy Now!
In Minnesota, the former police supervisor of Derek Chauvin testified Thursday there was no justification for the ex-Minneapolis officer to keep his knee on the neck of George Floyd for over nine minutes. Sergeant David Ploeger was called by the prosecution in Chauvin’s murder trial.
Steve Schleicher: “Sir, based on your review of the body-worn camera footage, do you have an opinion as to when the restraint of Mr. Floyd should have ended in this encounter?”
David Ploeger: “Yes.”
Steve Schleicher: “What is it?”
David Ploeger: “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officers, they could have ended their restraint.”
Steve Schleicher: “And that was after he was handcuffed and on the ground and no longer resisting?”
David Ploeger: “Correct.”
Prosecutors played a recording of a phone call Chauvin made to Sergeant Ploeger after Floyd’s death, in which Chauvin made no mention of pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes. Paramedic Derek Smith testified that George Floyd appeared to be dead when he arrived on the scene — with officers still pressing Floyd to the pavement. Smith’s partner testified that he had to signal Chauvin to get off of George Floyd’s neck so the paramedics could check Floyd’s vitals when they arrived.
Also testifying Thursday was George Floyd’s girlfriend Courteney Ross, who described how the pair fell in love in 2017 after they met at a Salvation Army shelter, where Floyd worked as a security guard. Ross described their shared struggle with opioid addiction. Chauvin’s defense is focusing on Floyd’s past drug use in a bid to imply he died of an overdose, not from Derek Chauvin’s knee.
Floyd family attorney Benjamin Crump responded, “Tens of thousands of Americans struggle with self-medication and opioid abuse and are treated with dignity, respect and support, not brutality. We fully expected the defense to put George’s character and struggles with addiction on trial because that is the go-to tactic when the facts are not on your side.”